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

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Luke the down dachshund and the lady at UGA

The sweet little boy with the back injury came to me on Monday night. His owners had a diaper taped to his body and he smelled terrible. After they left, I took it off and carefully carried him to my big sink. I ran a nice warm bath and settled him in. He was covered with fleas, but thankfully did not seem to have any urine scalds. I got him cleaned up and talked and talked to him. He seemed so relieved to have gentle hands.

He can stand a little bit on his hind legs, if I stabilize him. His back legs are very stiff, but if I hold him up he can support his weight. If I let go he falls right down and flounders around in a panic. But he so wants to be mobile. He does not seem to be in pain. When I express his bladder he has some abdominal muscle tone, which is encouraging. He also does not have atrophy along his back, like my Tabby does. So I am hoping that his injury is not as bad as hers was.

On Tuesday we went to Loving Touch Animal Center in Stone Mountain. Dr. Tracy saw him, and the physical therapist, Lisa. They did a lot of tests on him to evaluate the likelihood that he could get some function back. They test his reactions with his legs to different positions (minimal) and his reaction to pain stimuli (a little better on the right side than the left). His skin reacts by twitching to a pin prick. This is a good sign.

At 6 PM we got in the car to go to the University of Georgia Vet School. Dr. Tracy recommended a myelogram to learn more, so we had to go there to get it. She thinks he has a chance to walk again. I didn't know whether we would get the myelogram that night, and go right into surgery, or what. They decided to wait on the myelogram and pretty much repeated a lot of the things Dr. Tracy and Lisa did, and then took him into the back to do some other tests. I waited. (Thank goodness for good magazines; bless whoever put the New Yorkers out in the waiting room.) The vet came back out and said the plan was to do the myelogram today (Wednesday). He had to stay overnight. I asked to see him, because I wanted to tell him that I loved him and that they would take good care of him and that I WOULD be back to get him, but he needed to sleep there. So I went out to the waiting room again. A really nice woman was there (by this point, it was all after hours so the entire place was deserted). Her beagle had also gone down in the back. As soon as she started to be nice to me, I lost it and just started to cry. I hate that he thinks he's being left again. I hate to think he is feeling scared and helpless and alone. No matter how many times I do this, it breaks my heart to think of them feeling scared because of me, even if it is necessary.

I don't know who that woman was, but I hope she knows how much I appreciate her giving me those hugs.

It was a long drive home to Atlanta in the empty car, in the dark.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Flo the dachshund

This is Flo, a beautiful girl who came into rescue because her family was moving to an apartment that did not allow dogs. Flo was adopted by a wonderful family, but she died about a year later -- she was one of the dogs in the Pro-Heart case. I wanted to post her picture so I could use it on the blog cover page.

Angelina the dachshund with Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

This is Angelina, one of my favorite fosters.
One morning a vet north of Atlanta called me to let me know someone had left Angelina (and her brother, a Jack Russell Terrier) tied to their office porch.
It turned out that Angelina had an extremely severe heart murmur. She was about 2 years old, and the vet was surprised that she had survived that long. She had a hole in her heart, which all puppies have, and which is supposed to close at or near birth. Hers didn't.
Angelina had a little surgery to close the hole, and very soon she became very active and playful. We held a yard sale to pay for her surgery and raised all the money to pay for it. THANKS to the many people who contributed items and bought items!
Angelina now lives with her moms, Belinda and Michelle, and her two dachshund brothers, Shorty and Wesley.

New dachshund coming in with IVDD

I am a little nervous tonight. A family is bringing in their dachshund, who has had a spinal injury -- so he most likely has IVDD, very common in dachshunds. He cannot walk -- his back legs are paralyzed. He may also have some fractures, but they could not tell me of what.

I have a "down" dachshund of my own (Tabby, and I'm sure I'll write more about her later), so I'm not worried about the mechanics of having him around. I know how to express a bladder and "towel walk" and all of that.

But I am worried about being able to help a dog in pain. It's very difficult for me to see a dog hurting and not be able to help.

And of course, it will be expensive. At a minimum, he will need a myelogram (a special sort of X-ray that shows disc damage), steroids and pain medications, and maybe water therapy and physical therapy. He may need surgery, which can be in the thousands of dollars. I have an appointment for him tomorrow afternoon at the vet.

Most dogs with an injury like this can be helped at least in part with 2 months strict crate rest. It is VERY tough love -- they want so much to be out with their people, getting and giving love. And once they start to feel better it is very difficult to convince them that they need to stay in that crate.

Feeling nervous but hopeful. The most difficult cases are often the most rewarding ones. My Tabby never walked after her injury...maybe with this one, I will be able to see him walk again. I have never seen Tabby wag her tail.

Dachshund Rescue - an introduction

My first blog post on my experiences as a dachshund rescuer. I have such high hopes!

My main hope is that people who read this get a better understanding of what rescue is (or should be) all about, why rescue is needed, and why I wish it WEREN'T needed. I want this blog to put a "face" (with whiskers and a cold nose) to the thousands of nameless dogs in the rescue world ... tell their stories, and mine, as we go down this difficult road together.

The road is hard. It is sad, it is frustrating. I meet so many dogs with such sad stories. And then I see them turn themselves around, with love and stability, and find their new homes, and I think this is the happiest road there is, as well as the saddest.

For the doggies, always the doggies.