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Ghost Dog Central

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Time for something a little less serious. People that have read my writings on this site over the past year know that I love dogs, and that my wife and I have had some very interesting furry babies throughout our thirty-two yearlong marriage.

We have two Papillions now, Minnie Scule and Izzy Bella. We had two dachshunds who both lived over 15 years, one of which, our Wire Hair Dachshund, Frieda, paid my wife and I visits after she had to be put down. Frieda, God love her was a total pain in the ass and fought us for sixteen years because she was the alpha dog and we were just the incompetent help. We figured that after that that she had a job helping to run Purgatory.

A few months after we lost Frieda, and we still had our fat smooth hair dachshund Greta, and Judy was at the vet and a lady had a small puppy in her arms that looked to Judy to be a red long hair dachshund. The puppy was a rescue that had been found covered in tar alongside North Carolina Highway 24 near Cape Carteret. Judy told the lady that we had lots of experience with dachshunds and that they could be quirky and gave the lady our number. A few days later the lady called and said she could not keep the puppy as her older dog could not handle her.

We went out and we met the lady and met Molly. Molly was not a full blooded dachshund, but a beautiful mix. When her fur grew out we figured that she was a Papillion-Dachshund mix, and according to many people appeared to be a designer dog. She was beautiful, and had a wonderful personality. It was love at first sight for me, she became “daddy’s baby.”

She, like Judy had to deal with long separations from me as a military pup, and when Greta passed away in 2003 she became an only dog. After I came home from Iraq terribly goofed up, often depressed, hyper-vigilant and sometimes nearly suicidal from Iraq, Molly helped keep me alive. When I was stationed as a geographic bachelor in Camp LeJeune, Judy had a partial Achilles tendon resection, and for about a month had to come down to my place in North Carolina because our home has far too many stairs and she could not navigate them. Of course Molly came with her, and Molly decided that she did not want to go home. Home could not compete with being able to go to the beach, or chase deer and other wildlife which existed right outside my door.

This did not impress Judy and so because we loved Molly’s Papillion temperament we got Minnie. But while I was in North Carolina Molly had to have surgery to remove a painful, but benign tumor from her right shoulder. The surgery was done at the same vet where Judy had Frieda put down when Frieda’s renal failure became acute. I got home with Molly who made a fast recovery and that night I sensed something odd. I sensed Frieda, and I began to see small dog sized shadow figures. Frieda had come back. When Molly and I returned to Virginia, Frieda came with us. I have occasionally felt her presence and seen the same shadow figure. When we came back from North Carolina Molly began to show the effects of Kidney disease as well. In February, knowing that Molly’s condition was getting worse we got our other Papillion, Izzy, a little dog who is very much like Molly, laid back, playful and exceptionally sweet. Though she was blind and sick, Molly was good to Izzy, and Izzy was always sweet to Molly.

We lost Molly on May 11th and it was very difficult, but Minnie and Izzy have been great. Since we lost Molly I have felt Molly’s presence in the house and in the car where we spent so much time together. However, something happened Monday which was fascinating. Molly returned in an unusual way.

Judy goes to help a friend’s little boy get to the bus stop a couple of days a week. To do so she gets up earlier than me and then I get up. I have terrible insomnia and all sorts of weird crazy dreams, and night terrors as a result of my time in Iraq and my battle with PTSD, and mornings are difficult. I was never a morning person, but now I’m really not one. When I was in Carolina, Molly would get up on the bed and if I hit the snooze alarm too many times would either nudge me, kiss me, or bark at me to get me up. Monday I had hit the snooze alarm and as I rolled back over I felt a dog walking on the bed. I thought that either Minnie or Izzy was up so I looked up and there was no dog. So I rolled back over. The alarm went off again and I hit the snooze. A couple of minutes later I felt dog steps on the bed, and then had a nudge in my back. I got up, and since no dogs were there I realized that Molly was back. I thanked her, and got up.

I miss Molly, but it seems that she is going to remain a part of my life, anytime that I hit the snooze too often. 

Call me crazy, but I can live with ghost dogs.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Saddest Day: Rest In Peace Molly Fur

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World

It has been a tough day at Padre Steve’s home as we had to put our oldest dog, Molly Fur down. It has been a day where we have shed a lot of tears.

