Friday, August 14, 2015

Hef - A Tribute

   Our pack lost one of its own this week. Our beloved dachshund, Hef, lost his battle with cancer on Monday. This came as a shock to us, as we didn't even know he had cancer. As stated in my last post, we knew he was sick, but he had been getting better. At least, that's what we had thought. Unfortunately, we were wrong. Very wrong. Our little guy had cancer in his liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and possibly his prostate. Being that sick, I can't believe he wasn't acting stranger than he was. He was a tough little dog, that Hef.

   But this isn't a post to dwell on his illness. This post is to share the immense awesomeness that was this dog. Don't get me wrong - I love all of our dogs. However, Hef was different. Special. This dog was...   I can't even begin to describe it. He was funny. He had spirit. He had swagger. In our minds he spoke like Inigo Montoya from "The Princess Bride." (Don't judge us - all of our dogs have voices.) And man, did he suck. Seriously. That was actually his nickname - "Suck." You know how most dogs love their humans more than anything? Hef wasn't like that. Hef put himself and his own comfort first. Every time.

   Hef was originally Dudley's dog. He rescued Hef about three months before we met. How much did Hef suck? He bit Dudley on the first day. The first day!! "Thanks for rescuing me, nice man! CHOMP!" Turns out, Dudley was Hef's fourth owner. He'd been turned back into the rescue because of aggression issues. While most people would have taken that as a clue, Dudley decided to give Hef a chance.

    I wasn't expecting very much when I first met Hef. Dudley had said that he wasn't that affectionate of a dog, so I figured he'd just kind of hang out and not pay that much attention to me. Wrong. Hef came running up to me and started licking my face. Dudley was shocked, and probably a little pissed, to be honest. His mean, unaffectionate dog loved me. Over time, we figured out that Hef didn't really have an aggression issue - he had trust issues, specifically with men. We have no proof, but based on his actions, he had to have been abused before Dudley adopted him. Most of the time, he was a normal happy dog, but if Dudley hit on one of his triggers, watch out. He'd go crazy. Teeth everywhere, snarling, biting - for a little dog, he was quite intimidating. Fortunately, we were able to figure out his triggers pretty quickly: food, heights and his kennel were the main ones. We worked on these with him the first few years we had him. Well, honestly, Dudley worked with him more than I did. Hef never even thought about growling at me. Not once. I could literally reach into his food bowl while he was eating and take food out without any issue. If Dudley did that - he would have lost a digit.

   Unfortunately, the worst trigger for Hef was me. Because even though Hef was all about Hef, he loved me. LOVED me. When Dudley and I first started dating, Hef used to sit on my lap and growl at Dudley whenever he walked by. After we got married, Hef would sit at the top of the stairs and block Dudley from going down the hall because I was in the bedroom. He considered himself my protector, even though I was in no need of protecting. He was like the Black Knight from the Holy Grail. "None shall pass!" Except Hef actually would bite your legs off. It was endearing, a little creepy and extremely frustrating. Fortunately, his possessiveness of me eventually diminished and Dudley was finally able to sit on the sofa with me without any issues.
   Hef left us with some great stories. Here's a brief rundown on some of them.

  • Hef was laying on the sofa with us and Dudley had to move. So, he put Hef on his doggie bed which was on the ground about six inches away. This hit on several of Hef's triggers: disrupting his comfort, being moved away from me and heights (Hef didn't like to be set down at an arm's distance. You literally had to get down on the ground with him to put him down. We think he was dropped a lot before we got him.). Hef went ballistic - a dog possessed. He whipped around and started barking and snarling so much that both Dudley and I jumped on the sofa to get away from him. Dudley grabbed a pillow to keep Hef back because Hef kept lunging at Dudley. Hef grabbed on to the pillow with his teeth. When Dudley pulled the pillow back - Hef went with it. FLYING WIENER DOG! That snapped him out of his frenzy. Bless him. He wasn't hurt, but he was definitely confused as to what happened.
  • We starting noticing scratch marks on the dining room table. We couldn't figure out where they were coming from. That is until I came downstairs and found the wiener dog on top of the table eating cat food (that we had moved up there to prevent the dogs from eating it). In order to accomplish this, he had to jump from a chair that was three feet away. The scratch marks were from previous tries when he didn't make it.
  • I made a breakfast sandwich and was going to eat it on the way to work. I put it on the bar, which was several feet high, and went upstairs to grab something. However, before I did this, I made sure that the chairs were moved back so the dogs wouldn't be able to get my sandwich. But when I got back - no sandwich. What? I got a little closer and saw Hef on the floor eating something VERY quickly. My sandwich. HOW did he get it? Again, he climbed onto a chair, got on the back of it and launched himself several feet across the room. Since the chair was so far away, he couldn't make it onto the bar, so he smashed into the wall. However, while mid-air, he got close enough to the bar to grab the napkin the sandwich was on and pulled both the napkin and the sandwich to the floor as he fell to the ground. Dog could have killed himself. At least he got a tasty snack out of it.
  • Out of sheer will and stubbornness, he stayed awake through a big family Christmas dinner, even though he was drugged so much that he couldn't stand. He was completely loopy, but every time I tried to put him in the kennel to sleep, he'd start to bark. He just couldn't stand being away from everyone.
  • Since he was all about his own comfort - he would burrow into anything he could. He LOVED warm laundry, but blankets would do just fine. As would a pillowcase (below).

   But for all of the craziness and attitude of Hef, he was also one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. Yes, he had some triggers, but those were situational and could be predicted. Otherwise, he LOVED people. Never met a stranger. Believe it or not, he was the only one of our dogs that we completely trusted around kids. The Corgis can be a little standoffish with kids. Not Hef. He loved them. Going to the park or to festivals that had a lot of people around were some of his favorite things to do. Granted, I always ended up carrying him after a while because a dachshund can only be expected to walk so far before he just stops. Yes, I know, he probably had me trained, but it was much easier to pick him up and carry him than to 1) drag him (which is mean) or 2) wait for him to decide to start walking again.

   And he loved to sit in laps. Again, this was for his own comfort because he liked being warm, but I think he also just wanted to be touching a human.
   I know I sound like a crazy dog person, but I could go on and on and on about our little Hefalump. He was just the coolest and there will never be another one like him. For such a little dog, he's leaving a huge hole in our hearts. He will be severely missed. Rest in Peace, little man. We love you and we'll see you on the other side.

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