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

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Luke's new loves -- Elizabeth and Marcella

Luke is going regularly to Caring Canine Rehabilitation Center for his physical therapy. They do all kinds of therapy for him -- electrical stimulation (which made a difference on the first day), massage, stretching his legs so that the muscles don't stay so contracted, standing him over a bolster, and aquatherapy on the underwater treadmill. He especially loves to go there and run through the door in his cart barking his head off like he owns the place. His therapist, Elizabeth, is very patient with him. (He is not too cooperative with the anal probe that is supposed to give his pelvic floor electrical stimulation so he can regain some bladder/bowel control.) During his exercises, he fusses until someone feeds him turkey jerky...he has us all well-trained! Once someone starts giving him little slivers of the turkey jerky, he doesn't care what else is going on.

This week he is staying overnight to get PT two days in a row, so he gets to snuggle with Marcella (who is partial to dachshunds). Marcella takes care of the doggies at night.

Luke has a huge crush on both Marcella and Elizabeth!

His wagging his tail regularly now, and attempting to stand. His greatest joy in life, though, remains taking a walk around the block in his cart. He FLIES down the street, with me trailing behind at the end of the taut leash. People driving by often stop their cars to admire him, and some roll down their windows and ask about him. He is becoming very famous in the neighborhood.

Luke's expenses continue to mount, but it is so rewarding to see his mobility and function return little by little. I hope we can raise some additional funds for him at Howl-O-Weenie, our annual dachshund picnic, on October 28 in Decatur, GA.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wagging Tails and a Full Run in the Cart!

On Saturday Craig and I took two of the dogs for a long walk. Understandably, the ones left behind were quite bitter...especially Luke. So, just before dinner I put him in his cart and took him out on the "open road" -- our block. He was so excited and happy to be out! His ears blew back, and his tail shot straight up into the air, and after a couple of minutes, he broke his cheerful trot into a full-out gallop. I had to run to keep up with him! The neighbors all came out of their houses and off their porches to see, but he was too impatient to stop and chat...he wanted to GO! His little cart just flies, and his front legs really gallop! He looks so happy!

Earlier that day, he was wandering around the house in the cart, and I was messing around in the kitchen. He came to the kitchen door, and when I turned and saw him, I said, "Hi there, Luke!" and his tail went up and wagged back and forth several times. This time there is no doubt...a real wag and not a reflex.

That evening we did a lot of his therapy and stretching exercises on his back legs, and long massages on his front ones, since they had gotten such a workout during his outing. He was exhausted but content. When I do the PT and massage, he lies right down and enjoys it. Makes me feel like I should light a candle and put on some ocean wave CDs to complete the "doggie spa."

Luke goes back to Caring Canines Rehabilitation (part of Loving Touch) on Tuesday.

To date we have spent about $2500 on his care. If anyone reading this would like to make a donation, you can do so at www.dreamdachshundrescue.com via PayPal. Luke says "Thank you!"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Luke gets his turkey jerky -- that is, aquatherapy

Back to the water therapy today. He did great! He loves the turkey jerky and will put up with almost anything to get it. He stood in the water for a full 10 minutes on his own. The vet said that just the water pressure alone is therapeutic for his legs. He is also doing better standing on his own, outside the water. If I position his legs correctly, he can stand for a few seconds. Eventually he sinks down back into "waterski" position, but I bend his legs back under him, widen his stance, and he stands again patiently.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Luke the down dachshund got his chair!

Luke has had a big couple of days! On Thursday we went back to Loving Touch to have his staples removed and decide on what course to take for his ongoing rehabilitation. He would not wag his tail for Dr. Tracey, but he did support himself on all four legs for short periods. He very much enjoyed the turkey jerky treats that Ray the vet tech used to keep him entertained. Dr. Tracey showed me some new PT exercises to do with him, and some tissue manipulation techniques to keep adhesions from building up around his suture. When we go on vacation next month, Luke will stay at Loving Touch's rehabilitation center to get some more intense PT. Until then, I will take him for a PT session once a week.

More exciting news! Luke's chair arrived from www.dogstogo.net. He was dubious at first, but once he figured out what those wheels were for, he zoomed around, and can even back up without a problem. Check him out! Tabby looks a little envious -- maybe I will get her a cart too.

We are going to an outdoor party today...I think I will take Luke and see how he does "on the street."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Luke wagged his tail! (Well, a little bit.)

Last night we were sitting on the bed watching more episodes of "The Closer" on DVD. Luke was with me, and I was doing his passive range of motion exercises. He seems to really relax when I do them, unless he's trying to play and wrestle. I had just switched to pulling him onto all 4 feet to help him balance and stand, which he is doing really well. He can stand for about 10 seconds before he kind of sinks to a sitting position.

One of the other foster dogs, Arthur, strolled in with a squeaky ball, and jumped on the bed and squeaked it.