Dean Koontz Wrote:

“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”

Molly was fourteen years old, a half Dachshund and half Papillon mix who was a rescue. Molly was the most amazing dog that we have ever had the honor of loving. Some people talk of being dog-owners, but we are dog-parents as we have never had any children of our own. Our dogs have been our children and we have been blessed to have all of them. Frieda, who was literally the “Dog from Hell” held us hostage for sixteen years was smart, beautiful, devious, and conniving. She fought us to be the Alpha of the family to the end of her life.  To her we were just the incompetent help.

Greta, our second baby, was sweet and lovable. But Greta was basically a “cookie-cutter” Wiener Dog. She was serious, and dour, and one hell of a tough dog. She was strongly territorial and woe betide any big dog who infringed on that territory. She took a mouthful of fur out of a Chow once, but I digress, this is about Molly…

Molly the Wonder Fur… I have a feeling that this article will eventually become the outline of a book, because Molly was amazing. I posted a short note about her loss with a picture of her running down the beach in North Carolina on my Facebook page after we put her down. Both Judy and I have been crying a lot today, even though it was time and Molly was suffering. Since posting that note I have been comforted by the comments of many friends, especially those who knew and loved her, of course reading those made me cry more, but I think that is okay. Anyway, let me tell the story of Molly Fur here. Gilda Radner said: “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” 

We had lost our first dog, a Wire Hair Dachshund named Frieda while I was deployed to Okinawa, Mainland Japan and Korea in April 2001. In October 2001 my wife Judy was at the veterinarian with our other Dachshund, a smooth-hair red named Greta, or Greta-Poo for a routine visit when she met a lady holding what Judy presumed to be a long-hair Dachshund puppy.  The lady explained that she had found the puppy along North Carolina Highway 24 in Carteret County covered in tar. The lady had cleaned her up and had brought her to the vet to get checked out and to get her immunizations. 

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Since we had a great deal of experience with Dachshunds Judy told the lady that they could be quirky and that if she needed any help to let her know. Three days later we received a call from the lady explaining that she could not hand the puppy as it was too much for her older dog and asked if we wanted her. Of course I said yes. We got to the lady’s home and were confronted with a dog that certainly was not a full-blooded Wiener Dog. The puppy had legs and her ears were mounted wrong, but she had a long Dachshund body and brilliant red fur. She looked like a little red fox. I fell in love at first sight and we took her home, thus began the saga of Molly the Fur.

Now Greta our Dachshund was not thrilled to have a puppy. Greta was mommy’s baby and was not going to let anyone come in the way. She was not happy and ensured that Molly knew that, however, Molly was undeterred and one day when Greta tried to bully Molly, the Moll kicked her ass. After that the too maintained a state of detente, not really liking each other but working together to raid the cupboards, steal food and to raid the kitchen garbage can. When Greta had to put down in June of 2003, Molly became an only dog-child.

Molly was always smart, in obedience school she was not the most obedient but she charmed people and she was the class clown. As she got older she became scary smart, but unlike Frieda who used her brains for nefarious purposes, Molly was simply inventive, resourceful and undeterred in finding solutions to any obstacle that she faced. Likewise, Molly’s cheerfulness and sweet demeanor was something that endeared her to everyone who ever got to know her.

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Looking for Birds and Squirrels 

Molly was also became daddy’s girl and despite the fact that I was often deployed or frequently on the road that never changed. Molly was daddy’s girl from day one until the end.

We almost lost Molly when she was seven, when she developed a strange spinal infection. It was a difficult battle and she was in a lot of pain but she overcame it and had completely recovered in about a month’s time.

However, that infection and Molly’s recovery showed us that she was even smarter than we had imagined. As I mentioned the infection was painful for her.  She was basically put in enforced bed rest in a large laundry basket, which we were the enforcers. Molly handled that well and let us know that if she was hurting that she did not want to be picked up.

One funny thing that she did was to start screaming like a two year old child whenever Judy approached her basket. It was amazing. If she didn’t want to be picked up she didn’t bark, she screamed a blood curdling scream. When she recovered she went back to normal, but continued to amaze us with the new and inventive ways that she dealt with obstacles.

