And that, since then, we’ve tried to get through our grief as quickly as possible, by concentrating on what a blessing he was to us for so many years.
In fact, it’s a tribute to Max that the two of us agreed that we wanted to get another miniature dachshund just like Max — preferably a young one, so that we could enjoy it for many years.
So, every day for the past few days, I’ve been searching over a dozen different pet-adoption Web sites, and calling every pet-adoption agency and animal shelter within 30 miles, looking for our new doxie baby. I found several dachshunds, but only a few that looked like Max, and they were either already very old, or super-expensive.
Until today, when I brought home 3 different local newspapers.
In one of them, I found an ad for dachshund puppies for sale — only 10 weeks old (born 12/30/2012) — at a very reasonable price. I called, and ended up speaking with Steve, their owner, for at least 20 minutes. He and his wife got the puppies by mating of two of their own, very calm, pet dachshunds. They aren’t concerned about making a lot of money from the puppies — they just want to make sure that they all go to good homes.
So I arranged to drive to a nearby city a few hours later, to meet Steve after he got off work, and follow him home to see the puppies.
His house turned out to be in a small town, 55 miles away from my house.
But it was worth the drive.
From a litter of five puppies, the only female had been sold the night before, to a woman who wanted it because it looked like her beloved doxie that she recently lost when her pool guy accidently ran over it.
So I had my choice of four doxie puppy brothers — three black-and-tans that looked just like Max, and a fourth that had a very thick, medium-length, chocolate coat.
I immediately knew that I wanted one of the black-and-tans — that was the easy part.
The hard part was choosing which one of those three to bring home. They all had the same playful, bubbly, kiss-your-face personality. One was a little bit longer and noticeably bigger. One was slightly shorter and noticeably smaller. And one was right in between.
They all had the same boundless energy. They all came running to me when I called them. They all followed me around their yard. They all gave me lots of kisses when I picked them up. They all chased each other around and played well together.
My first wish would have been to buy all three of them.
But, after almost 2 hours of trying to find a difference between those three puppies, I finally chose the medium-sized one, because his tan markings were slightly browner and more distinct than those of his siblings, making him look the most like Maximilian Dollars.
I had brought a doggie bed and blanket with me, so that the puppy would arrive in our home already wearing Bud’s scent. Steve’s wife gave me another blanket with all of the little puppies’ scent on it, to help the puppy feel secure. On the passenger seat of my car, my new little sweetheart happily slept in the doggie bed, with those two blankets, for the entire 75-minute drive home — waking up several times, just long enough to gaze up at me before my constant touch would lull him back to sleep.
When we got home, Bud met us at the door.
His first reaction was intense curiosity, followed immediately by a little anger (or, more likely, it was probably fear). He sniffed the new puppy nose-to-nose, and then gave a low growl — twice. Both times, I immediately corrected him, and talked to him in a baby voice, assuring him that the new puppy was our baby.
After a couple of minutes of intensely sniffing the puppy’s entire body, Bud realized that the new puppy was not a threat at all — it was just a baby.
And it was his baby.
Once he understood that the new puppy was going to live with us and be his new brother, he spent almost an hour sniffing him, giving him kisses, and carefully washing his entire body, over and over, from head to tail. The puppy patiently allowed Bud to do whatever he wanted.
At one point, I held the puppy up to Petey, our cat, who was purring on my wife’s lap. Petey and the puppy sniffed each other’s faces up close, and then Petey rubbed his left cheek against the puppy, to put his scent on him, so that other animals would know that the new puppy was his.
Each time I took the puppy out in the backyard (starting his housebreaking training), Bud got all excited and ran around the yard as fast as he could, to burn off some of the extra adrenaline that his new little brother had incited in him.
It took a couple of hours, but Bud finally settled down, and slept on the sofa, less than six inches from the puppy, who was sleeping on my lap. Every time the puppy woke up and made a little noise when he yawned, Bud instantly woke up, closely sniffed his baby brother, to make sure he was OK, and then give him more kisses.
Eleven days ago, we were very sad to lose Maximilian Dollars.
But, as the ultimate tribute to Max and how very, very much we loved him, I’m very happy to announce that our new, tiny, precious, joyful little sweetheart is named Maximilian Kisses.
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