Sunday--October 6
, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 389
Weiner Dogs Of Vigilance

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, October 6--When hundreds of Dachshunds gather, don't pick up your feet when you walk--slide them.   Nothing would Terrorize an owner more than placing a size thirteen foot in the middle of their precious pet's back and applying 270 pounds of pressure.

        That's why I slid my feet as I carefully moved around Washington Square Park yesterday noon, shooting pictures of all sizes and shapes of Dachshund, many dressed in doll-like clothing by their owners to illustrate the character of both "human parent and canine child."
         I was pleasantly surprised at the number of American flags anointing the little sausage-like creatures with big brown eyes, long snouts and fly-swatter tails that wagged playfully in the warm, humid air.
        As I tend to do, I began to see the Dachshunds as  Canine Sentinels of Vigilance.   They weren't the giant rescue dogs of the Shepherd or Labrador class.   They were the Sentinels of Vigilance for the children, the "little people" who need as much protection as the big ones.
       Historically, their name comes from Germany--"dachs" meaning badger and "hund" meaning dog.   The "Badger Dog"  was bred to hunt and draw the badger, a formidable twenty- to forty-pound vicious saber-clawed adversary.   The low-slung, hot-dog-shaped canines have a reputation for possessing confidence and courage bordering on recklessness.  No other hunting dog has the same qualities of courage and perseverance to hunt its prey down in the bowels of the earth, dog against badger.  The breed will pursue its prey both above and under the ground  The "doxies" sonorous bark is a special advantage, for it enabled the hunter to determine what was going on down in the badger hole.

          Theories hold that the sculptured relief's of the Tekel Dog on Egyptian tombs are ancestors of this breed whose "hunter-courage" pound-for-pound, is unequaled by any dog many times its size.

    Long-haired Dachshund                         Smooth-haired Dachshund                         Wire-haired Dachshund

        Yet at the same time, the doxie is considered one of the warmest family pets--a kind of "dog toy" children can dress in various clothes; a lap dog who will sit patiently while being "dressed" and give unconditional love to its owner and family members.  One may find it hard to imagine this 16 to 30-pound oddly shaped canine fearlessly burrowing into a badger hole as its prey slashes at it with razor-sharp claws and threatens with fangs that rip and shred.
         Perhaps that's why I began to see the doxie through different glasses.   Amidst the sea of elongated smooth, wirehaired and long-haired Dachshunds, many dressed in dog costumes for the event, I began saw an army of creatures who could hunt down Osama bin Laden, and ferret out Saddam Hussein--the Badgers of Terrorism. 

Hussein Badger

bin-Laden Badger

      I saw a pack of Sentinels of Vigilance, Guard Dogs of Vigilance, able to stick their long snouts down into the caves and tunnels of Baghdad or Afghanistan and find the Badger of Terror and hold him at bay until our Special Forces arrived.
       It took me some research time to realize the power of the little dog.  Personally, I'm a "husky fan."   My best buddy was an eighty-five pound mix of Siberian and Malamute named Zonka.   He and I wrestled and played like a couple of teenagers, and I always felt secure when I traveled for businesses because his size and deep guttural growl would ward off anyone trying to Terrorize my family.  I equated, as most people, size to toughness, size to power.
       I forgot, for example, in Africa, the honey badger is known to be able to take down a rhinoceros.   It attacks the great beast by ripping its testicles apart, crippling it. 

           I knew the honey badger is acclaimed as the most vicious of all animals for its size, but I didn't realize that its biggest enemy was a Dachshund--that friendly little "Weiner Dog" that kids dress up in play clothes and that people carry around in tote bags.

           I just couldn't imagine a doxie being more protective than my husky, my buddy Zonka, but after reading its history, I realized the doxie with the moxie was the "Dog of Vigilance."

          At the Washington Square Doxie Conference, that image of Canine Vigilance was heightened by the number of dogs I saw wearing the red-white-and-blue.

      The vast majority of "clothing" the owners put on their pets for display at the confab included many version of the U.S. Flag--either a scarf around the doxie's neck, or a harness made of red-white-and blue.  I called them the "Flag Dogs Of Vigilance."

      One, for example, was dressed up in an FBI doggie jacket, another as a bumble bee.  Still others had the flag scarves around their necks tied into handsome bow ties.
       Their coats displayed a wide range of color from black to spotted brown and white to red.   Some were smooth coated, others had long hair, and many were wire-haired

      One particular owner had her doxie dressed in Japanese attire.  I called him a "Ninja Dog."   Still another chose a Sherlock Holmes motif, with a "detective hat" that gave his doxie the appearance of a mystery solver.   I followed him around as he sniffed out "clues," and imagined him on the trail of Osama bin Laden or Hussein--a CIA forward intelligence observer who would sniff out the location of the enemy and then signal the "Doxies of Vigilance" to swoop in and worm their way through the bunkers and caves to hold America's number one enemies at bay.