Molly loved Christmas. Her first Christmas we wrapped her up a toy and gave it to her. She immediately unwrapped it and began to play. thereafter every Christmas we did this and every Christmas she opened her presents with the joy of a child.

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She also came to love the snow, she was never much a fan of rain, but she loved the snow. It was funny during  our “Februwinter.” Molly was not in the greatest shape but handled the amazingly severe winter weather with aplomb, she with Minnie and Izzy who we had just got, had fun in the snow.

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Molly in her first snow, December 1983

Molly always had a sense for when we were hurting or sick. If we were not doing well she became “Nurse Molly.” Judy gave her that name because of her devotion to trying to make us feel better whenever we were sick or down. Since I am basically a Chaplain version of Doctor House, Nurse Molly was a tremendous comfort.

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When I returned from Iraq I was a mess. PTSD, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, night terrors and chronic sleep problems plagued me, and often still do. However Molly looked after me and I give her credit for helping save my life during those incredibly dark times when I often saw no hope and wanted to die. Over the years it was Molly’s amazing resiliency and devotion that helped keep me alive.

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When I was assigned to Camp LeJeune a second time in 2010 Molly decided, after a visit where Judy was recovering from Achilles Tendon surgery that she wanted to stay with daddy. How could she not?

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Molly Tracking a Deer in my back yard in Emerald Isle

I lived in an apartment under a beach house in Emerald Isle. Outside my door there were deer, squirrels, birds, and did I say deer? I lived about three-tenths of a mile from the beach and every day she and I would take a walk, she would chase deer and then were would hit the beach. In Virginia we have a small back yard and though there are squirrels and birds it could not compete with Emerald Isle.

One of the things that happened in Emerald Isle was on July 4th of 2011. Judy and Molly had come down for a short visit and Judy wanted to see the fireworks which were being launched from the Emerald Island Pier. The three of us went down to the beach and it was packed with people. I don’t do crowds well, I still get panicky in crowds. I also don’t do explosions well. It wasn’t the main show that got me it was the fact that everyone and their brother’s cousin’ father-in-laws next door neighbor’s roommate were there and were shooting off industrial grade fireworks right on top of me. I was melting down and flashing back to Iraq, Molly sensed that I was not doing well and moved close to me. Then to defend me she looked up and started barking at the fireworks. She was unfazed by the explosions and was determined to protect me. I love her to this day for helping to save my life.

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Visit to the Pet Store: Can I Have one Daddy? 

When Molly came to North Carolina she really came into her own. She almost bagged a few deer, including one which was sleeping just off my porch.Thankfully I was able to stop Molly’s attack with a big tug on the retractable leash with Molly just inches from taking a bite out of the left flank of the unsuspecting deer. I would have hated to explain to the local Department of Fish and Game officials how a 15 pound dog had taken a bite out of a deer.

Molly went everywhere with me and loved the rides in the car. She also loved the visits to the pet store which we call the “cookie store” and the walks on the beach. Just before I returned to Virginia in 2013 Molly went blind, just before this she had caught a butterfly in mid-air. She held onto it for five minutes before releasing it unharmed, except for the PTSD that the poor insect must have had.

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As I have already mentioned Molly, loved to do things with me, and one thing she really enjoyed were the long rides between Virginia Beach and Emerald Isle. On those rides we would stop to get something to eat, usually going through various drive thru restaurants where I would get her what I called a “Molly Burger” a plain hamburger that she would scarf down. Of course she tended to get a Molly Burger any time we went out when I lived in North Carolina.

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So Much to Choose From…

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Turn left at the drive through

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Keep the Window Down…

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Daddy and his Girl, Molly always was interested in the computer

Molly was also responsible for us having Papillons. We came to love Molly’s cheery, happy and funny Papillon side. Now Molly did have a Dachshund side of her personality as well, but she operated as either one or the other, so we never knew if we were going to get the “happy Pappy” of the serious Dachshund. But Molly’s Papillon side caused me to get Judy a Papillon just about a month after Molly a abandoned Judy to move to North Carolina with me. This Papillon is Minnie, or her full name “Minnie Scule.” In February we got Minnie a pappy-puppy named Izzy, or “Izzy Bella.” They are a joy. They are not Molly and they, even though both are full blooded Papillons have wildly different personalities. They are now best buddies and partners in crime.

