In Memoriam: Helen La Buda
Helen La Buda, one of our favorite authors and rescuers, passed away this week. She was an enthusiastic rescuer who served an integral role in saving many Dachshund lives through Midwest Dachshund Rescue (donations in her name can be made to MWDR). Though we had never met Helen in person, from email and phone communications and the great support we received from MWDR for our Dachshund book – mainly because of Helen’s efforts to spread the word – we know that she touched many lives, both human and canine. She will be greatly missed.
If you knew Helen, please leave comments about what she meant to you at the bottom of this post.
To honor her today, we’d like to share a funny story of hers that we published in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Dachshunds. This story is one of our Lost Souls: FOUND! all-stars. In it, Helen’s personality and love for dogs really shines through. In addition to the text, we have a video for it because the story was also featured in a theater production to raise awareness about dog rescue and adoption.
Your Worst Date Couldn’t Top This
Like so many best friends, mine feels it’s her job to find me a significant other, so she set me up on a blind date. “Living alone and doing only what you and the dogs want is a bad thing,” she lectured, “He likes dogs. He’s a nice guy.”
Things came together unexpectedly well: liver-sausage-on-cracker appetizers set out on an unbreakable plate, dog hair vacuumed up, dog beds hidden, and only a ½ gallon of Febreze® needed to spruce up the smell. I decided to allow the two best-behaved dogs to be the greeters, while the rest would be introduced at a later time. I also had installed a gate between the hall and the living room to protect the goodies on the coffee table.
When my date Rob arrived, my two four-footed greeters ran to the door as planned. Much to my surprise, he was clean and neat and came complete with flowers and a bottle of wine – maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. I was just about to accept the wine when out of the corner of my eye, I spied a Dachshund who had stealthily opened the gate and was headed toward the goodies. In a flash, I jumped the gate and made a dive for the table. Success! I scooped up the tray, only losing one to the hungry Doxie, and then I hurriedly returned to the door, straightening my clothes. Rob had a very quizzical look on his face and said, “Boy, you can really move.”
Just as I was about to thank him, I heard the gargling noise a dog makes when it’s about to vomit. Yes, indeed, the stealth Dachs did it, right on Rob’s shoe. “No problem,” I thought, “He loves dogs.”
A few paper towels later, we headed into the living room to share the bottle of wine and some treats. Naturally, both greeter dogs felt the need to get up-close and personal with Rob, leaping at his pants legs and slathering his hands with their tongues. After a few minutes, the gentleman began to sneeze and his eyes started to swell. I didn’t want to pry, but he had used the whole pile of napkins, so I asked if he was feeling ok. That’s when he informed me he was allergic to dogs!
He said our mutual acquaintance had told him I had outdoor dogs, and she was sure they wouldn’t bother him. I offered two Benedryl®, and within a half-an-hour, the swelling was gone. He could now see his wine glass, so we were doing fine, right?
I told him our mutual friend had mentioned his love for dogs, and I assumed he had one. The truth was that he had one twenty years ago, but allergies prevented him from getting another. Of course, right when the topic of his allergies came up again, four more dogs breached the gate, and suddenly there were six dogs in his lap, kissing and licking and smelling his private parts!
I thought he was being a good sport: he didn’t seem to mind the stain that appeared on his shirt when one of the dogs indiscriminately expressed its anal glands on him, or when his plate was suddenly emptied as another dog swallowed Rob’s appetizers. Upon reflection, he was really just so startled he couldn’t speak – until his throat began swelling shut and he croaked, “How many are there?”
I told him, “Don’t worry, just these six,” but he didn’t exactly look relieved.
When it was time to go, Rob very politely thanked me for everything and moved to give me a kiss on the cheek. Bad move. “Protector Dachshund” immediately sprang into action and bit his left ankle. Next thing I knew, Rob grabbed his flowers and hurriedly limped down the walkway, blood oozing out of his sock.
I promised I would fax him the rabies certificate and assured him the dogs loved him. I can’t imagine why he never called again! –Helen LaBuda