I loved my dog. You must understand this from the beginning. I had four in my life. But the one that I got as a stray so-to-speak was trouble, adorable, and a real pain in the butt as well as gentle and loving despite the pranks he seemed to pull whenever the opportunity permitted…like not giving him enough attention.
Maybe it had something to do with naming him Schultzie after the German guard in the TV series Hogan’s Heroes. He was at least part dachshund and spaniel. I won’t embarrass his looks because, after all, he was not privy to how he would turn out in this world. If I did not want to cast him out in the cold, I had to take him as he was. What I didn’t know was how his personality would contribute to my own sanity for loving animals as contributing to my life. He was a one-man dog. To him, my mom was just in the family tree.
He could be a pain in the neck with his playing of pranks and tricks. For example, during our nightly walks he would suddenly disappear. He would not come when called. In the beginning it was not obvious what his doing this meant. Call; no answer–no dog. Yet, more often than not, I think it was to reinforce our love for him in his doggy mind. He would hide for example under one of several bushes in our yard. His favorite was the snowball bush that sat somewhat opposite our porch. At dusk I would turn on our outside light and eventually find him under it; then as I called and called, he would come bounding out over those crazy looking legs and seem delighted to have fooled me again. That became his favorite game.
You know my love for the game of chess. This attraction made him jealous perhaps because during a position I’d set up or play with my girlfriend, he would grab one of the captured pieces and run with me on his tail. He’d run, drop it, and as I caught up, he would scoop it up in his mouth and dash off again to repeat again and again before I could finally corral him where he could not escape.
But in the passing years, that piece held a special place for the tiny bite marks left.