In the fall of 2004 I moved into a house with a huge yard, and decided I had room for an additional dog. I had never had a male dog, so I was a bit dubious when the New Mexico Dachshund Rescue suggested I consider one. Despite my misgivings, I headed down to southern New Mexico for a meet-and-greet on Halloween. As I sat on the floor of the foster home, a grizzled, 8-year-old hound wearing a Halloween bandana lumbered over and plopped himself down in front of me. He was called “Alleygator,” or “Gator” for short, because he had been rescued in a deserted back alley. He was, without a doubt, the sweetest dog I have ever known. Gator never met a human, beast or bird he did not like, and every other canine became his instant best friend. He never met a fruit, vegetable or flower (even a Marigold) that he didn't like to eat, earning him the nickname “Farm Dog.” He was always up for a good game of chase-the-fake-squirrel tail, and he was never happier than when he was stretched out on his back in the grass with the summer sun baking his tummy. He passed away six years after I brought him home, at age 14. But the goofy smile on his precious face, peering up at me every morning when I woke, will remain indelibly etched on my heart.
— Emily Franke, Corrales, New Mexico