On a sunny Thursday afternoon in Medford, Hedi Bayliss decided to swing by the Southern Oregon Humane Society while running errands.
She walked inside, leaving her 5-year-old Chihuahua terrier mix, Poppy, in the car.
"Excuse me, I'm looking for a small, older dog," the 63-year-old Medford resident said to a volunteer.
The volunteer led her outside, through the bigger dogs' cacophony of barks, to the agility course, where the smaller dogs were practicing.
One dog in particular stood out.
It was Muffin, a 7-year-old dachshund, doing what she does best — agility stunts for attention instead of treats.
Muffin had been at SOHS since July 3. Before the 13-pound wiener dog was brought to Oregon, she was slated for euthanasia at Haven, a shelter in Anderson, Calif., that no longer had room for her.
But SOHS agreed to take Muffin in hopes it could help find her a home.
On Aug. 1, it did just that when Bayliss walked through the door.
From behind the chain-link fence, Bayliss watched Muffin brave the orange and purple teeter totter and rush to the turquoise tunnel.
"She was so bold and out there," Bayliss said. "The others seemed too shy."
When Muffin's turn on the agility course was finished, Bayliss told the handler that she was interested in adopting her.
Within 10 minutes, she and Muffin were introduced in the "get acquainted" yard.
Five minutes later, Bayliss' face and hands were covered in Muffin's kisses.
The real test was Muffin's interaction with Poppy, though.
When Bayliss brought the Chihuahua mix into the shelter, she and Muffin took turns assessing the situation with their noses, intertwining their leashes.
"After about two minutes of being unsure with one another, I took their leashes off, and they were playing with one another," she said.
It was at that moment that Bayliss realized Muffin would not only be her companion but Poppy's as well.
Then came the final test: Muffin's new digs.
"I was nervous to see how Muffin would adjust to the house," Bayliss said.
The moment she stepped foot into the house, Bayliss' new tenant rushed over to the doggy door. She poked her soft brown head out of the plastic flap to scope out the backyard. With investigative techniques only a dachshund would understand, Muffin squeezed her slightly overweight body in and out of the doggy door 10 times before she found the jackpot — the toy box.
"She loves the squeakers," Bayliss said. "Somehow she manages to get them outside even though some of them are bigger than her body."
She and Poppy sometimes work as a team, with Muffin dragging the toys outside and Poppy dragging them back in.
Muffin tried taking walks with Poppy and Bayliss around the neighborhood, but it was a struggle for the paunchy pooch.
"Poppy is a fast walker, and she and I have a 20-minute route that we take around the neighborhood," Bayliss said. "Muffin can't seem to keep up, though, with her weight."
Bayliss now takes the dogs to Donahue-Frohnmayer Park in Medford, where they walk the loop one time.
"Muffin can wiggle her way around that easily, and she's lost one and a half pounds because of it," she said.
Muffin's not only regaining her svelte waistline, but her fur seems to be getting softer, Bayliss has noticed.
SOHS Director Kenn Altine said animals will lose weight, their coats will get shinier and their eyes even will get a little brighter once they feel safe.
Sometimes Bayliss will be doing work at her computer when she suddenly feels nails scratching at her foot.
"It hasn't even been two weeks and she already knows how to get what she wants," Bayliss said.
"You can't help but pick her up and let her sleep on your lap."
Reach Mail Tribune intern Amanda Barker at email@example.com or by phone at 541-776-4368.