Place your bets on weiner dog racing

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I have had a dog in my life for as long as I can remember and as soon as I had an apartment that allowed pets I found a dachshund puppy that needed rescued and brought her home.
Now, Ruby is not the type of dog you dress up or even enjoys the company of other people or dogs. She is content to sun herself, eat and sleep and maybe chase the occasional rabbit.
I’m sure many people have known this type of old-souled dog, but I decided that it was time for little Ruby to expand her horizons and try something completely different -- weiner dog racing.
Lucky for me, not so lucky for Ruby, there was a race being held in Chapman on Sept. 21. I thought a small-town pup parade would be a great way to test the waters and I even brought our other mystery-mutt dog Bucky to support Ruby.
My expectation was that there would be maybe a handful of dogs frolicking in a park. That was not even close and I was very much wrong. At one point my other half and I counted more than 30 dogs ranging from tinnie-weines to full-sized bratwursts.
A playpen could be seen filled with some “plump sausages” all dressed to the nines in capes, wings and hats. Children circled around to admire them and it was clear that the dogs were basking in the attention.
To call it organized chaos would be an understatement. While us people enjoyed the parade of dachshunds poor Ruby was either trying to run away as fast as possible or she was being carried like the queen she thinks she is.
That was until her name was called and it was showtime.
I handed her off to my sister so that she could release her at the starting line and I took my place at the finish line. I shouted, clapped and waved treats. Anything to keep that little dog’s eyes on the prize.
“Ready, set, go” was heard and my dog ran -- in the wrong direction, scanning faces in the crowd for someone familiar. Eventually I was spotted in the maze of ankles with treats in my hand and she came running.
Ruby ended up claiming fourth in the “weinerschnitzle” category, and she didn’t run away or start a fight. I would consider that to be a pretty successful impromptu experience.
I know people like to joke about dog owners and the level that they love their “fur babies.” Trust me, there are things that I consider to be just a little much, but that didn’t stop me from driving 30 minutes for a 30-second race.
What is wonderful about these little pups is how much they bring us together. I spent a day with people I loved in a town that I probably wouldn’t have visited. I got to meet other dog owners, pet plenty of adorable doxies and meet lots of locals out having a great time.
The things we do with pets may be quite silly and sometimes strange, but the memories made with others and the experience of trying new things is a wonderful thing. I don’t know what my dogs were thinking as they were loaded into a van, ran through a park filled with other dogs, went swimming and then came home, but I can only hope that they had as much fun as we did.
However, knowing how easily entertained they are, I’m pretty positive they had a grand time. When asked about her experience Ruby commented, “bork bork, bark woof,” and then promptly took a nap.
JENI MOELLENBERNDT can be reached at features@

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