a good dog.

With the current construction at Castle Frostbite, a large part of the porch area is strewn with various bits of handyman detritus. On Thursday, our old dachshund matriarch Guinevere took advantage of an open door and went out there to explore. She came back in with a three-inch gash in her chest, inflicted by a nail sticking out of a board somewhere. While she was very unconcerned about the hole in her chest, being able to look into your dog is generally a cause for owner concern, so I went to the doggie ER with her at 10pm.

Guin has always been a tough-as-nails dog. She shrugs off injuries, and getting poked with needles at the vet doesn’t even make her flinch. The vet examined her as she was on her side on the table, and she didn’t even stir when the vet poked around the wound.

“This doesn’t seem to bother her at all,” the vet said. “I bet she’d let me stitch her up with just local anesthetic instead of having to put her under.”

“You don’t know this dog,” I said. “She’d probably let you do it without any anesthetic at all.”

So they scooped her up and brought her into the surgery room in the back, and fifteen minutes later, Guin was all sutured up. When the vet brought her out, they praised her incredible stoicism.

“I clipped her nails when we were done with the stitches,” the vet tech said. “The expression on her face when she saw the clippers was all like, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me?’ Then she just put her head back down and sighed as if to say, ‘Whatever, let’s just get this over with.”

Guin will be fifteen this year. She’s still the queen of the pack, but these days she delegates much of the perimeter security patrolling to her offspring while she takes long naps in warm and cozy spots. She gave birth to seventeen puppies, three of which are living with us. She has raided countless trash cans, and she’s the only dog I’ve ever known who has figured out how to open child safety latches on cabinets. I hope she’ll be with us for a bit longer, and we’ll miss her when she’s gone, because there’s no other dog like her. Proudly defiant, bold to the point of rashness, yet loyal and loving and entirely admirable for her almost cat-like independent spirit.

Here she is, hanging out in front of the pellet stove:

And here’s young master Henry photobombing his grandmother:

9 thoughts on “a good dog.

  1. A friend of the family has a yellow Lab like that, both in temperament and in age. Craig (the dog) watches the neighbor’s four younger dogs doing “stupid Lab stuff” with an air of “yeah, done that. Have the engraved collar to prove it. Back to sleep.”

  2. I’m kinda amazed you can take a picture without Henry finding his way into it.

    Get well wishes to The Matriarch!

  3. If you mix a dachsund with a papillon you get an amazingly smart animal. In our case a small dog that made a living as a disaster recovery service animal. Jean Luc was just as thoughtful as Guinevere and I’m sure they would have lots of stories to tell each other. He’s no longer with us but his spirit keeps us smiling, a sad smile but great memories.

  4. Are the chickens inciting interest amongst the dogs? Seems like just the sort of thing to get the old prey-drive ramped up. CHICKEN, good exercise and good eating, can’t fly worth crap!

    • And that is precisely why the chickens are in the front yard, the dogs are in the back yard, there’s no direct line of sight for them to the chicken coop, and there’s a 5-foot chain link fence around the backyard.

      • Chickens in the front yard! What will the HOA think?! :)

        I did look up one time to see chickens running loose in the street in our neighborhood. Had to bring my wife over and ask,”Do you see what I see?” Our neighbor had rescued them from a house damaged in a storm and he didn’t pen them up very well. Definitely a strange sight.

  5. Get well soon!

    I hope it always remains amazing how they really are a part of the family. I know I’ll be beside myself when any of mine go.


  6. Well, given that these little guys were bred to go down into a badger’s den so as to chase the ill tempered fuzzy chainsaw out of its own home, I’m not surprised at her being unconcerned over a piddling 3″ gash. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery on her part!