DREAM Dachshund Rescue

I am amazed every day by the capacity of dogs to love and forgive the human race. I hope to give people a better understanding of what rescue is and why rescue is needed. The road is heartbreaking and frustrating. I meet so many dogs with such sad histories. And then I see them turn themselves around, with love and stability, and I think this is the happiest road there is, as well as the saddest. For the doggies, always the doggies. www.dreamdachsierescue.org

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog has moved!

HI everyone, we're moving our blog on the rescue life to:


Blogger has been good to us, but wordpress has some nicer features like categorizing, so that you can more easily find the posts on the topics you are most interested in.

Weiner love!

Join us!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rescue week - Luke's Joys and Nash's Pain

We have had an eventful week!

Our joys this week include Luke's adoption. Many of you have followed Luke's story, from his surrender by his owners when he was injured, through his surgery, physical therapy, and swim therapy, and when he started to walk again. I am so proud of him! Last weekend, Luke went on a "sleepover" with a potential mom and dachsie brother. They are all in love -- Luke has found his forever home. Thank you Kim and Marvin!
We had a very scary time with our foster Nash, one of the dogs we got from the breeder a couple of weeks ago. He came down suddenly with HGE (Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis) -- an often unexplained condition that strikes fast and can be deadly. (My own dog had this last year, and it was terrifying). Nash's human foster brother, Nicky, found him near death, and acted quickly. They got Nash to the vet for stabilization, IV fluids, and antibiotics. His bloodwork was terrible, his body temperature dropped and we were afraid we were going to lose him. Then the vet had to close and his foster mom Theresa took Nash to an emergency clinic for overnight care. In the morning he was much better. He spent the second day back at the normal vet, and went home that evening. It looks like he is going to be fine, but DREAM had a scary time of it there, especially Theresa, Nicky, and Sarah. They had to do all the shuffling from vet to vet to make sure Nash had professional medical care round the clock for a couple of days. He is much happier to be back in his foster home! We don't have the final damage yet, but just the emergency vet part was more than $900. If anyone can help with Nash's expenses, please send whatever you can. Even $10 makes a difference. Our website www.dreamdachsierescue.org will tell you how, and all donations are completely tax-deductible.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Next Generation

Two things have happened this week to give me special hope. When we started DREAM, one thing we didn't even think about was the children in the foster homes, and how fostering would affect them. But these kids are AMAZING... they see first hand the suffering caused by overpopulation and breeding ... and they are going to DO something about it!

First, Grace. Grace had her 8th birthday party last weekend. Instead of presents, she told her mom that she wanted her friends to make donations to DREAM. And they raised more than $100, which DREAM will use for much-needed veterinary care for the three puppymill dogs we just took in.

Second, Sydney. Sydney had a video project for her school, and she chose the topic "Puppy Mills." It's a terrific video, and you can see it here: www.Myspace.com/arsenalmom13 (click on "Videos"). As if the video isn't fabulous enough, her film won at the "Darlington Oscars" awards! Many of the kids at her school told her they had never even heard of puppy mills. Can you imagine the impact this has on that group of kids -- they will never contribute to the breeding industry. They have an early awareness. Her mom Sherri sure must be proud of her!

And I am so proud of Theresa's teenagers, Nicky and Sarah. Theresa is one of our long-term foster homes. When one of her foster dogs had a medical emergency, both kids jumped in and figured out how to get the dog to emergency care. He would have died without their resourcefulness.

I don't think my generation will be able to fix our problems, but their generation just might. I'm proud to know em!

Update on the 24

Thanks to everyone for your outpouring of ideas and support on the 24 dogs we received. I am still hoping to get more dogs from the situation, with the help of animal control, by the end of the month.

The saddest part is, the AKC had recently inspected the breeder, and she "passed with flying colors." What does that tell you about inspections?

Here is where we currently stand, thanks to excellent collaboration from several rescues. Other groups also stepped up to help, and I plan to call on them when / if we get additional dogs. (Thanks Kentucky!)

DREAM pulled 24 dogs, including 7 young puppies, from the situation. 9 more dogs were in the outdoor kennels, and we don't know how many more were inside.

Southern States Dachshund Rescue (http://www.ssdr.org/), bless them, took 3 adult dogs and all 7 puppies, including 2 longhairs and one wirehair. Special thanks to them for actually driving to meet us, saving those puppies the stress of additional transport.

Dachshund Rescue North America (http://www.drna.org/) took 3. One longhair piebald, one smooth piebald, and one smooth red.

Two rescues in New York arranged transport within 2 days for 8 more adults.

