To be honest, I was not really looking forward to Sunday. I originally had hoped Rufus would be there, and the fact that he’s not kind of sucks.
Nonetheless, I gather myself and honor my commitments and obligations. And, I’m happy that I did. Seeing dachshund people in real life and receiving your condolences in person was exactly what I needed. I didn’t even cry yesterday. Thank you!
Lily was my cute canine companion for the day, and she was an all-star. She was very content and comfortable in her BK Atelier bag, while dad worked.
By my rough count, we had 18 families (packs) and 29 dogs. Yay!!! Always a good time with a pack or pooches and their people.
Okay friends here are the Doxie Tombstone portraits. Hope you’re ready for some cuteness overall.
Hopefully everyone caught on us the news. We were the very last segment of the 6 o’clock news on Channel 7 (in Southern California). If not please visit DOGS’ FB page OR our IG.
To claim your high res digital negatives, ideally for printing and saving, email me at johnny AT johnnyortez DOT com. If you’ve already paid, let me know. Otherwise, payment can be accepted via PayPal, Apple Pay, Zelle, Venmo or good old fashion check.
A suggested $20 donation gets yours + the group shot. AND if you make a donation of $50 or larger, our good friend Mike Szymanski has agreed to mail you his two books. What a bargain! Yay!
We’ll get back to our regular dog park, off-leash meetups next month (August). So stay tuned for what’s next. Seeing our dachshund friends regularly is good for the soul for both hounds and humans.
It’s 3 am on Tuesday morning, and I’m exhausted. I haven’t been to bed. Monday night bleeds into early Tuesday morning. And I’m emotionally, mentally, and physically spent. The house is still and quiet. Finally. Rufus had fluids coming out of every orifice; excessive slobber from his nose and mouth — which the vet said could mean excessive abdomen pain, large puddles of pee and a peppering of loose poo.
I can tell Rufus feels bad; he looks ashamed that he continues to be betrayed by his little frail body. He tries to make it to the door, but always seems to fall a little short. He simply can’t control himself, and we ache for him. Watching him like this is heartbreaking. I still see glimpses of the dog I know, but his appearances are much rarer than I’d prefer.
As the second and final load of laundry is set to dry; all towels from project Rufus cleanup, we’re forced to have that conservation we’ve dreaded.
For us, we knew we were down to the last few days; maybe a week, if we were lucky and determined. We just survived an exhausting weekend. We initially were optimistic that when we removed the catheter, he’d miraculously do better. Looking back, I’m confused what we were thinking; did we believe the removal of the catheter was going to be something magical and his health instantly improved?! Naïve. Wishful.
Monday evening was a rude awakening; the reality that we have an old, aging, and ailing dog was coming into clear focus.
Talking with my spouse, we fast forwarded to the days ahead and concluded that the next several days would probably look a lot like tonight. And we had to ask ourselves is that something Rufus wants? Is that something we want? I had to check my personal vanity and ego. I wanted Rufus to make one more road trip with us; I wanted Rufus to celebrate his 17th birthday this August, I wanted Rufus to stay with us a little longer. But is that what is best for Rufus? I think we all know where we landed.
D day, July 6, 2021
For the third consecutive day I slept on the floor next to Rufus in the master bedroom while my spouse and two girls (Emily & Lily) slept on the bed. I just wanted to be near him, and he seemed more comfortable on his posh, soft blanket floor level than on the high bed above.
Rufus slept through the night; or at least from 2 am through 7 am. He didn’t wake up once. In the last few weeks, he had been sleeping harder and more sound than normal. I found myself checking periodically to make sure he was still with us.
Part of last night’s late-night decision was I wanted to say goodbye early morning. Rufus was generally more alert and aware in the mornings, and I wanted us to end on a good note before he vomited or soiled himself. I also worried, if I waited too long, I’d lose my courage to do what was right for Rufus.
I have been with this being since he was 10 weeks old, and now after nearly 17 years (16 years and 11 months) it was time take our last drive together.
