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Scary Monsters: Pookie's Page

Pookie was my second dog, and my first rescue dachshund. He, like my first dog Polly, was a short-hair miniature dachshund. This photo was taken in late January 2000, the day Pookie came home to live with me. That's Polly on the left and Pookie on the right. Although the photo isn't very good, you can see how similar in size and shape and appearance the two dogs were. They became good friends instantly.

Pookie was quite the adventure dog in his earlier years. Here he is on a hike in early 2000, a few months after he came to live with me.

Polly (in the red and black harness) and Pookie play in a stream on a hike in April 2000. Although both were small dogs, Pookie and Polly had amazing endurance for long hikes. On one adventure in World's End State Park we made it up some steep hills, Polly and Pookie bounding almost effortlessly from rock to rock. They were like little doggy all-terrain vehicles despite their short legs.

I found Pookie, or rather, Pookie found me, through one of my old wargaming friends in New Jersey. My friend had an elderly uncle who had been living alone but had to move into a nursing home. The uncle couldn't take his dog, then named Dallas, with him, so the family was looking around for a new home for the dog. My friend knew I already had one dachshund and wondered if I wanted another. Somehow his named was changed to Pookie, or Mister Pook, and the name stuck. The family didn't know how old Dallas/Pookie was, but they thought he might be around 5 years old at the time.
He bonded very closely with me, but I always wondered if he remembered his original human.

Pookie playing in the snow in February 2004, our first winter after moving back to Pennsylvania. He enjoyed scampering in the snow.

Pookie often had kind of a haunted expression when he wasn't curled up in somebody's arms or sleeping. I think he suffered from separation anxiety. In this photo from April 2004 he was still a little bit on the chunky side. A few years later he wasn't as interested in eating as much and got skinny. He had some teeth problems, some of them fell out and some had to be pulled by the vet. He seemed healthier but he was always skinny after that.
Surprisingly, Pookie did some hunting around the house, although he was not as adventurous as Polly in that regard. I once found Pookie sitting in the yard near the house, happily eating the bottom half of a chipmunk. The top half of the chipmunk had a very surprised expression on his face.

Pookie taught me a very important philosophical lesson. He knew exactly what made him happy: to be with his humans. That was pretty much all that he ever wanted, other than some supper and some time to walk outside every few hours. As long as he had what he wanted, being near his humans, we was ecstatically happy. When he didn't have what he wanted, he was very sad. This made his life very simple, and he was deliriously happy most of the time. This photo is of Pookie sitting in my lap on the balcony in June 2006.

Here's a closeup of Pookie napping in my arms in April 2008. He often seemed to be smiling when he was happy, especially when he was curled up with me or Hanna.

Pookie (on top), Polly (on the left) and Brandle in a laundry basket in February 2009. Sometime around 2008 or 2009 we figured out that laundry baskets filled with old blankets or towels made a great "nest" for the small dogs. The dogs were comfortable in the baskets and it made it easy to carry the dogs around. The dogs could still jump out if they wanted to, but usually they'd stay put. As Pookie and Polly got older and had to be carried around almost everywhere, the laundry baskets were a good solution. Pookie spent most of his time in the last couple of years of his life in his chair or in a laundry basket.

Pookie's official spot was the "Chair of Honour", an old grey office chair set next to my chair and my desk in our home office. Here he is tucked in with an old towel, on his favourite chair, with his stuffed raccoon toy. This photo was in March 2012. Pookie was increasingly weak, frail, and blind for the last couple of years of his life. He could stand on his own and walk around a little, but he needed to be carried around from place to place. Once he was set in his chair or his laundry basket he would sleep for a few hours until it was time to eat or go outside. As often as I could, several times a week at least, I would wrap him up in a towel and take him to bed with me and we'd watch TV for a few hours. Pookie really loved that.

After Pookie's old friend Polly passed away in September 2012, Hanna and I got two new puppies, Maus and Puma. The puppies loved their old Uncle Pook and would snuggle up with him for naps. Pookie seemed to enjoy having the puppies there with him. Here are Maus (on the left) and Puma (center) tucked in with Pookie in January 2013.

Pookie wasn't really sick with anything in particular that we knew of, other than the obvious blindness and arthritis. He just seemed to be suffering from a case of Being Really Old. We didn't know how old he really was. He was at least 18 years old, which is incredibly old for a dachshund, but he might have been several years older than that.
Pookie was almost completely blind by the end of his life, but he still recognized his old friend Brandle. They'd been old buddies for over 10 years and had been through many adventures together. Here Brandle snuggles up with Pookie in late March 2013, a few days before Pookie passed away. He'd lived a very long, good, and happy life. We'll miss him for a long time.

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