Today was a glorious autumn day at the dog park. The air was crisp and bright. The humidity vanquished. And the snow flurries I saw last week were back to biding their time. It is only September, after all.
Folks turned out in droves today to enjoy the weather even though it was midday Wednesday. Probably more than a few faux flu call-ins to avoid the office. A fine day like this makes for packs of lucky dogs!
One of the more amusing sights at the dog park is the man who rides his mountain bike round and round (everyone else walks or runs). He goes very slowly and is very courteous not to run anyone down. He really can't go that fast because he is leading his pack of two miniature dachshunds who, even at flat out run, are hard pressed to keep up with him.
They never stop running. Those dogs are in fantastic shape - sleek and all muscle. But it makes me laugh when they skid around a corner, running pell-mell after their bike escort. They have really stubby legs.
I wonder why the man doesn't care to get his own exercise at the same time - he really isn't getting much of a workout at his rate. Sometimes I wonder if his mom sent him out - or his girlfriend - and this is his way to getting the job done without too much effort. He looks a bit bored. The dogs do not. They look ecstatic.
The man has two baskets on the back of the bike and I imagine he loads his dachshunds up to peddle them home.
Dachshund means badger dog. They are hounds - like me. And other than the stubby legs, I can see the resemblance.
A fine hound mix (me)
Dachshunds didn't always have such short legs, of course.
Old-style dachshund showing the longer legs.
Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring, England
But shorter legs and elongated bodies make it easier to fit in tunnels. Dachshunds are known as fearless - they'd have to be to go face-to-face with a badger in its burrow.
Like me, dachshunds are also fine runners - those deep chests house good sets of lungs. Believe it or not, they were also used to hunt foxes and even wild boar. In fact, dachshunds are the only hounds who are multi-talented enough to hunt well both above and below ground.
But let's face it, dachshunds are one of those breeds whose cuteness interferes with their real calling. Check out the number of humiliating dachshund YouTube videos, if you doubt. They get stuck in baskets and buns far too often.
Buns should be banned.
And all condiments of any kind.
My neighbor who lives across the street is a miniature dachshund. Utgar gets a walk each day from the dad who reads as he strolls slowly down the alley. Utgar gets the full extendable leash to wander. He doesn't get hunt badger or race through the underbrush on a fine autumn day. But at least I have never seen him dressed in a bun.