Rufus and I first bonded on our drive home as puppy, and now he sits on my lap one last time. I breathe deeply as I try to breathe him in. I want to remember everything I can about my boy. His smell. His soft coat. That look of recognition in his eyes. All the little details that make up our Rufus, I strive to commit them to memory.
Years earlier, I expressed what I wanted for Rufus when the time came. I wanted to be there. I wanted our girls to be there (Emily & Lily) and I wanted him to be surrounded by love. It was my last gift to him.
Rufus was my first dog as an adult. He was a series of firsts for me, and this last act of love and compassion was a first for me. I can read about euthanasia online, but I must experience it to have a complete understanding of it. I learn by doing. And I can tell you friends it was a beautiful and peaceful transition. Rufus all on his own came to me and rested his head on my leg for his last breath, and I’m so grateful to have been there for him.
Day 1, July 7, 2021
The morning after.
It’s a new and strange and unfamiliar day for me. I feel like, what I imagine, an amputee might feel like (according to all the movies I’ve watched); a part of me is missing. I can still feel where he is supposed to be. Rufus always slept on my right side, and we laid skin to fur. His warm body touching me was a great comfort; his presence was my security blanket.
My right leg still feels him. But I can’t see him. He’s truly gone. My little four-legged, furry shadow. I feel lost. Unsure how to act without my tether keeping me grounded to our regular routine. There’s a void. And sadness washes over me like big oceanic waves; each one knocks me over, takes away my breathe and bathes me in bittersweet memories of my lost friend. I do feel lighter; unweighted. Instead of feeling free, I feel like I might just float away. I have a newfound liberation, I don’t want. The morning after has been the hardest. What a rude awakening, waking up to this new reality. I don’t want it.
Day 2; new normal
For the last 2 years, perhaps 3, I would wake up every 5 hours to let Rufus outside to pee. This practice helped to curtail accidents. My body is trained. I still wake up, but now I just lie there in bed wide awake and confused what to do now.
Rufus’ last gifts.
One of the great gifts Rufus has left my spouse and me, is the bond of love, grief and loss. To experience the pain together has been fortifying. It’s beautiful, and I’m grateful for the experience. It’s something he and I can share, and I’m thankful I’m taking this journey with him. Rufus is famous for bringing people together, and none were more important or influenced by him than us.
Life goes on
In the grand scheme of things, we didn’t plan it this way, but I’m grateful we had a work trip to distract us. Coming home and leaving immediately for Arizona was good fortune. It didn’t stop the pain or grieving, but it was good to be busy.
Taking our first road trip without Rufus was tough. He loved road tripping. We have so many fond memories in the car together listening to Fleetwood Mac, and when a familiar song would come on our playlist, tears would often flow.
I’m normally a guy that tries to hide my feelings from the world. But this process has had me embrace the tears publicly and privately. Not only did I love Rufus, but I also really liked him. I enjoyed him being part of my everyday life these last 17 years. In all the years we were together, Rufus and I were never separated for more than two weeks at a time; ever. His absence leaves a great void in my life.
I wonder how long I will mourn. As I’ve said, loving and caring for Rufus provided me with a series of firsts. He’s the first dog I’ve loved and lost so I’m in uncharted waters. Some days I feel like a blubbering mess unable to function, and other days I feel more productive. I suspect it’ll get easier with time, but I do believe the next year will be tough as I now experience a series of firsts sans Rufus. His birthday next month. Our first Monthly Meetup without him. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. More road trips and travels.
But it’s not just the big holidays. I miss our daily routine. Driving together to get lunch or dinner to go. He was my ride and die buddy, constant sidekick, perpetual passenger, and now running simple errands seem less inviting. I’m a little depressed, and I can only hope tomorrow will be easier.
On my iPhone my featured memories often include highlights of Rufus and our many adventures together. They’re beautiful to see and I often smile big at his memory, and in truth I also get a little sad at the same time. Sad that there will no more memories to be made.