DREAM has 3 of the dogs, and they are all precious. Please check our petfinder listing for Spanky, Sweet Pea (pictured), and Nash.

The dogs were all in reasonable health. I was shocked that all were heartworm negative. They all needed vaccinations, and, of course, spay/neuter. All needed dentals, one significant -- the removal of both upper canines. All were very dirty and smelly, but good natured, if hand-shy.

I had a terrific experience working with Murray County animal control, thanks to the amazing efforts of the 2 women there who move heaven and earth to help so many dogs with so few resources. THANK YOU Pauline and Lisa for all that you do. Generally the rescue community feels that they must "battle" animal control, but at Murray County it is a true collaboration. Those two manage to save more dogs than most of the larger counties, much better funded. DeKalb could learn a lot of lessons from you.

For the dogs, always for the dogs.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dachshund Exhaustion

We saved 24 dogs today. Too tired to blog. More tomorrow. Thanks for all your words of encouragement. They help.

At least 12 dogs are still there. It is cold tonight again.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

The latest. It ain't the greatest.

The current challenge: 18 dogs at a breeder who is retiring. Where can they go, so that we can ensure that other disreputable breeders don't get them and continue that sad life?

DREAM is coordinating with DRNA, SSDR, and other groups yet to be found, to save these 18 dogs' lives. Unless we can do it, they will go to animal control next week, where they will surely be put down. (I refuse to use the word "euthanized" anymore. It translates to "good death." Let's call things what they are.)

Their county has only a tiny AC facility with 5 cages, already full. And owner surrender dogs are always euthanized first, since the holding period does not apply (AC already KNOWS the owner isn't coming to find them).

It's no easy task to find foster spaces for 18 dogs. Then we also have to find 18 vetting appointments, coordinate all of the logistics of getting them vetted, and getting them back, and getting them back to foster homes, and paying the bills, and figuring out how to get them transported the longer distances to rescues outside of the Atlanta area. All assuming they do not have health issues, which they probably do.

Wish us luck, and send us ideas.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Jackson County Georgia Puppy Mill

Many of you have seen on the news about the puppy mill bust that occured in Jackson County, Georgia recently. Tonight, March 17, the county commissioners will meet to decide the fate of 300 plus dogs, including dachshunds, who were being held in terrible conditions. They may be returned to the owner. If you can attend tonight (Monday) at 6 pm, please show your opposition to large-scale breeding practices.

If you cannot attend, please email the people at the bottom of this message. Even a short email or phone call may be enough to help, telling the commissioners that there are many people out there who do not condone this type of treatment.

Many county officials do not understand what animal cruelty is, how animals in this type of breeding mill suffer from the effects, and how important it is to make sure the owners of the LD Farm are held accountable for their treatment and that they should not get the dogs back.

It is a real possibility that they MIGHT get them all back if the powers that be (below) don't understand the implications of this type of treatment of the animals.

One of our DREAM foster homes has seen the dogs in question personally; she reports that "it would be very unfortunate for these animals if they were to return to the owners."

A 19 year old girl was brave enough to turn these scumbags in after witnessing the abuse first hand. Let's help finish the fight she began for these babies. Here is her original testimony, retyped from the county documents (uncorrected):

