Yes. Though there were years in the past when I had twice as many dachshunds, that was then and this is now. Now, with just four dogs, I found myself feeling overloaded. Part of the reason was that three of the four dogs were under five years of age.
4.5, 2.5, and 9 months, to be exact.
A larger part was that all my dogs are energetic, intelligent, cooperative, and begging to work. The kind of dogs that I love to develop and train. So much potential! Too much, in fact, for the resources needed and available on my end.
Quality time has become more important than quantity of dogs. I want to do more with less.
Here is the longer version.
Deb Koch first wrote to me about a puppy in December 2012. They had an elderly beagle and were looking for another dog. Joe Koch had grown up with Dachshunds and wanted another. Deb did not think dachshunds were athletic enough for their active family. Deb's preference was a Golden Retriever. Searching online, she came upon my website and saw photos of agile, athletic dachshunds with coats something like a golden. I received a nice email from her.
I didn't have any puppies but Deb kept in touch. About a year later, they were asked by a friend who breeds and exhibits Basset Hounds if they would consider a puppy born in a litter that wasn't supposed to happen. A visiting Cardigan Corgi male mated one of the Basset females and the breeder was paying all due diligence in finding good homes for the puppies. That is how Sophie became a member of the Koch family.
Still, Deb and I occasionally corresponded and I enjoyed the emails and photos.
In mid-September 2014, I imported six-months-old Teo from Denmark. Wow, what a bundle of energy and intensity with red hair! Determined to get his puppy training all in, I began working with Teo nearly to the exclusion of Viljo and Taya. After awhile, I realized that something had to give. I am not content having young dogs that I am not actively working with.
Deb's daughter Kristen was interested in becoming involved in dog sports. I looked at Viljo, thought about that, and looked at him again. Viljo is trained in tracking to the TD certification/test level. He was certified at a young age but never entered in a tracking test.
Viljo was also trained in agility to the Open level. He competed in his first Novice agility trials - both specialty and all-breed trials - during DCA week in Georgia two years ago. Those first trials also were his and my last when, due to pain in my knees, I stopped training and competing in agility.
Viljo is an active, exuberant dog who loves to train. He is friendly, fun, and likes people and other dogs. Housebroken, highly accustomed to crate, car, long travel, and hotels...I believed that Viljo would be a great canine partner for Kristen. After writing his breeder in Finland, Tia Eskelinen, to let her know what I was thinking, I suggested this possibility to Deb.
By then, their Beagle Milo was in his mid- to late-teens (birthdate not known for sure) and had become infirm. The Koch family was very interested in Viljo but had their hands full with their oldster Milo and youngster Sophie. They wanted to meet Viljo but it would have to wait.
Unfortunately and of all times, Milo worsened Christmas Eve and had to be put down Christmas Day. It was a very sad time for his family. Deb wrote to me that they wanted Viljo to visit sooner rather than later.
It is dicey to plan an eight-hour trip from south-central Ohio through the Alleghenies and into the Poconos in northeast Pennsylvania in January! But we did and good fortune was with us. The weather for my travel was brightly sunny both ways. Two of the four days that Viljo, Teo, and I visited the Kochs it snowed but the dogs had fun playing in all the white stuff. We enjoyed fires in the fireplace while the snow fell. Watched a movie each night before, during, and after watching the dogs get to know each other and play. (Matt and Kristen had never seen The Incredible Journey, I had never seen Turner and Hooch or The Christmas Story, and it had been ages since any of us saw The Ugly Dachshund!) Kristen ran Viljo on a 350 yard track that I laid. We took Viljo and Teo for a long walk. Deb snapped a number of photos. We did a little shopping and a lot of talking. It was a great visit with a super family, during which time Viljo slowly but surely gave indication that he would become Kristen's dog.
I plan to visit again this summer! It will be fun to see Viljo and his new family again!
Many thanks to the Koch family. To Jennifer Fry who kept Owl and Taya while I was away. And to Doris, Heather G., Kathy L., and Janet who worked for me Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday which were days that I was originally scheduled to work.
Links to more information about Viljo, and photos.