Posted on: July 3, 2022 Posted by: Petsynse Comments: 0

I told myself I wouldn’t cry this time.

Yeah, good luck with that.

DACHSHUNDS HAVE been in our family since as long as I can remember.

First there was Susie, a black wiener dog we had when we lived on the outskirts of Salem, Ore., in the early 1960s.

I was only a few years old at the time, so I don’t remember much about her, other than through some old black-and-white photographs.

(Quick question: Does an all-black dog look any different in a color picture than in a black-and-white one?)

Anyway, then it was out to south Salem in the late 1960s, where we detoured from wiener dogs and had a mutt named Snoopy, because, well, just about everybody in the 60s had a dog named Snoopy, it seemed.

Eventually there were a lot of little Snoopys running around, seven or eight of them, and we used to take them out in the backyard, line them up and watch them scurry all over the grass. We called it Wacky Races, after the popular cartoon of that era.

Eventually we couldn’t keep all the puppies, but we were able to keep one. My aunt suggested we call it Beau.

So naturally we named it Bobo.

WE GOT back into the wiener dog business in the early 1970s, thanks to our cousins in McMinnville, Ore., who had a couple dachshunds named Oscar and Heidi — because of course.

Their gift to us was Casey, a standard purebred brown dog that we picked up while on vacation and took back home to Salt Lake City.

Along the way, she barked at another dog she saw in our motel room in Boise.

She didn’t know she was looking in the mirror.

I was a fan of the Miracle Mets of 1969, and I had read in a book that Tom Seaver had two dogs — and I named her after one of his dogs.

(His other dog was Slider).

We lived on a corner lot with a chain-link fence running the length of the property. And since I need to sneak in a few sports references to sorta justify this as a sports column, Casey looked like Secretariat as she charged along the fence line, around the corner and down the stretch, across the driveway and down to the end of the property, trying to keep up with us as we rode our bikes in front of the house.

She won the Triple Crown of being a good dog — even if she once chewed up a kicking tee I got for Christmas.

A few years later we moved to Spokane, where one evening a neighbor cat suddenly appeared in our backyard, looking for trouble since we had a cat, Sam.

Casey, a veteran dog by this point, took one look at the neighbor cat and charged at it, bowling it over — picture Terry Tate, office linebacker — and the neighbor cat took off and jumped the fence, never to be seen again.

I was a little over a year into my first after-college job, at the Daily Bee in Sandpoint, when Casey crossed the Rainbow Bridge on a Friday in September, 1983. She had stayed at mom’s house after I moved out.

I was devastated. I never got the chance to say goodbye.

I remember the phone call from my brother, even if I don’t remember much about the phone call from my brother.

And the call from my other brother.

Someone must have been looking out for me, though, because there was no high school football game for me to cover that night — which was a good thing, because if there had been, it would have been like watching a game through a rain-splattered windshield.

THANK REGINA, my landlord in a triplex in Kootenai, for letting me get back in the wiener dog business, in 1997.

Muttley (from the “Dastardly and Muttley” cartoon) was a purebred miniature dachshund. A year later, when we moved to Hayden after taking a job at The Press, she spent hours in the backyard, keeping us safe from squirrels. She never caught any, but that was OK.

One of the vets marveled over her “six-pack abs,” and she could run.

So one year I took her to Rathdrum Days and entered her in the wiener dog races. When her heat came up, I envisioned her racing from the arms of my neighbor, who was at the starting line, and charging to victory as I waited for her at the finish line.

Secretariat II.

But alas, when the race started, while the other dogs took off for the finish line, Muttley noticed a couple kids sitting in the grass off to the right of the starting line. So she ambled over to the kids and rolled over — so they could scratch her chest, and rub her belly.

She was such a good dog.

And I still have her participation ribbon from the race.

When her time came, it was the morning of the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl. Most people around here will remember that day for the terrific second-half comeback by the Vandals, and their gutsy two-point conversion in the waning seconds to beat Bowling Green by one point in Boise.

I remember it for having the game on TV in my house as well, watching through the proverbial rain-splattered windshield — but during that thrilling second half, I was watching the phone, waiting for a call from the vet, letting me know my little box was ready.

I heard it was a real good game though.

SO WHY do we keep putting ourselves through this?

Why do we keep getting another dog, and another dog, when we know we’re going to bawl our heads off eventually?

A LITTLE over two years later, in April 2012, a nice lady in Post Falls had a couple of 2-year-old dachshunds, females from the same litter, that she was looking to re-home.

(“Re-home.” Whatever that means. I know some humans that might be better off “re-homed,” but anyway … )

I didn’t even know at the time there was such a thing as a dappled dachshund. But I went to the lady’s house and there was Kenzie, a brown dapple, and Bella, a black dapple, and before you knew it, they were in a crate riding home with me, where they chased the cats around our house, and ate my chocolate Easter bunny, foil and all. And lived to tell about it.

And who needed Roundup, when you had two wiener dogs running up and down the fence line in the backyard, playing with the neighbor dog on the other side of the chain-link fence? Kenzie and Bella did their best to create a buffer between the yard and the fence.

Kenzie, in particular, liked to sit with me while I watched TV. She was my recliner-mate for a decade of watching sports. At first she thought I was yelling at her, and she’d wander off. But eventually she figured out I was actually yelling at the 49ers, mostly. So she just slept through it.

After Muttley, I told myself if I ever got another dog, I was not going to get emotionally attached, because I didn’t want to be devastated another dozen years later.

Well …

Kenzie took her last breath early last Sunday morning.

She had been diagnosed with cancer a couple months earlier, so we knew this day was coming, eventually.

It didn’t make it any easier, when the time came.

Some of you may wonder how a grown person could be reduced to an inconsolable, sobbing, blithering idiot at the passing of a damn dog.

Others of you will understand completely.

Bella is still around, wondering what happened to her sister. How do you have a sit-down with your dog and explain what just happened?

So in the meantime, we’ll see other wiener dogs walking by and we’ll shed a tear or two, and swear we’ll never put ourselves through this emotional wringer again — is the dozen or so years of joy worth all the bawling at the end?

Never again.

Until, of course, the next time …

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 208-664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at Follow him on Twitter @CdAPressSports.