Jackson County Code Compliance February 18 – 19, 2008

I Tiffany Butler was looking in the newspaper last weekend for a job when I ran across a ad that said Kennel Help Needed. I called the number 706 247 2180, spoke with Jennifer and set up an interview the next day (Sunday) at 10:00 am.
After the interview she told me that the position was filled but that if things didn’t work out I would get the full-time job, be paid $6.00 an hour under the table NO TAXES. Monday morning, 2-18-08 Jennifer called me a little after 8:00 am wanting me to come and word ASAP, I arrived around 8:30, and clocked in at 9:00. Shortly after clocking in another employee proceeds to “train” me. The first place I went into was the “puppy” room, This is a room built onto Marie’s house that they put puppies into before a customer comes, Its’ the only “clean” room….while in this room, I saw cock roaches, infesting the walls, After leaving the “puppy room” I went up the hill into the puppy barn.
This is a place full of mom dogs with there new born pups. This room was also infested with roaches, the “barn” smelled horriable, to the point where it was hard for me to breathe. The other employee showed me how to clean the pans under the cages. She told me to do that whole room of cages, there was at least 10 – 15 dogs in the room (not pups) in the same “barn” where the mom & pups are together there are 20-30 moms & pups, this room too was filled with roaches, they were falling off of the ceiling into my head.
After leaving that room I went into a trailer that too was filled with dogs (10 – 15) I proceeded to do my job, that afternoon in the room where the mom & pups are, I notices a shi-tzu pup try to stand up, but she had no energy to do so, she fell over and laid there. I proceeded to call Jennifer, to tell her about the pup, she said she already knew about the pup, that it had been that way for a few days. I asked her if they were going to take the pup to the vet. She said “no” I asked why, she said it “cost too much” …
So I asked if I could take the pup home and try to force feed her to keep her alive. She said, “you don’t have too, it’s up to you, it’s going to die either way.” So I took the puppy home and force fed it throughout the night and next morning. The next morning I went back to work, however the night before I had a LONG discussion with my boyfriend (Adam Casper) who also worked at the kennels, after discussing all the problemes we found we decided to try to do something about it. I had not seen the worst part.
Tuesday morning I went into work, the first thing I saw when I walked into the room beside the house was a tiny black and whit Chiva-pup, almost dead. I took the pup out of the cate it was in, put gloves on and briskly rubbed the pup to try to stimulate him. The pup had already lost control of it’s bodily functions. I rubbed the pup for over 45 minutes, Brandy and Jennifer walked into the room and asked if he was “down” I told them yes and that I had been trying to revive it for about 45 minutes. Brandy took the pup from me and rolled it up in a towel.
She put a heating pad into the cage and laid him on it. I then asked if they were going to take the puppy to a vet. Jennifer said “No, they wont do anything for him and it cost too much anyway.” Then I asked her “if they could go get a whot to put him to sleep.” She said “we don’t want to do that either because if he does make it I don’t wont to be the one that killed him, and if he makes it we will sell him” Then Brandy and Jennifer left the room. At that time the other employee told me “I’ve seen worse, it only gets worse. But the won’t do anything b/c this is there money” After leaving that room, we walked up to the room with all the moms and pups. I told the other employee I was going to get Adam, my boyfriend and Another employee to show me the boxers on the hill, she said OK. Adam then drove me up the hill, That’s when I decided to quit. On the hill there is 2 rows of pit-pulls, no food, no water. In the kennels there was mud, water, urine, and feces, that these dogs are living in. The dogs have open sores covering their bodies. There are horses that you can count every rib in there body. IN one cage in the barn there are 10-20 dogs in what looks to be 6x6 cage. All of these dogs too are sick and have wounds covering most of there bodies. All in all this place is a puppy mill, they breed dogs until they die…the other employees stated to me that when something is mentioned to the authorities they have to clean up extra good …
When I left the property today Jennifery and Brandy were gone, they both have been calling wanting the shi-tzu pup back…I have ignored there calls.

Here's a link to the story: http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/022408/news_20080224085.shtml

Please help if you can.
'I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.'
~ Helen Keller

Board of Commissioners Meeting
Date: 3/17/2008 6:00 PM
Location: Jackson County Courthouse - Jury Assembly Room
5000 Jackson Parkway
Jefferson, Georgia 30549
(706) 367-1199

Pat Bell, Chairperson pbell@jacksoncountygov.com
Tom Crow, Commissioner tcrow@jacksoncountygov.com
Jody Thompson, Commissioner jthompson@jacksoncountygov.com
Bruce Yates, Commissioner byates@jacksoncountygov.com
Dwain Smith, Commissioner dsmith@jacksoncountygov.com

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. ~Albert Schweitzer

Thursday, February 14, 2008

YOU can help! Three bills to help dachshunds (and all dogs) in Georgia

Folks, there are 3 animal-welfare related bills in the Georgia Legislature this session. I hope all of you will contact your state Senators and Representatives to ask them to support or co-sign the bills. I have information at the bottom of this post that will tell you HOW to find and contact your representatives. It is amazingly easy and quick.

Now, these bills aren't perfect. I don't like the way they worded every point. But if passed, they will make a huge difference from where we are now. And that's how this stuff works -- step by step. The Humane Society of the United States helped with the writing. Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The first bill is HB 1060. This would ban the use of the gas chamber. Animals would have to be euthanized via injection. It also requires public shelters and AC to furnish reports/stats of their euthanizations, which would make all of our grant writing efforts easier. This is a way to get PRIVATE money, since Georgia is reluctant to spend PUBLIC money.
****When talking to your senator / rep, emphasize 3 points: 1) gas chamber is an unnecessarily cruel way to dispose of our unwanted animals from overpopulation, 2) the gas itself is obviously toxic and a hazard to the shelter workers and the environment, and 3) enforcing the reporting enables our state to get access to private funding sources since we have more accurate statistics about the extent of our problem.***

