| Animals |

Dachshund Rescuers Take Their Wieners Out for Wienerfest 2019

Dachshunds are due to descend on T.Y. Park.EXPAND
Dachshunds are due to descend on T.Y. Park.
Photo by Monica McGivern
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Pamela Weiner, president of Dachshund Rescue South Florida, makes it clear her last name is merely a coincidence.

“It’s Weiner,” she says unbothered, as if she’s had to clarify this fact a hundred times already and she’s ready to do it a hundred more times. “It’s kind of funny 'cause it looks like "wiener" — wiener dogs, yeah.”

She’s getting ready for Wienerfest 2019, her organization's annual gathering of dachshunds in South Florida. The event will feature local vendors selling doggy merchandise, as well as food trucks. There will also be dachshund races, although other small breeds are welcome to compete.

“Obviously, we wouldn’t let a great dane be in the race against a Chihuahua,” Weiner says. “But it opens it up a little bit so there are options for people that don’t have purebred dachshunds.”

Dachshund Rescuers Take Their Wieners Out for Wienerfest 2019EXPAND
Monica McGivern

Wienerfest is sponsored by Dachshund Rescue South Florida, which operates about 60 foster homes for dachshunds from West Palm Beach to Miami. The focus on dachshunds, or small breeds in general, points to an issue affecting South Florida.

“Small dogs get bred a lot,” Weiner says. “It can be good money, and there’s not a lot of regulation, so people overbreed these dogs.”

Unfortunately, the dogs don’t always turn a profit for breeders, so many of the pups end up either in shelters or on the streets.

“We’re at 14 dogs already ten days into 2019,” Weiner says. “We’re already at more than one dog a day for 2019.”

The event will give DRSF a chance to find homes for some of these unlucky dogs, but the organization’s adoption process is more complex than those of other rescues.

“It’s not like other adoption events where you show up and there’s a bunch of dogs in a kennel; you go, ‘Oh my God, I love that one’; and then you take it home,” says Jennifer S. Hessley, treasurer of DRSF. “People put in their application, and they go into the screening process.”

During DRSF’s screening process, volunteers serve as matchmakers to pair families with dogs. Think of it like child services but with dachshunds. The screening process helps matchmakers decide whether someone is the right match for a dog in need. For a number of reasons, someone might not be the best match for a dog.

“A lot of times, people look at the website and be like, ‘Oh my God, look at that puppy. We totally want the puppy,’” Hessley says. “Then we talk to them a little bit, and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, no, we’re gone for 12 hours a day and we have a 2-year-old.’”

Dachshund Rescuers Take Their Wieners Out for Wienerfest 2019EXPAND
All photos by Monica McGivern.

DRSF doesn’t want attendees to expect to leave Wienerfest with a new, furry friend — but attending the event could lead to it.

“Some people fill out applications after they meet a dog at an event because obviously it’s easier to fall in love with a dog in person than it is from a picture on a website,” Weiner says of their lengthy adoption process. “I feel once they’re a dachshund-rescued [DRSF] dog that it’s my responsibility to make sure these dogs don’t go through something like this again.”

In addition to finding homes for some of the dogs as well as raising money for the organization, DRSF wants Wienerfest to be a learning experience for all who attend.

“People have an idea that rescue dogs are broken dogs,” Weiner says. “When people get to see them, they then understand that rescue dogs are just dogs that have been dealt a bad hand.”

Finally, the organization welcomes all breeds of dogs to attend Wienerfest.

“It’s an event to celebrate dachshunds, but it’s [also] an event to celebrate rescue,” Hessley says. “Anything with four legs and a tail is good in our book.”

Weinerfest 2019. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, January 26, at T.Y. Park, 3300 N. Park Rd., Hollywood; dachshundrescuesouthflorida.com. Admission to Weinerfest is free; park entry costs $1.50 per person.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.