Von Linderhausen Meets Badger
by SYDNEY ALLEN for the American Dachshund magazine, August, 1967.
As our Microbus moved along through a sagebrush flanked section of the highway that parallels the Colorado river east of Grand Junction, I heard my baby sister give one of her familiar hunger signals. Dad parked the car, and while Mom carried out a feeding operation, my brothers and I went with Dad for some exploring along the river.
Our companion on this trip was our family Dachshund, who bore the pretentious name of Von Linderhausen.
I skipped stones along the surface of the stream. Then I began to notice some of the birds that were flying up and down the river to their evening roosts. All the while, Von Linderhausen strained at his leash, looking for animal signs in the soft mud along the banks.
Then, suddenly, I saw a small animal a little way ahead. It was apparently searching for food along the margin of the water.
I thought it might be a skunk. Then I thought it might be a small bear, or even a cat. Von Linderhausen acted as though he knew what it was. He whined and lunged at the end of his chain.
Then I recognized the animal. It was a badger. I had learned from my grandmother only a few days before that Dachs means badger in German. I had never seen one in the wild before.
Now I had a chance to test the results of all that breeding the ancient houndmasters had put into our dog's pedigree. I found it easy to persuade Dad to let me turn Von Linderhausen loose.
Von Linderhausen hurled himself forward as fast as his legs would carry him. It seemed that he was going to fly right into the alerted badger's claws and teeth.
But if the dog was brave, so was the badger. It was caught in an unfavorable terrain. Its normal method of defense - to dig itself out of sight - was out of the question in the soft mud along the streamside. It couldn't run away, since a sharply rising bank lay between it and the open brush.
With no other choice, the badger stood its ground like a brave warrior, determined to fight this impudent intruder.
It put up such a heroic front that even an impetuous fellow like Von Linderhausen had second thoughts. He put on the brakes just before he made contact with those menacing teeth and claws. Last-minute prudence saved him from the scars of combat. But at that moment I remembered reading in the American Kennel Club's dog book that judges aren't to penalize Dachshunds who show such blemishes.
The badger spat, growled, and hissed, sparring with its paws like a boxer. It looked as if it was saying "O.K., dog, come right ahead. I can handle the likes of you."
Von Linderhausen kept moving closer, snarling and barking. A tremendous excitement had come over him, as though all his breeding and instincts, nurtured through the centuries, were finding an outlet.
After a few minutes of this standoff, the beeping of our Microbus horn told us that Mom and the baby were ready to go to Denver.
However, Von Linderhausen wasn't ready. He refused to obey my commands, so I used a long piece of driftwood to separate him and his enemy. After I knocked him sprawling into the icy water a few times, he remembered a little of his obedience training and allowed me to snap the leash onto his collar.
But on the way to the car, he kept turning around to snarl tough-sounding dog language back at his adversary.
"Well, I guess our dog really is a badger hound, eh?" Dad observed.
Von Linderhausen agreed. It was nearly an hour before he calmed down, but by the time we got to Denver he was sound asleep, probably dreaming about that confrontation on the banks of the Colorado.
Image: Early 1900's postcard.