The second bill is HB 1194, the "Consumer Protection Act for Pet Owners." It is essentially a "pet lemon law" that would apply to pet stores and breeders (not shelters or rescues). I am especially excited about this one because it attacks the puppymill problem from financial perspective and a consumer protection perspective, which even non-animal lovers can get behind. It provides for the right for a person to go back to the petstore and get reimbursed for veterinary expenses for certain health issues that existed at point of sale. It also mandates certain vaccinations. Think about what would happen to the puppymills if petstores stopped buying from them because the pups with health issues came back and started costing them money. And think about what would happen if a puppymill had to vaccinate before even SENDING the puppy to the petstore.

Now, I don't love all the language of the bill, but we can work on tweaking that next year once we have some experience with it on the ground.
****For this one, ask your representative to make sure this bill gets out of committee and gets its chance at a vote on the senate and house floors. Emphasize the points about protecting consumers from greedy breeders and petstores.****

If you think you know about the scale of puppymills in this country, read this: http://network.bestfriends.org/truth/news/22676.html. Many of the pups in petstores in Georgia come from Missouri.

And of course, there is the dogfighting bill, HB301, which is in its final stages of passing overwhelmingly. All you need to say on this one is how much you appreciate the support it has gotten across the house and senate and that you expect them to work out the final details to pass it. (They are quibbling now about what happens to the dogs that are seized.) But I think your messages should focus on the other 2 bills, since this one will pass.

Here is what I'm asking you to do.

Go to this site to figure out who your state senator and representative are. You need your zip +4 code. http://www.votesmart.org/ When your search results come up, scroll down to "State Legislative." There should be 2 names - a senator and a house representative. (If you don't know the +4 part of your zip, use this site first -- http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp)

OK, now that you know who your guys / gals are, here's what you do. Go to this site and look them up to get phone numbers, office locations, email addresses, or whatever you want. http://www.legis.state.ga.us/ (See "Fact Sheet" on each.)

The most effective way to contact your representative / senator is in person. This is amazingly easy to do, and makes a huge impression. These guys WANT to see you and meet you. They LOVE IT when constituents come see them. You can call and ask for an appointment, but it's easy to just go down to the Capitol -- it's simple on MARTA -- or find the office in the district itself. If the senate or house is actually in session, you can go to the desk and ask them to go into the chamber to get your guy / gal. They send a page in (kids!) and the rep comes out to see you in the hall. Yes, they come out of the session just to talk to little old YOU. Introduce yourself as someone in their district and say your piece about the bills. If possible, tell a story about your personal experience and why this is important. (For example, I told my senator yesterday about puppies I have gotten from people after they found out they had birth defects that couldn't be seen at the young age they got them. And he was shocked to find out that I have dogfighting in my neighborhood. That really woke him up). Make sure you mention the bill number and key words from the bill's name. If possible, leave a card with a little note on it, with the bill numbers. If you get there and your senator / rep is away, ask to talk to his / her staff person.

The second best way is by phone. Call and leave a message with the bill numbers and names, and your request to support them.

It is also effective to send a snail mail letter or card, this way you can tell your story. This is also great to do as a follow-up to visiting your representative, like a thank you note.

Email is okay too, although makes less of an impression. Same deal, make sure the bill numbers are in the subject line.

Contact the governor's office, ideally by phone, and ask Sonny Perdue to rally his people around these excellent pieces of legislation, and to sign them when they get to his desk. 404-656-1776, or you can go to the website and fill out a little form. http://gov.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,78006749_94820188,00.html . Or you can write a note and fax it to 404 657 7332.

It takes only 3 contacts from constituents to wake up a senator / representative about an issue and get it on his / her radar screen. Imagine what an effect we would have if everyone who read this made a phone call or went down to the Capitol.

Two of the bills are still in the Agriculture Committee. The emails of the committee are below; please send a personal message to each member urging them to move the bills forward so they can have their vote on the House Floor.

We have a chance to make a difference! Let's not blow it! These guys need to know how important this is, and the only way they will know that is if people who are passionate tell them about it.

jon.burns@house.ga.gov, carl.epps@house.ga.gov, englandhomeport2@alltel.net, lynmore.james@house.ga.gov, tommccall@bellsouth.net, billy.maddox@house.ga.gov, gene.maddox@house.ga.gov, reptonysellier136@msn.com, kevinlevitas@bellsouth.net, jay.roberts@house.ga.gov, blackellis@bellsouth.net, penny.houston@house.ga.gov, winfred.dukes@house.ga.gov, dubose.porter@house.ga.gov, dawg4116@aol.com, chuck.sims@house.ga.gov, tommy.smith@house.ga.gov

If you want to see the full language of the actual bills, go to this site http://www.legis.state.ga.us/ and use the "Legislative Search" feature at the top right.

