My keyboard has been breached. On my computer screen, there are all sorts of things that were not there before. Weird characters and a sort of “DOS” set of commands that I could never have thought of on my own. The mystery is not a deep one. It is my little dog Sisi who has jumped onto my desk where my laptop sits. She leaped onto my chair and from there to the surface of the desk. Here she stood with her little feet on the keyboard. She moves around and types by accident. Once she deleted whole paragraphs which I was not able to get back. She is a feisty little bit of muscle, a sleek, smooth-haired dachshund who weighs less than 10 lbs. She is looking for coffee. All three of my dachshunds are coffee addicts. The larger one Magnus whom I was given as a birthday present 6 years ago started the habit.

Magnus sunning himself

The very first morning after my birthday party he wanted coffee. He was only 8 weeks old a black and tan ball of fluff We had our first night spent together in my bed. He slept through the whole night and never made a mistake. We got up and he was let out into the yard to pee while I put the coffee on to perk. When I brought him back into the house I sat down in a comfortable chair in my big live-in kitchen. The dark wood cabinets gave the room a warm old fashioned look that pleased me. A mug of coffee with honey and heavy cream added is my preferred style. I began to drink the coffee and picked up the puppy who sniffed the air and began to try to get to the mug. He was so insistent for so long that finally when I had just about finished the mug and the coffee that was still in it was cooled down I let him lick what was left. He seemed so happy with it he seemed to smile. He acted just like a man who had just finished a satisfying cup of “Joe”. He practically smacked his lips! And from that day to this, I have given him coffee every day. Gradually it has happened that my other two dogs also want and expect coffee every morning. And because the little female, Sisi is so supple and athletic and insistent she does not always wait for me to give the coffee to her. She takes advantage of my occasional absence from the keyboard to jump up and help herself. And that is what happened just now when I came back to my seat and looked at my screen. I knew at once that she had been there. I looked at my coffee mug and found it empty and licked clean. That will teach me to take it with me the next time I leave my desk.

Living with dogs is a great adventure. You never know what trouble they may get into. Sisi is the biggest hunter in the pack. She has been known to massacre a whole litter of bunnies one at a time. Don’t ask! The story is too gruesome. On another day I saw her marching up to the gate with a dead rabbit in her mouth which seemed about the same size as Sisi, herself. She is fearless. But she comes home after her hunting. Magnus (who grew to be a 25 lbs standard size dachshund) does not always make it home. The first time this happened was after I moved to Earlysville to my present wonderful house on a big farm in the country. He did not come in with the other dogs in the evening and I was worried. By the time I was ready for bed, it was apparent he was not coming back. It was dark and though it was easy walking outside around my house there was no trace of him and no sounds either. In despair, I went to bed. The next day he was still gone and not a sign of him (or his body) and no whining or barking of a trapped dog. He must have been killed by a coyote I thought. It was a crushing blow. Sadly I told one of my children that he was missing and presumed dead. The farm is so large I did not think he had strayed onto the road or been picked up by a stranger. He must be dead. And my children went into action. By that afternoon several of them appeared at my place to look for Magnus. David and Helen were in touch with walkie-talkies. (In case the signal was poor) While they were spread out all over the farm I went outside on my terrace to see if I could keep track of where they were. And suddenly, I heard Magnus bark!

Hibiscus blooms

Living with him for so long I know his bark. It seemed to be coming from the barn nearby but I had been all over that barn earlier and seen nothing and heard nothing. However, that was HIM barking!!! I knew it.

I texted my children and told them I could hear him. Susie my daughter in law arrived at the barn first. By this time I had walked over there. There was the occasional sound of a whimper from Magnus. Susie and I both called to him and we could hear him scratching around under the barn. But he could not seem to locate his way out. Finally, I got a shovel and began digging out the gravel near where we could hear the dog whining. We managed to make a fair-sized hole but it took Susie getting down flat on the ground and sticking her hand into the dark hole where she was able to touch him. Then he wiggled closer but would not come out by himself. She had to reach in and pull him out by his hide legs. Success!!! We were all thrilled and relieved. Susie is my hero!!! That was a brave thing to do.

I wish I could say that never happened again. But it has happened about 3 times so far. At least now, I am pretty sure where he is if he does not come back when I call him at night. We have shored up the space where he got underneath the barn. But the wild animals dig it out again. So it is a continual problem. There is an electric doggie fence but the barn is INSIDE the fence rather than outside it. So that does not help.

Dandy Dude

Dandy Dude is my third dachshund but he stays close to home. He belonged to my mother and when she died I took him to live with me. He loves me, but he still misses my mother, I believe. He is a barker and sometimes a continual barker if he decides he wants to make his point. But he is a great little bed dog and loves to curl up for the night at the foot of my bed. Yet when I wake he is often up close on the opposite side from Magnus. Sisi sleeps under the covers. Dogs are like therapy and exercise and a constant source of amusement and love all wrapped up together. What would I do without them?

Copyright©. 2021 Bonnie B. Matheson

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