We’ve had Shelties for a number of years but I grew up with dachshunds and mutts. Tinker Belle was my first dog, a dachshund, and she was a jewel. She had two lits of puppies. I would say litters but she only had one pup at a time. When she had her first lit, Tinker didn’t quite know what to do with this tiny little being that squirmed all over her bed. She did know that she didn’t want to leave it alone in her bed so for quite a few days, Tinker refused to go outside. You know that couldn’t last very long, especially since she was eating and drinking water.
Back then, my dad worked every week in Ardmore, OK, so my mom slept alone on weekdays. One morning around 5 a.m., Nonnie was awakened by a sharp yip beside her bed. Bleary eyed, she rolled over and peered down at Tinker looking up at her, wondering what was wrong. Tinker reached down, gently picked the pup up in her mouth, and with front paws on the side of the bed, held the puppy out to Nonnie. Tinker then ran to the front door and barked, obviously needing to go outside NOW pleeeeeease!
To say that Nonnie was stunned would be an understatement, and she dutifully looked after the puppy, who was content to snooze on Daddy’s pillow while Tinker Belle was outside for an hour, doing her business and thoroughly enjoying her freedom. Upon her return, she ran to Nonnie’s bed and waited while the pup was put back on the floor. Gently, she carried that little puppy back to her bed and didn’t leave her again the rest of the day.
How sweet, you say? How wonderful that Tinker Belle trusted Nonnie enough to leave that puppy in her care. Yeah, right. It was fine the first morning but by the fourth morning of being rudely awakened around 5 a.m., Nonnie looked down at that puppy and muttered “Hortense,” with the stress on the long, drawn-out first syllable. We hadn’t come up with a name but had decided to find a German name since it was a German breed. That particular morning, through Nonnie’s bloodshot eyes, that puppy looked like a Hortense to her and the name stuck.
We had lots of other dogs through the years, but Tinker Belle was my favorite. We nursed her through numerous Copperhead snake bites because she was very possessive of her yard. How DARE those snakes infiltrate her territory! She slept in my bed, keeping me company when I was sick, and she was a great watch dog, alerting us when someone was driving up the driveway. All of these traits, I loved.
Because of that, a few years ago, we got another dachshund. Most of those traits, I still love, but I’ve decided that maybe I was remembering Tinker Belle through rose-colored glasses. Some of those traits, seen now through adult eyes, aren’t quite as great as I remember. Bless Nonnie’s heart, she always let me see Tinker through the adoring eyes of a child.
Happy birthday, Nonnie!