THEN, forward this post to every Georgia animal lover you know. Ideally, copy and paste it into your own email message and add your own spin.

If after all of that, you have even more energy, email Representative Pat Gardner pat@patgardner.org and Stan Watson stan_watson@matria.com to thank them for their leadership in bringing these bills to the General Assembly.

Viva democracy!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hal's foster mom remembers his last months

The volunteers of DREAM Dachshund Rescue mourn the loss of each dog that we cannot save.
There are always dachshunds who get euthanized in shelters when we are not notified in time or all our of foster homes are full. We cry because the rescue system doesn’t always work in time.
There are some dachshunds who are too sick to save even though we try our hardest through the best vet care the Atlanta area has to offer. We cry because we weren’t able to show them what true love was.
And then there are the dachshunds who we bring into our homes as fosters and grow to love, only to become sick and the only option is to euthanize. We cry because we lost a family member who didn’t get a chance to find a forever home.

Elori, Dupree.

And last week we lost a family member named Hal.
For those of you who follow the blog, you already know Hal’s story. His terrible condition when he came to DREAM. But you haven’t heard how he lived and his wonderful, steady personality that made him such a great dog.
Hal loved to chase squirrels. They are small and furry, just like cats, and both species need to be banished from his world. Hal’s hip injury did not slow him down one bit as he raced around the backyard and stared up at the trees. His true hound bark made sure everyone around knew he was outside protecting his yard.
Hal loved to tear up stuffed animals. He seemed to take such delight being surrounded by the “fake snow” and sleeping on top of his “kill”. His foster granddad gave him a stuffed duck at Christmas that he loved to throw for himself and give chase. I would sit and watch him for several long minutes and call him the “self-entertaining” dog. See the video of Hal playing with his duck at
Hal loved to cuddle under a blanket by a crackling fire. He would wrap up so tight that he would look like a plaid dachshund, complete with plaid nose and wagging plaid tail. He would protest being put in his crate at night by doing a half grunt-half sigh that sounded like a grumpy old man. He wouldn’t go to sleep until he knew his humans were in the bed with the lights out.
He loved food as if he hadn’t had enough in his lifetime.
He always wanted to be in the same room as his humans.
He would nose your hand if it wasn’t petting his head.
He loved to have his face mushed so he looked like a wrinkled old man.
He loved to wrestle with the other dogs in the house.
He would spin in circles when he was excited.
I have the knowledge that Hal lived a better life while he was in DREAM’s care. And that he was loved until he passed to the other side. That we knew we were there to mourn him. That he was not alone.
There will always be another dachshund who needs rescue, but Hal will always hold a special place in my heart.



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PETA's videos about breeders and rescue

You know, I'm not always the biggest fan of PETA, although I think they play an important role in animal welfare generally. It's not my style to be so confrontational (at least most of the time, when I can help it).

People learn through stories, though -- and these 2 videos tell good stories, with a fresh approach. I hope people will watch them. They have a twisted sort of humor about them.


I don't believe breeding dogs is inherently immoral. I do believe it is immoral to breed dogs at the same time we are killing so many that are homeless. As soon as we've taken care of the homeless dog problem, I'd like to breed little dachshund babies myself.

And you gotta love the suburban mom's quip at the end: "Little girl's gonna get some!" Priceless.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hal is at the Rainbow Bridge

Hal went to the Rainbow Bridge tonight.

Ashley and David were there to hold him, kiss him, and tell him it was okay -- there would be plenty of squirrels and cats to chase, and ribeye steaks to eat that wouldn't hurt his tummy. He knew that they were there, and wagged his tail.

From George E. Odell:
We need one another when we mourn and would be comforted.
We need one another when we are in trouble and afraid.
We need one another when we are in despair, in temptation, and need to be recalled to our best selves again.
We need one another when we would accomplish some great purpose, and cannot do it alone.
We need one another when we come to die, and would have gentle hands prepare us for the journey.
All our lives we are in need, and others are in need of us.

