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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.