That did it for Holly and Philip—they wanted ME. They spoke with the kennel lady further, and in a short while, I was leaving the only home I had ever known in my short young life and heading away in their car. Holly had carefully placed me in a box containing a very soft pillow on the back seat.
Oh, I was so scared! I didn’t really know either of them. I didn’t know why or where I was going, either, but she kept glancing back at me as Philip drove. Every so often she patted my head and rubbed my back, all the while saying very kind-sounding things to me and smiling. I began to relax, and my eyes began to close.
I was asleep.
* * *
“Wake up, Puppy! Here’s a dish of warm milk for you! C’mon. Open those pretty dark-brown eyes. There you go!”
I yawned and stretched as Holly lifted me out of the “box home” and set me down on the floor. I had no earthly idea where I was, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that this was their home. Well, it was my home now, too. Philip urged me toward the bowl of milk, and I lapped up a few drops— not bad. They both smiled as though I had done something wonderful, so I lapped up a few more mouthfuls and felt really full. My tummy had been hurting from hunger, but it wasn't hurting anymore now. I also didn’t feel as scared as I had in the car.
“Well, young man,” said Holly, “we’re going to be your new family now. We’ll play, take walks, throw a ball for you, and teach you how to be a good doggie. We’ll have so much fun!”
Philip, a quiet man as I found out the next couple of weeks, often talked to me when he and I were in the backyard, or when I was lying at his feet while he worked at his computer. “Boy, we’ve got to think of a good name for you. A fine, shiny black dachshund like you needs a special name that fits you to a ‘T.’” I barked appreciatively to show him I was listening. “Holly and I will talk about it later and see what we can come up with. We wanted to get to know you better before we named you.”
* * *
Days later, Holly was in the kitchen, my favorite room in the house. I loved those wonderful aromas, the bits of good-tasting stuff that Holly accidentally “dropped” for me to snap up, and my water and food dishes were there, too. She was opening the refrigerator, the cabinets, working over the stove, walking back and forth into the dining room, and getting dishes ready for the evening meal. I followed her everywhere because I wanted to see what she was doing. I always wanted to be right where she was, especially if she was in the kitchen! I suppose I got in the way one time too many.
“Puppy, you must love food as much as my Papa Duke! Everywhere I go in this kitchen, you are under my feet. I’m going to drop something on your head if you don’t go somewhere else!”
Philip overheard her comments to me while he was in the office typing on his computer. He jumped right up and ran into the kitchen. “Holly, that’s it—you just gave me an idea for that special puppy name we’ve been trying to come up with for the past couple of weeks!”
Holly, turning away from the stove and placing the roast onto a serving plate, replied, “What? I didn’t name him. I just scolded him for getting under my feet and following me around in this kitchen while I was cooking. I told him he must like food as much as Papa Duke does!” She stopped. Her voice trailed away and comprehension dawned in her eyes. “Of course! We’ll name him after Papa Duke. He does love to eat, and so does Papa.”
She thought for a moment and her face brightened. Looking down at me, she bowed, smiling. “We officially name you ‘Sarge,’ the Super Dog—Papa was a sergeant in the Army, and he’ll be pleased this ‘chow hound’ is named after him.”
They both laughed, and I barked to indicate my acceptance. I was filled with pride over my new name. This Papa Duke person sounded like someone I’d like to meet, and I just knew someday I’d do great and mighty things befitting a super dog.