Ashley and David were Hal's "gentle hands" tonight.
He has had other gentle hands along the way: Debbie, who got him out of the shelter, Theresa, who fostered him and first identified the chronic bowel problems, Heather and Derek, who brought Hal down to Atlanta, and all the people at Village Veterinary Hospital in Decatur.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sweet gentleman Hal - now a waiting game

Our sweet foster dog Hal, who has captured every heart in DREAM, came to us from an animal control facility in LaGrange, Georgia. He had been struck by a car and found by the road. Although he had a friendly, gentle personality, he limped from a dislocated hip, and the shelter didn't think anyone would adopt him. They also had him tested for heartworms, and he was positive. Not a good result for a limping, frightened dog in a shelter with limited space and resources. He was a prime candidate for being killed to make room for other lost or abandoned dogs, with better “adoptability.”
A kind woman who works in LaGrange, but lives in Atlanta, knew about DREAM and asked if she could bring Hal to us. We took one look at those soulful eyes and said yes!
When Hal arrived, he was in sad shape with several health issues. He was extremely thin, and every vertebra in his spine poked out. He had a lopsided gait from the hip injury. And, of course, the heartworm infection.
But his face -- his dear, handsome, richly red face. His eyes: clear and trusting. His tail wagged in greeting, even though he felt terrible -- sick, weak, and frightened at so many new places and people in only a few days. We can only imagine that he thought feeling terrible was normal!

We took care of Hal's standard vetting first (vaccinations, fecal test) and discovered that he also had an infestation of almost every intestinal parasite you can think of. He was dewormed three times and pooped out mounds and mounds of various worms. Whew! What a mess (and what a parasitology lesson!).

It was time to address Hal's more difficult problems. We decided to take care of the heartworm first. Hal stayed at the vet for three days, enduring the painful injections. Luckily, his side effects were minimal, and off he went to his foster home to recover. While he recovered from heartworm treatment, we had to keep his heart rate down so that the worms would not break off as they die and cause further injury or death. So: strict crate rest for 60 days. We wanted to use this time for him to gain some weight and fully heal from all the invasions to his heart and tummy. We planned to take care of his hip injury after he was generally healthier. It did not seem to be causing him pain.
Our well-laid plans did not come to pass. Hal had trouble with diarrhea. We originally ascribed this to all the worms, but even after the worms were gone, he still had issues and sometimes did not seem to know that he was "going." The vet diagnosed a neurological issue, probably related to the injury that hurt his hip. Somehow the nerve signals were not always making it through their pathways, and although Hal was housetrained, he sometimes could not control himself and small amounts would leak out. The vet said this was probably permanent. We decided to try to control this with diet, so that his stools would at least be firm. His foster mom tried several different foods, and some worked better than others. Hal seemed on the road to recovery again. Through it all, he was loving, gentle, cuddly, and (when he felt well) very playful! What a spirit.
On Christmas Eve, Hal had a severe bout with diarrhea and became dehydrated. His foster mom rushed him to the emergency vet, where Santa gave him fluids and kept him warm until he could regain some strength. The vet now wondered if Hal also had food allergies that were complicating everything, so Hal began a bland diet. He went home Christmas Day and did well for a couple of weeks. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe we had finally found the solution for Hal's tummy troubles, and we could get him healthy enough to address everything else.

Not yet.
On January 7, Hal's foster mom returned home from work to find him unable to walk. He had vomited several times and had lost all of his food to vomiting and diarrhea. His gums were pale, indicating dehydration. Most frightening, his body temperature was cooling. Foster mom and dad rushed Hal back to our wonderful emergency vet, with Hal cradled in Ashley's lap and David battling the rush hour traffic at breakneck speeds. They arrived, covered in Hal's "liquid souvenirs" and breathless with worry for our handsome gentleman. Hal's temperature was too low to register on the electronic thermometer, and he had lost 3 pounds. He lay on the table awake, though, accepting our kisses and reassurances that we'd do everything we could to make him feel better. The vet advised a night of fluids, a heating pad, and antibiotics to stabilize him, and a reassessment in the morning. As they carried him into the back room, he watched us over the vet tech's shoulder.

Sometimes I just hope that our foster dogs can sense that we have their best interests at heart, even when what we humans do doesn't make any sense to them. Surely what happened that night couldn't have made sense to Hal.

In the morning, the vet reported that an X-ray revealed what might be a foreign body in Hal's stomach. Possibly a partial fish skeleton. We were horrified and gave the go-ahead for surgery to remove it. Maybe this was the answer -- he had somehow been carrying these bones around all these weeks, and they had caused all these problems, perhaps even perforations, a vicious cycle keeping him from ever getting well.

