A Dachshund’s Wish

Richly illustrated and full of fun, this tale of wishes and what happens if they come true shows how valuable and enriching friendship is. In A Dachshund’s Wish, Paws, a delightful dachshund puppy, is so happy with his new family that he wants to become a boy and join them in doing the things humans do. He soon realizes, however, that this idea carries consequences, and he risks giving up some of the things he loves about himself. By almost losing the characteristics that make him unique, he learns that being different is something to celebrate. In fact, all of Paws’s friends are different and wonderful in their own ways, and the friendships they share are all the more special for it. A Dachshund’s Wish is Joe Tavano’s first children’s book.

Grandma and her Chocolate Labrador

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Trade Paperback
Minted Prose, LLC
Children’s Fiction
80 pages
Publication Date:
April 2006
7" x 8.625"
Age Level
8 to 12
Lexile® Measure:
640L, text reading levels third and fourth grades
Traitor Dachshund®
5.6 ounces
Perfect Gift For:
Families, Dachshund Lovers
Worldwide Rights Available


“A charming, rollicking tale unfolds.”
—EW.com (Entertainment Weekly) “A” Review

A Dachshund’s Wish captivated my heart the moment I started reading it. . . . It is a wonderfully crafted story. . . It offers parents a delightful opportunity to discuss the importance of self acceptance, tolerance for the differences in others, and the value of friendship and family with their children.”
—Jo Singer, Petside.com

“Perfect chapter-a-night choice for parents to read to younger children.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“A charming, pacey story which contains the oldest and most satisfactory message in the world: It’s good to be who you are.”
—Eva Ibbotson, New York Times bestselling author, Which Witch?

“Joe Tavano is a great storyteller who gradually reveals the hidden secret in the dream of Paws, a loveable dachshund adopted by Jimmy and his family. Through twists and turns, Paws comes to understand that ‘just being Paws’ is a delightful and very powerful thing. His adventure through the primordial woods and encounters with aides moves quickly and deliberately to a conclusion that is happy and rewarding for Paws and the reader. Students will enjoy the tale for its sense of longing and magic, and teachers will find lots of opportunities to take advantage of the story for weeks! Our students and teachers loved it.”
—Mickey Landry, Head of School, Lafayette Academy Charter School, New Orleans, LA

“Joe Tavano has succeeded in the impossible—getting inside the mischievous and madcap mind of a puppy dachshund.”
—Michael Crewdson, co-author, Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger

“This book exudes a warm, loving feeling that so clearly expresses the benefits of bonding with an animal. And it encourages self-acceptance, understanding, and tolerance of others.”
—Adrian Milton, Dachshund Friendship Club

“Our third grade teachers read the book [A Dachshund’s Wish] to/with their classes last year. They said that our students really enjoyed reading it because it was about a dog and many of them have dogs at home themselves. Also the book talked about the dog’s dreams and since ‘dreams’ are a big theme at our school, it was a story that everyone could get into including the teachers.”
—John Alford, CEO of Langston Hughes Academy Charter School, New Orleans, LA

“If you have a dachshund, read this book. You’ll love it. If not, read it anyway. It’s a really good book.”
—Philip Gonzalez, coauthor, The Dog Who Rescues Cats: The True Story of Ginny

“I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this children’s book. It is extremely well written and beautifully illustrated. The lessons learned by the characters mimic everyday life and promote valuable lessons for all of us, not just our children! Those of you with youngsters and grandchildren will thoroughly enjoy the story-put it on your Christmas list!”
—Lynne Dahlen, editor, Dachshund Club of America Newsletter

A Dachshund’s Wish is full of enchanting and memorable characters that entertain and engage children of all ages. Kids will find this story irresistible. . . . A magical read-aloud that teaches valuable life lessons and a must-read for elementary students.”
—Mary Wanzer, elementary school teacher and S.U.N.Y. adjunct professor

“The book is so sweet. . . . I know lots of children (adults too) that will be very happy when it becomes available at bookstores.”
—Nancy Turner, editor, National Miniature Dachshund Club Digest

“I read A Dachshund’s Wish and enjoyed it very much. I think my fourth graders would appreciate the story and identify with Paws’s dream of having a better life. The book is a good length for those children who love reading chapter books, yet like to finish them within a few days. Ji Yu’s illustrations are particularly touching and add to the story.”
—New York City elementary school teacher

“I loved everything about the book. The story is fast paced and fun and will teach kids a lot about life.”
—Marc Marrone, former pet columnist, Martha Stewart Kids

“Besides portraying an accurate portrait of Paws, a sensitive and fun loving family dog, Joe Tavano’s inclusion of a fast-paced mystery among with a moral all humans must deal with—‘I’m ok. It’s good to be me’—makes this book exciting and fun. Only a dachshund owner could have written this delightful story, inclusive of so many unique dachshund traits. Ji Yu’s delicate animated drawings complement the compelling story of a brave, clever and adventurous dachshund.”
—Valerie Diker, dachshund breeder, Dikerdachs, New York City

