Brown Verses White

~ Patricia Gratton

It has been said that opposites attract. In our home, two opposites run, play, share, and are an integral part of our family. They are our pets, Nicky and Schnitzle.

Nicky, a Maltese, is five pounds of dynamite.

Schnitzle, a long-haired dachshund, is seventeen pounds of passion.

Nicky has a white curly coat that has to be clipped when it grows too long. His fur is actually hair, just like yours and mine. When our hair grows too long, we make an appointment with a hairdresser. Nicky's hairdresser is a groomer. Right now he is clipped short for the summer ... five pounds doesn't look like much.

Schnitzle has long, reddish brown fur that fluffs out as she walks. The fur on her body has grown to the floor, and her tail looks like a flag waving as she walks. Girls, you would kill for her beautiful "hair". She gets groomed by me. I just grab her and we both go into the shower and come out clean. No beauty shop for her!

Nicky, for such a small guy, has longer legs than Schnitzle, but they are the same size in stature.

Schnitzle's short stubby legs carry her long body. How? I don't know. When she comes around the corner, she just keeps on coming! Schnitzle is our second long-haired dachshund. Our first one was a mini-long hair. She was very petite. She, too, was named Schnitzle. Schnitzle II is larger in stature, much longer in body, and a bit of a klutz. When she was a puppy, she fit in the palm of my hand. She just grew longer and longer and loner. She has earned a middle name. We call her Schnitzle Grace.

Nicky is personality plus, he loves to meet new people, and, because he is so small, it seems everyone picks him up to cuddle him. Everyone loves him. Many times our guests will pick him up as they are leaving, pretending to take him home. We have learned to hold Nicky as guests exit.

Schnitzle is something else. She is afraid of her own shadow. No one, especially a stranger, is going to get near her! Whenever I sit down, she is literally sandwiched between my feet with her face on my foot. If I am getting up, she is too! She follows me all over the house. Right now, as I type this essay, she is in "the position" between my feet. Guests have to ignore her. She is the one who decides who will pet her and when they will pet her.

Nicky, as small as he is, rules the roost. He is macho male, and Schnitzle is his girlfriend. Every morning Schnitzle gets her face washed, and during the day, I watch him tenderly taking care of her. He "kisses" her during the day, leaves a bit of his meal for her, comes to me to let her out because she is at the door, waits for her to go out with him, and won't come inside without her.

I did say that Schnitzle was seventeen pounds of passion. She is completely female and is very loveable. When you have been kissed by Schnitzle, you have been kissed. Her long pointy snout contains the longest tongue! Her eyes look as though she is wearing mascara, and her gaze just tells you that she loves you even before you get an inevitable lick to show how much she cares. As pretty as she is, I am constantly being asked, "What kind of a dog is that!"

These two opposites sleep side by side. They act like children with their own personalities. We love them, we worry about them, and we enjoy them. I hope brown vs. white will remain with us for a long, long time.