The year was 2004. My then fiance and I had just wrapped principle photography on a motion picture in NYC, and we were finally back home in our bed in LA resting and recharging after a very hectic six weeks. This was our first Saturday when we didn’t have to be somewhere or do something. We woke up that morning, and after 17 months of consideration, we decided today was the day we get a dachshund!
We went down the block to our neighborhood Starbucks and grabbed a newspaper. Yes. A newspaper. Remember those friends? We found two breeders in the greater LA area selling puppies. At the time we were naive about dog breeders and rescues.
Needless to say, we drove a little over an hour to some suburb that I was not familiar with, and met three darling dachshund puppies. The first two handsome hounds were 8 weeks old. They were precious, but one of them pooped on me. I wasn’t mad though, and as we were considering them, the kind people informed us that there was one other pup available from another litter. He was 10 weeks old and the last one from said litter. They called him Little Napoleon, because it was clear he was primed to be a top alpha dog.
This dog walked in from the barn, and wasn’t carried like the other two. He pranced in with an erect and wagging tail. He came over to me immediately with confidence and gave such a warm welcome. He then seem to excuse himself and proceed to checkout the rest of the room before coming back to me. At 10 weeks old, he seemed fearless to me. I could tell immediately he had a big personality. And I loved that.
During the car ride home, I held this puppy in my lap. For over an hour he just slept, snuggled closed to me, and by the time we got home, I was in love. I believe when we finally arrived home, this dog and I were bonded. And this was the beginning of a beautiful canine love affair for me. The dog was Rufus, my red smooth miniature dachshund.
Since 2004, October 30th has only fallen on a Saturday one other time (2010). Today, on this Saturday, October 30th, it has been 17 wonderful years of Rufus for me and my family. 🥳
At the beginning of the month, I was reviewing all the upcoming birthdays, anniversaries and holidays with my spouse at home in our living room. October is the start of the holiday season for my family. In October we celebrate my spouse’s birthday, our wedding anniversary and the anniversary of getting Rufus and Halloween. I was sitting there itemizing these important dates out loud, and when I naturally got to October 30th, I just lost it. I started crying realizing this, normally a time of celebration and cheer, would be a somber one for me (this year).
In the last 17 years, I loved dressing Rufus in many different dog costumes and sharing them online; we even entered and won a few contests over the years. Most notably we got to meet Cesar Millan. Gosh. There are so many wonderful memories together.
I know this first holiday season without Rufus (in the physical) will be filled with many mixed emotions. Ugly crying to big smiles of gratitude.
After much resistance, I finally, with the help of my spouse and nephew, found the courage do Halloween photo shoot. Normally, I dress up the dogs, but this year we did it a little different, which seemed fitting since it’s a year unlike others.
Enjoy the photos friends. Emily Sue and Lily Blossom were stellar models like usual, and I remain grateful for them during this continued grieving process. And in this time of pain and healing, I’m reminded of this one friend who told me that she waited 18 years between her first dachshund dying and getting her second. When she told me this story many years ago, I remember thinking to myself, wow that’s a long time to mourn. Today, I completely understand what she meant and what she must have experienced.
Thanks for being there for us friends. Have a happy and safe Halloweenie.
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