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Minnie and Izzy 

Molly also shares some of the responsibility of bringing Frieda back into our lives. The vet that I took Molly to in North Carolina was the same one that Frieda and Greta went to, as well as the first that Molly went to. In 2012 Molly had to have a painful but benign tumor removed from her shoulder. When she came back from the surgery I felt a strange presence in the apartment and began to see Frieda sized shadow figures. Judy noticed them too in her visits and when Molly and I returned for good Frieda came with us. Both of us occasionally feel her presence and see her shadow.

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The Wind on the Beach

“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.” Martin Luther

Anyway, as I mentioned Molly went blind just before returning from North Carolina. The blindness was very quick to develop, and according to the veterinary eye-speciallist was congenital. However, that did not stop Molly, she adapted and overcame. To prevent injury to her eyes we got her a clear visor which covered her head and eyes but still allowed her to function almost normally. She would use it like a blind person uses their cane to figure out where she was, and if needed as a weapon to get our attention. If we had to move furniture around, she figured out what was moved and proudly let us know what she knew. 

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Molly at Age Seven, Not long after surviving a serious Spinal Infection

About a year ago she was diagnosed with the beginning stage of renal failure. She continued to do relatively well until a few months ago when she began to shed a lot of weight. Even so until a couple of weeks ago she still got around fine and gave us little cause for concern. She took a serious turn for the worse last week. On Thursday she stopped eating as she was occasionally throwing up and had developed a bloody diarrhea but Saturday. Judy and I knew that she was in pain and suffering and while I was at Gettysburg we decided that today would have to be the day. I got home from Gettysburg last night and we loved on Molly. Since she would eat nothing else we got her some hot and fresh Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, which she ate joyfully.

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Molly Giving Orders

This morning we made arrangements to take her in. Minnie and Izzy both gave Molly gentle kisses and nuzzled her before we left. I am sure that they knew that Molly wasn’t coming back. The look of concern on Minnie’s face was heart-warming. Judy drove as I cradled Molly in my arms. With the exception of her time in North Carolina this vet, Dr Robin Knoppf of Abbey Animal Hospital has been her vet. Many of his staff have known Molly for years and a number were with us, one a tech named Sean were with us shedding tears for the Amazing Molly Fur.

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Happy Trails Molly…Until We Meet Again

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Just before eleven A.M. Dr Knoppf gave Molly the injection which helped Molly into the next phase of her journey. Judy and I were holding her and Dr. Knoppf had a hand on her as he listened to her final heartbeats. Molly died surrounded by people who loved her.

It was sad, but it was also reassuring for as we looked at her we could see that she was not longer in pain and was at finally at peace. Some believe that what we see in this live is final, but I am not so sure.

I fully expect that we will see Molly again. That being said I have been crying more that I have for any reason since I can remember. Judy has been too, and thankfully the Pappies, Minnie and Izzy have been wonderful.

Thank you for allowing me to share this, and remember to love your furry babies.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under dachshunds, dogs, papillons

Work, Beer and a Ghost Dog Named Frieda

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Frieda, the Ghost Dog

The past couple of days have been busy. We have been working around the house making up for my three year absence and getting. Actually it is probably closer to a seven year absence if you count Iraq and me working ungodly hours plus overnight and weekend on-call duties at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

That being said, be it three, five or seven years we are working our asses off around the house taking care of so many things that in absence Judy could not do on her own. This is something that most people who do not live in this bubble of the military at war world really cannot understand. You have to live in the world of projects and hopes deferred.

I came home on Friday, rested Saturday and began to work on our house Sunday afternoon. Since then both of us have been working hard. For me it has also involved doing my best imitation of Thor wreaking havoc on old and massive wooden furniture than cannot be moved otherwise. The funny thing is our little Papillon Minnie is totally unperturbed by the loud noise and violence of the hammer destroying heavy duty wood. She is even more unflappable than Molly. I have to admire that, it makes we want to take her out on a tank range or 155mm gun line. She would love it.

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Today I got up early to transport close to 3/4 ton of debris to the local landfill mad to take three loads of goods to the local thrift shop. Tomorrow will be similar, getting to do the Thorthing again and making more runs to the landfill and thrift shop. By Thursday and Friday we will be receiving a new bed and mattress to replace our nearly 30 year old Ikea queen size bed that we have had since 1984 and a mattress that my late grandmother bought us almost 20 years ago. We will also be receiving what is being shipped back from North Carolina on Thursday or Friday.

