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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dexter...The Wiener Dog Outlaw

Y'all have heard me talk a lot about the Darling Dachsies, Brisco "Big Boy" and Charlene "Li'l Bit", and about Dixie Dog the Dachshund who was such a big part of my life for so many years.  But I have not spent much time talking about Dexter Dog, also a Dachshund (surprise!). 

Dexter was a Dappled Dachshund (chocolate merle) and the best surprise gift I have ever received.  Dixie Dog was five years old when Darin and Devin came home with Dexter, a tiny puppy, as a Mother's Day gift in 2001.  My heart melted into a big ol' pile of mush when that tiny flop-eared pup got out of the truck and marched up to me with his proud little head held high.  Dixie Dog was not exactly thrilled about her new roommate but eventually she whooped him into submission he won her over.  

Dexter had a bit of a wild hair and he wanted so much to be the alpha dog, a title Miss Dixie was not about to surrender.  Dixie never left the yard.  She knew the boundaries and stuck to them.  Dexter...not so much.  He went next door and barked at the neighbors when they were in the yard and ran circles around them while I tried to catch him, he was known to bite at the shoes and ankles of new people who came to the house and jump up in a chair at the table and eat your food right off your plate if you turned your back for too long.  

But he was also a very sweet and loving little dachsie who, like most all dachsies, could steal your heart right out from under you. If I held him or put him in the bedroom until the new people were seated in the house I could then let him out and he would love them to pieces.  

After Darin's accident though he became a little harder to handle. I believe he felt a little lost (well, all of us did) without the person he saw as the leader of his pack and thought it his utmost duty and honor to protect his family. And to him that meant biting our neighbor's ankles as she tried to take her daily walk.  

I was struggling.  With grief.  With caring for a baby and a four year old on my own.  With life as I knew it.  We didn't live on a busy street and usually he'd go right out, do his business and come right back. 

Well this particular day, I let him out and then went to tend to my crying baby when I heard him barking like mad. I went to the door to see him at the top of the driveway and the neighbor jumping around.  I yelled at him and she yelled back at me, "Do you know your dog BITES?!" 


I was between a rock and a hard place.  He tended to get more brave if I was with him so my fear was that if I walked up there he would only bite her again.  I decided to make my way up there and managed to wrangle him in though I think he did get a couple of more nips in first.  She was gracious.  She really was.  She, after all, knew what I was going through.  She just wanted to know if he had had all his shots which, thank goodness, he had.  

I apologized profusely, took my bad little wiener in the house and went on about my day which consisted of running some errands.  Later that afternoon when I picked the boys up at my mother-in-law's, my sister-in-law (who was there picking up her kids), informed me that the neighbor (who worked with's a small town!) had come to see  their nurse just to get her bites checked out because she was actually off that day.  

And the nurse informed her that she had no other choice but to report it to the police because there was a law stating that if someone came to her with a dog bite, she had to report it. Well, my nerves did not need this!  

I got home to find a police officer's card stuck in my front door.  He had written... your dog bite a person please call me.  I remember because the fact that he wrote bite instead of bit and did not capitalize or punctuate really got under my skin. 

So I was a good citizen and called the police department to be told that I would need to come on down to the station to show proof of his rabies vaccination and to sign a form that stated I agreed to keep him quarantined for a few days.  I honestly think he was trying to fight back laughter over the fact of the matter... this tiny little wiener dog had been reported for unruly conduct.    

I  wasted no time having my backyard fenced in, which he loathed, but it had to be done.  

Dexter Dog got sick that Fall.  The vets determined he had an autoimmune disease, Hemolytic Anemia, and despite all the efforts of the animal hospital team and all the money I spent, he died about three days later.  I was, of course, devastated.  He was only three and a half years old.  And that was seven years ago this month.

But still to this day we laugh about little Dexter Dog stories, especially that one about the time he got in trouble with the law!


  1. My mom had a Westie who bit. A lot. She would bite me, my brother, my dad, my dog... but my mom loved her. And she loved my mom. I never understood how the dog could be such a good dog for HER but hate the rest of us!

    Then my husband and I got a lab who loved our family but no one else. I had never seen a lab get aggressive, but she would go after anyone who wasn't family. It was like she was in guard dog over mode.

    Unfortunately, because she was a large dog who could do damage and would climb our 6 ft fence to get out to terrorize the neighborhood, we couldn't keep her.

  2. I'm sorry that you ended up losing him, but it's also kinda cool that he went out leaving a legend behind him. :)

  3. I had a dog who bit my daughter. I had to get rid of it versus risk it again.
    And really? Ugh, come on po-po. Learn yo grammer!

  4. Oh my gosh, this is the second beautiful dog story I've read today. A blogger friend had to put her sweet boy down yesterday. With three dogs myself, I'm weeping puddles at these lovely tales.

    I had a dog once, a very gentle girl, but the bratty kids who lived behind us at the time would tease her constantly and poke her with sticks through the fence. Well, one day she got out and wouldn't you know, she went right up to one of those bratty kids and bit him. We had to do the same thing. Although, animal control was very understanding about the teasing.

    And that misspelling would have bothered me to no end, too.

    I came over here from a comment you left on my blog and I just wanted to say your story of the terrible loss of your first husband and your journey through mourning was so poignant and moving and quite beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how awful that must have been.

    But I'm so glad the Internet was kind to you and shot you out a new husband! Man, I love the internet so much. Take care!

  5. What a character! I am so glad his stories and memories live on.

  6. Awww...poor Dexter.
    My sister actually found a dog just like him roaming around her property up north. She fed him during the fall and put up posters around town and eventually brought him to the humane society. No one claimed him so she kept him.
    When they did his physical they found that he had a rare genetic defect where his internal organs are placed where they shouldn't be. Like his liver is where his stomach should be and his kidneys are where his pancreas should be. He's all backwards...
    But my sister kept him. He's only 2 but he looks like he's pushing 90. Poor guy.

  7. OK. I'm not a dog lover like you. But, when we had to put our beloved yellow lab Jake down, I cried like a baby. We all did. I would forget he wasn't there and walk out to talk to him on the front porch.

    Before, he died we had let him come in the house to stay. The very day after we brought him inside, the deer mowed over my 3 beautiful hydrangea plants.

    We have Jake's ashes. And, it's comforting. Thankfully, one day I was snapping pictures of the kids on the front porch. I got a great one of J laying on Jake like a pillow. I had the photo redone as an oil painting for the hubby. I'm so glad we have that.

    When your daddy visited, he would always spend time with Jake. Jake was a retired seeing eye dog. So, he didn't bark. He didn't play with balls or chase squirrels. I only heard him bark a hand full of times the entire 5 years we had him. He was the BEST DOG! We miss him.

  8. I enjoyed reading about Dexter. He looked so cute in his little hat.

  9. We have two 'almost' dachshunds. Both are mixes and rescues. They are both big in their hearts. Especially, the little one.