By Joy and Brian Pape

Max, the Inspiration

MAX and Adam

I first fell in love with dachshunds as a teenager when one of my aunts and uncles acquired Max, a standard-size short-haired red, in 1959.  Max was incredibly playful, his only fault being a bad habit of chasing after cars near his home in the suburbs of Rochester, NY. I even took care of Max a few times at my parents’ house in Queens when my aunt and uncle were on vacation. I especially love the photo I took of Max in the crib with my first cousin Adam, who is now 63 years old. My aunt and uncle later moved to Atlanta and had to give Max away, and, sadly, I never saw him again.

Goodbye Felix…But Not Forgotten

Fast-forward to 2008, when my spouse Barbara Pollack and I were feeling lonely after two years of being empty nesters. Our son – also named Max, NOT after the dog but rather after my deceased father and also the boy in “Where the Wild Things Are” (one of Barbara’s favorites) — was in his junior year at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.  We decided to adopt a rescue dog, hopefully a dachshund, and Barbara spent hours looking on PetFinder for one.  We lucked out and got Felix, a one-year-old standard-size short-haired red.  When we visited the rescue outfit, a small foundation in Murray Hill, we took one look at Felix and instantly fell in love.  Not only was he adorable – he was also a dead ringer for Max the dachshund whom I had loved as a teenager.


Barbara and I had nearly 14 years of joy with Felix, including many happy days at the semi-annual dachshund festival in Washington Square Park.  He also really bonded with our son Max.  But unfortunately, Felix developed inoperable bone cancer in the fall of 2021 and had to be put down.

Hello Izzy-Welcome to the Village

This is the story of Izzy the dachshund — the most handsome, friendly, adorable dog on Morton Street —Joel Berger


We tried to find another dachshund to rescue, but there were none available because so many had been adopted during the pandemic.  I then contacted the folks at Dogma—our local doggy day care/hotel—who recommended a breeder in Bush, Louisiana, a small village tucked in the far northeast corner of the state.  I contacted Splendor Farms and, as luck would have it, a litter had just been born.

Splendor Farms is run by Kelly Denise McKinney, a wonderful woman who breeds only dachshunds mostly for show.  But Kelly also sells puppies at modest prices to people who just want a loveable pet.  She’s a liberal in a solidly red area of a solidly red state, and when she learned that I was a civil rights lawyer who represents victims of police misconduct in NYC and used to represent death-sentenced prisoners in Louisiana and Texas at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, she immediately reserved one of her newborn puppies for us.

Barbara, an art critic/curator who during the pandemic co-founded the prominent organization “Art At A Time Like This” flew down to New Orleans as soon as the puppy was ready to leave the nest and brought him home the same day.  It was an exhausting journey, but well worth the effort.

The puppy was a standard-size long-haired red and he was beautiful! Kelly says he even has some champions in his lineage. We especially loved his big floppy fuzzy ears, paws and tail. We named him Izzy. He has grown to be much larger than most standard dachshunds, nearly 30 pounds, which is apparently normal for standard-size dachshunds bred for show. (Felix was only about 20 pounds, a more common weight for standards.)

Izzy has turned out to be absolutely adorable and rambunctious. When people pay even the slightest attention to him on his walks, he immediately rolls over for tummy rubs and then jumps up to give them big wet sloppy kisses. Even if someone isn’t paying attention to him at first, Izzy runs over and begs for tummy rubs. He also makes a beeline for every dog he meets, even if the other dog is much bigger than him. He’s fearless! He loves the Leroy Street doggy run in Hudson River Park and has a blast whenever we have to leave him at Dogma.

Our son Max has also fallen in love with Izzy. Max lives in Park Slope but works as an editor on major Hollywood films at studios in the West Village and Tribeca.  Izzy always greets him with big wet sloppy kisses.

Izzy has taken our building on Morton Street and the surrounding West Village neighborhood by storm! We can’t get around the block even once without two or three people stopping to compliment him, pet him and give him tummy rubs.  He’s especially fond of our neighborhood bar Henrietta Hudson (corner of Morton and Hudson), where they give out doggie treats and numerous tummy rubs.

He’s so popular in the neighborhood that when we pass by some restaurants the staff runs out to greet him—by name. It happens a lot at Spunto (65 Carmine Street), and especially at Henrietta Hudson.  Before Casa, the Brazilian restaurant on the SE corner of Bedford and Commerce (Cherry Lane) unfortunately closed a few months ago after nearly 25 years in the neighborhood, two of the women there would run out across Bedford Street every time they saw him.  He really has taken the neighborhood by storm.

Izzy is incredibly affectionate and a social butterfly and we’re delighted to have him.

From Joy & Brian: We had a delightful visit with Izzy. He took us by storm too.