         President Bush refers to our enemies as the "evil ones," and one of the doxies represented that point of view.  Its owner had place red "devil horns" on its head.   But it was hard for anyone to see "evil" in such a tail-wagging, lick-your-face-and-snuggle creature.   I stretched my imagination and pretended he was Osama or Saddam.

         There were the "frau-frau" dogs too. 
     A lady in pink had her dog dressed in pink, and another "doxie mother" had flowers of bright colors ringed around her doxie's neck. 

     Still others put ballet skirts on their dogs, one pair carried the message: : "I am my Daddy's dog!"   One doxie even rode on the back of a bicycle, strapped in of course with doxie seat belts.

      The dogs seemed far too peaceful to be able to burrow into a hole and challenge a mean, angry badger...or...a bin Laden or Hussein.

      Their long ears and bright chocolate eyes seemed better fit for a children's playground than for hunting down nature's biggest Terrorist--an enraged badger.

       But then I saw a couple of them in a skirmish.  I saw their teeth gnash, and the ferocity that gives them the veritable reputation as the "most fearless hunting dog."  I snapped some shots of the quick battle, as I witnessed the ability of the dog to stand its ground.

           My "pick of the litter," however, was a dog named Mike.   Mike was dressed in Harley Davidson apparel.   His owners turned him into a "biker," a Hells Angel Terrorist hunter.   He wore a Harley hat, had a leather collar with metal spikes on it, and that tough glare that said: "youse look'n at me?"    His owner, a young woman, had two American Flags stuck in her hair.        

        The more I studied the pack of diverse doxies, the more I began to see their qualities as Sentinels of Vigilance.   Two doxies with flag scarves tied around their necks kept another crippled doxie comfort.   The crippled doxie's back legs were paralyzed.  He was outfitted with a doggie wheelchair that carried his hind feet behind him.    The two flag dogs seemed to lead the way, taking the point to protect the handicapped doxie.  The Rescue Heroes would be proud:  "Leave No One Behind!"

        Then there was the baby doxie.   He was up for adoption.   He snuggled in a baby carriage, as innocent as any human baby.   People crowded around to "ooohh," and "ahhhh."    I thought of the baby doxie as being a "Child of Innocence," not unlike the children of America or other countries of the world.  They were immune to Fear of the Badgers of Terror, unaware the world was full of those who would threaten their security and indiscriminately attack them out of some twisted desire to prove to the world their madness.  It was hard to believe the baby had in its genes the ability to battle the Beast of Terror, the inbred Courage to chase it to the ends of the earth and corner it.

       A few feet from the baby doxie was a young child in a stroller, awed by the "Weiner Dogs."    His mother encouraged him to pet one of the doxies and its owner held the dog so the little one could pet her.    There was trust and love and caring transmitted between the human child and canine, and I wondered if the little child knew the friendly dog he was petting with glee would fearlessly dive into a badger hole and take on one of most ferocious creatures on earth--a trapped badger.
          I thought of all the madness in the world threatening the child.   Then I thought of the "Doxies Of Vigilance," the "Weiner Dogs Of Vigilance" as symbols of Vigilance--of HOPE!
          I realized that the size of a person or canine had little to do with its ability to show Courage in the face of Fear, or to be fueled with Conviction no matter how Intimidating the situation, or driven by the ability of the small to take the Right Action in the wake of Complacency.  

"Steak & Lobster" is 17 years young

        The Dachshund is living proof the size and power of might has little to do with achievement.   Small, low-slung, family friendly, loving--the doxie can, in a snap, shift gears and turn into one of the toughest, and most protective creatures on earth

Strike Force of Doxies

.      And, it can go where few can--into the bowels of the earth where the Terrorists hide in bunkers and caves, safe in their thinking that no one can find them.  

       Perhaps, I thought, if President Bush mustered a strike force of Dachshunds and let them loose in Iraq, they would find and trap the Badger of Terror.   Then, when finished, they could come home and sit in the laps of their families and lick and love them, but always keeping their Vigilant ears cocked for the sounds of the Badger of Terror scratching at the door.  I knew the elimination of Osama or Hussein would only be the beginning.  There would be

 other Terrorists in the future trying to sneak up on the Doxies of Vigilance, but they would not find easy prey.  Instead, they would face snarling teeth and unbridled Courage instead of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.  And they would run but could not hide, for the Doxies of Vigilance would hunt them down again and again until they stopped trying to put the children of the world at risk.

         I salute the Dachshunds of Vigilance.   And, I propose we let them loose on the Badgers of Terrorism.  That would be better than war, I think.


Go To Oct 5 Story:  "NO!" To Ejecting A Father Of Vigilance

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