Parade at Wiener Mania

Well, first of all, I’m sorry for not posting about this sooner, but if you know me, you saw the pictures and posts about it on Facebook and Instagram, at least. But I felt it deserved a blog post as well. See, the story actually starts at the end of 2012. I had considered volunteering for a dog rescue when we moved to Arizona earlier that year, and so I had added a few of the local ones on Facebook, specifically dachshund rescues. Well, they are always posting pictures of the dogs they have available for adoption… and one day I fell in love. Happy Tails Dachshund Rescue posted a photo of a dog named Charlie Brown, named just because his paperwork from Animal Control only said “brown dog”. So I ended up taking Sophie (our other dog) to meet him, and Ricky agreed, so Charlie soon became a part of our family. And life has never been the same!

I soon noticed that Charlie, although he doesn’t really “fetch” since he won’t bring toys back to you, he’ll just go run and grab them, is actually really fast. And having been to some wiener dog races before, I saw no reason why he wouldn’t do really good in one. I got the idea in my head, and thought it would be a great idea to enter him in a wiener race one day. They usually happen around Oktoberfest (since wieners are German dogs, of course), and we were in Munich for Oktoberfest last year. But lo and behold, I found out about Wiener Mania, an annual gathering of wiener dogs including races… not too far from our house, and at an actual horse racing track, no less. It sounded perfect! They even had a senior dog division for the races. So of course I had to enter my little guy!

Ricky was actually not very happy about it, since we had been invited to another event that day that we’d already been planning on going to. But, I’d wanted this for a while, so I managed to convince him. He told Charlie that he basically had to win, since we were foregoing our other event for him to race. I was happy to find out later that Happy Tails Dachshund Rescue, where I’d adopted Charlie from, was actually another sponsor of the event along with Arizona Adopt A Greyhound. And Charlie and I even ended up raising a decent amount of money for the event, so he got some special treats. (Thank you to all of you who donated!)

Since Charlie had never been in a race before (that we know of), Ricky and I took him out to a dog park near our house to practice a bit. Or as much as we could, given that it’s a bit difficult to replicate the environment of a wiener dog race when you’re not there! Ricky was the “holder” (at the starting line) and I was the “catcher” (at the finish line), so we practiced having him run from Ricky to me. He actually did pretty well, so after a few practice runs, we headed home.

The next day, off we went to Wiener Mania! My cousin, Teresa, actually has two wiener dogs also and decided to enter her younger one, Lulu, in the races as well. It was fun to see them at the event too. Guess the fascination with wiener dogs runs in the family. Anyway, Wiener Mania was a riot. You have never seen so many wiener dogs in your life! I loved it. Charlie was in the parade as well as the costume contest, in his lederhosen. He didn’t win anything there, though. But then… on to the races!

Charlie in his lederhosen

Charlie in his lederhosen

Charlie was in the first scheduled race for the seniors, which unfortunately they put at the end of the day. (WHY?? Why make your older dogs wait until last? I don’t understand this, and might suggest as a change for next year. Older dogs get tired more easily, c’mon.) So we lined up, with Ricky holding him at the starting line. He was in jersey number 6, out of a total of 8 dogs. I started out with them at the starting line, then they made the “catchers” head to the finish line. I tried to make sure that Charlie knew where I was. Once all the catchers got settled… the race was on! Ricky said he had to push Charlie a bit to get him to figure out which way to go, but then he was off! He kind of got accosted by a couple other dogs at first that tried to play, but he broke away from them and I saw him looking around. I called his name and made sure he saw me, and… he ran like the wind and crossed the finish line first!! Wow. I was so excited, and proud, and surprised. What an amazing little guy! We had no idea how he’d do, and he won a blue ribbon on his first try. I’m pretty sure I know what it feels like to be a proud mama now for sure.

Charlie's blue ribbon

Charlie’s blue ribbon

So, because Charlie won his race, he went on to the finals. Which, of course, we had to sit and wait on for the senior finals. The sun was starting to set by this time, and Charlie gets cold really easy (he is a very small dog), so he was starting to shiver by the time his next race started. I blame his results on that. I think he got distracted, because he didn’t do nearly as well in this next race. I think he came in fifth. Maybe he was cold, maybe the other dogs were just faster, who knows. But he still got a pink ribbon for even being in the finals. And I still couldn’t be more proud.

So there you have it – the story of my little blue ribbon winner. Seriously, Wiener Mania was a very fun time. And my little man surprised even me with how fast he could run. What a feat. Ricky and I have our degrees up on the wall in our office, and Charlie has his own bed in there. I’m thinking he might need some room for his accomplishments up on the wall as well. And maybe, just maybe… he’ll have even more next year!