Saying Good-bye to the Family Dog

My son got a puppy on his twelfth birthday, a miniature dachshund, red in color.  He wanted to name him Schnitzel. Somehow he ended up with the name Wiener Dog.

Nobody called him that except the vet. To the rest of us he was Wienie.  This made for some hilarious comments:

Time to take Wienie outside to pee!

Time to put your Wienie to bed!

Once one of his sisters said, “I want to play with your Wiener,” then clapped her hand over her mouth and turned red when she heard what she’d said to her brother.

Wiener was tall when you held him in your lap upright.  He was fast when you let him run across the soccer fields behind the back yard.

But he also had an attitude. In his second year he started pooping in the upstairs hallway. The house was huge, and he didn’t want to be bothered with going down the steps and going outside.

Once, during a Girl Scouts event in the back yard, he snapped at somebody’s younger sister.

I hired a trainer, who yelled at me and said, “If this was a Rottweiler, you would’ve called me a year ago”.

Wiener weighed eleven pounds.

The first day the trainer came, she hooked her leash to his collar, tried to touch him, and when he snapped at her, she hung him in the air and stared him down until he looked away. The whole family sat there watching, horrified.

But the trainer had already been paid for eight sessions. She guaranteed that Wiener would stop pooping in the upstairs hallway and would stop snapping at people. The trainer was scary. Wiener never looked her in the eye again.

During one session the trainer referred to Wiener as a she. When I corrected her, she stared me down until I looked away.

The woman was intense. She had German shepherds in the back of her SUV that she commanded in German. When Wiener had his last session the trainer put Wiener in a down-stay between her two massive dogs. Wiener shook like a leaf for two minutes, and then she released him and declared him graduated.

Wiener never pooped in the house again, well, not that house. He stopped snapping at kids, too.

My son went away to college, and Wiener became my youngest child’s dog.  When her parents (the ex and I) got a divorce, I got default custody of both the child and the dog, and we moved to a much smaller house.

Oh, the stories I could tell you about Wiener and the ex-boyfriend who came along during the long divorce years :

The time he let Wiener off the leash on a muddy trail. Wiener got mired in the mud off trail, and we all got covered in mud retrieving him.

The time the bf unclipped Wiener’s leash on a Mt. Diablo trail saying, “Dogs need to run free.”  Wiener disappeared into the scrub brush where coyotes and bobcats live. I threatened to end the relationship, so the bf went after him and came back, his bare chest scratched and bleeding, but Wiener safely in his arms.

The time same bf wanted to walk from Pacific Grove to Carmel, and after three hours of walking down the beach and back, once again, Wiener was in his arms since his little legs had run out of steam.

The bf got irritated with Wiener a couple of times and showed me who he really was when he treated Wiener badly.  Both times created a rift in the relationship. Once I sent the bf home. Another time the bf stormed off and the result was he didn’t help me move the next day.

The way people treat animals is a reflection of their true character.

But I digress.

When my youngest left for college and my son came back home after college, Wiener had his original buddy back for a few months. But my son had a new dog that was livelier and lasted longer on walks. By then, Wiener was becoming an old man. My son moved out and took his younger dog with him.

Then it was just me and Wienie.

If I couldn’t find Wiener and if he wouldn’t answer my call, I could always find him on the bench outside the doggie door on the south side of the house. He loved to sit there in the sun and get his vitamin D. But he stopped wanting to walk very far, and his hearing seemed to be going, too. When the mailman came, he rarely barked.

Then the neighborhood had a bunch of break-ins. I got a puppy when Wiener was fourteen, and he was not happy about it. When the dog grew up to be 40-some pounds, Wiener would turn his back on the puppy and refuse to play. He was just too old.

Then the accidents started happening. I had to leave Wiener in the bathroom with a gate across the doorway.  The puppy was in there with him so that they could both access the doggie door.  This would eventually become my sister’s bathroom when she moved in with me a year and a half later.

Wiener didn’t fit anymore. I asked my ex if he could go live with him so that Sis could have a bathroom with no poop on the floor. He said yes, of course. My ex is the biggest dog lover ever.

That was May of 2017. Wiener lived almost three more years. He would’ve turned nineteen in June.

Rest in peace, oh, faithful family friend. You were a good dog, Wienie, even if the Nazi trainer didn’t think so.


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