SARGE THE DACHSHUND ANSWERS READERS' QUESTIONS
We are extremely happy to welcome our famous doxie to our blog again today! A busy spokesdawg, traveler, and canine personality for several years now--lately, he has been quite the advocate for the dog world in general. He's been promoting his first two books, I AM SARGE and I AM DACHSHUND--and his third, DACHSHUNDS FOREVER, is awaiting publication. We'll let him tell you what he's been up to. Welcome, my friend.
SARGE: Thank you, as always. Yes, I've been traveling and meeting all sorts of people and my fellow dogs across this country. I also have an engagement in Europe the first of the year--it seems that European people have taken quite a liking to my particular breed and want to showcase ME as a dachshund representative. I've been invited to star in a dog food commercial, a project about which I am very excited.
MDH: It sounds like you are branching out, my boy. However, before we get to readers' questions, I have a question for you myself: dachshunds have been noted, by the American Kennel Club and other entities, for having an innate stubbornness. Being "the" dachshund in the limelight, would you classify yourself as such?
SARGE: (chuckles) Why, no--of course not. I must admit, however, as a young pup, I had quite a bit to learn about getting along in this world. I always wanted things MY way, and everything I saw was MINE--or so I thought. I also thought that my human family was put here for one purpose: to take care of ME and what I wanted! (smiling) I have learned that if I am going to succeed in life, I must be more thoughtful and caring. And being more mature now, I realize how much I care about my human and animal friends. 'To have a friend, you must be one.'
MDH: Thank you for such a refreshingly candid answer. I am certain that we humans could learn a thing or two from you. Moving right along, here's our first reader question, coming from Dorothy in Raleigh, North Carolina: "how do you deal with young children who have a penchant for pulling your long ears, your tail, or being a bit too rough with you? Are you tempted to bite them? Have you ever bitten a child who has pulled your ears?"
SARGE: First of all, I HAVE wanted to bite when my ears were pulled--it hurts! But I've learned to simply remove myself from potential harm. Being relatively small in size has both advantages and disadvantages. When I see small children coming toward me with that glint in their eyes, as a small dog I can quickly get out of the way, even hide, if need be--thereby allowing my ears to stay their natural length.
A disadvantage of my size is the fact that when caught off guard, a child can also pick me up and run around with me--a very distasteful activity--causing me dizziness, disorientation, and light nausea. I would never hurt young children, but emitting a serious growl sets them aback, whereby I can then make my getaway!
MDH: Bravo for a creative method of escape with no harm done. Jessica in Idaho poses this question: "I've read that dachshunds love people food and will go to any length to get it. My friend's doxie managed to get on the dinner table and ran off with a pork chop! Are you that uncouth?"
SARGE: Oh my. What can I say? Humans need to remember that a dachshund's sense of smell is at least four times stronger than theirs, so if YOU think food smells wonderful, how do you think it smells to US? I'm not excusing that kind of behavior--for humans OR dogs--but it is almost impossible to resist something that smells delicious. And, we dogs don't always make good digestive choices, I'm afraid.
My advice for dog owners is to avoid giving any table food to their dogs, thus cutting down on their dogs' desire to obtain it. Oh, we'll keep trying, of course! Just label us as "ever hopeful" canines, but for our sakes, please don't give in to our mournful eyes or pitiful body language. We doxies are master manipulators, after all. Do what is best for us, not what we beg for. Yikes! I'm giving away all my secrets. (laughs)
MDH: That is timely advice, and we thank you. Your secrets are safe with us (smiling). I look forward to hearing your next answer: from the great state of Arizona, Kurt asks: "We have very hot, dry weather out here, sometimes with temperatures up to 120 degrees. Any advice for keeping our pooches and felines healthy and hydrated?"
SARGE: Kurt, I owe undying gratitude to the person who invented air conditioning--I'll have to google that info sometime. I am cold-natured at times, but a nice warm blanket always does the trick for me. Extreme heat is not good for man or animal. I would also venture to say that it is never good to keep a dog tied up out in that heat, even if out of the sun. When possible, pets should be kept comfortable inside with fresh water always available to them.
I have a hard time catching a cat drinking water, but I'm told that they do, regularly. I get thirsty and lap up my water quite often, and I'm probably noisy. I am fortunate to live indoors with my family, and we don't have extreme heat or cold in our part of the country.
MDH: One last question for you, this time from West Virginia. Melanie asks, "I've seen in your pictures that you are a smooth coat dachshund, but my neighbor has a long-haired red. That dog doesn't even look like a dachshund, so is it a recognized standard of your breed?"
SARGE: Humans are humorous . . . OF COURSE a long-haired dachshund is a full-blooded dachshund. Don't humans have a variety of hair lengths, colors, and styles? And many of those colors and styles are "enhanced" by products, I'm told.
I cannot vouch for the authenticity of that neighbor dog's pedigree, but you can verify the different versions of my breed for yourself by checking with your local AKC. And I bet that neighbor's dog is a wonderful pet, too--my long-haired relatives seem to be calmer than we smooth-coated doxies . . . although I'm partial to my shiny, smooth coat--such low maintenance for me.
MDH: You've enlightened us all once again! Ranging from factual to humorous, your answers always seem to be right on the mark. Before the show today, you informed me that you are off to New York City next week for an appearance on a morning news show. Let me know when it will be aired--I'll be certain to watch.
SARGE: Thank you. I'll drop you a text or an email.