Saturday, July 10th, Day 4 of our life without Rufus (in the physical) — is my first day not crying. I note the milestone because I felt it was significant. And I remember thinking briefly, perhaps I’m making progress. I felt good, but it was naturally short lived. The tears return, and I do my best to embrace them while trying to be productive.
July 14; eight days later driving home
Anticipation. Returning home with no Rufus. We’re going home. After eight nights away, it’s time to return and face the music (or more accurately the silence).
The first night sleeping in our bed without Rufus was tough. But bearable. I think I already had that experience of him not being there that first morning after. So, I feel confident I might not cry today.
Waking up and racing out the door to run a quick errand, because I’m often running late, I get to the garage door and look down and around and see no one. And the tears come like a waterfall.
Rufus and the girls are very different. The girls always offer a very loud and warm welcome when we return from an outing; but Rufus always walked me to the door in the hopes that he might get to go with me. His absence today was gut wrenching. A total sucker punch.
Even now, I’m in bed writing and being with my feelings and the girls are content snuggled with each other on the couch. I’m alone in here and they’re together in there. For me. There simply will never be another Rufus. The connection we had was special, unique, and unparalleled.
The hardest days for me to date have been…
1) Tuesday, July 6th saying goodbye 2) Wednesday, July 7th the first morning 3) Thursday, July 15th our first morning / day home without Rufus here.
I don’t know what the future holds. I am blessed and luckier than many in lots of ways. I’m so grateful to have known and loved Rufus. I’m sad for all the people who will never know him like we did, but he’ll live on forever in our pictures and memories. And I plan to celebrate him every day for the rest of my life. I don’t plan to remove any photos or put him in drawer. Nope. I will look at each photo of him with great love and appreciation for the rest of my days and remember a friendship that was life changing.
Emily and Lily are doing well. Emily had a clear and visible recognition and reaction to Rufus’ passing. I’m grateful she was there to say goodbye to her friend. Lily appeared to be present and aware, but also a little distant.
I want the girls to be who they are; whatever is true to their nature and personality. They are not Rufus, and I don’t expect them to act like him (not now nor ever). I’m eager to see how our lives change without Rufus (our little Napoleon, dictator alpha, pack leader). Rufus was the pack boss, and without his influence, I’m curious how things will change around here.
I noticed this morning, Emily, Lily, and Milo were all piled on the couch cuddling together. In Rufus’ absence there is more space for everyone to occupy. The girls have been a considerable comfort.
Thank you, friends, for all your comments and personal shares. To know Rufus touched your lives as much as he did ours, is a precious, priceless testament to a life well lived and a dog well loved. His presence and personality in this world were so much bigger than his little 11-pound body. And now he’s leaves an indelible mark in our hearts, minds, and souls.
We will continue to celebrate him and his pack till our end days. So, stay tuned. I’m sure this won’t be the last entry about Rufus and his legacy.
Who’s the cute canine in the carrier? Lily? Emily? Rufus? Why all three, silly.
It’s should come as no surprise, to anyone who really knows us, that our pack of style hounds and their humans enjoy a really well made fashionable dog carrier. We travel often with our pack of pooches, and with three in tow, it’s sometimes easier to carry one or all, then allow them to walk. #DontStepOnMyDogsPlease
We have been fans and supporters of the BK Atelier dog carrier brand since 2012, and we got our first bag in 2014; after Milo and his human recommended it. We had our first bag from February 2014 through July 2019; five years and five months. We loved it so much it that it only made sense to get another when the time came. The improvements and enhancements the brand has made in the years since 2012/2014, are amazing and only strengthened our love the brand.
We’re taking our first post(ish)-pandemic work/vacation this July, and we’re looking forward to the family road trip. In preparation we have acquired two new dog carriers so that each posh pup has his and her own. #ProofIsInThePictures
Lily is now the proud pooch of the Karli in Luxe Midnight. This bag is ideal for small pups, like our little nervous nelly Lily.
Emily now calls Mia (in Midnight matte, size large) her special transport. *** Thank you Sandy Tibbels for the early birthday gift. *** This bag is great for larger and taller pooches. Emily is the biggest of our three.
