I have spoke on my IG stories frequently of my dog, Rudy. Rudy turned 15 last November. We have had him since he was 5 weeks old and I can say unequivocally that he is the best dog I’ve ever had. He technically is my youngest daughter’s dog. When she was 5 years old, close to Christmas, she looked up at me with her beautiful blonde hair and one blue eye and one green eye and said “Mommy, all I want Santa to bring me for Christmas is a wiener dog puppy, that’s all, no presents, just a wiener dog puppy”. I have had dogs all of my life and we already had a sweet, but unruly (OK, crazy) yellow lab named Abby. Where this kid pulled up a “wiener dog puppy” request, I couldn’t imagine. Her favorite show on TV at that time was Clifford the Big Red Dog. She loved it, watching it over and over. There was a spin-off from this cartoon called “Clifford Puppy Days” that chronicled Clifford’s life as a puppy. In this spin-off, Clifford had a best friend named Jorge and yes, you guessed it, was a dachshund puppy. Recently divorced, I was a single mom of 2 girls and my older daughter and I figured that this was probably the last year we could pull off the “Santa thing” since she had started Kindergarten, and well, you know how kids are. When I accepted the idea of adding another dog to our household, we began scouring the rescue sites. We would show her a picture of a cute mutt-puppy and say, “look, Santa could probably bring this puppy to you” and with folded arms she would stand her ground and AGAIN request a wiener dog puppy. Ugh … a W I E N E R D O G … I knew nothing about the breed. They looked like a barky, yippy, strange kind of an animal that honestly, didn’t even really LOOK like a dog. This was back in the days where you actually looked in the newspaper for people selling or giving away dogs. Miraculously, a week before Christmas, I saw an ad for a litter of regular red standard dachshunds about an hour from us. The lady I contacted said that they were leaving for Christmas so if I wanted one, we needed to come get him (only 1 boy left) 3 days before Christmas. So, box in hand, my older daughter headed out to get the puppy. He was a tiny little thing, no bigger than his head to his nose now in comparison. Breaks my heart I don’t have any pictures of him when he was a little puppy, but here he is with Abby when he was about a year old.

We tried to keep him stashed away until Christmas but little baby puppies do tend to make some noise. My younger daughter was going to be gone the next day until the evening so I came up with a plan to have him there when she got home 2 days before Christmas with a note to her from Santa saying “I’m going to give you your wiener dog puppy a couple of days before Christmas because I was worried he might get cold in my sleigh …” Oh how I wish I had a video camera back then to capture it, but alas, it’s only in my memory and something I’ll never forget.

Because our sweet crazy Abby was such a loon, I researched proper puppy training and we tried to do everything the right way. I had read horror stories of how hard it was to house train a male dachshund but this little guy learned like a champ. We had a pool at our house and I was really worried that he would fall in, being so small. Our vet told us not to worry too much because dachshunds “weren’t water dogs” and he would most likely stay away from the water. Boy, was that vet wrong. Our special boy swam like a fish. He loved being in the pool and would chase balls thrown in the water, surf the floats from side to side and even just jump in to cool off from the Texas heat from time to time. We let him race in the wiener dog races in Buda, Texas, which is a big dang deal down here in central Texas, and he got to the finals once – so much fun we had with him.

We lost our lab Abby a few years later and since Rudy had always been around another dog, I thought, “let’s rescue another dachshund since Rudy is SO great”. Enter Rosie. My husband often referred to Rosie as a “street dog,” and that she was. She was a firecracker, an old girl that had been on death row in the pound, got pregnant, had puppies in the pound, then got heartworms and lucky for her was picked up by a local dachshund rescue. I fell for her sweet face without reading all the fine print, LOL. I thought I would rescue her and give Rudy a partner and make her final years, good ones. They estimated she was around 12 when we adopted her and she made it to 19, a spitfire all the way. After we got Rosie, I quickly found out it isn’t the breed, it’s the dog. We loved our little Rosie girl but she was a piece of work and not anything like Rudy. Rudy was just a winner and everyone who came around him knew it, he was a cool dude, a lover, the very sweetest boy.

I lost my mom suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago. To say this rocked my world is an understatement. A few months later, we had to let Rosie go due to severe painful arthritis. I remember part of me thinking, well, we can enjoy Rudy’s teen years and give him all the love and attention he deserves. After Rosie passed away, Rudy started losing weight rapidly. He was a little chunky to begin with (as everyone in our well-fed house seems to be) so it didn’t cause us concern and I guess we thought he just missed Rosie. In a month or so he started having accidents in the house, something he NEVER did, and he was unbelievably thirsty ALL the time, drinking so much water, we knew something was up. I took him to the vet and they diagnosed him with diabetes. My heart sank. How could I ever do this, give insulin shots to this sweet boy, 2 times a day? It was a hard regimen to learn and adjust to, but we did. It took us months to figure out his blood sugar levels and the vet we had seemed as lost as we were. We spent tons of money for vet bills and medicine and at one point almost lost him. After all the loss I had been through those previous months, I remember dropping to my knees and through my tears, prayed SO hard to God to please not take him yet, PLEASE give me a couple more years. After finding a fantastic internal medicine specialist vet, my prayers were answered. He got better and we figured out his insulin needs and our life went on.

All this being said, the last three years have been much harder than I thought. Yes, God answered my prayers by giving me a couple of more years with him but I sometimes think it might have been easier if he did slip away a few years ago. Watching this sweet boy go completely blind (from the diabetes), now almost deaf, and experiencing dementia has been utterly heart breaking to witness. But, we love him and he is not in any pain that we can see. His legs started having problems (just giving out on him) last year but I acted on the advise of a good friend to try CBD oil, which we did and he hasn’t had any issues with his legs since we started that treatment.

A new development in the past month was diagnosed at the vet last week. He has a tumor on his anal gland, not a good thing. He doesn’t seem to be in pain yet, just often has the sensation that he needs “to go,”, which must be a terrible feeling. I talked today to his internal medicine vet and she told me that she wouldn’t do any kind of surgery for Rudy at this point in his life as he has so many issues that it would be cruel to put him through that. I made an appointment this past weekend to have him put down, but when it came close to the time, I fell to my knees and simply couldn’t do it. He’s walking around, seemingly happy, not in pain, I just can’t do it until I KNOW for sure it’s time. Maybe it will be tomorrow, maybe next month, maybe in a few weeks, I don’t know, but the pain that I’m feeling in watching this precious furry sole deteriorate is like nothing I’ve experienced before. I’ve lost pets and it was sad, but loosing this guy, watching him deteriorate is a different type of sad.

In the past year, my husband and I have completely revamped our home to accommodate Rudy. Our home was built in the 80’s when the multi-level thing was BIG. We have made steps for him, a ramp for him and have sectioned off the deck area with shutters so he can go outside without falling down the deck. It is the least we can do for this special little guy.

Everyone keeps telling me that I will know when it’s time. It’s not time yet, but I know it’s near. Until that time he will be spoiled, loved on and he will leave this world knowing that he was truly the best boy and loved by his humans. Rudy slept with my youngest in her bed until she moved out last year. When she was little, I used to sing a song to both of them, “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy the wiener dog …” He was and remains the best dog anyone could have.

So as I close, if you are reading this and have a pet, hug them a little closer tonight and say a little prayer for my boy, that when the time comes, it is peaceful – nobody deserves it more.