The Instagram-famous Marvin is a “tweenie” wire hair dachshund living in Chatham, NJ with his mom, Elle and dad, Joe. He has a very mischievous personality and will turn anything and everything into a game. Marvin loves meeting new people and barking at anything (even inanimate objects like street signs) to announce himself. His signature look is the “side-eye” which his parents get multiple times a day. Marvin is 1 year and 4 months old, he is one spoiled pup!
1. Is Marvin your first dachshund? You don’t see as many wired hair pups. Did you specifically look for one?
A. My family loves dachshunds; I think I am the 4th generation to own them! Growing up I had a wire hair named Hercules and he had such a fun personality, he defined some of the best moments of my childhood. I love all kinds of Dachshunds but I think wire hairs have an extra “scrappiness” to them that melts my heart, so when my fiancé and I decided to get a dog I was already dead-set on a dachshund, Joe wanted a German Sheppard for some reason, but as soon as he saw what wire hair puppies look like he was on board and quickly became just as obsessed as I was – they are just so cute, who doesn’t like a puppy with a beard?!
The search took a long time; we called breeders as far as Ohio and actually were about to get one but then the breeder changed her mind and kept him! We were devastated. We had also already bought most of the supplies so we were stuck with a home full of dog toys,beds and crates but no dog, it was a little depressing. But, finally we found a breeder just a couple hours away in New York. We went up when Marvin was 10 weeks old and sat on the kitchen floor with him, he gave us the side-eye and we were in love!
2. So sad to see Marvin has epilepsy. How old was he when he was diagnosed? What do you do to prevent episodes? Is it common in dachshunds?
A. Don’t be sad – he still leads a great life! He just needs a little extra TLC.
We’d had Marvin for only 3 days when he had his first seizure. I was working from home, on a video conference with him on my lap (introducing him to my colleagues, of course!). All of a sudden he started to have a full-body seizure and was foaming at the mouth – it was very scary but I had seen my childhood dachshund have one before so I sort of remembered what to do. During the seizure I laid him on his side and just pet him to keep him calm, and then I rushed him to the vet. From there we went to a neurologist (yes, they have dog neurologists!) and he proceeded to have 2 more severe seizures. We left him there overnight since they had the medication and staff to take better care of him than we did, and the next day the vet let us take him home and gave him medication to control the seizures.
For the most part, the medicine has worked really well; he has only had 3 or 4 more seizures since that day. The hard part for Marvin was he had to get his blood drawn each month until he stopped growing to make sure the medicine levels were right, it was exhausting for him. I cannot even count how many different doses he had over that year but now he’s leveled out and only has to get blood work every 6 months. He takes his meds twice a day, and has come up with many ways to fake swallowing the meds, so it is a daily game to make sure he takes them. He used to run and hide when he was little and it would take 2 people to give him the meds, but now he just kind of accepts it and takes his treat afterward.
Epilepsy is somewhat common in Dachshunds – if your dog has as seizure check in with your vet on recommended treatment. For Marvin, there is no way to prevent seizures, but for some dogs it can be stress-induced. The medicine can also have long term effects on internal organs, so it is very important to do the blood work regularly and make sure the medication levels are correct. Initially, we were worried about the financial implications of having a dog with epilepsy, but it turns out the medication is pretty reasonable ($20/month) and there are sometimes coupons to get the price down further, but those monthly blood tests were pricy ($200/month), so we are all happy to only need them twice a year now. More money in the pocket means more treats for Marv!
3. What is the one thing Marvin does like clockwork and kind of gets on your nerves?
A. Marvin’s favorite chew toy is his own tail. Now, on the one hand this is pretty comical to watch a wiener dog try and catch his tail and leverage anything (my legs, a couch cushion, a wall) to get it, but on the other hand it is kind of gross! He will be chewing on it and then come up to one of us and his tail will be soaking wet with saliva. He wags his tail at everything so you are bound to get hit in the face with a wet, smelly tail eventually. Whenever we tell him to stop chewing on his tail, we get a lot of side-eye.
I did go the vet to ask if he had allergies or an infection, she said that dogs usually have one weird “thing” they do and that it looks like this is his.
4. Any plans on getting a little brother or sister for Marvin?
A. One day! Joe and I love to take Marvin with us on trips (he is a pretty good flyer!) but it is expensive to travel with a dog and even more expensive for a dog sitter, so for now he is one very spoiled only-puppy. I do think it would be fun to get a female wire hair and name her something like “Ethel” or “Mable”. Joe wants a male wire hair and to name him Melvin, I think that is too similar to Marvin… but it is not like dachshunds are very obedient anyway so maybe that would be OK.
Oddly enough, Marvin is pretty shy around other dogs so he may not even want a sibling. He likes my parents’ dachshunds (but they are 12 years old, so that is a very one-sided friendship where Marvin just annoys them) and he loves Joe’s mom’s Chihuahua mix. But otherwise if we take him to a dog park he just follows us around and awkwardly watches other dogs play. Part of that may be our fault – we avoided dog parks at first because his seizures were not under control and we did not do a puppy class for the same reason so he did not socialize with other dogs right away. If I could do it over again, I definitely would have prioritized a puppy class!
5. If Marvin could talk what do you think he would say to you?
“Mom, play with me!!!”
I have never met a dog with so much energy! All Marvin wants to do is play, chase things and be chased. He could be dead asleep after a long walk and if I accidently drop something on the floor he is there ready to play tug-of-war. If one of us gets up to go the bathroom in the middle of the night, he is right there with us yawning and wagging his tail, ready for action. He does not even need a toy, if you just stare at him long enough and ask “what?” he thinks it is a game and starts barking at you and running back and forth waiting for you to do something. Marvin also loves to play hide-and-seek, I will tell him to “stay” and then hide in a closet or under the bed and he’ll try to find me. He’s the best play-mate and we couldn’t imagine life without our scrappy pup!
Follow his adventures on Instagram: @call_me_marvin
Ellen wrote this blog for Dachshunds United. Follow Ellen and Trixie on Instagram at @trixiethedaschund. If you would like to participate in Five Questions email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.