It’s always a good choice to extend kindness and generosity to another person, especially if that person has recently experienced any kind of loss or feeling of hopelessness.
It’s even a good idea to extend kindness and generosity just because you feel like it! That’s what happened recently when a community banded together to bring joy to two elderly neighbors in maybe the cutest way ever: by putting on a socially distanced dachshund parade.
The neighbors are Chris, 97, and Carolyn, 96. The dachshund parade was organized by the “paw-rents” of Friday, a chipper little dachshund, and their friend, designer and artist Jacqueline Lemieux-Bokor.
Lani Nguyen, one of Friday’s parents, has noted that both Chris and Carolyn have owned dachshunds in the past and that she knew how much they missed their favorite friends. After she and Jacqueline bumped into one another in the neighborhood, they got to talking about how to bring a little light to Chris and Carolyn, and the idea of a dachshund parade was born.
Lani shared details about Chris’ and Carolyn’s separate relationships with dachshunds on Instagram:
“The first stop was Chris, he’s 97, he’s had dachshunds all his life, and when he was 83 his last dachshund died. Because he didn’t want to take the chance to adopt another puppy due to his own age and health concerns he never had another dachshund. He recently told a neighbor friend, ‘had I known I’d live this long, I would have adopted another dachshund!'”
She followed that up with a few details Carolyn:
“The second stop in the parade was Carolyn, she’s 96 with a heart of a lion, and the sweetest lady you’ll ever meet. When her last dachshund died, her neighbor knew she needed a companion, so she got her a cat – and she always wished it could have been another dachshund, and she’s told my mom, she raised it to act like a doxie.”
Lani also shared that the idea for the parade came up pretty organically: “We struck up a conversation about how much joy and happiness dogs bring to our lives. We were quickly reminded about the power of love a dog shares, and how each encounter can light up someone’s day.”
Lani definitely knows this firsthand, as her dachshund definitely makes her days better: “He’s intelligent, fearless, playful and walks proudly with a strut that turns heads. He’s the most gregarious little dachshund, making friends with everyone he meets. He’s been dubbed ‘The Mayor of Marine Street Beach’ and everywhere he goes people smile as they shout, ‘It’s Friday!'”
Lani was able to coordinate with her local dachshund community in San Diego to set up the parade, and Jacqueline designed the decorations that the group used during their outing. In total, Lani and Friday marched in the parade alongside 17 other dachshunds and their owners.
Chris’ wife, Liz, was thrilled with the parade — and with her husband’s reaction: “Chris said it made him feel really good. He got to hold a dog, which was wonderful because he can’t walk too far … They made a 97-year-old man very happy.”
Lani said that Carolyn was equally thrilled. “Carolyn said it brought her so much joy seeing all of the beautiful dachshunds on her lawn. Her heart felt full that day.”
The dachshund parade also showed how powerful it can be when a group of strangers comes together to do something nice for someone they don’t even know, especially right now. Lani says that Friday has been a great boon for her neighbors: “Amid a global pandemic which has forced isolation, he’s reminded us about the importance of community and human connection.”
Dachshunds have a bit of a reputation for being feisty, especially for a breed of dog that is so small, but they’re also sweet lap dogs. The breed is known for being smart, loyal, and protective of those that they love. With patient training, they can be wonderful dogs for families with children.
Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany to hunt badgers, and there are three varieties of dachshunds: smooth-coated, wire-coated, and long-coated. The dogs have long bodies and short legs, which makes them especially adept at digging up their prey and even going all the way inside burrows.
Lani and Friday are definitely thrilled with the reactions to their parade, and they’re even using it as a call to action of sorts:
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly #pawsitive reaction to the parade, it’s been encouraging to hear stories of kindness and compassion from all over the world. Dogs have a special way of opening your heart, and showing you what pure, real, no-strings-attached love looks like… If one small community of #dachshunds, sharing two wonderful people’s stories can spark joy, imagine what you could do if you stepped out of your comfort zone and took action?”