We have an overabundance of dogs here at CedarRock. There have been times we had more dogs than livestock. They are outnumbered now, but still enjoy a high rank. We didn’t plan to have six dogs. It just happened.
We have actually had more than six-total to date-but that is the current head count here today. We had only one dog when we moved here to CedarRock eighteen years ago. He was one of two dogs that I brought into the marriage, my dowry, so to speak. Jake was a beautiful border collie and Dingo was a stray that kept me guessing his lineage for years. He was named Dingo because he looked like a dingo. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. I’m not claiming that, though you have to admit, it would have been cool to say you owned a Dingo. I guess technically I could say that. It was his name, after all. So, yes, I owned a Dingo once.
Jake and Dingo moved from Louisiana to Texas and lived all around the Fort Worth area with me for several years before I met and married my husband. We were living in a suburb of a mid–sized town at the time. The dogs and I were not very happy about the living arrangements, but we patiently waited for the day we would have our own place. We rejoiced when we were able to move back to the country. Town life is no fun for country dogs or girls.
We moved into a rent house near our land for a while after selling our house in town and before having a home built on our land. While living in this little farm house a lot of life happened. We lost Dingo. He gave himself over to his wild dingo genes and went to be the local coyote king, we surmised. He just disappeared one day, but we have high hopes he and his coyote queen are living happily ever after begetting dingo-coyote puppies. They will be legendary one day. Sitting around the campfire, people will tell haunting tales about the Texas Dingo-coyotes, or Doyotes, or Coydingos…or whatever name is coined to describe the joining of these two wild races.
Jake, on the other paw, had no interest in the coyote kingdom and stayed home with us. We acquired a stray tabby cat who was very pregnant. I was also very pregnant at the time and at six months along, I had a ruptured appendix! Baby and I made it through that ordeal.
It wasn’t all bad,—we did have some fun while there. The old farm house was located in a beautiful, hidden away spot that I enjoyed very much. A dirt road wound through small, what we Texans call ‘mountains’, to the house situated in a large pasture. It was a welcome respite after the couple of years living as town dogs. Alongside this dirt driveway was a small pond. It froze over and my stepdaughters were able to ‘ice skate’, a rare thing in our mild winters. We target practiced with BB guns, walked, and made trips over to our land that was about five miles away to work on it and prepare to move there one day.
The old farm house was not insulated very well. My youngest stepdaughter had the bedroom on the north side of the house. She posted a sign on the door, “Welcome to Antarctica, Please Dress Warmly”. One day they mounded up all their stuffed toys, clothes. pillows and blankets and covered it all up with white bedspreads. Then the girls loaded up the ceiling fan with white shipping peanuts and turned on the fan, pretending to be in mounds of snow beneath with flakes drifting down from the sky. It was pretty cool-at least for the few seconds it lasted. So we do have happy memories of the place despite the hardships.
We ended up moving a mobile home on our land rather than building so that we could get moved in quickly with a baby on the way. I was determined that I was not going to bring my baby home to that dirty, cold little farm house, however quaint the setting. We got moved in about a month before baby arrived. It was a busy few months. I had learned I was pregnant, sold a home, had major health issues, moved to a rent house, bought a home, moved again, had issues with getting electricity to it, went through the prerequisite nesting stage common to all pregnant ladies, and many other things I have forgotten that goes along with moving and life transitions–and had a baby. But we made it through and all the stronger for it.
So baby boy arrives and we are getting acquainted and figuring things out when daddy brings home a surprise–a three month old puppy. I had wanted a red dachshund for years after falling in love with one belonging to a former boss. She was fat and red and deliciously sweet. Some weekends the boss and his wife and Tabby, their dog who I coveted, came to the ranch on weekends where I was living and working at the time. Tabby would come and stay with me if they were going somewhere. She returned my affection generously. She also imbedded a deep desire for a red dachshund.
So, in the middle of adjusting to mommyhood, my husband surprises me with a three month old black and tan dachshund puppy. Poor timing and wrong color! She was also determined not to be housebroken! It wasn’t enough I had diapers to deal with and breastfeeding to figure out, but also a puppy determined to use the green carpet in my new home as her grass to potty on. I would take her out and stay with her for long periods of time. Ultimately, we would have to go back indoors and she would immediately potty on the floor! Little Kayse ended up being an outdoor dog. She became loved and a part of the family despite being the wrong color and an incorrigible carpet soiler.
Her first few days were met with adventure. The first happened on one of those many occasions i had her outside waiting for her to go potty. We didn’t have fences up yet, so the cows could come right up to the house. Kayse got scared and instead of running to me, ran right to a momma cow with a new calf. Well, that demon dog was not going to get her brand new baby! Twelve hundred pounds of beef began trying to butt and stomp the life out of the vicious two pound canine attacking her baby. In the midst of cow and calf spinning and chasing, and bawling, the scared puppy ran further from safety into the whole herd of cattle and they joined in a merry chase of this new and interesting creature! Carrying my newborn and screaming at the cattle, I tried to catch the little doggie. I knew I was about to see my new puppy squished by a herd of mad cows! Finally, I was able to rescue Kayse and get her safely back home. Another time, she fell into a deep hole we had dug to put posts in for a carport. Maybe that’s why she never would potty outdoors. It was just too traumatic out there.