Hours passed. We waited for word.
The vet called with surprising (and weird) news. The "foreign body" wasn't foreign. Part of Hal's intestinal tract was necrotic -- dead -- and had begun to calcify, so it showed like bones on the X-ray. There could also be a rare, but deadly, fungal infection going on, but only a biopsy would confirm that. And of course, cancer is a possibility. We had a decision to make while Hal was still under anesthesia.
Poor boy is only 4-5 years old, and has never had a break. Yet he is one of the most gentle souls I have ever known. If he weren't so thin, I'd think he was the Buddha. We said, "Do what you need to do. He deserves his chance."

Dr. Miller and Dr. Stacey removed the dead pieces and sewed the remaining ends back together. They cleaned out all the leakage in his abdomen. Hal made it through surgery, and he made it through the night. We became cautiously optimistic.

Samples of the offending parts were sent to UGA for analysis. Hal woke up and wagged his tail.

When you volunteer with rescue, it is inevitable that you will lose a few dogs in your care. Sometimes they come to us with such advanced disease, we cannot help them. Luckily we have had only a few of those in the past 7 years. Each one broke my heart. I don't want to add Hal to that list. But if we do, I know that we gave Hal a few months of feeling safe. A few months of feeling loved. A few months of not worrying about where dinner would come from.
Without DREAM, Hal would have suffered alone. And I am proud, I am honored, I am GLAD to be a part of Hal's not being alone, even if it is painful.
Albert Schweitzer said, “Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

Today, Hal's foster mama visited him. He wagged his tail and he rolled over for a tummy rub.
Now we wait. We wait to see how Hal will respond, and we wait for the results from the lab. Apparently, days 3 - 5 are critical days.

And we keep our eyes wide open, along with our hearts.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

From 2007 to 2008 ... and beyond!

Just before the holidays, DREAM's board of directors went on our annual retreat. We're lucky to have a member with a cabin in the mountains, so we head up there and do a lot of eating and a lot of talking, a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. We reviewed the year and dreamed about the future.

DREAM adopted out more than 40 dogs this year. Not bad for a tiny group in only its second year of existence! We've built a strong network of dedicated foster homes, and our financial standing is solid (although of course money is always a challenge, we are very careful with our money and can make a little go a long way). More than 90% of our expenses are related to vetting or other therapy. (And not for therapy for us! :-) ) I am very proud of what we've built.

We are all-volunteer run, so I believe there is a limit to how large we can grow, but I hope with some new process improvements this year we can double our adoptions by doing them faster in 2008, while maintaining the same number of foster homes (which is really all we can manage as volunteers).

Of course, there will always be the ones we can't get to in time, or don't have the right foster space to help, or don't have enough foster space to help. One that haunts me from this year was Paprika, a little "down" dachshund. Her owners asked us to take her in. They had been caring for her special needs (paraplegia, bladder expression) for a couple of years, but the dad of the family had to move into assisted living. None of the foster homes who are able to take care of a special needs dog were available. I asked them to wait, and they said they would. But eventually they put her down, without coming to me for a "last chance." I am still sick about that one. I have 3 disabled dogs in the house, and I know that taking care of them is very do-able.
Our longest term foster dog, Fella, is still with us. We've had him 3 years. After his terrible abuse / neglect, he is unlikely to find an adoptive home. (Not many folks out there looking for an older dog with behavioral issues.) But he is safe with us until that happens, and if it never happens, he will live out his life in foster care. The picture is of him, "celebrating" (although I doubt he enjoyed the outfit as much as I did). He did like the basket of toys though, and he is happy, even with his limitations.

I am reading a wonderful book that is really getting me hopeful about the overpopulation issue in general. It's called Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America. I bought 20 copies, and I plan to give one to each of our board members AND to each of DeKalb County's commissioners. (I guess I just ruined the surprise for the board members.) It challenges some deep-seated assumptions we have (like euthanization is inevitable, or that there are not enough homes). If what the author says is true, there really is hope for our companion animals, who give us the purest form of love I've ever known. Hope is not something we hear about often in animal welfare, but between DREAM's small successes this year, being able to help dogs like Fella, and this book, I have hope.

Happy New Year to you all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tough week! And it's only Wednesday!

Wow, it's been a tough week in the dachshund world. There are just so many in need, we cannot keep up. We've gotten several out of terrible conditions in animal control in the past few weeks, but we keep hearing about more. When will people stop the breeding? Stop the pet stores?

I have 9 dachshunds on our waiting list...it breaks my heart not to be able to help them all. We have more foster space than ever, but it is all full. Gwinnett, Clayton, and Walker County all have dachshunds in danger of euthanization.

