Years ago, when I wrote a column in the Star-Telegram where I was publisher, I regularly wrote about my dogs. I had several, but two in particular provided rich material.
Inevitably after one of those columns ran in the paper, Martha Hyder would phone me to talk about the columns, the dogs, and the need for the Star-Telegram to do more to promote dog rescue efforts.
Mrs. Hyder, a longtime Fort Worth civic leader, died in August at 90. The Business Press honored her posthumously with the 2017 Legacy Award at our Great Women of Texas event on Nov. 15. The award was presented in recognition of her work building the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition into a world renowned event that helped Fort Worth define itself as an international cultural center.
During the Great Women program we featured a portrait of Mrs. Hyder with her dog. You can see the dog in a Great Women of Texas photo posted with this column.
The dog appears to be smiling, or maybe smirking, perhaps relishing the idea that Martha got the last laugh. Meanwhile, it just so happened I was planning to write about a dog this week and the portrait provided the kick start I needed.
So now I bring a new dog to our readers: A miniature dachshund named Noodle, whose distinctive color is blue dapple. Noodle joined my 17-year old daughter and I as part of our family a month ago. He is now 12 weeks old, relentlessly curious and occasionally mischievous.
I hope he never finds out I resisted the choice of a miniature dachshund despite my daughter’s insistence. Obviously, she prevailed. I now claim him as mine. He’s endeared himself to me in several ways but the big turnaround for me was when he was frightened by a tall Chihuahua (now there’s an oxymoron for you – sort of like “giant shrimp”). He first wrapped himself in fear around my ankle and then when I bent over, he jumped into my arms.
Love. Call me a soft touch.
There is much to love about Noodle but he hits your heartstrings and also makes you laugh when he runs. On pavement, his hind feet waddle and sway sideways. In tall grass – well, tall for him – he hops up and down like a rabbit, all four feet off the ground at once.
Trite as it may sound, dogs can teach us a lot. So far, Noodle’s overall infectious enthusiasm and joie de vivre in the morning is a great example of how to start one’s day – if you exclude peeing on the floor.
He’s trusting and already loyal. Only a human can take that away from him, so we tread softly.
His curiosity, generally an inspiration, can also be maddening when you are walking him with 10 minutes to go before you need to be at work and he is lollygagging, sniffing every blade of grass on the ground and whatever might be in the air.
It’s then that you want action, not later. But then again you have to confront the need for patience. It’s a good lesson.
Noodle has other traits, some of which I wish not to emulate. His habit of jumping in his water bowl is unappealing. And I will not copy his reaction when on a recent visit to a ranch he came face to face with a pile of horse manure bigger than he is. Don’t think about it. Thanksgiving is just days away and you need an appetite.
Welcome to the world of Noodle. He will be back.
Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org