Frieda glaring and sulking after surgery to remove a tumor on her tail at the age of 10. We sometimes refer to this picture as “The Ass in a Sling.”
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. Those of us owned by them who struggle against them also mean it as a term of endearment. Using the term in this post I mean no offense to the unenlightened, yet as we who know and love them understand deep in our hearts, that these little shits are to be treasured each in their own way.
Wiener Dogs, sometimes known as Dachshunds are among the most peculiar animals. Almost anyone who has been owned by one can tell you stories of how these little shits manage to do things that, well….to put it mildly convince you of the existence of purgatory. 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. She is a Wire Hair named Frieda to run your life until you get straightened out enough to get to heaven. After all, Purgatory is, like my home of record, West Virginia, Almost Heaven.
Judy 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. Probably a Wire Hair, although I don’t think that the Wire Hair was around quite by JC’s time. I do think that they came later. However, that being said and despite the influence of Augustine’s understanding of predestination, 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. Maybe 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 orginal edition of Jame’s Dobson’s book The Strong Willed Child. Even Dobson cannot escape a power fight with his Wiener Dog named Max.
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. We also had Greta, a fat little red Dachshund from San Antonio who we got in 1988. Finally we have our current little shit and mischlinge (mixed) Long Hair Dachshund-Papillon and defender of the realm, Molly, in 2001. We lost Frieda at the age of 16 1/2 in 2001. Greta at 15 1/2 in 2003. Molly still acts like a puppy at 8. Molly though a mixed breed flips from being the happy and obedient papillon to the obnoxious and stubborn Wiener Dog in nothing flat. 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. As it were we spent 16 plus years in a constant power fight with Frieda. Despite being a little shit, Frieda 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 laying 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 who attacks him. Cleauseau tells the desk clerk “I thought you said your dog did not bite.” To which the clerk replied; “that’s not my dog.” The dog is a Wire Hair, who looks just like Frieda in her early years. This was our life for 16 years.
Going back to the subject line of this post, it is more about Frieda than the other two. 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 Hairs 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 blog.
Among other things, Frieda was a liar. This began early when as a puppy in Germany she would try to fake Judy out about taking a pee. She knew that if she went outside 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. Judy 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 decsions.” 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 and often violent. I think Judy 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 went to take a blind friend to the store. This was just before Christmas and Judy had just made a butt-load of cookies. We didn’t expect the call from our friend so 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 being in the dark ages before cell phones we 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 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 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. I found Poo hiding in the bedroom and Frieda 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 would also 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 the Papillon urge to please, something that Frieda did not have to contend with being fully in tune with the Dark Side of the Force.
As I said before the stories about Frieda could fill volumes. Those who knew her 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. Always let lying dogs sleep.