Of Doors and Dachshunds

A black and tan dachshund named Basil stole my heart when I was a little girl. So, many years later, when I had the opportunity to adopt a dachshund of my own, I jumped at the chance.  Sammi was also black and tan, with a smooth coat and shiny brown eyes. She came to us when her previous owner realized her life was too busy for a dog, and felt guilty that the poor little gal was stuck in a kennel for way too many hours every day. Being confined as much as Sammi was seemed to have caused some personality quirks, but we were patient with her and I have to say, life was never dull when she was around.

Dachshund owners often say that their dogs seem to believe they are much bigger than they actually are. Our Sammi certainly did. She had the heart of a lion—a quality I deeply admire in a small dog. When we took her on walks around our neighborhood, she strutted her 14-pound self proudly and boldly—like she owned the place. She stood her ground with much larger dogs and was never intimidated by anything.  One day she tried to chase a moose out of our yard—darting around it, barking and snarling: I was terrified for her as I saw the scene from a window (one well-placed stomp of a hoof and she’d have been done-for!), but I was also really impressed by her moxie.

Perhaps because she’d been confined so much, Sammi loved escaping from the house. For some reason she especially liked doing this in the morning.  If the doorbell rang and I opened the front door even a few inches to speak to someone on the step, she’d bolt through and make a run for it. I can’t tell you how many times I chased her through the neighborhood—often over ice and snow—and almost always in my bathrobe and slippers.

Soon after Sammi joined our family we fenced-in our backyard so she could play outside without supervision. When she wanted to go outside, I’d open the door from our foyer into the garage, then walk to the back of the garage and open the door to the yard. If the weather was warm, I’d leave the back door open so she could get back into the garage when she was finished playing.  Once in the garage, she’d make a beeline for the door to the foyer. She’d bark three times then stand with her nose an inch from the door and wait to be let inside.

Of all the strange and quirky things Sammi did, this one amused me and puzzled me the most: sometimes when she’d come into the garage from the yard, the huge overhead door—big enough for two cars to pass through—would be wide open, but she was so focused on getting into the house that she’d completely ignore that big door and still run right to the foyer door. This dog who loved to run wild through the neighborhood, somehow never realized that big door was an easy ticket to freedom.

We laughed about it often—because it seemed so absurd.

But then I began to see that people do this too. We get our hearts and minds set on wanting a particular “door” to open. We can become so fixated on it that when something else opens up—something that may actually turn out to be better for us—we can’t even see it.

I’ve seen friends do it with jobs, houses, relationships . . .

And I realize I’ve been doing it myself—with a writing opportunity I thought I needed.

For five years I’ve been barking at a small door that I convinced myself was right for me.

But that door just won’t open.

In the meantime, another one opened instead.

Maybe it’s time for me to run through it and see where it leads.

It just may turn out to be bigger and better than I’d thought.

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Tags: Dachshund, Decision, Focus, Opportunity

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