New Sights, New Sounds, and Never Again!
Words and drawing by FRANCES MEUSEL
for the American Dachshund magazine, October, 1964
Vacations are supposed to by gay, carefree holidays, aren't they? Backs turned on everyday samenesses. New sights, new sounds. Eyes forward ever, or swiveling around on stalks.
No? Well, if that's what a vacation is supposed to be, then never, never take one with a Dachshund-Deprived Person, namely: Florence.
I didn't consider myself as being deprived of Dachshunds: it was rather that I was being relieved of what traveling with Dachshunds entails. And anybody who has journeyed with two of the little beasts knows precisely what can, and inevitably does, occur in the process.
No, I started this trip to Europe with happy anticipation. Peterfritz and Schatzie were safe with Ernie Carlson, a neighbor had promised to mow the lawn, and all I had to do was pack, and unpack, and repack, and sightsee, and try to read foreign road maps, and find places to stay and plain water to drink, and such minor agonies - so I thought. What I didn't count on was having to listen to Dachshund deprivation for two solid months! (Condition known as "the Dd's." Rather like the DT's, only worse.)
Florence began it before the ship left New York harbor. She discovered that the Captain would have permitted us to have Peterfritz and Schatzie in our cabin instead of confined to the hold. Now, Florence had no way to know or reason to think that our Dachsies are good sailors. In fact, Schatzie's performance on that mountain road north of Ventura - which couldn't possibly influence a delicate canine stomach as could a North Atlantic blow! - indicates that she is a pure low landlubber; nevertheless, this information plunged Florence into immediate regret and a wailing and a weeping into the briny wastes so implacably separating her from her darlings.
"Oh, we should have brought them with us!" cried she, and nothing I could say, then or later, persuaded her otherwise...not even the fact that our Brussels hotel turned out to be sans elevator and that our room was at the top of an incredible six flights of stairs that had us hanging on the bannisters - stairs which Schatzie could not possibly have climbed under her own power.
As, so they say, all roads lead to Rome, thus, with Florence, all sights, sounds, events, circumstances and climatic variations, led her directly to Schatzie and Peterfritz. Was it cold? Ah, but Peterfritz was so warm! Was the bed hard? Oh, but Schatzie was so soft! Did the Volkswagen turn out to be unexpectedly commodious? See! THEY (PF and der Schatz, who else?) could have had a whole back seat to themselves!
And when we got to Germany, and Florence discovered that Dachshunds were not only permitted to enter restaurants, but more often than not were tenderly hoisted up on the bench with their owners, and fed from the table....! I swear, I almost wept into my own wurst mit Kraut, witnessing such longing-for-Dachshunds!
Well, to wag this long tale quicker, it was a pleasure to start for home! We disembarked on Tuesday morning, with only some ten or eleven hundred miles (by Volkswagen, remember!) between Florence and her darlings. Yes, indeed! and twenty-three hair-raising, sleepless, almost foodless hours later, Florence was beating on the Blauruckenberg door.*
"Never!" cries Florence, as she hugs dogs and as kisses are being flung right and left and everywhere, "never will I leave you behind again!" And she won't, either: because I can't stand it. Travelling with any number and condition of Dachshunds is a pleasure when compared to travelling with a Dachsick companion!
*Blauruckenberg is the Batavia, Ill., Dachshund domicile that united Peterfritz and Schatzie, when they were very young, with Frances and Florence.
If you enjoyed this, check out more fun Dachshund tales by Frances Meusel in The Long and Short of it All archives. Great stuff. Woof, WOOF!