The family's dachshund, Dieter, is now living with Frank Rzucek Jr., Shanann's brother

By Steve Helling
September 07, 2018 04:27 PM
Shanann Watts
Shanann Watts /Facebook

Shanann Watts appeared to have a picturesque life in an upscale Colorado home north of Denver. A devoted mom, she doted on her daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, and she was excited about the baby boy she was expecting with husband Chris Watts.

Like many other families, the Watts also had a dog — a small dachshund named Dieter, who often showed up in videos that Shanann posted on her social media.

Dieter cameos in many of her posts, often seen excitedly running around the five-bedroom family home in the small town Frederick.

The Watts’ seemingly happy life was shattered last month when Shanann, 34, and her girls were killed and husband Chris, 33, was accused of killing his entire family.

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In the immediate aftermath of the slayings and Chris’ arrest, their dog went to a friend’s house, but Dieter has finally ended up at the North Carolina home of Shanann’s younger brother, Frankie Rzucek.

On Wednesday, Rzucek posted a Facebook video of Dieter in the backyard of his home — and says that the dog is becoming acclimated to his new surroundings.

“He gets a little nervous here and there because he’s not used to … my chihuahua and her attitude lol,” Rzucek wrote in a comment. “He’s starting to figure out she’s all bark and no bite. Lol I even caught them playing together last night and she usually doesn’t like ‘new’ people or pets, hell anyone but me. Haha”

Rzucek wrote that his chihuahua understands that Dieter is in mourning for his loss:

“But its like she knows he’s sad. Its amazing how animals know certain things, but they do. My dogs have not left my side ever since this happened.”

From left: Shanann Watts’ father and brother, Frank Rzucek and Frank Rzucek Jr. at a court hearing for Chris Watts
RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Chris remains behind bars without bond. He faces three counts of first-degree murder, as well as several lesser charges.

According to an arrest affidavit previously obtained by PEOPLE, Chris has claimed that he killed his wife in a “rage” after watching her strangle one of their daughters.

Authorities have said he was allegedly cheating on Shanann with a co-worker at the time she was killed.

Chris’ lawyer did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment. However, according to a statement from the state’s public defender’s office, which is representing him, their attorneys are barred from discussing ongoing criminal cases.

Whatever happens with the case, Shanann’s brother plans to keep Dieter as part of his family.

“He’s a great dog and loves to give kisses,” he wrote. “Once he gets past the ‘new place’ anxiety, he will be great.”