Saturday, August 1, 2009

a rose by any other name

It is amazing that Baxter comes to us at all when we call him, considering all the nicknames we have for him. Baby dog, sweetie, cutie, pumpkin, beex, beexstuh, henry, george, semi-Frodo, little boy, schlomo schneebly, home slice, homie, microdot, munchkin, tiny tim, wienuh, itta bena. All just to name a few.

In thinking about this list I realized there is one affectionate nickname we haven't called Baxter lately, Chub Chub. He was at his heaviest when I first met him, only recently deposited in his new foster home. I mentioned in an earlier post that Chubby Baxter weighed in at 22 pounds, or four pounds over his ideal weight. When he came to his foster mom's door to greet me, it was as though his barks arrived first and his jiggly wiggly body caught up from behind in sinusoidal fashion, wave after wave of chub piling up upon each other as he carefully ran/skipped so as to not be thrown off balance by the opposing forces created by his jiggling. Back then, watching him run what we now affectionately call his fat dog run was like watching a bridge during an earthquake.

We were still fresh from grieving at the loss of our prior two boys, Kep and Padua, when we came across the opportunity to adopt Baxter. We weren't sure if the timing was right. We weren't sure if we were betraying the memory of our boys for whom we had loved and taken care of for sixteen years. But there Baxter was, barking at my feet, jiggling all the while and following his host dog's lead to treat me with suspicion.

After giving out a handful of treats, we made our way to the sofa. More treats gave way to a truce, and finally, I was able to pick up this prospective pup, this big bowl of warm jelly, and put him in my lap. Though his body spilled out and over my lap, his settled silence made it clear this lap was fine and he quietly waited for more treats with his now characteristic bright eyed stare. A polite and gentle boy, Baxter was a innocent soul willing to put his trust in me if I would only accept it. Our little Chub Chub came home with us for good two weeks after that visit, in mid-November.

Weight loss for Baxter came fairly simply, really. It should be so simple for humans. We fed him the kibble amount corresponding to his target weight, and as an added bonus walked him twice daily. Treats like rawhide were worked into the plan, but we tried to be mindful of how this affected his overall calorie intake and adjusted his meals accordingly. By spring, he was well on his way to ideal weight. By early summer, thanks to an unfortunate bout with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, he briefly dipped below it.

Sometimes when I whistle for him now, Baxter will still run up with his fat dog gait, only now there are no seismic bodily disturbances to interrupt his travels, no worries about his caboose having to catch up with the rest of him. Looking back I now realize his early nickname of Chub Chub encapsulated more than just his physical presence, it memorialized who he still is today. A gentle soul, an innocent and trusting friend. Baxter may now be a lot skinnier, but he will always be Chub Chub.


Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

Baxter, you are very handsome. Maybe we could have a date sometime. :) We have a nick name in common also... baby dog. Too cute!
Thanks for following me on my blog.

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog

Twix said...

Bax, I don't care what your Momma calls you, I think you are gorgeous! I ask her, how can you not fall in love with a chubby doxie? ;o)
Love and hugs

Attack of the Weiner Dogs! said...

Congratulations on your weight loss, Baxter. My Murphy was starting to look a bit pudgy earlier this year, but with spring came rabbits in our yard. Although we suspect he has caught and eaten a few, he's lost a considerable amount of weight -- for a dachshund -- chasing after them. Rabbit hunting is definitely his favorite workout routine. We can't get him to come back inside the house.

Erin and the Furry Troops said...

Awesome! Bubbles too was overweight for her size, so we changed dog foods, and moved her to a more active life style, and wow did she shed those pounds!

Lorenza said...

Hi, Baxter!
Sure you have lots of nicknames!
Glad you lost all that weight. You look very handsome.
I have a bad thyroid so I am always on a diet. Rawhide was my favorite treat but I no longer like it. Chicken jerky is the one I love and I one piece per day!
Kisses and hugs

dachsiema said...

Baxter, I love reading about your adventures! but I must be nuts. I have 8 of my own longhairs at home and they are as much fun as you. They could write their own book. I'm an addict to your column. I read you daily. Dachsiema

Kalyxcorn said...

8 dachshies! What pictures they would make. Nothing cuter than a herd o wieners! Thank you for stopping by and I hope you'll stop by again soon!

I LOVE going on dates. Dachsies are my best friends!

I LOVE hunting rabbits. My best times are when I'm with my dachsie buddies AND we're hunting in my backyard! :)

Lorenza, I looked at your fashion slideshow and love all your outfits! You can wear any of them for a date with me!