“The lessons are so good, and I am sure I will enjoy teaching about A Dachshund’s Wish.”
—Kay Pevey, Gifted Resource Instructor of children in grades 2-5

“Wow, the old saying ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ really applies to this book on several layers to the book itself as well as the characters. One might expect this to be a simple child’s story about a dog. No way. Throughout the story, I was surprised at the simplicity and soul of the characters. It really was a fun book. It had adventure, heart and subtlety delivered some powerful messages in such a honest and innocent manner. I have a dog (and have even called him ‘Dog-Boy’). The author really got into the head of the Boy and the Dog. I could tell he was a dog-lover. I don’t want to imply this book is too deep for kids. It is perfect for kids and will make them think (but adults should take some lessons from it as well). Parents need to read it and then talk to their kids. It’s going to be hard not to think of this book the next time I pet my dog.”
—Chris Daniel, Producer/Editor/Director, Daniel Productions


Chapter 1

At a shelter in Livingston, New Jersey, lay a red dachshund puppy in a cage behind a glass wall. His brother had left the day before and now he was alone. Only when he got up on his hind legs and leaned against the side of the cage could he talk to the old cat and the shaky Chihuahua. To make the time go by, he took a nap. He dreamed about his family on the farm—his brother; his mom, LeeAnn; and his dad, Bossy Joe. His mom said he was just like his dad. She’d find him in the afternoons hidden in a clump of dandelions, watching Emily the horse being brushed. In the fall, the farm was sold. LeeAnn and Bossy Joe moved with the family. The brothers were old enough to find new homes.

A tapping on the glass woke the puppy. He saw a boy smiling at him. He smiled back, got up, and started wagging his tail. This was the first time he was happy since leaving the farm and he felt a new life was about to begin.

“I want this one!” yelled the boy.

“I want this one!” the puppy barked.

“Dad, what kind of dog is that?”

“It’s a dachshund, Jimmy.”

His name is Jimmy, the dachshund thought.

“Can I have him, please, Mom, please, Dad?”

“Well, okay. But he has to be your responsibility,” said his mom.

“And remember, Jimmy, you’ll have to help more around the house. Wash the car with me. That was our deal,” his dad said.

“I promise I’ll do it,” said Jimmy. “Can I pick him up?” And suddenly, the shelter owner whisked the dachshund from his cage and the little dog landed in the outstretched hands of Jimmy.

“Paws! That’s what I’m going to call you. Paws!”

Wow! I’m Paws! I’ve never had a name before. I’m somebody now! I’m Paws!

What more could a dachshund want?

Jimmy still held Paws close as he and his family left the store. It was a windy day and he didn’t want Paws to be cold. When they got to the car, Jimmy’s dad opened the back door and Jimmy, with Paws, got in.

“Everybody strapped in?”

Jimmy’s dad started the car and they drove home, Jimmy and Paws hugging all the way. No sooner had the car stopped in the driveway, than Jimmy opened the door and he and Paws ran right onto the lawn.

Paws rolled over and over in the grass.

The feel of grass again!

When Paws got on his feet, he looked over his shoulder and gave Jimmy a big smile.

“Here, Paws.” Paws ran to Jimmy.

“Mom, Dad, do you see how fast he is? I knew it.”

Jimmy picked Paws up. “Here’s your new home.” They went in through the front door. Paws squirmed out of Jimmy’s arms. He knew he needed to get right to work exploring. Because if a dachshund is going to do his job of protecting his new family, he has to be familiar with every sight, sound, and scent.

The family burst out laughing at the sight of Paws’s nose going right into action. There was a familiar scent, very similar to Jimmy’s. A girl came down the stairs.

Jimmy leaned toward Paws and whispered, “That’s my sister, Donna. Don’t get too close to her when she’s playing with her dolls or she’ll dress you up in one of their clothes.” Paws didn’t know what Jimmy meant, but he was happy to meet another member of his new family. He stopped exploring and ran up to Donna, wagging his tail. He sat down, barked, and stretched his head high. She reached to pet him.

“Aw, he’s so cute. What’s his name?”

“Paws,” Jimmy replied.

“Welcome home, Paws. You’ll play with me and my dolls.”

“No, he won’t,” said Jimmy. “He’s going to play catch with me and my friends.”

Donna scratched Paws’s ear and whispered, “Don’t worry. We’ll play dolls later.”

Paws smiled and walked away. He still had more exploring to do.

I love my new family and I’m never going to let them down. Ever!

“Why don’t you go to the car and get Paws the surprise we bought him?” said Jimmy’s dad. Paws waited with big bright eyes for Jimmy to return. In a minute the front door banged open, and Jimmy stood there with something big in his arms. He came into the living room and put it down. Paws walked to it. It was a pillowy dachshund bed. His eyes welled with tears and he slowly made his way to the center of the bed, scraped a small flat area with his front paws, and lay down. He would never have to sleep in a cold, lonely cage again.

