“I hear people whisper, ‘I can’t believe she’s making them do that,’” Jessica says of hiking with dogs. “Sometimes people are judgmental. They perceive that it’s very difficult for the dogs, and they perceive that perhaps it’s mean or that I’m forcing them to do it. That’s not at all the case.”
“People are shocked to see small dogs on the trail, especially small dogs that can hold their own with hiking.”
Gretel and Chester are also the superhero mascots behind the Adventurewiener Club, helping to lead monthly walks along a popular Seattle path and participating in other active events that Jessica organizes. In the summer, events can draw 40 people and 70 or so dachshunds.
In those early days of hiking, Gretel and Chester wouldn’t see many other small dogs on the trail. Now they run into chihuahuas, pomeranians, pugs, and other dachshunds. Small dogs aren’t taking over the trails, but their numbers seem to be increasing.
“By showing people that small dogs need exercise and are capable, we are helping people keep up their dog’s health,” Jessica says. “I feel like Gretel and Chester have bettered other small dogs’ lives.”
And, of course, small dogs aren’t the only ones these two special dachshunds have affected in substantial ways.
“I changed my whole life because of them,” Jessica says.