Thanksgiving Rescue

Truman after being rescued.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought I’d share a story that began two years ago.

Months after we put down our dog, Macy, conversation swirled in our home around getting a new pet. My vote, spurred probably by an urge to reconnect with my childhood, was to get a dachshund. My wife became convinced as well, but we couldn’t afford a purebred, and you just don’t find one down at your local shelter. So we put the matter aside.

That Thanksgiving, we received this photo. It came from friends that lived out in the country who found this abandoned dachshund on their parent’s farm. They probably wouldn’t have discovered him if it hadn’t been for the cows. When they heard them moo and saw them dart across the field being chased by a flash of red, they assumed it was a fox. Racing to the rescue, they discovered this pup and assumed he’d chased the cows out of fear. I chuckled. Fear? Although small and wiener-like, dachshunds were bred to attack badgers. This pup was probably trying to kill them!

We decided to visit to make sure the dog would be a good fit for our family. Needless to say, he exemplified all the personality traits of a dachshund on crack. Yet despite the obvious trauma, we could tell there was a good dog inside.

We went home to discuss, and the next day, I called to make arrangements to bring him home.

He was a mess! Not only was he malnourished, but he had so many issues that stemmed from trying to survive. He’d bark incessantly at the ceiling fan. Was this due to an owl or hawk attack (he does have a scar)?  If the back door was ajar, he’d dart out despite the fact that our home kept him safe, warm and well-fed. Even after a good meal, he’d hop onto our dining room table to hunt for food.

With the help of a friend who is a trainer, I nursed him back to health and tried to correct his bad habits without breaking his spirit. Her best advice was using a squirt bottle. I’d flip on the fan, he’d bark, and I’d spray his nose. When he hopped up on the table I’d blast him. Going outside required a leash, and if he growled at someone, he’d get a firm yank with a squirt. When he charged an SUV to attack (dachshunds really do think they’re the size of rhinos!) I’d spray him.

Truman sunning, July 2011

Over time, the trauma issues disappeared and what emerged was a well-rounded dachshund. Well, as well-rounded as one can expect with this breed! He’s extremely gentle with our grandson, playful yet not overly aggressive, loves to burrow beneath blankets, and thinks I hung the moon.

And yet, a week doesn’t go by when our home reverberates from a scolding, “TRUMAN!”

But considering where he’s come from, I’d say that’s just par for the course.

After all, he is a dachshund!

Published by

J.E. Lowder

I've played bass for Shania Twain, had a black rhino charge me while on safari, and I've been in the Oval Office. In high school, I went backstage to interview groups like Bob Seger, Rush and Kansas, sorta like "Almost Famous" but without Kate Hudson! As an author, I draw from all these experiences (and then some) when crafting my stories. The quote that sums me up the best is by G.K. Chesterton: "Nay, the really sane man know that he has a touch of the madman." I'm married, the father of four wonderful children, and a proud grandfather. I currently live near Nashville, TN where I write, bike and am always on the prowl for adventure and stories.

8 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Rescue”

  1. short legs : big attitude ?? 🙂

    I’d love to get a dog but am away too much for it to be viable… When I was living at home, my parents got a rescue mongrel. When we picked him up, he was a cutie little brown fluff ball with big paws. That should have been the clue… He turned out to be an Alsatian/Labrador cross: huge, strong, as clever as anything, and, most importantly, a brilliant friend to all of us! I still miss him…


  2. What a wonderful story. My baby boy was from a young couple who could not keep him where they lived he was 6 mos old and as cute as can be. Red silky with cleopatra eyes. He is now 4 and all the traits if the breed. He keeps me smiling and what a greeting when I return from work. Nothing beats a happy doxie. So vocal and unconditional. Enjoyed. Your story. What a lucky doggie to have you


  3. I always admire dog owners. You guys are so dedicated and patient. I hear all these horror stories of the many things dogs destroy (like eight pairs of my aunt’s nice church shoes) and think I just couldn’t put up with it, lol. The worst thing my cats have destroyed is toilet paper (which is annoying but easily replaceable) and some clawed up carpet in front of doors (that does push my limits since it is not so cheap to fix). Plus kitties are quiet, and even when they aren’t it isn’t loud enoud to involve the police.

    On the other hand, dogs can be so much more loving and loyal. They will gladly put themselves in harms way for their owners. The most my cat would do against an intruder is trip him, lol. So the two types of animals have their pluses and minuses, but I’m glad you found a dog you could be happy with.


    1. Your cat observation was spot on! Of course, after tripping the burglar, the cat would flash a look of “how dare you disturb me” before waddling off to clean.

      We’ve been fortunate with Truman, although early on he would find a sock (or box of matches!) and take them under our bed to chew/destroy. Matches…I can see the headlines now: “Dog Torches Master In Bed”


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