Dachshunds carve trails, create maze in lawn

Dachshunds carve trails, create maze in lawn
"There are dachshund trails in our front lawn," Brian hollered, wide-eyed and dismayed, as he poked his head inside the front door.

This came one week after we adopted Zoey and Lily, sister dachshunds, from the Siouxland Humane Society. The sisters, as we sometimes call them, join Poe, the alpha and original dachshund in the Damon household.

Poe does not make or follow dachshund trails. Instead, he runs around like a maniac all over the yard.

Like paths that deer make through snow, grasslands or woods, Zoey's and Lily's dachshund trails cut odd, subtle lines through our grass.

In 35 years of pets, none has made footpaths like these. Paying closer attention, we saw how the patterns are formed.

Zoey sets out on the lawn, as though on a tightrope, and makes her way across the grassy plain; then, Lily follows.

Noiselessly, they take turns. Sometimes Lily goes out first, and then Zoey follows. Their repetition carves a maze in the grass.

Observing our dachshunds' compulsive trailblazing, we saw an instinctive behavior – much bigger and maybe more necessary than our thoughts of curbing it.

We quickly relinquished any grand goals of having a consistent lawn – one with grass growing smoothly – like new carpet without interruption. (Huh!)

"Think of it as a sure thing," I unconvincingly suggested to Brian. "These mazes in our lawn are useful tools that give Zoey and Lily assuredness and make them feel right at home."

No response.

"Our dachshund trails expand the definition of green space. Really, they do," I stressed.

Leaning into the new reality of having dachshund trails smack dab in the middle of our front yard, Brian nodded in agreement, "I guess you're right."

A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker, and freelance writer. Her columns have won first-place national and state awards in The National Federation of Press Women competitions. Most recently, Damon's writing took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 Competition. For more information, e-mail pauladamon@iw.net.

� 2007 Paula Damon

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