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, November 28, 2006

Difficult week -- too many dogs.

I had a difficult day today. DREAM has a small number of foster homes, and each volunteers to care for a small number of foster dogs at a time. We as a board really value these foster homes, and we are volunteers ourselves.

Most of our foster homes care for 1 - 2 foster dogs at a time. When a foster home volunteers, we ask them what kinds of foster situations they are able / willing to deal with, and we are very careful not to ask them to deal with situations that they are not ready for (or willing to do). For example: dogs with health issues (injuries, back issues, or age), dogs with behavioral issues (can't get along with other dogs, chase cats, or afraid of strangers).

In the last few days, we have gotten requests to take in a dog with severe injuries all over the front half of his body (thankfully, by the time I responded to the email later that afternoon, other rescue had been found); an owner surrender because of divorce; and 4 animal control notices that we could not handle.

There are too many. There are too many. We don't have enough room. All the dachshund rescues don't have enough room.

Please, tell everyone you know, there are too many. If you know someone who wants to add a dog to their home, beg them to rescue a dog -- not to buy from a petstore, buy from the newspaper, or go to a breeder. Every puppy bought is a living dog not saved. One day I hope we are in the situation where every dog born has a home waiting for it eagerly, with arms outstretched. When that day comes, I will breed the dachshunds myself. We are not there now.

This is my sweet Max, and old foster who loved to play soccer with a big ball. He came from a breeder who decided to stop breeding.

I cry for every single one I can't help.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

DREAM Dachshund Rescue - 1 year anniversary

It has been almost one year since DREAM came into being. A year ago a small group of us went up to a cabin in the mountains, and tried to decide if the best thing for the doggies was to separate from DARE and become our own group. It was a difficult decision. DARE was a wonderful group, and we learned so much from them, and we loved them. But working across 2 states was just too difficult. Almost all the DARE members were in Florida, and here we were, just a few of us in North Georgia, with the huge empty area of south Georgia between us, with no members there. And the laws governing rescue are different in both states.

Separating from DARE meant we had to incorporate our own company, make it a non-profit, raise our own money, run our own website, manage our own finances, and coordinate our own adoption and intake procedures. It was not a small undertaking for a group of 7 people with their own full-time jobs and lives.

But love of the dachsies prevailed, and we accomplished a lot this year. We also had some hard times, which helped us to be stronger and understand more about how to take care of these dogs and find them forever homes that will last throughout their lifetimes.

Our most hard-won accomplishment was our 501c3 status from the IRS. Anyone who has not been through this process will not believe how administratively difficult it is to achieve. (I hear that it is EASIER for organizations that focus on children or animals to get it! I pity those other groups.) There is a lot to prove and a TON of paperwork. (And the IRS is not exactly skilled at clear, concise communication.) But we finally did it, and our tax-exempt status is retroactive to our legal corporation formation on December 19, 2005! So if you have made a donation to DREAM, yes, it is tax-deductible.

We also applied for and won a grant -- our first. This gave us some financial stability, as well as the means to make a "thank you" donation back to DARE. We plan to start a fund for dogs who come out of domestic abuse situations, and donate annually to Ahimsa House, an organization who takes in dogs in that terrible situation.

Part of our mission is to make a deep impact in a small geographic area. This makes sense as a volunteer organization. There are too many dogs in need HERE that we can't help, without adding the burden of trying to arrange transport, home checks, etc. hours away. But we struggle daily with requests to help dogs outside our geographic area, in other parts of Georgia or Alabama. To alleviate this, we want to "seed" other dachshund rescue groups who can use our methods and processes. We are almost finished creating a "package" of materials for new dachshund rescue groups to use to get started, and we hope to provide help with the funds for setting up those new groups legally. Our first group will be in Savannah, next year. One of our board members is relocating there, so it is the perfect opportunity for us to widen our reach.

And of course, the dogs. DREAM is a small group, with only 9 foster homes. (We hope to add more foster homes each year, to a maximum of 21.) This year we took in 26 dogs, many with health or behavioral issues, who would have otherwise been euthanized. Many have been adopted, while others are still with us, completing their rehabilitation.
Some highlights:

Asher was taken in from a shelter, where he was diagnosed with severe mange. When he came to DREAM, he had NO hair except for a few tufts on his feet. His skin was sticky and smelly, and he had a terrible infestation of tapeworm. After a few months with his foster mom, Teresa, and her special baths and a lot of love and attention, Asher became once again a longhaired dachshund! He was adopted and is happy in his new home.

Luke came to DREAM from his family, who had been advised by their vet to euthanize him after a spinal injury, IVDD, very common in dachshunds. (In reality, almost no dachshunds need to be euthanized for IVDD, but many vets still advise it, unaware of the many options available for treatment.) Luke was a candidate for surgery, and DREAM got it for him. He is now with his foster mom, learning to walk again, and speeding around in his cart in the meantime.

Bart came to DREAM with a hole in his hard palate, where a stick had become stuck and then rotted through to his sinus cavity. (We have actually seen this 3 times in the past 6 years!) DREAM got his surgeries done, and he now lives with a wonderful family (with 2 other DREAM dachshunds, Murphy and Erica!).

Eva was surrendered to DREAM by a woman who had crated her sometimes for more than 24 hours at a time. That's her picture above, in what her foster dad called her "Chinese Dragon" pose. She had never been socialized, and was terrified of the crate. Her mom had considered euthanizing her because she had become unmanageable. After a few weeks with a stable schedule, lots of love, and basic obedience training, Eva was adopted by a couple south of Atlanta. She is now the queen of their house.

Trevor was picked up by the side of the road by a kind person who witnessed him being thrown out of a moving car. His pelvis was broken, but he was a sweet boy who just wanted a home. He could walk, but was in a lot of pain. His injury was the type that just needed time and rest to heal, and he is now with a forever home that loves him and takes care of him. He even enjoys rides in the car!

The stories go on and on, but these are our real accomplishments. Thank you to all of you who helped make forever homes for these dachshunds more than just a DREAM.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Luke and Arthur - happy dachshunds!

This morning is a very happy day. Luke, our little foster who is still recovering from his spinal surgery (he will never walk normally, I don't think), and Arthur, our scrappy little foster who used to be so afraid of everyone, are wrestling in the kitchen! They are so cute. Luke bounces up and down on his front legs, and Arthur prances in a circle around him. You can tell they're having a great time. Both of them are wagging like crazy. I remember the first time I saw Luke's tail wag after his surgery.

Moments like this make it all worthwhile.

One day I will see both Luke and Arthur find their new forever homes, and I will cry, but I will be so happy for them at the same time.