The Dog I Wanted

Adopting Tootsie was a fluke. I wanted (but couldn’t find) another long-haired Chihuahua like Toodles. Intrigued by Tootsie’s Chihuahua/dachshund parentage and fairly certain she’d already been adopted, I submitted my application. I heard back right away and went to meet her the next day. She looked like a short-haired dachshund, but I didn’t care. The way she snuggled up to me sealed the deal.

She’s 6-months old now and still looks like a dachshund. Her ears are the only sign of her Chihuahua heritage. They flop like a dachshund, but she can raise one or both at will. Most of the time, her right ear is up. It’s her signature look.

Me and My Gal

Tootsie is nothing like Toodles. Comparisons are unfair but inevitable. I suspect the dachshund blood makes a big difference. Retirement makes a difference too. Tootsie has me to herself pretty much all the time and follows me wherever I go.

Her desire to be with me all the time is endearing and occasionally annoying. When I pick her up or get on the floor to play, she nearly suffocates me with kisses. If I ignore her or close a door between us, she cries. More recently, when I won’t play she’ll sit in her kennel and stare at me.


Tootsie is a hunter. During waking hours, she has access to the fenced-in backyard via a doggie door. If I’m ]doing something else, she’ll go outside to explore. The patio is usually littered with finds including pinecones, sticks, a dead frog, and plastic plant labels. Some she brings inside. Since the frog, I immediately check anything she brings in.

She’s more than a little mischievous. Snatch and run is her favorite prank. When I’m folding laundry, she’ll grab something out of the dryer and run. She runs off with the towel when I’m in the shower and articles of clothing when I’m getting dressed. Hilarious.

She especially enjoys playing with her toys. Any toy will do for most games — even a twig or pinecone. Favorites have emerged for particular games. She switches toys to entice me into playing with her or if she’s tired of playing the same game.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take her along for my daily run. We walked for the first half mile or so. She wanted to run so we did. I waited a few days and took her again — 2 1/2 miles at 16 minutes per mile. A few days later, we ran three miles at just under 15 minutes per mile. She leads the way, straining at the leash when I fail to keep up.

I’d never consider running with the dog I wanted. Running with Tootsie is an unexpected pleasure. It’s good for us too. She’s not the prissy little dog I wanted. Nothing about her is prissy. She’s cheerful, precocious, and sometimes more than a little wild. She’s not the dog I wanted, but exactly the dog I needed.