“I’ll take him,” a friend said.
A neighbor made the same offer.
If Harry outlives me, he’s covered and I will go contentedly to my urn.
What I didn’t tell them was that Harry’s services were obtained on a very specific schedule, and timed according to my life expectancy and a dachshund’s down to the hour.
If my calculations are correct, we should both slip into the unknown within hours of each other.
But if I calculated wrong, and Harry’s meter is still running, I wanted to be clear with these individuals that Harry has certain preferences, allergies and aversions.
Together we listen to cello on Sunday mornings, generally Yo-Yo Ma, and more often than not his Bach suites, which are divine.
Harry can’t wait to go for car rides and road trips, but for some reason he refuses to go for walks. It’s something I have never seen before. Perhaps this will change as he ages.
By the way, Harry was born on October 23, 2017, in Bevier, Missouri.
He was advertised as a miniature but isn’t. By the time it was discovered, it was too late: We already had become best friends.
Like father, like son: he appreciates films, especially older ones. Nothing violent, and none of those moronic, epic, space-opera rhubarbs.
He never has and never will wear costumes or be referred to as a “wiener dog” or a “sausage dog” by me.
He will come with a tub of toys. Right now, for unknown reasons, he seems to prefer stuffed replicas of Shari Lewis’ hand puppet Lamb Chop, which Harry unstuffs after giving them a good thrashing.
Again, perhaps this will no longer be true when he is in his teens.
Have you ever wanted to hold on to someone in time, and not let him age?
This is my fourth and final dachshund. Knowing that, I look at him with admiration and appreciation each day.
We bunk together; he hogs.
We are rarely separated and when we are I can’t wait to see him. It’s mutual. Anyone who has been welcomed home by their dog knows what this means.
As for allergies, he has a few, as well as some strong dislikes.
He had a reaction to something in our home or environment that resulted in little scab-like bumps on his otherwise impeccable torso.
Lab work showed he is allergic to oats and corn. We had been having midnight snacks of a Kashi oat cereal.
He disfavors rap and considers it an abomination. Imagine that.
He thinks “graffiti art” is an oxymoron. Imagine that.
He covers his ears when anyone starts to preach or proselytize.
We both believe in leashed dogs. Seems others don’t always: There was a bloody incident right across the street, and we heard about something that happened in Central Park not too long ago.
I insist no one try to pet him when we’re out together. People think that cute dogs are innately good-natured.
Dachshunds were bred to hunt tunneling animals, specifically badgers.
Lately I have been donating and giving away things I have been holding on to for years. My college camera, for example. A Nikkormat “tank,” that I took everywhere with me until digital cameras the size of a pack of cigarettes came along.
Parting with objects enveloped in memories is not as difficult as I thought it would be.
If, however, my calculations are wrong and Harry takes the off-ramp before I do, there will be a rhythm of darkness over me.
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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