Today I went through books again, and another stack of books awaits the thrift shop as does a bunch of other stuff. It is amazing what you can accumulate without even trying.

To make matters even more interesting our long dead Wire Hair Dachshund Frieda decided to come home with me. Frieda had been put down at Brigadoon Animal Hospital in 2001. After that she paid visits to Judy and me both, I was deployed in Korea and Frieda visited me, but more interesting was that she visited Judy. When she did she was dragging a new blue robe that Judy had never seen. Judy told me about it when I called her to be expecting a package, I had just purchased her a blue robe which I was shipping back to her. After that visit Frieda went away until last year. Judy always guessed that Frieda was running Purgatory making people wish that they had loved Jesus and people more in this life, but evidently Frieda must have gotten bored with that.

When Molly decided to come to live with me in January 2012 Brigadoon was where whee went. On one of those visits Frieda came home with us. I started seeing shadow figures and sensing a presence, Molly started alerting on things that were not there and when she went blind in the winter of 2012 she still continued to alert whenever I sensed Frieda.

When it was time to move home Judy told me to make sure that I invited Frieda. I did. Yesterday after working hard I went upstairs to shower and change clothes. I stopped and felt something furry bump my leg, I looked down thinking Molly had followed me upstairs and saw a dark figure. I looked around called for Molly and she wasn’t there. Then I called for Minnie, likewise she wasn’t there. Clad only in my shorts I walked downstairs. I peered around the stairwell and saw both Molly and Minnie with Judy. When I saw this called out to Judy: “Frieda is here.”

So life is interesting. Maybe even more than interesting. I do think that Frieda will like Minnie as Minnie has a lot of personality traits that we associated with Frieda. Minnie, like Frieda seems to be an old soul, when she looks at you it is almost like she is looking through your soul.

Tonight after dinner I had Judy take me back to Gordon Biersch to hang out with my buddies John and Freddy. Tomorrow will be a long day of work as will the next two days at least.

Pray for me a sinner,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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It’s a Dog’s Life

“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.” ― Martin Luther

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.”  Dean Koontz, False Memory

When people talk about their dogs like they are nearly human there are some that think them crazy. Of course they are entitled to their opinion but then they haven’t had our dogs.   Judy and I both grew up with dogs and neither of us can imagine not having one to spoil.

Our little dog Molly has a rough life. She is our third dog and has all the benefits negotiated by our first two dogs. She gets a dog biscuit because our first dog, an incredibly stubborn Wire Hair Dachshund that we got on Christmas Eve 1984 in Wiesbaden Germany named Frieda. Now Frieda was the “dog from hell” and tested us every day of her life. She never got it that she was not the top dog and every day it was a different power fight. Eventually she succeed in getting us to pay her to do her business outside and not on the rug. Our second dog, Greta a fat little Red Dachshund that we got in San Antonio when Frieda was four years old also got the same deal even though she was easy to housebreak.

Molly simply takes the “cookie” as we call it as her due.  We talk about “renewing her contract” when we buy dog food and well she has a more toys than some kids. It is funny to see dig through her toy basket for specific toys especially when she drags out toys from her puppyhood.  She is a fearless little creature and absolutely calming. When we went to the beach to watch fireworks on July 4th she was steady as a rock as people set of their own show grade fireworks above our heads and I was trying to control PTSD related flashbacks and a major anxiety attack she seemed to sense it and kept close to me, her calmness helped me calm down that night.

One of the things that she loves to do is come with us down to the Island Hermitage in Emerald Isle North Carolina. Since I am stationed at Camp LeJeune and I am a geographic bachelor this means that I make the trip home to Virginia every couple of weeks. Judy had surgery on her Achilles tendon two weeks ago and this week came down here with me since my apartment is all at the ground level and there are no steps to negotiate.  Of course our little dog Molly made the trip as well.

