It's with great misfortune that I create this post about the recent passing of my smooth Dachshund, Link. Link was a notable show dog, a Westminster alumni, and an excellent companion that holds plenty of precious memories. This makes it much harder to imagine that his life was cut short due to cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that interferes with the flow of blood through the arteries and veins and in affect causes other physical issues. Due to an inability to let him continue to live in pain, we let Link go after nine excellent years with us.
Link, known as Brodny Schoolhouse Rocketman in the ring and according to the AKC, was born on January 2, 2003. He began showing in the ring a year later, with the help of his breeders and handlers. He saw plenty of success in the ring and easily garnered his fifteen points and two majors needed to "finish," which he accomplished within four months. Link returned home following this break to remain a companion, before returning to the road in 2006. He stayed on the road for two years, appearing twice in Westminster. He won the Award of Merit in 2007 and Best of Breed in 2008, the latter of which meant he would appear at the annual televised event. While he would lose the group to Uno the Beagle (who would go on to win the show), the fact he won the breed at Westminster was an accomplishment unto itself. He was a common resident of the top spots of the list of top smooth Dachshunds in the country during this time as well.
Link's showing career ended in 2008 following back surgery due to an invertebral disk. It was around this time that he would be diagnosed with cardiomyopathy as well, which limits a dog with two years to live (at the most). So at this point in time, he retired and became a companion. He did, however, show a more casual way of life. During Thanksgiving of 2008, Link got a hold of a box of pumpkin pie at the kitchen table, yanking it onto the ground and then he tried opening up the box in order to get his prize. He simply left the pie dented and came out with the nickname "Pumpkin Pie Link," which would often be substituted with "*insert the name of the food he wanted to eat* Link." His daughter, Dixie, won the breed at Westminster in 2010, which we both watched together while I had a bowl of popcorn on my lap. He was glad to be able to watch with us... but he held more of his concentration on the popcorn.
The most painful part of living with someone (in this instance, a dog) that has cardiomyopathy is that there are days you think they're struggling to live and others that they are perfectly fine. In July, we thought that this would be it, but he quickly got back to form. Just this Tuesday, he was hopping around and looking to pick up some "samples" at the kitchen table. Unfortunately, he saw his third major episode and this one was beyond painful for him and the rest of us. Now he's no longer in pain.
Someone who watches dog shows sees a dog and looks at them as "a handsome or beautiful looking representative of their favorite breed." In reality, these dogs are like everyday dogs that live a life like any other dog. They have owners that love them just as much as any other. Link was not an exception to this rule. Most people are going to see Link as the cute little Dachshund that's great to the ring. I see Link as a happy, jumpy, funny companion who loved to eat what ever you would give him and cuddle up in his Snuggie. This Thanksgiving, at a time where we believed anything could happen, I did, in fact, buy him a small pumpkin pie for him to devour. He ate the entire pie in one bite and it was indeed a memory that tells me, and will likely tell you, who Link is.
While his life was cut short, Link was a wonderful time to own. It's beyond an honor to have a dog that could make it to Westminster, but better yet, have a dog that is a compassionate companion. That's how I remember Link.
RIP Link (Brodny Schoolhouse Rocketman) (January 2, 2003-December 20, 2012). I hope that Thanksgiving is everyday for you up in Heaven!