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Cindy McCartney
By Cindy McCartney
Posted on Jul 22,2008
Filed Under Fashion , Local Style,


 It would be a fair statement, I think, to say that America is dog-crazy. In a really good way. People love their dogs like kids. Sometimes more than kids, let's face it. For pete's sake, my store is named after one of my dogs, Diva. I kid about her being the CEO of the company, always looking at the bottom line, but I am only half-joking. It takes a lot to keep Diva and her brother Max in squeaky tennis balls and baby carrots, after all.For the last 15 years, my parents had two beloved dachshunds, Samson and Delilah, both of whom they lost this year. The void that they left was very painful for my parents...these guys had been their good buddies for 15 years! I heard a flatness and emptiness in their voices in the weeks after they lost the dogs . I felt their pain through the telephone. One day I talked to my Dad on the phone and he got totally choked up. That was it. I hatched a plan. To veer off on a tangent for a second, when I "hatch a plan" and tell my husband David I have one, he rolls his eyes the way Ricky always did to Lucy when she told him the same thing. He always knows that once I have the plan, it's off to the races. And so it was. It was on.

 I began searching the web for dachshunds. I looked for dachshunds from either the DC area or Florida (my parents live in Naples) that I could present to my unsuspecting folks. I knew I would know the right one when I saw the face. I looked at a lot of great faces, but none was "the one". There were some sweet ones that lived in California and Washington state, but I didn't feel great about one of the dog's first trips being a cross-country one in the belly of a plane. The websites too were a little scary. There were "emoticons" all over one of them, pictures of breeders' families on some (to the point where I had to really search for the information on the dogs they had available) and just random, unexplainable weirdness on others. I had decided to get a long-haired black dachshund for them...they had had smooth-haired ones prior to this and I figured that this slight difference yet the similar color would be a good thing. Then I found "Eden Farms Doxies" in FL. It had an idyllic (or so the website showed) country setting in which their dogs ran free. It was interesting that all of the breeders were in far-flung towns in the country (this one was sort of near Ocala, FL). I looked at the page on the site with the "available puppies" and then I saw him. His name was Andy, and he had a face you'd just want to eat up. His ears looked like he had bed-head, since he had long hair. He had big old feet--waaaay too big for his size. His name was perfect for him. He was The Dog. I corresponded with Eden Farms and put down the deposit on Andy. Friends were a little worried that I hadn't told my parents that David and I were doing this for them. What if they took one look at Andy and said they never wanted another dog, and what would we do with him then?? (Secret answer: I figured that if that happened, the 1/8% chance it might, I would bring him home and he'd be the new kid in our house. Don't tell David, although I know he figured that anyway). I was 100% confident that it was the right thing to do. My parents are the type of people who consider every possible scenario and pro and con before they do things or make decisions. They are very logical and make well-informed and thought-out decisions...I'm not sure where my risk-taking, intuition-driven personality came from. In short, I knew it would be a long time before the logic of getting another dog would make sense to them. I didn't feel they needed to wait. On the contrary, the sooner the better. I then needed to come up with a plan to get the puppy to them. I was already going to Naples for a visit in a week. I made arrangements with the breeder to meet me with the dog in Tampa after I drove up from the airport in Fort Myers the day I flew in. I made up a story as to why I didn't need my parents to pick me up and why I was going to be arriving in Naples later in the day. The day of the trip, I felt like I was on a secret mission: Operation Andy. David dropped me at the airport and I was on my way to complete it. I landed in Ft. Myers on time, picked up my rental car and drove north to meet the dog. I admit I did feel a teeny bit nervous...what if my friends were right and they weren't into a puppy? My 100% sure mind was feeling a shred of doubt.

 Of course, any doubt I felt evaporated when I saw Andy. The breeder had a carry-bag with her and she opened it up. There he was, fuzzy, bedheaded and beautiful. He was so cute and tiny I almost teared up. The breeder showed me pictures of Andy's mom and dad and the farm. Also there were shots of the rest of Andy's litter. I felt like I couldn't drive fast enough to Naples to give them this little guy. I finally arrived at the house three hours later. My cover story included the fact that I would be driving from Tampa to Naples with some friends. My parents came out to the car and asked where my friends were. I went around to the side Andy was on and told them to come look in his crate, which was on the passenger seat. They both looked completely puzzled. My Dad looked first and immediately I saw the sparkle come back to his eyes. It was all over. He picked Andy up and I don't think the puppy took a step on the ground the rest of the evening, he was being cuddled so much. My Mom stepped back and asked what it was, because my Dad had him in his arms and he was hidden. She then saw Andy and I think he had her the first minute he turned his big brown eyes up to her. For the next few days when I was visiting, Andy went everywhere with us. He was really laid back and very cool with anyone who wanted to pet him or introduce their dog to him. He actually fell asleep as the vet examined him. But when the energy was on, it was ON! He loved running around on my parents' tile floors, chasing toys, then sliding for a foot after he stopped. He'd run and run, play and play, then, plop. He'd fall asleep wherever he was, just exhausted from all of that adoration and exertion.

 Now it is all about Andy. He's enrolled in Puppy Class, and is well on his way to being valedictorian (of course). He is responding well to training with an occasional "oops" and knows his name well....although I am not sure he knows his "full" name, Prince Andrew Guinness (like the ale because of his coloring) of Wilshire (my parents' neighborhood is called Wilshire Lakes).  All of my Mom's bridge and organization buddies have seen Andy's picture and his total fabulousness. They take him a couple of times a week to outdoor cafes while they have breakfast or lunch. He sits with my Dad in the morning while he drinks his coffee and reads the paper. Then they play. I really think he has replaced me as the favorite "offspring". There are already more pictures of him than I think they have baby pictures of me. It's all good, though. Their voices sound so happy as they relate the chronicles of Andy's day every time I talk to them. I am convinced that this little bed-headed dachshund is an angel in a black and cream furry suit. Happy parents: priceless.

Cindy McCartney is a regular contributor to Local Kicks and is the Owner of Diva Designer Consignment and Other Delights ( on 116 South Pitt Street.

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