Molly like the island life.  I live about a quarter mile from the beach in a quiet neighborhood with a lot of woods and wildlife.  Molly has discovered that the local deer like to hang around where I live, she loves the beach, the walks where she can track various animals and of course the 6 foot long bean bag in my living room which she has decided is hers.  Molly is half Dachshund and half Papillon and weighs all of 15 pounds.  However she has decided that the bean bag is hers thank you.

She came down the first time with Judy during the summer and then had a short vacation with me here in October.  When we came down here this week she seemed to anticipate where we were were going, obviously a trip this long means that she is going on vacation.

Yes she is spoiled. She was a rescue that we got when she was about 6 months old.  We don’t know if she was a run away or dump but we came out with a gem. Incredibly smart, sweet and always playful she seems to know that she is cute and funny.  She can be obnoxious and is entirely too entitled but she is a monster of our own making.

She has a sense of fairness about her that is funny. She will divide here time between us almost as if she doesn’t want either of us to feel left out.  She has figured out that Judy hasn’t been well and has poured out extra attention on her while ensuring that I take her out for her walk and make sure that she has her food and water.

Anyway she is entertaining and sweet and always fun.  We are blessed to have the her and hope that if you have a dog that yours brings as much joy to your life as molly does ours.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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X-Files and Wiener Dog attempts at World Domination

Note to readers: This is a revision of a very early post on this site which I think that you will enjoy.

Frieda as a puppy in 1984

Author’s note: The term “Little Shit” in reference to a Wiener Dog is one which may offend some people who have not been owned by one.  However, as a descriptive term there is little better to describe them and I do not use the term lightly but with great care.  Those of us who have spent our lives owned by them and who have struggled against them also mean it as a term of endearment.  Thus by using the term I mean no offense to the unenlightened, or those who have sweet sensitive and obedient dogs who cannot comprehend the duality of good and evil that lies in the heart of a Dachshund.  However, as we who know and love them understand deep in our hearts these little shits are to be treasured each in their own way. All artwork done by the Abbess of the Abby Normal see her site at

http://abbeynormalabbess.wordpress.com/
Wiener Dogs, sometimes known as Dachshunds are among the most peculiar animals.  Their long and low silhouette is distinctive and if you see one of them walking their owner you cannot miss the particular gait of their walk and manner in which their tail is carried behind them as they alertly look for whatever trouble that they can avail themselves of you know that trouble is on the way.

A cocky Frieda in the Grass with one of her stolen tennis balls

Almost anyone who has been owned by a Dachshund can tell you stories of how these little shits manage to do things that, well….to put it mildly will certainly convince you of the existence of purgatory.  You will become a believer as they will make your life Purgatory for the 12-16 years or more that they will own you.  Sorry Protestants who don’t believe, if you aren’t owned by one here there will be one in Purgatory named Frieda, who at one time for 16 years exacted her own sweet form of purgatory in our little household. I am convinced that God that the Devil have worked out a deal to let Frieda to run your life in Purgatory until you get straightened out enough to get to heaven.  After all, Purgatory is, like my home of record, West Virginia, Almost Heaven.

Greta or Poo as a puppy

The Abbess and I have had these little wonders for oh… the last 25 years or so.   We have grown attached to them, much as hostages attach to their terrorist captors in the Stockholm syndrome. We are convinced John, no I’m not having fun, Calvin had a Wiener Dog.  We would like to believe that JC’s was a Wire Hair, although I don’t think that the Wire Hair was around quite by JC’s time. However, that being said and despite the influence of the Augustinian understanding of predestination which certainly helped form Calvin’s theology I am absolutely certain that Calvin had to have one of these little shits to come up with the doctrine of  Total Depravity. There is no question in my Anglo-Catholic mind of this fact. Likewise, I’m sure that the Deity Herself will confirm this someday and that perhaps John Calvin himself will thank me for bringing this up as we warm up on heaven’s lush green outfield.

For those of you who don’t believe, all you need to do is look at the first chapter of the original edition of James Dobson’s book The Strong Willed Child. Even Dobson cannot escape a power fight with his Wiener Dog named Max.  Dobson reports a physical fight that he had with Max and but I am certain that this could not have been an isolated incident as no self respecting Dachshund would ever let being physically subdued one time keep them from their nefarious power seeking ways.

