Nicky gets lost
Of my two dachshund puppies, Freddie is the skinny, adventurous little scamp and Nicky is the hefty, cuddly oinker. When they’re wrestling and racing around, they are an even match. But when it comes to games like “Who has the best pig’s ear?” or “Who has the biggest bully stick?” (you don’t want to know what that is), Nicky perceives himself as the perennial loser.Freddie can come dancing inside, head high, with something as mundane as a leaf in his mouth and immediately Nicky will start oinking. “Oink, oink, Freddie has the special leaf, that was MY leaf, I want that leaf, oink, oink.” Of course that’s music to Freddie’s ear and he makes the most of it.As I write, Freddie has taken Nicky’s stick away from him and is happily munching on it on the floor, while Nicky, with two other sticks right next to him, is up on the bed oinking his head off.The point of this is that Nicky does not hesitate to makes his complaints both heard and understood, and all the more unexplainable that when he disappeared one afternoon there wasn’t a peep out of him.The babies had been playing in the yard and after a while Freddie came in, acting a bit agitated. “Where’s Nicky?” I asked him, not worried as I would have been if it were Freddie who were missing.Freddie immediately ran into the back shed, which is filled with my renter’s copious overflow, a favorite place for the doodle bugs to find delicacies such as matches and golf club covers to consume. I looked in there, calling to Nick. Silence. I scoured the yard and house. Nothing.I locked Freddie in the house, strapped on my oxygen tank and circled the block, fears mounting. Another shed check. Back in the house I put Freddie on his leash, telling him to find Nicky. Freddie went straight to the shed. “Nicky, Nicky, Nicky?” Silence.Freddie seemed to be concentrating on one corner of the shed, so I began to move things around – dark as a pit in there – and saw two little eyes staring up at me. Nick wasn’t really stuck, he just couldn’t figure out how to extricate himself from the legs of an upturned coffee table. I plucked him out easily, and as soon as I set him down in the yard, he was off racing with Freddie, completely unfazed.”Why didn’t you say something?” I demanded, but Nick had already forgotten the incident.I once had a young dachshund who got stuck at the top of some stairs of the condominium across the street for 36 hours before being found by a maintenance crew. By that time I had called everyone – animal control, police, the managements of all the condos around me – had scoured the neighborhood calling, “Rufus! Rufus!,” had gone out in the quiet of 3 and 4 a.m. hoping to hear his answering cry and had been within feet of the steps, he had gone up and was afraid to come down. Rufus was an oinker, too, but when something really happens a kind of paralysis sets in.I’d say I was too old to be going through canine motherhood again, but they keep me laughing. The other morning I opened the back door to let them out and they came flying happily across the kitchen only to see that it was pouring rain outside. The babies are averse to going out in the rain. Nicky stopped short at the sill so suddenly that Freddie ran right up his back. They paused, looking in horror at the deluge, Freddie on Nicky’s shoulders, then disentangled themselves and ran back under the covers.Su Lum is a longtime local who still chuckles at the image. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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