I recently posted to social media and gave my fans the opportunity to pose any question to me they’d been wanting to ask. I got a lot of questions in response (couple thousand actually), from how my surgery went to how I do so well in costume, where I came from to where I like to travel, to whether I wear boxers or briefs, and more.
So I’m going to answer the most popular and interesting (in my opinion) questions here for all of you! Thanks for participating!
1. Where did you come from? And what about Oakley?
Seems logical to start with this question on my backstory. So here we go – I was born in Montreal, Canada by a breeder. Mum and Dad picked me up when I was about 3 months’ and I was the last puppy of the litter to leave. I must have been the last one because I was shy and timid, and everyone took the excitable, personable dogs first. But my personality matched that of Mum and Dad’s, which is quiet and laid-back, and they knew I was the right puppy for them when I came apprehensively over to them to let them pet me. We then moved to a country house about an hour north of Montreal (near Mont Tremblant), which is where I garnered my adventurous spirit and love for the great outdoors.
This photo was taken during my first week with Mum and Dad!
Here’s me at about 6 months or so, catching some windowsill sunshine.
I was raised here for the first couple year’s of my life until Mum and Dad moved to the city of Ottawa. I’ve lived in the city for the last 5 years until moving back to the country just outside Ottawa at pretty much the exact time I had my surgery (August 2016).
I’m super happy to be a country dog again, what with my own yard that Dad just made me and all!
Now, it seems there’s always (understandably) a bit of confusion about my brother; Is he actually my brother? Why is he not always with me? Where did he come from? Is he an alien? Why is he so silly? etc.
Oakley is my half-brother. Same father, different mother. He came from the same breeder but is about a year younger. We definitely have some similarities, but we’re also quite different. I am chiseled, charming, and ruggedly handsome while he is cute, goofy, and often confused.
2. How am I doing after surgery? Any ill-effects or a full recovery?
I think Mum and Dad would pretty much agree that I’ve made a full recovery. It was a long road though and Mum and Dad virtually became experts on the subject. So-much-so that they felt they needed to share all that knowledge with others, so they created this IVDD page on my website, which also has the full story of my experience. Anyway, it took a good 6 weeks for me to feel back to normal and at 9 weeks post surgery, I was doing short hiking trails during my visit to Banff National Park (seen below).
Mum and Dad said my delight was palpable as I got to march through the woods once again.
However, I can’t say I’m absolutely 100%. I do have a bit of neuropathy I guess we could say (nerve pain), although it’s not actually “painful”. Sometimes I feel a tingle or pulling sensation in my back left leg, so I whip around to nibble or lick it, as if it’s an itch. I do this maybe a couple times a day. As Mum and Dad have carefully observed, it doesn’t seem to hurt, but is more of a tickle or mild discomfort now and then. It happens to my back left leg because it is that nerve root that was operated on from my spinal column. It may dissipate with time, as nerves take the longest to heal.
3. I would love to know how you are such a well trained doggy, your pictures and videos are always excellent, do you ever get fed up and throw a diva strop?
First of all, thank you!
Many people wonder if I’ve been specially-trained for acting or something… And the answer is nope! I mean, I’m a well-trained dog, yes (for the most part), but no special Hollywood training. It’s mainly the fact that I’m just so easy going and easy to work with. Quite a few people have told me I’m the most “chill” dachshund (or even dog in general) they’ve ever seen.
I mean, just look at how calm I am getting my nails done!
However, this is unfortunately where some people – particularly those who don’t know me and my family well enough -make some misjudgments about me, thinking that I don’t like my outfits or that I wear outfits all day long. This is where you need to remember that just because your dog doesn’t like dressing up, it doesn’t mean all dogs are the same. When Mum and Dad brought me home as a puppy, it was January in Quebec! I was being house trained in up to -30C /-22F, so I’ve been wearing sweaters and jackets and booties since day 1. Not only that, but my super calm and laid-back personality really couldn’t be bothered by wearing an outfit, and in fact I enjoy it since Mum and Dad have always made it such a rewarding and fun experience. I know there’re cookies or playtime following every photo shoot, so I’m more than happy to throw some poses. It’s become so “routine” in my life that it’s second nature; it’s what I know and it’s what I’m good at.