And our regal old man Rufus continues to calls the Nat tote in champagne his. This bag is less structured, but very roomy for Rufus.
As the world begins to reopen and we start to move across the country again (and eventually the world) and we take our canine companions with us, consider BK Atelier. We remain unofficial brand ambassadors and fans of their products.
This is not a paid ad, and our family has bought and paid for all of our dog carriers. Our endorsement comes from us freely and directly. We have gone through many different carriers in the last 17 years, some brands are now defunct, and we understand the struggle to secure a safe and stylish dog bag that properly fits our long-bodied and short-legged sassy sausage dogs. These carriers are Rufus, Emily and Lily approved.
To learn more about the brand visit their website. Our only note is to read the dimensions carefully to ensure you get the right size for your wonderful wiener dog; all sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.
Product note: the bag charms are sold separately. The two 101 Dalmatians charms for Emily and Lily, are from Coach; Rufus’ cancer charm is from DVF. How will you personalize your bag?!
For the first time since October 2019 (by my count) our dachshund monthly meetup finally had an in-person meeting this Sunday, June 20th. It was so nice to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones. It was truly a lovely afternoon, and an excellent way to celebrate dachshund dads and their families. Perhaps this will be a new beginning for our group.
In the last few years too many of our dachshund friends have gone to the Rainbow Bridge, and I was not entirely sure what to expect this past Sunday. I wonder who might be left. Who might show up. However, I failed to really realize that people are becoming new dachshund parents every day, and I got to meet several new dachshund puppies. (Excitable squeal.) It was renewing for my soul to see so many young dachshunds and their families just starting their journey.
If you were in attendance on Sunday, and want high res digital negative(s), please email me for details — johnny AT johnnyortez DOT com. For a small nominal fee ($6 total) you can have yours. I’m happy to donate my time and talent, but any help you can offer to recover some of my hard cost (Flickr hosting fee, Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, etc); I’d be greatly grateful.
Enjoy the photos friends, and stay tuned for the details of next one.
After a two year hiatus, two years to the date, this Saturday, March 13, Rufus returned to Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery in Santa Barbara, California, and under the watchful eye and care of Dr. Robert Furman (and team) completed a dental prophylaxis (cleaning). Skipping a cleaning in 2020, really did take a toll on Rufus’ oral health. Rufus had to have 14 extractions: 7 premolars, 2 molars and 5 incisors.
The experience was not cheap, but we believe it was a great investment in Rufus’ quality of life and continued well being. He may just make it to 17 (August 2021). 🥰👍🏽
Naturally, we want to give a big shout out to VDS&OG / Dr. Furman and team. Dr. Furman is a board certified specialist, and only works on one patient at a time while we wait. It’s truly such specialized and personalized care and attention that’s unparalleled. Dr. Furman and team are who we take our sick and old dogs to visit when normal veterinarians are no longer able to do it. We highly recommend them.
Rufus had his first meal, post dental cleaning, tonight around 10 pm and our hearts are full. He remains a little wobbly when walking because of the lingering effects of mild anesthesia and pain meds, but Dr. Furman said Rufus did very well. We’re so proud of our boy.
Two dachshunds done, and one to go. Lily gets her dental cleaning (at our normal vet) on Tuesday. Wish us luck, and we’ll keep everyone posted.
In the last 16 years, we have publicly discussed why it is important for dogs to wear clothes many times. Nonetheless, it continues to be a hot topic in our community of loyal and devoted dog lovers. So once again, let’s review for all the new people here, and anyone in need of a polite reminded. It’s good for people understand the purpose behind our practices.
After having 10-week old puppy Rufus for 5 very long days, we knew we needed help immediately. We sought it from a famous Hollywood dog trainer who remains a close friend today. He taught us to put Rufus in clothes not just because of our keen sense of style, but because getting Rufus used to wearing clothes would be very helpful if he ever needed to wear a surgical bandage or other wound dressing. #EyeOpening #TheMoreYouKnow #AhaMoment 👀
And, I can you tell today with certainty that it happens and happened more often than I wanted it to in 16 years, but we were grateful Rufus wasn’t bothered by it. Rufus was attacked on a beach by a big dog once and had to have stitches and required a dressing. Rufus had to have his paw wrapped once because of an infection, and he had to wear doggles during his many cold laser light therapies, and that’s only a few examples that quickly come to mind.
