Wednesday, October 08, 1997
Wednesday, October 01, 1997
Not sure of the date.
Rat, Dogs of the Apocalypse
By Pete Butter for The Art of News TV show on PCTV
Cute. Cuddly. Deadly. They're sold in this country as pets, yet in some cultures, they are
known as nothing less than death incarnate -- and with good reason. They are ... dachshunds.
Are your children safe?
[Slow-mo shot of a trotting wiener-dog. Caption “Rat Dogs of the Apocalypse” shown across
the bottom of the screen.]
The so-called “Wiener Dog” has occupied a prominent, frightening place in western civilization.
From the dachshund-soaked tales of Beowulf to the terrifying “snake-dog” pits of Vlad Tepes,
no other creature has had so firm a place in the collective nightmares of Europe. But most
people know them through their role in Europe's greatest nightmare, the second world war.
Even today, more than fifty years since they took the field of battle, the infamous
Dachshundkrieg divisions of the SS are still spoken of with awe and terror in Russia and eastern
Europe. The “Legions of Fuzzy Death,” as the Soviets called them, were deployed too late to
affect the war's ultimate outcome, but they took a brutal toll on wherever they entered battle.
[Cut to a distinguished looking man with a German accent. Caption introduces him as
An “Professor Wulfgang Heinrich”.]
“The Wermacht never learned the secret of properly controlling these tiny, deadly weapons.
When used in combat, the Germans suffered almost as many wiener-related casualties as their
Russian enemies. Nevertheless, the Russians lived in fear of Dachshund-augmented night raids,
and devoted tremendous effort to protecting themselves from this threat. Later in the war, the
Germans leaned that they had a tremendous anti-armor weapon on their hands; most Russian
battle tanks had hatches easily large enough for a single enraged wiener dog to crawl through,
and once inside, the crew was as good as dead. There was also some research devoted to using the V-2 'buzz bomb' as a dachshund delivery vehicle, but those efforts had not born fruit by the end of the war. If the Canine Arms division of the Wermacht had been given the five extra years Hitler had promised them before the war began, the history of Europe might have been very, very different.”
[Return to news guy.]
Though more frightening, more disturbing, is the role they play in civilizations that have had no
previous contact with them. The Tibetan word for “Dachshund” literally translates as "Rat Dog
at the End Of The World,” despite the fact that the word predates the culture's first encounter
with the fearsome creatures.
And consider early, forbidden versions of the Indian holy scripture, some dating as far back as
750 BC, detailing the last days of the world. They state clearly that Shiva’s coming will be “tiny
hounds of war, canine tubes of compressed pieces of pigflesh.” Can this be anything other than
a culture unfamiliar with the concept groping for a word for “wiener”?
[Cut to a distinguished-looking Indian man]
“The most difficult thing visitors from my country must adjust to is the wiener dog. Indian
children are taught that they are monsters which only exist in legend, so to see them as pets in
this country often comes as a terrible shock. I know of a girl here as an exchange student whose host family had a wiener dog. She was not able to hide her surprise, and the creature smelled her fear. She did not survive the night.”
[Cut back to news guy.]
But the most sinister aspect of the beasts is the manner in which they feed. Some people believe they rend their prey into tiny pieces, but this is strictly aggressive/defensive behavior. When feeding, the dachshund will latch its powerful jaws onto its prey and then wrap its body around its victim, slowly constricting as the victim exhales and ultimately suffocating the poor creature. The dachshund will then swallow its meal whole. Every week brings a new tragic story of a gorged and sated wiener dog resting in what was once an infant's crib.
[Cut to an interview with a pet shop owner. Maybe we coach him, maybe we don't.]
“The dachshunds ... what special precautions do you take to ensure the safety of your staff?”
“Do you give any sort of class on handling them before you'll sell them?”
“Can we ... can we watch one feed?”
[Cut back to news guy.]
Indeed, we can only begin to wonder: what role do these fearful beasts play in your community?
[Cut to Ander's rat-dog cockfights story.]