Danny not long after he joined us waiting to be fed in the kitchen - that tail was a drum stick those the cabinets

How do I start the eulogy of our dearest Danny? Let's begin with he was never meant to be our dog. He was our first foster for a dachshund rescue group. We had already adopted three wiener dogs from various sources and Danno was from D.A.R.E. (Dachshund Adoption Rescue and Education). He had been a hoarder neglect case, was under weight and riddled with heartworms. We were asked if we could care for him during the recovery and adoption process. Sure, why not, how hard could that be? It turned out to be much harder than we thought. He was on the slow kill plan for the eradication of the heartworms. The heartworms were literally killing him from the inside out. We made plans to meet our D.A.R.E. contact at the Taco Bell in Stark, FL.

Danny was looking thin and nervous when we met him but immediately loved the attention he was given. The heartworm medicines were given to us and, after a tasty freeze from TB's, we were on our way back to Gainesville with our second "red dog." Danny took over a year to get heartworm free. As we would find out, they take their toll on the long-term functionality of the heart. His once rather thin and splotchy fur was soft and plentiful after our regular fish oil food supplement took effect.

Daniel was always a happy dog. Having had to fend for himself for the first seven years of his life, he was highly food motivated. One thing we would find out by accident is that he could catch a dog food kibble tossed to him in mid-air. The accuracy of his catch, even at a pretty good distance, was amazing. Also, we would know immediately when the water bowl would go dry. Danny had a great thirst most of the time. So, when there was no water in the communal bowl he would seek it elsewhere, most often in the nearest bathroom. No, the toilet seats were down so it wasn’t there. We have a dripping tub faucet and water collects near the tub drain. Upon hearing the lapping of water from the tub we knew we had not filled up the water bowl soon enough.

Dillo never had very flexible legs, he walked somewhat like he was spring loaded with a slight shift from one side to another as he motivated around. This stiffness reminded us of a dead armadillo, hence the nickname. He was mostly my daughter's dog his first year with us. This changed with Elizabeth heading off to college in Tampa. He was now all ours.

About two years into his time with us, Danny went blind. The vet seemed to think it was coming on for a while and was congenital but it seemed sudden to us. We were at our cabin in NC when we notice his sight was nearly gone. The dog with the keen ability to catch a kibble tossed to him could no longer perform his trick for us. We loved him nonetheless. The routine of picking him up to carry him to bed each evening became part of my routine. My wife would serve a similar duty in the morning when he'd let us know he needed to go outside.

a household of sometimes five dogs we have dog pillows everywhere. Danny preferred the largest, most fluffy one also occupied frequently by the littlest member of our pack, a 5 lb Yorkie named Connie. Danny loved Connie. He would often be found with his head across Connie's mid-section as if she were a designer pillow. She didn't mind at all. He was also greatly loved by our newest canine family member, Taylor. The 50lb. Rottweiler/Shepherd mix would go up and lick him in the face to say hello, herded him toward the door, and could be found next to him nightly.

The Danninator didn't like to be alone. When we had to put him in his crate for feeding or when we were gone from home he'd bark incessantly. If he thought we were within earshot he wouldn't stop for anything short of being removed from the cage. Also, he would grunt when he was uncomfortable or upset, thus the nickname, Grunty-boy, was applied. After his blindness set in, he would bounce off the furniture trying to find us, when he found us his tail would wag. He was a good dog and a happy dog.

We had songs for Danny. My wife would sing the classic folk tune, Oh Danny Boy, to him whenever she felt like it, "Oh Danny Boy, the bones, the bones are calling. They're calling you to go and bury them." I sang a version of Elton John's, Daniel. "Daniel my dachshund, you are shorter than me, do you still feel the pain, of the scars that won't heal, your eyes have died, you see more than I, Daniel you're my dog, in the shape of a log."

Dan-Dan loved to be next to his people. He would plaster himself up against his humans in bed at night. And, like many of our dogs, if there were two people in bed it was even better. He'd find a way to get a part of him on both, usually sleeping horizontally in bed and hogging all of the covers. Due to his heart issues he'd often pant rather regularly and had a strange habit of wanting to lick the covers wherever he lay. I really have no idea how badly he was treated in his previous life but we surely wanted him to feel cared for and loved.

We knew he had a heart problem but had no idea the end was so near. He woke me the morning he passed, panting and moving around in our bed. It was about 1am. I thought he had to go to the bathroom as this was often how he showed such a need. I took him outside and he did his business. But, upon coming inside he didn't stop this panting, it was evident he was very uncomfortable. I placed him on his favorite pillow and sat down next to him on the floor, trying to help him find some relief. These things never happen at 3pm on Wednesdays. It was Sunday morning and he was not getting better like he had in the past. I petted him early on and his tail wagged, but within two hours his tail was no longer wagging and he was in obvious distress, his tongue started hanging out the side of his mouth (he had a dental not too long ago and the doxie mouth had lost some teeth). He was dying of congestive heart failure.

I got my wife up about 3am and shared with her the condition of our dear Danny. She tried to give him some ice, but he had no interest. He just panted frantically. It was evident that the end was near when he would not respond to us and his tongue was blue. We couldn't see him in pain any longer. We took him to the emergency vet clinic where it was decided there was really no point in drastic measures. The fluid was already filling his lungs. He didn't have much time. We have a goal that our rescue dogs spend as much time with us being loved as they were in the negative situation prior to rescue. Danny didn't make that goal. He passed at 4am about four years after his adoption. He was finally at rest. My heart ached as both my wife and I gave him one last "good boy" pat and told him we loved him. I prayed that Tessa, the previous dog to leave our pack, would take care of him at the rainbow bridge. I know she is doing just that along with so many dogs that have gone before him.

We're down to one red dog now. Miss you my dearest pup and look forward to seeing you again one day. Our heaven will be full of dogs. I can't think of a better place to spend eternity.

[Click here for more photos of Danny]