We believe part of being a responsible guardian of these of sweet souls, is thinking and planning for the future (within reason). Dogs are wonderful about living in the moment and not dwelling on the past or preoccupied with the future, but… as their humans we need to equip them (and us) with the right tools (and mindset) for when the unexpected tragedy becomes a reality. #BeingPrepared #ItWillHappen
Here is our pack practices. We never leave a dog in clothes alone. Our pack of precious pups only wear clothes while being supervised by their humans. At first, each hound was a little hesitant and confused about wearing clothes, but we rewarded them with treats and ensure the experience was fun and positive. Additionally, for first timers, we only put our pampered pooches in clothes for small intervals of time to start. We might keep them in their clothes for 5 to 10 minutes initially, and then the next time, a little longer until it’s wasn’t a consideration or concern for us or our style hounds.
Rufus has been to more than half of the states in the union, and he has experienced all the many different climates and temperatures one often does when traveling. He has walked in rain while in New York, he has peep in snow while in the mountains and pooped in the desert; he has visited beaches in Chicagos, Cafes in LA and mores. Rufus has traveled by plane, train, automobile and boat. And on many occasions, he has had to wear a jacket, a sweater, a life vest or other appropriate clothing to keep him safe and secure from the elements. For us fashion serves a functional purpose.
Lastly, don’t wait until the last minute. I believe this point is obvious and we’ve already made it today, but to be sure, here it is again. If you know you’re going on a boat and you plan to put your hot dog in life vest, get him used to it weeks in advance. Don’t show up the day of your water adventure and expect him to be cool in it, especially if he has never experienced it before. Make sense?! Don’t take your SoCal posh pup, who is used to the dry heat and has never seen rains, to the wet, cold and rustic Santa Fe in December without some prior conditioning and preparation.
But I will also say for us, it’s equal parts fun. We love to dress up our darling dachshunds in cute and stylish clothes. Ours, thanks to our diligent practices, don’t mind it and we enjoy it, so why not.?! Sometimes, the purpose of clothes, is to create smiles and laughs and maybe a few giggles, and gosh, we always welcome a reason to grin from ear to ear. #ClothesOnDogsAreNotThatSerious
Hope that helps friends. Every hound and human are unique and different. If it doesn’t work for you and yours to dress up your dachshund(s), we accept. No of us are making you, and for those of us that do, know that for us fashion is fun and functional. #DontYuckOurYum
This topic of discussion is timely because our friends at Witzig just released their new limited edition denim vest. And our handsome hounds are brand ambassadors so check them it out in theirs spreading the message of LOVE and PEACE.
Tail wags. Face licks. And butt wiggles to you and yours from Rufus and his pack mates. Have a wonderful week friends.
Rufus’ Super Sweet Sixteen book has arrived, and we love it! As I previously mentioned, this is our first time working #Blurb, and although we had heard many good things about the publishing company, one is never really sure, until he is. We are now sure and satisfied with the results.
We hope all of our friends had a safe and relaxing Labor Day Weekend. We stayed close to home, and did our best to avoid the heat wave torturing Southern California residents. Thankfully being close to Pacific Ocean meant, we didn’t suffer as bad as some of our friends inland.
