Like Little Lost Lambs

Laverne and Shirley, my mutinous little dachshunds, have had another exciting adventure.

I made a quick trip to Atlanta about ten days ago, and since I wanted to bring a few things back from my Atlanta house, I decided not to take my four dysfunctional dogs.

Dysfunctional is the correct word for my critters.  Pancho, my Australian Shepherd, is an amputee who balances on three legs.  Shirley blew out her thyroid a few years ago and is on daily medication to keep her from puffing up like she’s had too much salt on the rim of her margarita.  Squiggy is old, his teeth are broken, he’s nearly blind, and he’s always kind of miserable.  And Laverne is 8 petite pounds of pure neurosis, mostly because Pancho spends his days trying to carry her around by her collar.

I left them in the care of my father, the man who ran a large church for over 30 years and has advanced degrees in psychology and theology. The man has experience both in leading a flock and in restoring the wayward to the fold.

Apparently his expertise doesn’t extend to dissident dachshunds.

My dogs love to travel with me, and they go bananas when they see my suitcase.  My house in Florida faces the street, and the garage is accessed by a narrow alley running along the back of the house. To get my suitcase in the car without them noticing and creating a scene, I must  put my suitcase on the front porch, then casually walk to the car with my tennis bag slung over my shoulder and say to the puppies, “I’ll be back in a little while — just going to tennis.”  Then I jump in the car, drive around to the front porch, throw the bag in the car and speed off.  In other words, I lie to my dogs.

Pancho wasn’t fooled this time, though.  He watched my car leave the driveway, and then he took off on those three legs around the side of the house, arriving in time to catch me putting the suitcase in the back of the car.  Then the three dachshunds came tearing around the side of the house and started to howl as I pulled away.

I felt horrible.  Especially when I found out that my dachshunds went looking for me.

My father called that afternoon to tell me that a neighbor found Laverne and Shirley outside the fence.  They had apparently allowed Pancho to chew their Invisible Fence collars off of them, and then they’d slipped under a spot in the picket fence surrounding the house.  Dad rounded Laverne and Shirley up and then locked all four dogs in the garage for the night.  He said to me, “I think that little adventure scared them.  They wanted to go find you, but they got lost and then couldn’t find their way back in.  They were awfully glad to see someone they knew, and I don’t think they’ll do it again.”

Like I said before, my dad doesn’t know dachshunds.  Because the next morning, he let them out of the garage and then walked down the beach to his favorite breakfast place, the World Famous Oasis.  An hour later, when he walked back by my house, Laverne and Shirley were gone.  Like Little Bo Peep, he’d lost his sheep.  Luckily, he spotted them down at the end of my street, trotting determinedly in the direction they’d seen me leave the day before.

The next day, when I got back, he described chasing them on foot, carrying them back to my house, and getting them back inside the fence. His attempts to lock them in the garage sounded somewhat like he was operating a goat rodeo, what with Pancho attempting to pick them up and herd them back to the garage and the dachshunds running from both Dad and Pancho.

“Those dogs are some rebellious little shits,” was how my dad summed up the situation.

So dad is now officially retired from leading a flock of any kind.  If he can refrain from chewing their collars off, Pancho is a better shepherd.  And I should probably get a suitcase my dogs don’t recognize.

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