Like every dog, I love being told I’m good at something!
My photo shoots generally aren’t longer than 15 minutes too, and don’t necessarily happen everyday. Videos of course take longer, but we have lots of breaks. And here’s a little trick I’ll share with you. The key to how I’m able to “act” so well in videos is that it doesn’t feel like I’m “acting”. It’s essentially playtime in costume. Think my hockey video or Tom Crusoe video, etc. – we’re just playing and having fun with our tails wagging!
So to answer the question, no, there’s never really a time where I throw a fuss and refuse to do something.
HOWEVER, there was one time a couple year’s ago where Mum and Dad thought my career in front of the camera might be over! It happened while trying to film a little Vine video for New Years Eve. Dad had placed a champagne bottle next to me for a photo. I guess he had unknowingly tampered with the cork a little because the bottle randomly decided to “pop” while I was sitting right next to it and it scared the bejeebers out of me! I guess I associated that experience with a camera, because for almost two months after that I would shy away from cameras… So Dad thought my career was over! But with patience and lots of positive reinforcement, I got over it!
BTW, this is what happens when you’ve had too much champagne and start posing for photos…
4. Where do I get my outfits?
Ah, the question everyone wants to know…
Well, they’re mostly all handmade from various items, especially the “costume” ones like hockey, hunting, minions, rain jacket & umbrella, etc, etc.
“Can you guess what we’re making?!”
“A rain jacket and umbrella, of course!”
BUT don’t be disappointed just yet, because I am working on a costume line so that yes you will be able to have those outfits! You can subscribe below to be the first to hear about updates on the costume line! (I won’t email you about anything other than that).
However, my “dress clothes” like the outfit below, including my button-up shirts, cardigans, bow-ties, and some hats are custom tailored for me by this lady on Etsy who does great work (since Dad doesn’t really sew).
Then, my jackets and coats are made by NoodleandFriends.com (use code CRUSOEFUN5 for 5% off), which are all made specifically for the body shape of a dachshund. They just launched some new sweaters as well.
Someone also asked a follow-up question about how long it takes to make the outfits. It depends, sometimes it can take a couple days or sometimes a couple hours. Dad makes them, Mum inspects them, I approve them.
5. You seem so well behaved. Do you ever get in trouble or get up to naughty mischief?
Not really! I mean, I don’t want to brag or anything, but I don’t chew things I’m not supposed to, I listen well, I don’t steal food even when it’s in front of me, I only bark when someone’s at the door, I don’t nip or bite, I’ve never “marked” inside a house, I’m friendly with other dogs and children, and I’ve never even had an “accident” inside the house since I was a puppy (except while I was recovering from surgery)!
I painted myself pretty perfect there, but Mum insists I share a few things about myself that are not necessarily “naughty”, but are not ideal, so as to be balanced in my self-assessment.
In the evenings I can get pretty grumpy and will sort of groan/growl when Mum tries to cuddle me too much. I’m also very bossy (understandably so) and will scratch at things I demand, sometimes making scratch marks on doors, floors, couches, cookie cupboards, cookie jars, the squeaky ball closet, etc.
6. What sort of post-surgery precautions do you take, and where’d you get all the ramps?
Well, not much has really changed after surgery since Mum and Dad always used ramps to begin with… but they are EVEN MORE cautious now. Every couch has a ramp, every set of stairs has a gate. Essentially, I am prevented jumping on and off any surface that’s more than 7 inches.
Just take a look…
Dad made most of my ramps that you see there, but we also use a couple ramps by DachRamp (use code CRUSOE for 10% off) that are lightweight, foldable, and work great – although they might not be long enough for a tall bed.
7. Does anything ever frighten the bold and brave Crusoe?!
“Mum, just let me tell them I’m not scared of anything. They’ll believe me. I’ve told them I benched 200 pounds before and those suckers didn’t even second guess it!”