Luke's tail wagged! It wasn't a "full" wag, it was a little short, quivery, "middle of the pendulum swing" sort of wag, but it was DEFINITELY a wag, and NOT a reflex. It went on for about 15 seconds, and then Arthur took his ball in the other room, and it was all over.

It really seems like his function may come back, drip by drip by drip.

Today we go to Loving Touch to have his Frankenstein staples taken out and to talk about what kind of ongoing rehab/therapy he needs.

Way to Go, Luke!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Luke moved his foot and leg!

Last night as I was giving Luke his foot massage (I never thought I would start a sentence that way), his toes curled around my finger, and his little leg pushed back at me. He kept doing that for about 30 seconds, enough time for me to say, "Craig! Look at this!" and Craig could see it too. During all of this, he was looking up at me, with this really smug expression on his face.

He is getting much better about staying in the crate and not fussing. As long as I keep up with expressing his bladder, he does not have an accident (although I sometimes get peed on when I pick him up to take him outside.) I would still like to explore the drug for bladder control, but that can wait until we figure out what is going on with his legs. I am so proud of him!

His wheelchair is on the way -- I got an email from www.dogstogo.net last night. They are even giving Luke a discount for being a rescue guy.

Big news for Luke. As I write this, I have his crate on the dining room table next to me, so he can look out the window and bark at the neighbors. It keeps him a lot happier than being on the floor where he has little to entertain him.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Adventures in bathing with dachshunds

When dogs first come into rescue, they are often very afraid of being separated from me, the first person to show them kindness in a while. One humorous way this shows up is when I need to take a shower.

Eva, pictured here, would hurl herself into the shower with me. The first time this happened, I just leaned down and rubbed some Head and Shoulders on her to give her a bath, which she had been afraid of earlier that day. She just huddled in the back of the tub for the rest of my shower. She didn't jump out.

I've had other dogs jump into the bath with me, but never the shower! It's a bigger surprise because you don't see it coming, but it's less of a mess.

Luke, who you've already met, usually sits outside the shower on the bath mat and cries. I have to stick my head out of the curtain periodically to reassure him that I'm still there. This morning was a big breakthrough because he just sat out there calmly without crying.

Tabby, who was a foster before we adopted her, waits outside the shower for me so she can lick the water off my legs. Since I need to encourage her to drink water anyway (paralyzed dogs are prone to urinary tract infections), I don't mind!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Owen the dachshund's new love

I got such a cute voicemail from Owen's new mom!

She said, "Owen and I are in love."

I saved her phone number in my cellphone under "Owen."

He has been a lucky boy -- first a dachshund lover (one of our past adopters, Snuggles' new mom) found him on the street and turned him over to DREAM. Then, while we was with us for about a month, he got plenty of food and clean water and love, and got to stay in the air conditioning instead of fending for himself on the streets. DREAM took care of his shots, neutering, and his "tummy troubles" from having lots of parasites and scavenging whatever he could find to eat. Luckily he wasn't on the street long enough to lose his sweet personality, although he was scared for a few days. But he wanted to be loved more than he was scared.

Then he found a wonderful new mom, Terri, who is giving him all the love he needs. He gets to go watch the tennis game every Sunday with his mom's team and all their dogs.

Luke the dachshund's water therapy and physical therapy

Luke has progressed since I brought him home on Tuesday. He is certainly in better spirits and doesn't seem to have pain very often. When he does have pain, I give him 1/2 of a Rimadyl and it works right away.

The passive range of motion exercises are pretty dramatically different from the first night. When I first began the exercises, his back legs were really stiff. Now they go all the way around the circle with just a little "pause" for the bending part. I think last night he might have kicked back at me, but it could have been a reflex. The biggest challenge with doing the exercises is that he tries to "wrestle" with my hand while I'm doing them! I try to do both, so he will think the therapy is fun.

We started water therapy on Friday. I filled the sink (I have a great big deep kitchen sink that we chose specifically for dog baths when we remodeled the kitchen 2 years ago) with "luke"warm (ha!) water. I have some non-skid pads to put in the bottom so he doesn't slip. I just have him stand there with the water up to about the level of where his testicles used to be. The water supports him enough that he can stand on his own. I bribe him with pieces of turkey to get him to walk around a little. Craig says we should get a kid's pool and put it in the back yard so he has more room to move around. Maybe that will be our next step.

He is getting better at moving around the house. I wish the wheelchair would arrive.

I am considering asking my vet for a new drug that is out that helps with bladder muscular control. I think it would help him.

Look at this sweet face!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Luke the down dachshund's first day out of the hospital

I brought Luke home from UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital last night. After the 1 and 1/2 hour drive, he was hungry and ate a good dinner. I had a pretty easy time expressing his bladder, too, which was a relief. I stand him on all four legs in the back yard, position his back legs as naturally as possible, and then press on either side of his abdomen. The urine comes out in promising spurts -- which may mean he has muscle tone and could recover some of his bladder control. We will know more about his prospects in a couple of weeks.