After a few years, Jake grew old and passed away. He was the first animal to be buried on our place (by us, at least). Tabby, the cat had had her kittens and they were all gone. They all ended up disappearing just like their mother the day after I spent a lot of money getting her spayed. Coyotes love cats—not in the good wholesome way. So I decided no more cats. I wasn’t going to feed the local coyote population any more cats. We remained feline-free for some time until a kind stranger dumped more kittens off at our house. But I digress. This is about dogs. With Dingo gone to live with the coyotes as their lord and master, and Jake having died of old age, Kayse was our one dog. One little teenie weenie weenie dog. Dog food sure was cheap back then.
We enjoyed Kayse for years and made up songs about her. She followed us everywhere–even when we drove the golf cart we had at the time. It amazes me still to think of how many steps she had to make to my one step, yet she tirelessly followed us. She was hilarious to watch chasing behind the golf cart, little stubby legs churning up the dust as her long floppy ears swung in time to her rocking gait. She was so cute and full of life. My son and Kayse celebrated birthdays together since their birthdays were only ten days apart. They grew up together and she was a great pal for him. I think I like black and tan dachshunds better than red now.
Kayse’s life must have been set on a pattern after the crazy first few days. She came up missing one evening and didn’t come home. I was so worried about her. I was afraid that the coyote grill had taken cat off the menu and replaced it with a new item. We were very sad.
The next morning I saw her out by the dog pens! I called her, but she wouldn’t come to me. I went to her and found her in a bloody mess and so stiff she couldn’t walk. She must have gotten tangled in wire of some sort and had spent the night extricating herself. She was cut and swollen all over her neck area. You could see where the wire had cut into her skin. I took her to the vet, but no serious damage was done. She just had to heal.
Another time she was bitten by a rattlesnake in the chest. I lay by her on a cot in our barn all night nursing her with home remedies and praying for her. She lived, but ended up with a huge part of her chest sloughing off before healing up. Another time, later after she was old and we had several other dogs, they got in a fight and one dog bit Kayse severely. Another trip to the vet for stitches and fearing that she would not survive. And yet she not only survived, but thrived for many years after.
When Kayse was around ten years old she developed a tumor on her mammary gland. The vet thought it was cancer and said that in his experience, operating on it would hasten her death, that it was best to leave it alone. The tumor grew very large and swung side to side as she ran along. She never stopped going until one day her health began to decline. She grew worse and worse until she would not eat or get out of bed. I knew it was the end for her. I had been putting pau d’arco herb and DMSO on her tumor and I don’t recall what else. I told my son to say his good-byes to her, that she was fading. But then she started getting better! Over the next few days, the tumor drained and she recovered. This happened another time or two. I was beginning to think she was invincible and would never die.
As she got older she had some problem that perhaps was a stroke. She came up missing again one evening. I found her the next day out in our pasture, disoriented. She would walk in circles. But she got over that. She would have bouts of it, but always recover. I suppose having a weakened immune system made her more susceptible to fleas. Never have I seen so many fleas on an animal as on poor Kayse. She required bathing almost every day! I was afraid to give her the chemical flea control since I feared it would kill her. So we battled fleas with soap and water. The other dogs rarely had them. They all went for the weak, old dog.
One day we were outdoors doing chores. My son and I were riding in the Mule taking the dogs on a run. We noticed Kayse wasn’t with us. By this time she was 15 years old and pretty much blind and had trouble keeping tabs on us. I guessed maybe she was having another ‘spell’ or had gone the wrong direction. We started calling her and looking for her. We could not find her anywhere. I don’t remember what made me think of it, but I went to look in a large plastic pool I had buried in the ground for a duck and Koi pond. I had built ramps so that any animal falling in could climb out. But for some reason it did not help Kayse. She had either tried to drink and fell in, or stumbled in. We will never know. Why didn’t she swim? I don’t know. She wasn’t missing that long. She could have dog paddled for awhile and found her way out or til we rescued her. But she didn’t. She was at the bottom of the pool. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. She had had such a life of crazy accidents that she deserved to die in peace, to die of old age.
It wasn’t how I wanted it to happen. I wanted her to drift off in her sleep and never wake up, to die in my lap, hearing loving words and feeling my hands stroking her slick black otter fur and long silky ears. But I guess that would not have been in step with her life. Instead she died as a result of the last in a long string of bizarre accidents. The duck pond became the pool of tears. We laid her to rest next to Jake.
Rest in peace sweet Kayse, rest in peace.
If you have never had the pleasure of having a weenie dog in your life, watch these videos to get a sense of how much fun they are!
If you are already a fan of weenie dogs, check out my affiliate link to all things dachshund on Amazon: Weenie Dog Stuff.
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