One of our foster homes is going through a difficult time personally, and we're scrambling to find alternative space for 2 of her foster doggies.

We had someone request an owner surrender, who then seemed to think she was doing US a favor by giving us her dog, and wanted door to door delivery service at a time of her choosing. It is times like these that I invoke the mantra "it's for the doggies, it's for the doggies, it's for the doggies." Dogs I can help, but people...doesn't seem like there is hope for many of them.

Two of our newest, Rambo and Sambo, are a sweet pair of 8 year old black and tan males who were turned in by their owners, who had to go into assisted living. They had never been anywhere but their own home, and never met any other dogs or people besides family. R&S had a difficult transition through 2 failed adoptive homes that the family tried, but neither worked, so they came to DREAM. They are learning to trust other people and dogs at Jabula right now, and will transition to long-term foster homes in early December. (Exactly where, I don't know yet! That's one of this week's challenges).

We just got Shine, a red male mix, is a young, energetic boy about a year old. Very handsome! He loves wrestling with other doggies, sitting on laps, snuggling and hugging. He is a bit of a submissive personality and will give up his food if any other dog even looks in his direction. He came from Thomas County Animal Control. We thought Shine was heartworm positive when we took him, but our GREAT NEWS this week was that he does NOT need hw treatment!

Betsy, our other brand new foster, is NOT a dachshund. I was fooled by a picture! Her face looks just like a wirehaired dachsie, and when I emailed the Murray County Animal Control "Is 021 a dachshund?" (in response to their panicked plea for help) I received the response "She could be!". Well, she isn't....she actually looks like a small, long-legged deer with a dachsie face. She is only 9 months old, so sweet and scared, and she would have been put to sleep on Wednesday, so it's hard to regret it (or her stress diarrhea I have cleaned up about 20 times). I am trying to find another rescue to take her, perhaps in exchange for a dachshund.

Bella Bella had 2 wonderful applications and is going to her forever home on Thursday. Her foster mom has really brought her around after she was found stray, obviously an ex-breeder dog.

Jerry Beasley and Snuggles continue their retirement in the capable hands of their foster mama in. Two old grumps, she will take care of them as long as they need it.

VERY HANDSOME Hal is recovering from heartworm treatment, but has several other issues we are dealing with. I hope it is not too serious. He came to us in pretty bad shape, including an old injury from being hit by a car, and a belly full of every worm known to veterinary medicine, but we were hoping the heartworm treatment was the worst of it. He goes in for more blood work this week.

I have a houseful. Fella Fella is doing very well with his aggression (he was severely abused), as long as his buttons are not pushed. Luke continues to improve daily from his IVDD surgery, and is amazing to see running around the yard almost like a normal doggie. Murchu, our last puppy, was adopted on Sunday evening. Princeton, our little resident attitude, will be getting a UGA Veterinary Behaviorist assessment in the next couple of weeks (as soon as I get a minute to make an appointment).

Our Savannah contingent has a new foster, Betty Jo, who by all accounts is an absolute DEAR.

Tosca, a very special sweetheart, is learning every day to trust people again. She has an application, but we have not heard from them in a couple of weeks. I need to follow up with them again. And Pooh, who had a GIANT hernia removed (so big the vet originally thought it was a herna AND a tumor), is recuperating nicely.

Matilda came into DREAM after a good samaritan found her after being hit by a car. She is lighting up the lives of her foster parents, and her foster brother Gus.

Spencer, another little heartworm boy, is finishing his convalescense with the wonderful women at Jabula. www.jabuladogs.com THANKS GILL AND KATE! We hope he'll be adopted when that is over.

We took in Fritz from his owner this weekend. She asked if we minded driving 2 and 1/2 hours to her home to pick him up at her convenience. (Where do people get this idea?) We ended up meeting her halfway. Fritz is terrified, away from home for the first time, but his foster home says he wagged his tail yesterday when she got home from work. Good sign Fritz!

It's good work we do. We have an amazing group of loving foster homes, and a talented and committed board. All volunteers. We just try to keep our finger in the hole in the dike, and not let too much water rush through. This week there is a lot of water, and the dachshunds are rushing through the hole, and we can't save them all. But we can save some. We can save some. And we will save as many as we can.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tabby racing at Howl-O-Weenie

Check out my little girl racing across the field at Howl-O-Weenie. The best part is the facial expressions on the crowd. She can fly! I will race her again at DRNA's picnic on 11/3. She is such an ambassador for "down" doggies. Her injury doesn't slow her down one bit. If you have not checked out her video on YouTube, please do. Just search for Adventures of Tabby and you'll see it.