Tails of the Dachshund Circus!!
written by Harva Hibma

1990 was a very good year for dachshunds...and lovers thereof.

A bicoastal conversation was struck up over on the fledgling Prodigy service between Bill (Dman) Whitaker in Jacksonville, Florida and Ann Pollay in Newbury Park, California. Each owned canine clowns of the doxie persuasion....and each doxie suffered seizures. Trading sympathies, jokes, and the antics of tweenie Rudy Pollay at a 7 year- old's birthday party became the heading: Dachsund Circus!! (now don't yell....I KNOW it's spelled wrong!) This friendship grew, with daily postings (way back then, there was at least a 2-day lapse in public BB notes), and suddenly other doxie fans joined in. In less than six months, a group of 20 was forming a lasting bond.

Shortly thereafter, the first of the Doxie Wars began and its first miracle occurred....a newcomer, who fed his poor little doxie bacon grease and hit him with newspapers, criticized the misspelling of our noble breed's name, in very rude terms. Attacking some members personally fueled the flames...all over that innocent mistake made in haste when the first DC note was sent out. We knew that an H was missing, but didn't care. The DC was our "place" and our family gettogether and we weren't about to change it, and maybe lose our connection!! . Unfortunately, at that time, even Prodigy itself could not "edit" a Subject Title. "NT" who was the villain of the piece, even tried to start a "new" Circus BB, but it failed miserably. He inspired a new scent, "Eau de Squirrel Piss" which was a large seller. The charlatan finally walked away with his tail between his legs, but he had served his purpose. There was an H missing. Where did the H go ?? Why did it go ?? What did it mean ?? Clues poured in and an investigation was launched!! H is really a nice letter. H is for Health, Hope, Happiness, Hugs, Holdme, but most of all we decided it means Healing. For, at that time, several of our loving friends were ailing. Why, of course!! The H was out helping our ill friends recover. So, we began sending it to one another whenever and wherever it is needed. AND, it works!! To this very day.

A heavy email campaign to Prodigy finally succeeded in correcting the spelling of Dachshund!!!! But the H will always be available for it's power to soothe and show love.

By then, the DC had truly become a "family" and the picture exchange was in full swing. Jane Manturi, a most creative lady, published our first Dachshund Circus Family Newsletter in 1991!! We grew to more than 150 members, and even though some faded away, they were replaced with new.

Always a progressive pioneer , Dman discovered the "upstart" AOL, which at the time offered an amazing LIVE CHAT capability. He experimented with this for a few weeks and let it slip out on the DC!! one day. I was honored by his invitation to join him and Bill Mader one Friday nite. None of us had ever spoken personally...had never seen pictures of one another....but we traded insults and family secrets that were so hilarious that we "talked" for over four hours that first night. Another doxie-door was opened that night! The following week, we gave Kathy Cook (MS Cujo) a map to the Doxie Room. Poor Cuj was commuting with an old PC that ran on floppy disks at home, and AOL had to run from a hard disk, so she decided to join us from her husband's office......at 10PM Minnesota time. ROFL -- she had to climb over a barbed wire fence to get in (or out).....and the four of us chatted till we couldn't stand it any more! Next week Denise Page (Ms Liberal) sneaked in.....and Friday nights have never been the same since.

During this "heyday" the Mercy Flights of Charlie and Snoopy Finn were initiated, flying all over the country, dropping "care" packages of goodies and treats to doxies in need Their stewardesses were my own Coxie and Moxie. BOW WOWs began in 1992....mini gatherings of local members...the very first was at Wendy Wiener's house! Yes, she really IS Wendy Wiener . This was the first in-person meeting of the DC founders, Whitaker and Pollay and all our doxies, of course! . Denise Page was the hostess soon after at a gathering in her St. Louis home, but this time, she had DCers from Minnesota and Mississippi joining in the fun. It became a tradition to see just how many phone calls from around the country each little Bow Wow generated. This just wasn't enough, though!! Diane Combs offered to host a National Bow Wow in Dallas for Memorial Day 1993!! She and Bill Whitaker put their heads together on that history making event and the group was such an example of responsible pet ownership that the Holiday Inns has asked us back. It was wonderful from all accounts....as you can see from the video!! (LOL, if you want to order one, ask Diane or Pam, not ME !!!!) And, such a success that the decision was made to Bow Wow annually. Denise Page and Janice Maguire put together the 2nd National gathering in St. Louis in 1994, and here it was decided that we would try to coincide with the Dachshund Club of America National so our DCA members wouldn't miss Bow Wows and vice versa!! Louisville followed in 1995 and New Orleans in 1996. ATLANTA/MACON 1997!!!

Alas, with time, the world changes. In late 1993 and early 1994, Prodigy decided on a serious price hike. Bill Mader, one of our earlier members, and a computer wizard, decided that the GEnie Service was the most economical place for the Dachshund Circus. He convinced several fellow DCers to switch away and they started the first branch office of the DC on GEnie. Remember, in those days, the Internet was still a government or institutional network and interservice Email was not available --creating quite a "hole" in the fabric of our family!! It wasn't long, though, before people like Pam Finn and Renee Hamilton were "pasting" notes between the two services in order to keep us in touch. Renee also volunteered to manage and produce the DC mailing list including members from any venue, so all could continue to enjoy the Newsletter and Snail Mail picture exchanges!! It wasn't long before Renee was finding dachshund people all over the place, LOL, on Compuserve, down the street, and finally the Internet!!

And here we are. Now an international family. And, don't doubt the power of this family. We share the high times, the low times. The births and the deaths. The joy and the tears. We share our doxies. We share our love.

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Last modified on 26-Oct-97 03:40 PM
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