The Story Behind iSqueek


Hemmy was an adult short-haired red standard Dachshund. My wife rescued him when he was 5 years old from one of the many fine Dachshund rescue networks. I must admit, at the time, I didn’t want a dog at all. Least of all a “weiner” dog. But I was once told (by a somewhat older and especially happy husband) that the secret to a long and happy marriage lies in two simple words, “yes, dear.”  So, in this instance, I heeded that advice and agreed to get a dog.

So Hemmy entered our lives.

Hemmy came to us with a leash, a collar, and a red squeak ball. They told us it was his favorite at the shelter and they thought he should be allowed to keep it. He would bring me the ball and drop it at my feet and hop up-and-down until I found myself getting suckered into playing with him. Soon I was also on the floor playing tug-of-war with his blanket and hiding his squeak ball so he could play hide-and-seek. Eventually, this little dog took to me and, to my wife's amusement, would follow me around, as well as sit on the couch next to me when I came home from work.

Over the years every time we went to the grocery store I would buy another squeak toy for Hemmy.

I began to notice that the cashiers would always squeak the toys as they passed them over the scanner. I could see why dogs liked them, they seemed even irresistible to humans. When we’d return home Hemmy would stick his nose into the grocery bags (before we could empty them) looking for his new squeak toy. When he found it, he would get so excited and would take it to his bed and squeak it and wag his tail happily.

As every doxie owner knows, they like to sleep in the "big bed." So at night I would pick ‘ol Hemmy up and “fly” him upstairs to the bedroom, singing in his ear a made-up “flying dog, flying dog” song. He seemed to love it, but who knows? That little dog had turned me into a silly sentimental man. I began to take him along everywhere I went: for rides, family visits, holidays (only dog-friendly places for me and "my" Hemmy).

I know my story is not unique. Dog owners really love their dogs and agree they all have truly unique personalities. But I wasn’t expecting this. It turned out that this little rescued dog loved me more than I probably deserved. Slowly he worked on me and eventually melted my heart.

His squeak-toy collection grew to fill two very large baskets and he loved them all. But we always knew there were favorites he loved best. His original red  ball remained one of those favorites. 

Visit our iSqueek website:

Hemmy the Dachshund

July 10, 2009

When Hemmy became ill in 2007 with a rare blood disease, he went very suddenly. We hadn’t expected the loss either. What we had thought was just another routine visit to our veterinarian turned out to be much more serious. I had to leave him for treatment, but it was just his time. We had had him for seven years. I know that loss is an inevitable part of life, and I was determined to be thankful for the time we had with him and to do something positive in his memory.

I remember packing up all Hemmy’s toys with the intention of giving them to the shelter where we got him. I temporarily put the toys away, but kept his red ball on my desk just as a happy, bittersweet reminder. I liked to squeeze it every once in a while and the sound it made was sort of comforting in a way.

Two years went by, and my brother Daniel and I were deciding on what type of iPhone App we’d like to begin work on as a learning tool for our own programming with the iPhone. One day I looked at that red ball still sitting on my desk and I thought maybe it would be neat to create a virtual squeak ball, this way I could have that sound with me at all times. A bit sentimental perhaps, but it wasn’t going to be much of an app, more a tutorial for learning (and applying) Objective-C programming to the iPhone.

But when we started to get the renderings right and the sound in sync, we became more excited by what we were creating. We generated a type of red ball and then we decided to continue with another type of squeak.  So we continued...and continued...until we created iSqueek.

Well, that’s the story and the inspiration behind this neat little app. For those who like backstories, thanks for reading this. It gave me a moment to pay tribute. We hope you enjoy our finished product, iSqueek, as it was a true labor of love.

Oh... And thank you, Hemmy boy, my “flying dog” with your little red ball.

Fly on, my friend.

David Alexander
Harry Apps