“Crusoe, I thought you were doing this Q&A session to share some honest insights with your fans?… And it’s not nice to refer to your fans as ‘suckers’.”
“Yaya, I was kidding. But… Think of what it would do to their morale if they knew their fearless leader was scared of fireworks, thunder, sizzling frying pans, and fire alarms?! They’d lose faith in me…”
“I don’t think so, Crusoe. They love you for you, no matter what.”
“Ah, I guess you’re right…”
Ahem. So fans, to be perfectly frank with you all, I’m not afraid of anything. Next question.
8. What is that thing on your nose?
It’s my iconic birthmark! And because of its anchor-like shape and my prowess on the open seas as captain, that’s why my fan group has been so self-dubbed as “Cru’s Crew!”
It only started to really show when I was about six months old. The top left photo here was about 4 months or so, and you see it’s just barely visible, compared to now (top right).
You can join my Facebook Fan Group here.
9. Do you brush your teeth every day or do you have the vet clean them? I’m asking because they are so white.
Why, thank you.
Dad brushes them every night. He also scales them now and then, which – like getting my nails filed – puts me to sleep.
10. Crusoe….with all your travelling to different countries; what pre-cautions do you have to take and do you advise having a Pup-Passport (you know…with all your vet information, shots, etc)?
It depends on where you’re going, as different places have different requirements. Most often you have to at least show valid rabies vaccination, sometimes you need a veterinarian-officiated health certificate, occasionally some other vaccinations, and sometimes an import permit for that country.
Import requirements and documents can be found at pettravel.com for a fee but are also easily attainable from your government’s food and agriculture department. My friends at montecristotravels.com also specialize in offering info on how to bring your dog to different places.
11. How do you keep your coat so shiny?
Actually, I believe it’s my food, not my shampoo! In fact, when I was about 2 or 3 year’s old, I started losing hair on my chest. I switched from Royale Canine to Acana/Orijen (the fish one) and my hair grew back and has been lustrously luscious ever since.
12. What camera does your dad use? What about for photo and video editing?
Dad uses a Canon EOS 70D for photos and some video, and more recently a Sony FDR-AX53 Handycam for video.
“What time do the animals start crossing?!”
He uses Adobe Photoshop & Premiere for photo and video editing. However, oftentimes he just takes a photo on his iPhone and posts it right from there.
13. What do Mum and Dad do?
They are both very involved in my career, but Dad is my “full time” manager, costume-maker, photographer & videographer, set-designer, pooper-scooper – pretty much anything I want him to do, he does it. Mum is the one who keeps our ideas in check from getting too off the chain. She’s also the bum-holder-upperer most of the time.
My Dad’s experience lies in digital marketing, but he always had a strong interest in writing, photography, and crafting things. You might find it interesting to know that even as a kid, he used to occasionally dress up his childhood wiemeraner and take photos for fun; inspired by the photo books by William Wegman.
My Mum still works full time with her family business called Oasis Marigot, which is a villa rental company based in St. Lucia. I had the pleasure of visiting there in late 2015.
Of course, I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of St. Lucia anytime soon! 😉
14. Will you ever get a sibling?
That is something that Mum, Dad, and myself have started thinking about more often, but no decision yet.
15. Crusoe you’re such an icon for all dogs, and humans, everywhere. What is your next philanthropic movement?
I had a really great time when I made my visit to the Humane Society to donate a bunch of extra toys to the dogs in need there. So with all my extra fan mail toys, giveaways I receive, toy box subscriptions, I will continue to do that once I’ve stocked up enough toys and treats to make another visit.
I’m also proud to work with my local dachshund rescue on giving them portions from my t-shirt sales and other campaigns with my store.
I also like to think that, if there were any silver lining to my surgery, is that I’ve helped educate other dog owners on the risk, prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation of IVDD. And that’s something I plan to continue doing periodically.
Well, that’s about it for now, hope that gave you something to chew on! If you have other simple questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments here.