Rufus continues to maintain and sustain. Sunday Funday was a little rough to start, because Rufus pooped inside, then vomited twice and later peed. Sometimes, I think he just gets confused where “outside” is. But, we just clean it up and keep moving. No drama here. Thank you Nature’s Miracle. Despite it all, Rufus still seemed to be of good cheer today; so we choose to be happy too. He did eat some dinner; provided I hand fed him. He enjoyed a hamburger patty from Wood Ranch; while he’s pack gobbled their kibble. I continue to mix in his prescribed kibble, but he lately just eats around it. #SmartDog #Spoiled
Okay friends. With great affection and appreciation, Rufus and his pack say thanks for tuning in and being an amazing source of support to us. Tail wags, face licks and wiggle butts from ours to yours. May we all have a wonderful week. 🥰✌🏼🌈
Tomorrow, Friday, August, 21st Rufus will celebrate sixteen years of life, and we’re so very grateful to achieve this milestone. This time last year, we weren’t sure if Rufus was going to make it another year. Thankfully, Rufus continues to be that sassy sausage hound that can; which we believe is very distinctively dachshund. #DeterminedBreed #StubbornHound #HeIsLeavingWhenHeIsReadyAndNotBefore 😂✌🏼
We wanted to commemorate the occasion somehow, and after a little thought and reflection, it just made sense to observe the historical honor with (another) hardcover photo book. Rufus has been photographed innumerable times so why not curate a collection of our favorites photographs. Initially the book was only intended for us, his immediate pack, but my spouse said, Rufus is not just our precious pup, but he is a canine companion to everyone that has followed his journey since the first photo we shared on the Internet. And in the moment, I was astonished by this sentiment. Rufus is not just my loyal and devoted dachshund, but a friend to everyone who has known him. Rufus has never met a human or hound he didn’t like.
The 50-page book is a modest 7×7 square with 52 unique Rufus images. The book only has one page of copy, and the rest is dedicated to the likeness of everyone’s favorite classic red, regal smooth miniature dachshund named Rufus. It’s a pictorial tribute and testament to a short-legged dog’s long life well-lived.
In the spirit of complete transparency and full disclosure, this is our first time using the self-publishing company Blurb. We did our research and it was between this one and one other, and we feel confident with our choice. Nonetheless, we look forward to your feedback; let us know what you think of the book and the final product. With some success and continued interest from you (our friends), perhaps this will only be the first book of many more to come. Future books might be dedicated to Rufus & Friends, Our Black and Tan Beauty Emily Sue, Lovely Nervous Little Lily Blossom, Marvelous Milo, Dachshund Packs, and more.
Additionally, the book is priced at $57.99; and we worked hard to keep the book affordable for all. Please note all profits will benefit our 501c3 charity Dachshund Outreach Giving and Socialization (DOGS). We haven’t done much fundraising since Rufus got sick, and it is time to get back to work. The need in our community hasn’t diminished, and we hope to return soon and be a resource of help. Note. We will receive $16 for each book sold; a dollar for each year. The rest is simply the cost of production. We had the choice to mark up the book however much we wanted, but as I said, we really wanted this to be a book anyone could buy, if they wanted.
Okay friends. Thank you in advance for the support and for all the birthday well wishes. We have really enjoyed the Countdown to Rufus’ Super Sweet Sixteen on social media. We love you all. Hug them, if you go them. Rufus and his pack will certainly get theirs.
Hello Friends. In 30 days Rufus will be celebrating 16 years of life, paws crossed he makes it. He’s doing relatively well under the current circumstances of kidney disease, but truly some days are better than others. We celebrate the small victories as they come up, like when he eats his food; and we’re steadfast in our love and support on the days when his appetite wanes. Not much more we can do, right?!
In other news, and as a means of positive distraction, we have recently been working with a new dachshund centric website: Witzig. We have done some consulting, and photo and video services for the brand, and of course, we have to tell all of our friends about it. Check them out!!!
Visit their website and check out their products; they have an assortment of toys, clothes, harnesses, slow-feeding bowls, and more. They just released four new MIKEY BURTON X WITZIG BANDANAS, which we believe are very COVID-chic and appropriate for the current climate. #ProofIsInThePictures
If you’re like us, we’re staying home more days than we’re not, and we’re occupying our time binge watching our favorite new and old TV series and shopping online. And Witzig is giving us all one more online outlet for our dachshund focused retail therapy. 👏🏼😁 Visit them and let us know what you think.
They’re a small, just starting company, but we look forward to seeing good things from them.