We’re in the last quarter of 2020 and as the year rushes by, our stress levels and political division seem to get worse and worse. I want to pause and write about things we can all get behind: dachshunds, entrepreneurship and the American dream.
Pretty much anything you can do is more fun with a dachshund involved. They are portable, low maintenance, natural comedians, outstanding hunters and very people focused. Originally bred to hunt badgers (!) they like to dig up burrowing animals, kill them, and then climb in your lap for a nap. For rural New Mexicans dealing with ground squirrels and gophers, having a dachshund around can eliminate nuisance vermin and prevent hantavirus and bubonic plague, all in a super cute waggy-tailed long-eared small dog package (do make sure you use a veterinarian-dispensed flea protectant).
Possibly the most wonderful thing about dachshunds is the naming potential. A dachshund can absorb a lot of name. Just in my family alone: Ludwig, Brunhilda, Liebchen, Marlene (Dietrich) and now, Ursula. Ursula may be the greatest name ever for a dog 10 inches tall with long flappy ears, a black whiplash tail and an orange bottom.
Ursula comes from a hunting and blood-tracking kennel in Oregon where the breeder is focused on health and function instead of show dog conformance. Many of Ursula’s littermates, half-siblings and cousins are earth dog champions: they excel at tracking prey underground. Some are also straight up hunting dogs. (Not my dog. Ursula is housebroken and knows her name. I not a helicopter dog parent; I prefer to let Ursula structure her own free time.)
This column is about one of Ursula’s amazing relatives, Lucya. Lucya works in Colorado as a blood tracker. Dachshunds are perfect for this. Not only do they have great noses, but if you think about the relative physical fitness level of Americans today, following a dachshund to find the deer you shot and lost will be a lot easier than say, a Labrador.
What makes Lucya unique is that she is a blood tracker for hire. Her business model is definitely in tune with 2020: She is an independent contractor (UberSniff?). She does not have a mobile app, as most of her work locations have poor cell service. Her business works like this. Say you are an intrepid hunter in the backcountry and you get a good shot but lose sight of your deer. You call Lucya’s human and tell him your location. He will bring her as close as he can in a four-wheel drive. You collect Lucya, she tracks your deer, the hunt is completed, and Lucya is compensated for a job well done.
Because Lucya is a very busy and important dog, she has set some ground rules for her clients. Timing is key; her nose works best when the scent is fresh. Most importantly, if she can’t be brought close enough to the shot site, the hunter must agree to carry her in. This is easiest in a sling or a pouch. She has been known to have been carried in three miles each way to work her magic.
In summary: Lucy is a highly social scenthound who has found her calling as a blood tracker. With good marketing and proven results, she can set her own hours and working conditions. Put another way, a wiener dog is getting humped into the forest in a baby sling to find lost deer and getting paid for it. It’s hard to argue with capitalism when you see a hardworking American bitch reaping her profit in fresh, warm deer liver.
That’s why I love this country. A dachshund with a dream, a nose, and a desire to protect her paw pads can make it all happen even during a pandemic. Let’s never forget that.
Merritt Hamilton Allen is a PR executive and a former Navy officer. She lives amicably with her Democratic husband and Republican mother north of I-40 where they run two head of dog, and two of cat. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .