CHARLES LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

I put the “fun” in dysfunctional

Lady, my mini dachshund, was telling me the other day “I think we live in very creative times” and it had me thinking “Dogs have a lot to say these days. Particularly the smaller ones”.

It is true that Dachshund training can be challenging, specially when it comes to mini dachshunds. And Lady, my little dog, was no exception. Born in Normandy on the D-Day-landing beaches, this French girl had, from the start, a lot of personality and attitude for someone her size (she was the smallest of the litter, and could be described as the tiniest sausage dog ever). When she arrived in Brussels, Belgium, she had not yet reached the age of one, and still had a lot to learn.

The first days in our brand new gigantic flat on rue Royale were a bit chaotic for the both of us. Lady, being the size of a large rat, found difficult to adapt to the new distances she had to walk to reach my desk from her basket. In proportion to her size, it was like walking one or two football fields, several time a day (when she didn’t get lost at all!).

On my side, my adapting to our new life was beyond awkward, borderline disaster. To make a long story short, unaccustomed to living with closed door, I thought appropriate to grant a 24/7 free access to my property to anyone who felt like visiting. The result of this rather peculiar lifestyle, inherited from years of bohemian escapades all around the world, ended with my precious little dachshund somehow escaping a ‘Patty Hearst kind of situation’ when a couple of homeless people, who had spotted the arrival in the neighbourhood of a new canine celebrity, would simply follow us, open my door and abduct Lady. But the fact of the matter is that dachshunds are famously difficult to grab and their barking is so hysterical that ‘The Disappearance of Little Maddie as a Kaninchen’ never happened.

Potty training had been an excruciating experience for my little dog and after six months, to my great despair, she was still struggling, in spite of her extensive effort. After having scientifically studied a few Youtube tutorials (around six hundred), I came to the conclusion that the more Lady was going out (according to my calculations a minimum of six times a day), the less she would be tempted to use our loft as an open-space toilet. Good news was we were living five minutes from Le Parc Royal. A cute little park surrounded by the Belgium senate, the Flemish parliament and all the embassies and consulates you could possibly imagine. Apparently, it was said that the King of Belgium did not live far away. Following some recent terrorist attacks, the American embassy was heavily guarded by hot military men, which was not to displease me. It was thus decided that we would go to the park as often as necessary in order for Lady to complete her ‘apprentissage’. The minute she entered this new territory, she immediately felt at home and completely ignored me as she started a very thorough investigation of every square centimetre available on the lawns. While my dog was ‘vibing’, I couldn’t help but notice the great number of lonely men, walking along the paths and side alleys, amongst Asian tourists, family picnicking, and young people playing frisbee with dogs. It was the beginning of spring and it was quite nice to enjoy the blossoming of all this nature and the general atmosphere of happiness and joy. I don’t know what Lady was doing when this man with a backpack who was coming at me from nowhere and almost hit me, but I was so intrigued by this sudden encounter that I couldn’t help but look back at him and noticed that he had turned too with a big smile on his face. He was actually quite handsome with his pale blue eyes and short chestnut hair. Meeting strangers in a park was, I thought on my way back, a very sexy idea.

Once I arrived at my flat I decided to practice a bit of yoga, feeling invigorated by this walk in nature. It wasn’t an hour that my tiny canine roommate was already yapping at me, kindly asking to… go back to the park! Cautious, I conceded that her potty training was a priority, and having absolutely nothing else to do, I thought why not take her back. It was the end of the afternoon, and I decided to be a bit extravagant with my fashion choices and kept on my yoga short and a t-shirt to go out (a very bold choice for someone who had never worn a t-shirt in public). At the same time, I didn’t know anyone in this city, where I moved to be closer to Felix who was living in Antwerp and with whom I was very much in love.

The result of this rather peculiar lifestyle, inherited from years of bohemian escapades all around the world, ended with my precious little dachshund somehow escaping a ‘Patty Hearst kind of situation’ when a couple of homeless people, who had spotted the arrival in the neighbourhood of a new canine celebrity, would simply follow us, open my door and abduct Lady. But the fact of the matter is that dachshunds are famously difficult to grab and their barking is so hysterical that ‘The Disappearance of Little Maddie as a Kaninchen’ never happened.

Back to the park, Lady couldn’t help but instantly be a bad girl and the very first thing she did, once released from her Goyard leash, was an attempt to commit an outrageous felony by almost killing a pigeon. God, how high can such a tiny-legged being jump! And I’m sure the pigeon, left stunned by the assault, never thought this rodent-looking creature could have ever posed a potential danger.

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Lady, my mini dachshund, was telling me the other day “I think we live in very creative times” and it had me thinking “Dogs have a lot to say these days. Particularly the smaller ones”.

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