There are a lot of people — good-hearted people who love dogs and would never hurt one — who have bought puppies from pet stores, not knowing the terrible place that most of those puppies came from. There are, similarly, people who have done all they can to find a reputable breeder and have still been fooled into getting a dog from a puppy mill. Yvonne Haldeman Moyer falls into the category of people who have done both of those things, who have recognized their folly and, through hard work and love, have worked their dogs through behavioral and medical crises and made them into healthy, happy and loving family members. And, aside from all that, she's turned her experiences into a book.

Maya's Tale is Ms. Moyer's account of her two dachshunds (and assorted cats), starting with a near-impulse purchase of a smooth, miniature, black and tan boy at a pet store, a bold move for a divorced mother raising a son who is fighting muscular dystroply. Named Zippy for his speed and constant motion, the pup quickly works his way into the hearts of all the family, including the cats. It was only a few months after buying Zippy that Ms. Moyer saw a TV program about puppy mills and realized that the store from which she got Zippy got their pups from these terrible places.

So, five years later, when she and her son were ready to bring in a companion for Zippy, Ms. Moyer did everything right and still went wrong. She called the breeder, asked the right questions, got the right answers and prepared to drive a couple hours to select and buy a puppy. There were warning signs, but not enough to really trigger a response. The breeder said that she was going to be leaving to attend a wedding and would have only a short time to show pups. In fact, she showed only one, the one she said that she had picked as being perfect for Ms. Moyer and her family. Minutes later, the pup was headed for her new home. What Ms. Moyer only found out later, from a TV news report, was that the hill she saw on the breeder's property had, hidden behind it, kennels where dogs lived in squalor as breeding machines. Apparently, this breeder started out reputable and gradually accumulated and bred more dogs than she could handle.

(Let us throw in an editorial note for those of you in search of a breeder you can trust. We always hold up our good friends at 2 Dogs Long as the gold standard of how things should be done. On the front page of their website, you will see the note "Last Inspected by the AKC on August 1, 2011 ; Kennel inspection by the AKC — in complete compliance. This is our 3rd inspection, and every one has been a surprise visit with our kennel being in total compliance." That's the kind of assurance you need.)

The rest of the book is, really, the story of challenges presented, accepted and overcome. Many of those challenges will be familiar to dachshund owners everywhere, but we think you will find the telling fascinating and that you might even pick up some pointers. Let's face it: if it weren't fun to hear about other people's dogs, meet-ups would not be so popular. Ms. Moyer has a friendly, conversational way of presenting her stories — not all of them happy — that you will find comforting. And the episode of a panicky dog, just out of reach, slipping down a muddy slope toward the rushing waters of a snow-melt-swollen creek will have you on the edge of your favorite reading chair.

If you would like to read Maya's Tale, you can get an autographed copy from Ms. Moyer. Go to and follow the instructions you find there. Tell her that Dachshund Delights sent you.

P.S. Ms. Moyer tells us that while helping promote their book this past year, both Zippy and Maya have taken up wiener racing. While Maya is too worried about her looks to place higher than third, Zippy (at the age of 12) took first place in his very first race in Charleston WV, and has scored similarly well in Pittsburgh. Here's a photo of them (Maya is on the left) relaxing after a race.

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