Greta at about the age of 10 in West Virginia, not a skinny dog

For us we had Frieda, a beautiful classic Wire Hair Dackel (what the Germans call them) from deep in Bayern (Bavaria). Frieda took ownership of us on Christmas Eve 1984 beginning a 16 year reign of terror.  Four years later we came across Greta, a fat little red Dachshund from San Antonio who we got in 1988. Greta who we affectionately called Greta-Poo which I shortened to just Poo did not rule as Frieda did but instead was a consummate thief no garbage can even ones protected by pantry doors was safe as long as she was around.  If we made the mistake of leaving food anywhere that she could get it would be gone if we turned our backs or did not constantly threaten her.  The funniest incident of the Poo’s thievery was when we lived in Texas and had a number of friends over, as was our custom to eat pizza and watch Star Trek the Next Generation.  We made a fatal mistake. A major thunderstorm and cloudburst created a bit of a stir and we all went out into the apartment’s breezeway to see the rain and hail come down. There was one very large piece of pizza, if I recall with everything on it including jalapeno peppers on the pizza pan on the coffee table. Poo could not resist and grabbed the piece of pizza dragging it under the table.  When we came back in we saw her with the pizza in her mouth and at the same time she saw us.  It was as if she started to shove the pizza in her mouth with both paws when she saw us.  The Abbess looked at her and simply said “Dog it’s yours” as we all laughed.  The little shit ate the whole thing jalapeños and all.  She would continue her thievery until the last few months of her life when confined to a Dachshund “wheelchair” due to back problems.

Molly on “her” couch

We Finally we have our current little shit and mischlinge (mixed) Long Hair Dachshund-Papillion and defender of the realm, Molly, in 2001 after we lost Frieda at the age of 16 ½.  Molly still acts like a puppy at 8.  Molly though a mixed breed flips from being the happy and obedient Papillion to the obnoxious and stubborn Wiener Dog in nothing flat

Looking for Squirrel

It is if there is some sort of hypostatic union going on with Molly fully Dachshund and fully Papillion. There is no in between setting for her, she goes from the good side of the Force to the Dark side at a moment’s notice.  Sometimes I think that she is channeling Frieda when this happens. Though they never met, they are somewhat kindred spirits.  Molly is not nearly as extreme as Frieda and we can thank heaven for that, but back to Frieda, or as she was oft known “the Queen.”

We spent 16 plus years in a constant power fight with Frieda. The term “little shit” applied to Frieda is a misnomer.  The Queen weighed in at 28 pounds and had teeth and jaws like a German shepherd.  Patently the little shits in Germany are bred to hunt badgers and foxes.  They are incredibly strong and have an attitude just this side of a Klingon in a bad mood.  Most dogs, once you have established dominance as the “Alpha Dog” in your little pack accept their place.  Not Wiener Dogs, especially Frieda. She spent 16 years trying to force us into doing what she wanted be it through passive or aggressive means.  If you have ever seen the Peter Sellers movie The Pink Panther Strikes Again where Inspector Cleauseau visits Oktoberfest and gets a room at a small hotel, you will see what I am referring to here. The good inspector sees a dog lying on the floor near the front desk. He asks the desk clerk if his dog bites.  The clerk replies no and Cleauseau reaches to pet the dog which then attacks him.  Cleauseau yells at the desk clerk “I thought you said your dog did not bite.” To which the clerk replied; “that’s not my dog.”  The dog in the movie is a Wire Hair, who looks just like Frieda in her early years. This was our life for 16 years.

http://www.kontraband.com/videos/19428/Does-Your-Dog-Bite/

Although both Greta, as we affectionately called her Poo had her moments, and Molly like I said sometimes channels Frieda.  Frieda was unique. From what I hear from others owned by Wire Hair Dachshunds that some of what she did are common to all of these miscreant creatures.  I can’t go into too many details and like John the Evangelist I would have to say that there are many more things that Frieda did which cannot be contained in this one essay but I shall endeavor to mention a few.

