Thursday, December 16, 2010

Zack, the Epileptic Dachshund

One of my writing buddies is a mini-Dachshund named Zack. No matter how long I spend immersed in my writing obsession, he stays close by, waiting patiently for a random scratch of his head or pat on his rump. It’s astounding how little attention it takes to make his tail wag in unconditional love. I probably take him and his little companion, Dinky, for granted.
Couple nights ago at 2:00 AM, Zack slept next to me on the couch where I had fallen asleep while watching late night poker. He suddenly leaped from my side, ran down the hall to the kitchen and back to me, his chest bouncing off the ground as his body twisted in violent contortions. This is the third grand mal seizure he’s suffered in his 5 years of life, so I knew what to do.

I dropped to the floor, wrapped him tightly in my arms and began stroking his chest and head so he felt secure. He responded, as he always does, by pressing his head against my chest. I called out to my wife for a towel because the little guy loses bowel and bladder control during these episodes. After wrapping him in a towel, his anxiety level seems to drop and his body begins to relax. It only takes about two to three minutes for his rock hard muscles to return to normal and for him to “let down” from the crisis. Then, he throws up and falls into a deep sleep for an hour or so. It’s really tough on the little guy, but two hours later, he’s perfectly normal again. I can’t even get help from the vet because she just points out how “healthy” he looks an hour after the terrible seizure.

Today, I’m back writing. Zack and Dink are snuggled together in one doggy bed, spooning to stay warm. My poor wife was exhausted after the early morning emergency because she could not get back to sleep. She went to work short on rest. As for Zack, he’s just fine . . . but I’m not. The crisis got me to thinking how much I really love that stupid little critter. I know other men who have similar affection for their dogs, especially my friends with hunting dogs. Their animals become more than property. They become friends. Zack has grown on me.

As I sit here, expanding on my sci-fi sequel, Rotaga’s Revenge, I wonder about my characters. How would they “feel” about a pet? Would their relationship with a pet be a good tool for defining or illustrating their character? Do the relationships between people and pets make a good analogy for sentient beings—perhaps one is more advanced than another? I know I would run into a burning building to save Zack or Dink. Can a strong pet relationship be used in a story for more than character development . . . maybe even to drive a sub-plot? Then, I remembered Old Yeller and Black Beauty, both stories centered on human-animal relationships. Turns out, real life has always provided rich material for those writers who observed nature around them. Okay, okay, so I was slow to get the message...LOL.

Let’s see, what would an epileptic Dachshund look like in a space suit?


  1. I've got a Zack except his name is Leo " the I need courage Havanese " he's about the same age and loves to bass fish. I really think he fishes for treats. LOL Dean you should write Zack into your next book space suit and all,

  2. I understand about the bond one can form with pets, especially dogs. Give Zack and Dink an extra scratch behind the ears for me.

  3. Where the Red Fern Grows has got to be the best example of what you are talking about.

    Glad to hear that Zack is ok.


I would love to hear your thoughts about my blog.