SILVERDALE — Poodles are considered the pinups of the dog world and golden retrievers are visualized as laidback California dreamers. And just as Shi Tzus are thought of as little lion-like fluffballs ensconced on someone’s couch, there’s the mighty, yet slightly comical, dachshund — beloved for their unique, sleekly elongated body.
Doxies — known far and wide as wiener dogs — are the Barney Fifes (TV’s high-strung comedic sheriff’s deputy) of the canine kingdom. They are Sir Bark-A-Lots who are always on red alert, eagle-eyed for the slightest disruption in their little world — usually instigated by those pesky, territorially trespasser squirrels. They are fearless (until danger comes within a dozen yards of them) and stubborn to a fault. And, as every doxie owner can attest, they are loyal to their person until the end of their life.
These dogs, vertically challenged but long on length and personality, are owned by devoted dachshund lovers who love to show them off in public settings. That’s no surprise since these pups are like Hollywood stars strutting on a runway — they capture the attention of everyone, including adoring children, within a dachshund’s throaty bark.
That was the case earlier this month when a small gathering of the Adventurewiener Dachshund Club, one of the biggest dachshund clubs in the United States, met up at Silverdale Rotary Gateway Park for a walk along its lengthy trail.
As dachshund packs go, his bunch was fairly calm and collected during their Gateway Park walk. The pack included a four-month-old English cream dachshund named Crowley; Brady, a mouthy 10-year-old dapple; and Gretel, 12, and Summit, 3, a purposeful pair always walking side-by-side with their owner, Jessica Williams of Cle Elem at the helm (she has family in Poulsbo).
Williams is the founder and organizer of Adventurewiener Dachshund Club, which she formed in 2010. With more than 1,000 dachshund-loving members, some semblance of the club joins Williams and her twosome wieners, Gretel and Summit, up and down the West Coast for meetups with group members. Late next month, she and the pair are scheduled to appear at several meetups at parks in Oregon and California.
Williams said that while the club was formed to provide dachshund owners with a platform to meet and share all things “doxie,” the meetups are purposeful for the little dogs: it gives them a chance to get plenty of exercise. She said it’s a misconception that only large dogs need exercise — little canines need to stretch their legs too. And regular outdoor walks help them shake off the pent-up energy and boredom they build up just lounging at home.
“Some think chubby dachshunds are cute,” the organizer said. “They’re not — they’re just fat. They need plenty of exercise to keep trim — and to stay healthy and live longer lives.”
Her two dachshunds are veteran hikers and join their “mom” on treks along even some of the Pacific Northwest’s more difficult trails. She said they take the rocky terrain in stride and rarely need to be carried or get tired.
While Silverdale’s park is an occasional meetup location for the group, their most notable walking-path location is at Green Lake in Seattle, which has drawn up to 50 wiener dogs and their people.