Peta head over heels for dachshunds

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 16:11 27/06/2014
Peta Wright
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Fairfax NZ

A DOG'S LIFE: Peta Wright with her dachshund, Peaches, and some of the 80 dog items in her home that feature the breed.

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About 70 daschund dogs are stuffed into Peta Wright's Nelson home, but only one of them is real.

Peaches the five-year-old sausage dog is a perfect canine complement to the collection of china, crystal, glass, wood and painted daschunds on the walls, tables, mantelpieces and furnishings. Even the bird bath is a daschund design.

Unlike her pedigree predecessors Peaches enjoys a name as short as her legs. First there was Henrietta Demelza Primrose Ruby Hyacinth, or "hot dog" for short, but mostly it was "fatty".

"She was the butt of everyone's jokes. She was 17 when she died and she used to bite everyone. Our boys were naughty and their friends were naughty and they would tease her so she learned to bite back.

"One of the boys, who was in the college First XV team at the time, got bitten and had to go to hospital accident and emergency, but told the doctor he'd been bitten by a doberman."

Wright, a Nelson artist, has built what borders on a cult collection of daschund memorabilia.

She is a member of the art@203 gallery in Trafalgar St and each of her paintings has a "sausie" as a subject, or her signature that incorporates a daschund.

Several pieces, including paintings, were gifts from the Wrights' grandchildren in the United States, Beca and Theo, and Poppy and Charlie in Australia, who share her love of sausage dogs. When Henrietta died, along came Madeleine with her trail of names Hydrangea Violet Lily Rose Blossom. But Madeleine had the misfortune of being born with an extraordinarily long back, which resulted in her losing the function of her back legs by the time she was nine years old.

"I ended up carrying her everywhere, for about six months until my own back went out. I spent two weeks in hospital."

Peaches was a surprise puppy presented not long after Madeleine's death. Wright said it was hard to explain her love for the breed, other than them having miniature characteristics of other popular German breeds, and their generally loving and loyal nature.

"They have traits of the doberman and rottweiler breeds.

"I once took a tape measure to the rottweiler belonging to my son and it's true - the distance between the tan bits on their behind is proportionately the same as the daschund."

Wright said she rarely left Peaches at home alone, but if she did, she left her watching Animal Planet on television, unless the episode was likely to feature crocodiles or sharks.

Peaches, with her diamante collar and pink jacket, was reasonably well known about town.

"I walk around and people call out, ‘hello Peaches'. She's in every tourist's photograph who comes across her. People beep their horn when they pass - she's a real show-stopper."

Wright said her three sons Simon, Ben and Dan supported her passion, but only so far.

"They're really worried they'll be left with the collection."

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- The Nelson Mail

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