"There's no other dog like a dachshund," says the first line of the "Dachs Song," penned in 1991 by Paul de Vries and Murray Weinstock and available on CD via www.dachsong.com. Devoted owners of wiener dogs all over the world must agree. In 1991 one of them, Adrian Milton, founded New York City's Dachshund Friendship Club in order to recruit playmates for his lonely dog Damon. Soon Milton began a biannual Dachshund OctoberFest in Washington Square Park. In his mind the perky pooches were worthy of their own theme song, hence the oompah-flavored, accordion-accompanied tune. Attracting hundreds of dachshunds and their owners who socialize, sing while raising their dogs skyward, and then parade the pups around a fountain, the fests soon became an annual event. A Spring Fiesta was added a few years later.
Ruth Remington, her husband Henry Blinder, and Audrey Hepburn, their nine-year-old red-haired dachsie, were avid attendees of the New York affairs and missed them sorely when they moved to Miami Beach last June. So Remington has organized a Dachshund Winterfest, the first of which will be held this Saturday. Of course she has Milton's blessing. He'll visit with Waldo, his new dachsie. (Damon passed away at age sixteen and a half.) "The fests have nothing to do with dog show or dog breed," Remington notes. "It's a social event for the dogs." But sometimes "honorary" dogs do crash the festivities. "Somebody will walk in with a Lab [Labrador retriever] and all the dachshunds bark at the Lab," Remington laughs. "They love their own."
Social event or not, a spiffy outfit is not mandatory for humans or canines. "Some people dress the dogs up, and some refuse to dress the dogs up because they feel dachshunds have too much dignity," Remington explains. "But there are dachshunds dressed in little hotdog buns and cowboy hats and black leather." And will her Audrey Hepburn, named for the sleek, stylish actress, wear a simple shift or, in honor of Florida, a colorful tropical sundress? "She might get a little bandanna," Remington says, "but that's about as far as we'll go."