On Friday, our neighbors Jan and Bob Blythe (AKA My Good Friend Bob) loaded up their American Eagle coach and drove up north with us for some dog racing. Now, please, for those of you who are members of PETA or Gamblers Anonymous, please don’t send me hate mail or picket my house. We did not go to a greyhound track. We did not win or lose any money. And we helped the economy of a town up north get through this brutal winter we’ve been having. So where did we go? Okay, so “up north” is a relative term… we went to Lake City, Florida, about a two and a half hour drive up almost all the way north to the Georgia state line. And instead of betting on greyhounds, we took our little dachshunds Gretchen and Rudy to the Doxie Derby.
Here’s the background… Doxie Derbies are held around the country, and provide an opportunity for these speedy, low-slung badger hunters to show off their blinding acceleration and unmatched focus in long distance races. Courses are generally all of 35 feet long. One owner kneels at the finish line, and the other kneels in the starting gate with their dachshund, awaiting the lifting of the plexiglass gate.When the gate lifts, pandemonium and chaos reign, with some dogs heading straight for their master/mistress, and others circling, wandering, sniffing, peeing, barking, or perhaps even simply sitting down to await a treat, a toy or a belly rub.
With his weak right back leg, Rudy was not a contender in the races; he would, however, compete in the Smooching Pooches Contest, along with Gretchen. He would also act as a race adviser, providing canine-specific advice and moral support for his little sister. Suzanne (AKA Dog Mom) had been giving Gretchen motivational talks and supervising training sessions for months. Bob and Jan would observe the other contestants, give race by race critiques and tactical advice, and supervise still and video photography. Your Faithful Correspondent (AKA Dog Dad) would be the starting gate handler, cheerleader and “Relief Supervisor and Pooper Picker-Upper”.
Gretchen and Rudy carbo-loaded on Race Day in the coach, while the Pit Crew enjoyed a traditional race day breakfast at Waffle House on the way to the Columbia County Fair Grounds. These events can be grueling, and we wanted to make sure we were fueled and ready for the arduous day ahead.
We arrived early to scope out the competition, signed in and browsed around. The Derby was being held as a fund-raiser for the local Dachshund Rescue, and there were several doggies looking forward to adoption. These two already had homes, and were competing in the Best Dressed category. The English Cream color seen here at left is rare in the US; we’ve only seen a handful – most Dachshunds are red or black and tan, although our Gretchen is a black and cream; Rudy is red, but almost the color of an Irish setter.
While this was billed as a Dachshund Derby, there were several mixed breeds competing, including this little guy who didn’t look much like a Doxie, but who may have had a Wiener dog in his blood line back a hundred years or so ago. We nicknamed him The Infiltrator.
Click here to see a great video of one of Gretchen’s races, sure to make you smile.
Gretchen ran in four races, garnering three second place and one third place ribbons. After watching the video, our good friend and neighbor Chris said, “It looks like that Russian Dachshund cut her off!” Well, that’s what Russians do – no surprise there… it also didn’t help that all of the first place finishers were boy dogs. We were very proud of her speed and persistence. She also came in third place in the Smooching Pooches contest, giving Suzanne 83 kisses in one minute. Sadly, the winner Wiener kissed his owner 123 times, but we think his owner rubbed steak on his face just before the start… Rudy placed third in the Longest Wiener (Dog) competition. Some of the sultry girl dogs were eyeing him provocatively, but we made sure they didn’t get their paws on him! (Sorry, Rudy…)
The “Show Stealer” was Skippy, an older Doxie whose back legs were paralyzed. He uses his front legs to pull a tiny aluminum cart and actually competed in and won a race and the look alike contest. The first photo shows his regular cart, and the second with his Skippy’s Wiener Dogs attachment.Skippy has a lot of heart! Here you see a competitor giving Skippy a traditional dachshund greeting.
By the end of the day, everyone was very tired. Our two Blotto Dogs are seen here in a maximum state of repose, otherwise known as “Dogatonic”. After a nap, the adults got ready to go out for dinner, allowing the puppies to rest in the coach. After locking the coach and getting into the car, Suzanne realized that she had forgotten something, and went back inside to get it.
She found that in the minute or two after she left the coach, our little “Sneaky Rudy” had climbed up on the couch and had his front two paws on the kitchen counter top, making a recon for food that might have been left out. He looked like the proverbial kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar… With a look of shock on his face, he sheepishly turned 180 degrees and laid down on the top of the couch as if he was just finding a comfortable place to rest. “Oh, hi, Dog Mom, I wasn’t going to jump on top of the counter… not me… no way!” (Suzanne reconstructs the crime scene at right for Dog Dad in preparation for a stern lecture for young Rudy.)
And special thanks to Bob and Jan for the great Doxie Derby photography you see here!