He has 13 staples down his back...we should have named him Frankenstein.

After dinner he sat with us on the bed as we watched a DVD of "The Closer". I don't think Luke was impressed with the show (especially the episode where the cat has kittens -- why wasn't that cat spayed?), but he happily relaxed when I started the massage techniques his vet student, Carrie, showed me for his feet and legs. This is interesting: she said that when dogs' sensation begins to come back after surgery, it can feel like "pins and needles" and be painful -- some dogs self-mutilate trying to get relief. So we had a nice long rub on his back feet and legs.

He also did well with the passive range of motion exercises. His joints resist bending a bit at that point of the circle, but it was a lot more relaxed at the end of the session at the beginning.
He snuggled next to me all night. I got his bladder really good before bed, and no accidents all night -- YEAH! He woke me up at 2 am to go, and I took him out and expressed him again, and back to sleep. I was really encouraged that he appeared to "know" that he had to potty. As for the poop -- a little Q-tip inserted in his rectum spurs that right away! No problem there!

So now I sleep with one "down dachshund" snuggled on either side of me.

I came home from work early today and found him perfectly happy in his crate. We did his bladder and bowel and took a little nap while listening to the news on the radio. He has also started to play and loves to eviscerate a stuffed animal. He takes particular joy in ripping the white fluff out with relish and a wild look in his eye.

We tried towel walking today after our nap and some more massage/range of motion exercise. If I don't hold his rear legs at JUST the right height, his back legs get all tangled up together. Not as promising as I had hoped, but we'll keep at it. I will try the water therapy this weekend - want to give his wound a little more time.

I ordered his cart today....he will be much happier when he has more control over his movements.

It is amazing that he seems to be in no pain at all, considering his backbone was sliced open less than a week ago. He is so cheerful and calm. He makes hardly any noise, unless he is left behind in a room...then he squeals as though he is in a vise. He wants to be held ALL the time.

Whoever is reading this, send healing vibes to Luke's back legs.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fella - sweet dachshund boy with fear aggression

One of our most challenging fosters has been Fella. He has been with us for more than 2 years now. Fella was purchased as a puppy as a gift for an older couple. He was the man's companion, but never really received much training. When the man died, his wife was unable to deal with either having Fella around, or finding another home for him.

She put him in the garage, where he remained for four years, alone, and in the dark.

Finally the issue was forced when the wife's adult children had to find a new place for their mom to live. Something had to be done about Fella. They found me and after a lot of email decided to surrender him. I met them at Perimeter Mall. The daughter was in the car and the mom. The mom didn't get out of the car, or look at me, or say anything. Fella was in a very old, dirty carrier in the back seat that was being held together somehow with two screwdrivers. It sounded like the Tasmanian devil was in there...he was snarling and growling and barking and the entire carrier was shaking. With much hesitation, I put the carrier in my car. The lady did not make a donation, even though she knew it would cost us a lot of money to catch him up on Fella's vetting. (When that happens, I just remind myself, "It's about the dog, not the people.")

At one point when we'd had Fella about a year, he attacked me and bit my hand 19 times. One of the bites went through my thumbnail.

Fella has been through a lot with us...behavioral training, drugs, and mostly a lot of time and stability. He is a loving boy now but will always have some issues. He cannot be picked up; he will bite. But if we let him have his quiet life, he is happy and just wants to sit on a lap once in a while.

A struggle for me is that Fella takes up a foster space that could have been used to save many other dogs. But when I look into his face and see love there, I don't know what other choices I could have made. We love him and he will probably live out his life with us.

That is a huge challenge in rescue....the constant lack of space (not to mention money). There are just so many dogs out there.

When Fella sees me pick up his favorite brush, he runs to me, rolls over on his back, and cries.

Luke the down dachshund is coming home today.

Luke has had an eventful week with the UGA vet school.

His vet student in the neurology department, Carrie, has been giving him a lot of attention. He couldn't have his myelogram until Friday, so Carrie found a loaner cart for him to use and he tooled around the halls and played ball with her in the cart! That gave me hope that even if his surgery doesn't work, he will still be a happy doggie. DREAM will order him a cart as well.

We made the decision to have the surgery, and he came through well. Time will tell if it will help him at all. Perhaps it will at least give him some bladder and bowel control, even if he can never walk.

I drive back up to Athens today to pick him up, and start his recuperation. We'll be doing water therapy, passive motion exercises, anti-inflammatories, and lots of crate rest.

Since my other "down" dog, Tabby, has had a little soreness in her back this week, she'll be in the crate next to his. Maybe they will entertain each other! I need to buy lots of tempting toys and chewies to keep them occupied.