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Scary Monsters: Polly's Page

Polly was my first dog. She was a red short-hair miniature dachshund, a tiny little thing as you can see from this photo taken in July 1996, right after she came home to live with me. I went shopping at the mall for curtains one day, took was what intended to be a quick detour to the pet shop to look at the dogs and cats, and ended up coming home with a brand new puppy.

Pretty quickly after she came home, Polly figured out that she had a good gig. She was always the center of attention. Here she is right after coming home, meeting one of the cats for the first time. That's Kinten on the right, wondering what this strange new mosquito-like creature is.

Like most of the dachshunds, Polly was nervous around stairs. She would eventually work her way downstairs, one step at a time, and could go upstairs when she felt like it, but always preferred to have somebody carry her up or down. Here she is in 1997 peering down from the top of the stairs.

In 1997 when I was a computer guy working in Bell Labs I was setting up an auditorium for a big presentation. I put this picture up on the huge screen behind the podium. It had nothing whatsoever to do with whatever the presentation was about, but people got a kick out of this huge photo of a scared puppy looming over the stage.

Polly was an avid adventure dog. She loved to go on long walks and especially loved hikes through the woods. Here she is in 1999, tearing ahead to find out what's next on the trail.

Polly playing in a small stream in 1999. When she first experienced a body of water like this, she barked at the water and tried to bite it. She eventually learned to swim and enjoyed it as long as the water wasn't too deep.

Polly was a very expressive and clever dog. She always had a look of intelligence in her eyes, and often seemed to understand what I was thinking about. Of all our dogs, she was the most person-like. Here she is looking up at me from the floor in May 2006.

Polly sitting on my lap in a hammock in May 2006. All the dogs loved "hammock rides". We set a simple hammock in our yard, tied to a tree on one end and the dog pen on the other, so that the hammock hangs right at the edge of the woods. Hanna or I will park in the hammock with a pillow and a good book and one or more dogs and swing gently back and forth, enjoying the experience. The dogs love that.

Polly was quite the comedian. We had a pile of spare dog blankets piled up on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in our dining room. Polly thought that was a good place to nap, so she pulled out some of the blankets, arranged the remaining blanket into a comfy nest, and made that her special spot. Luckily we had a camera handy when we first found her there. It was rather funny at the time. This picture is from October 2006.

In another amusing moment, this time in September 2007, Polly somehow made her way up onto one of the dining room chairs and sat herself up on the dining room table. Luckily I was sitting right there and had a camera handy. Polly murphed as if to say, "Okay, I made it up here. Give me some human food!"

Polly became seriously ill in 2008 and 2009. We took her to the big veteranary hospital in Cornell several times. We never figured out exactly what happened, but she had severe problems with her heart and her autoimmune system. It might have been caused by a tick bite, it might have been from something she ate that she shouldn't have, we never really knew. She was on all sorts of medications for quite a while. She did get better though and lived for four more years. She never lost any of her spunk though.

Polly lived a long and full life. There are many more things I could say about her and many more good photos of her. She was an avid hunter. Before Hanna built a perimeter fence around the yard, Polly would slip away from the house and disappear into the woods for hours and hours. Sometimes she would zip off into the woods and reappear on the front porch the next morning, all excited and looking rather more round. She would bring back trophies, too: bits of turkey legs and rabbit tails and squirrel bits and many unidentifiable things. On two occasions Polly proudly brought home parts of deer legs. Unfortunately, once she brought home a facefull of porcupine quills. Fortunately I was able to remove them with needle-nose pliers. Polly was not at all happy about that.
By the time this and the previous photos were taken in November 2008, Polly had slowed down quite a bit. She still had a lot of energy at times though. We could always tell when Polly wasn't feeling well because that was the only time she didn't tear around the house at top speed when she thought it should be supper time. She had a voracious appetite right up until the evening before she passed away.

Like Pookie, Polly spent much of the last year of her life sleeping. This photo was taken in June 2012 when she was 16 years old. She passed away in her sleep in September 2012 after leading a long, amazing, exciting, and very happy life.

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The content on this page was written: June 6, 2013
Last updated: June 10, 2016