“Gee, look at that. What a smart dog! Can Paws sleep in my room? Please?” said Jimmy.

“Jimmy, Paws should stay downstairs for now until he gets familiar with the house,” said his dad. “And later he can be in your room.”

“Mom, please?”

“Your dad’s right,” his mom said.

“Okay.” Jimmy bent down to hug Paws and whispered in his ear, “You’ll be up in my room before you know it.”

Jimmy carried Paws, still lying in his bed, over to the fireplace. Dad, Jimmy, and Donna went upstairs, and Paws saw Mom go over to a square on the wall. When she touched it, the house went dark. Paws put his head down between his front paws and took a deep, contented breath.

He thought about his old friends at the shelter—the cat and the Chihuahua. He hoped they would find new families and that they would have big warm beds to sleep in. And as these thoughts ran through his mind, a quiet sense of love—the love of a family—filled the house. Paws’s first day with his new family and his new home came to an end. And he began to dream as only a dachshund can.

Copyright © 2006 Minted Prose, LLC.

Video & Audio

About The Book

Author Interview

Lessons & Activities

The Author

Joe Tavano

Joe Tavano

When Joe Tavano met the real Paws, they quickly became close friends. A Dachshund’s Wish draws on Paws’s reactions to the squirrels, birds and other wild animals in his backyard. Illustrated by Ji Yu, A Dachshund’s Wish is Tavano’s first children’s book. Writing it was a wild departure from Tavano’s professional life as a graphic designer and videotape editor. On the job, he creates audio and video programming for such television clients as Nickelodeon, NBC and Spike TV.

Tavano lives in New York City and has visited schools there to talk about his book and writing. He also does readings for children at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. “Nurses read most of the story and then I pop in to read the last chapter as a surprise,” said author Joe Tavano.“It’s one of the best things I do.”

Tavano hopes Paws helps children learn that both humans and animals share love and dreams, just as the real Paws did.

A Message To The Reader

One of my basic philosophies is that you should strive to achieve as many of your dreams as possible.

Now I’m an author. I consider A Dachshund’s Wish to be one of my best efforts yet! It’s a tale created around one of the most amazing souls I’ve ever encountered—or am likely ever to encounter—in my life: my dachshund, Paws.

It’s a magical story about friendship, self-image, love, hope and, of course, dreams.

We spend so much energy in our daily routines that we forget to keep our dreams alive. That is why I wrote A Dachshund’s Wish. To remind us that, whether we are 7 or 70, reaching for our dreams is what keeps us alive!

By trade I’m a creative director/video editor for television.

Today I’m an author.

Tomorrow? I think I’d like to fly the space shuttle.

Author Q&A

What inspired A Dachshund’s Wish?

I first told the story nearly ten years ago to the publisher of Traitor Dachshund, who has been asking me to write it ever since. It involved my dachshund—named Paws—and I related his experiences with the animals he met in the backyard—squirrels, raccoons. And then added some, like the hedgehog, of course.

You’re a graphic designer working in the television industry. Did that background influence this book?

Writing a book is a whole different experience but the crossover with my professional work aided my creativity when writing this book. But maybe someday I’ll work with Traitor Dachshund to make an animated feature based on the book.

Would you write another children’s book?

I don’t consider myself a writer. I’m basically a big kid. Writing is very hard to do, but I know this book will be a great success because it is a wonderful story with a great message.

What did you take from the real-life Paws for this book?

I think Paws actually told the story; I just wrote the book. Paws taught me to keep my goals clear and simple.

Why is The Great Mae a cat?

The Great Mae is modeled on a big orange tabby cat I once had. Paws had a lot of interaction with the cat. And I think the name has a magical feel. Paws sees The Great Mae as a cat, but it could be anything. Other animals may see The Great Mae completely differently.

What would you most like children to take away from this story?

It’s important for children to accept who they are and to accept others as well. Self-respect is key to respecting others. Children need to learn to care about other people and that friends can help each other achieve their hopes and dreams in life.

Why write the story with animal characters?

Because the story is about animals and our interaction with them. The animal experiences are metaphors to which children can relate. Animal characters are non-threatening and are a natural and easy way to convey lessons to children. The story is about our commonality with all living creatures, who feel, yearn and, of course, love.

Download the PDF of this Q&A

The Illustrator

Ji Yu holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hunter College in New York CIty. She has studied in Paris and Rome. A Dachshund’s Wish is the first book she has illustrated. In developing the pencil and watercolor drawings for this book, Yu revisited her own childhood and tried to see the story through the eyes of a little girl. “I used to look at all the pictures before I read anything, and I tried to imagine what I’d like to see if I read this story as a child.” Yu teaches in the art departments of George Washington University and Montgomery College. She and her husband live in Virginia.