Frieda was a liar.  I know that sounds harsh because many people have a notion that dog’s don’t lie. This pattern of obfuscation began early in her life when as a puppy in Germany she would try to fake the Abbess out about by to urinate in the yard.  She knew that if she went outside and did her business that she would be rewarded.  Rapidly catching on the little shit began to do “touch and goes’ faking the pee and hoping to still get a reward.  One day the Abbess noticed this and thus began an intricate dance of death with the little shit attempting to fool us, and us trying to catch her.  This usually involved looking to make sure that there was wetness where wetness should be on a female dog after they urinate.   If there was no wetness Frieda would not get her reward.  Likewise, Frieda lied about other things.  When she did something that she shouldn’t and you discovered it she could act more innocent than a Nazi at the Nurnberg Trials.  “What? Me? Do something wrong, I was in the Hofbrauhaus while the others we making those decisions.”  If you decided to push the issue she became 28 pounds of razor blades.  Actually it was more like a Sherman tank blundering into an ambush by a Wehrmacht Jagdpanther with the long 88.  Not a fun, often violent and sometimes bloody.  I think that the Abbess and I still have scars from some of these encounters.

Frieda lied in other ways, occasionally we would catch her.  Once while living in Texas we left home to take a blind friend to the store.  This was just before Christmas and the Abbess had just made an ass-load of cookies.  We had not planned this trip and when our friend called we left the apartment rather quickly.  When we got to our friends’ house we were struck by a terrible thought, the cookies were in striking distance of Frieda and Poo.  Reacting quickly I asked our friend for his phone. This of course was back in the dark ages before cell phones were affordable to the average person.  Calling my house I waited for my version of Bill Clinton’s voice to play through the message on the machine and as soon as the “beep” signaled that I was live I began to talk.  “Dammit, get away from the cookies now! I’m coming home and if I catch you you’re both dead!” Slamming the phone down I ran to the car and raced the 5 miles back to our apartment.  As I rushed the door I noticed that indeed to cookies had been pilfered, however the dogs were nowhere to be found. Looking around I found Poo cowering in the bedroom and Frieda hiding behind the toilet.  I can only imagine the looks on their faces when my voice called them out in the middle of the crime.

Frieda galring at us after surgery to remove a tumor on her tail at the age of ten

Frieda liked to play dead.  I mean play dead enough to make that you think that she was dead.  She would be on her back, eyes fixed forward and unblinking, chest not moving. She would do this until we or her various puppy sitters were screaming “Oh may God she’s dead!” When she was happy the little shit would wag the very tip of her tail as if to say gotcha!

If you asked if she knew about the ripped up clothing, eaten socks, opened child proof medicine bottles her eyes would turn to steel.  Molly can do this too when caught.  Thankfully she is only half of Frieda’s weight and not as heavily armed. She also being a mischlinge has to fight her inner Papillion urge to please, something that Frieda did not have to contend with being fully in tune with the Dark Side of the Force.

Now our experiences with Frieda did not end when the little shit died.  I was deployed in the Far East when after going into renal failure and refusing treatment; yes she stopped cooperating and would not eat the special kidney diet.  The Abbess tells me that when the vet told her to fry some of the food with some with a bit of oregano to tempt her to eat it.  The Abbess knew that this was hopeless but did so anyway.  She describes the look that Frieda gave her that night as “Damn you and the horse that you rode in on.”

Well after Frieda passed into the great beyond the saga did not end.  As I mentioned I was in the Far East when she went to be with whomever she went to be, most likely whoever made her the best offer, she would have sold us down the river if she had been given the chance in life.  One night the Abbess was asleep and felt a familiar presence, Frieda had come into the room dragging a blue robe that the Abbess had never seen before, got into bed with her and as she petted Frieda she noticed that the bumps, warts and other skin flaws that had marred Frieda in life, which we think might have been in part due to exposure to Chernobyl radiation in Germany were no longer there. Her skin was smooth as she held Frieda the Queen disappeared.  Unknown to the Abbess on the far side of the world I had bought her a blue robe in Korea and would the same day as the Abbess receive a visit from the Queen.  When we told each other of our experiences we were both shocked.  It was beyond weird and certainly X-File material.

Molly in the snow

As I said before the stories about Frieda could fill volumes as could those about the Poo and Molly.  Those who knew Frieda can attest to these and many other nearly unbelievable stories.  Maybe she was an X-File. I don’t know, but if so she was our X-File and we loved the little shit, we still miss her.  One thing that we know for sure, always let lying dogs sleep.

Now we have Molly who on occasion assists in the writing of essays on this site.

Peace, Steve+

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