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

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Luke's bendy legs

Luke completed his 5th session with the swim therapist today. It is really beginning to make a difference. Before therapy, his back legs were always stuck stiffly forward, in what I called "water ski position." The muscles contract when there are not regular neural signals making it through. I learned some range of motion exercises for him to to try to loosen them up, but it didn't make much difference.

This morning when I woke up he was lying next to me, snoozing away, with his little back legs all tucked up, bent beside him like a normal doggie's!

When he swims, the therapist lets him go and follows him with her hands behind his legs, so he can kick against them. He is FAST and she has to hustle to keep up. It's thrilling that he kicks! But he's also getting better and better about learning to kick in the right place to push off her hand. At first his legs would kick, but sort of wildly and in all directions. Now he's really learning to control them.

He's getting better, and I hope that one day he will be able to walk a bit, if not normally.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You know what I'd REALLY like to do? Breed dachshund puppies.

Yes, that's right. What I would love to do is to breed dachshund puppies.

Imagine it. You have 2 beautiful dachshunds that you love....sweet sweet snugglers that love you and each other. And then you get to help your little girl through her pregnancy, and see all the little ones get born, and then you have their BABIES! Teeny tiny sweet handfuls of puppydom, nursing on your own sweet dachsie! And then they grow up a little bit and get the puppy breath and start to stumble around as they learn to walk! And then they grow up a little more and start to ramble and wrestle all over the house... like a mini gang of cuteness!
There would be black and tan ones, and red ones, and long hair ones, and short hair ones. And they would all sleep in a pile together, sometimes on the bed with me while I watch a movie, and they would be so cute that I just could not STAND IT -- I would want to kiss them all the time!!! And they would get a little older and find good homes, ones where I could keep in touch with them for the rest of their lives and make sure that they were always ok, always loved.

I would LOVE that! Man, would I love that!

But I don't do it. And I guess I never will.

Why? It's a great dream, and it would make me really happy, and I could make lots of other people happy by giving them loving, beautiful, playful, healthy pets.

Here's why.

For every puppy born and sold, a homeless dog doesn't find a home. And right now, there are too many homeless dogs. Not just mixes, either. Dachshunds. Pure-bred ones. And plenty of them.

Emmitt. Grace. Abby. Cricket. Tabby. Mimi. Kevin. Smitty. Dexter. Hans and Heidi. Frank. Lorelei. Amelia. Angelina. Annie. Barley. Iris. Isobel. Little Man. Big Boy. Coco. Buddy. Bubbles. Chouli. Coco. Cocopelli. Cool Eddy. Walter. Comet. Dougie. Elizabeth. Eva. Flame. Flo. Max. Maggie. Jordan. Giacomo. Porter. Ginger, Gingin, and Gingersnap. Tucker. Henry. Gus. Hoover. Nicholas. Maggie 2. India. Lance. Winnie. Ursula. Stumpy. Roxie. Scarlett. Nora. Montana. Midnight. Owen. Ripley. Peanut. Poindexter (Pointy Man). Mr. B. Tina. Matilda. Tia. Tracy. Wilson. Darcy. Summer. Swoosie. Susie. George.

And how many more? These are just the ones I can list off the top of my head. Dogs that all went to forever homes with DARE or DREAM, who would not have gone if that forever home had bought a puppy.

And then there are the ones still waiting: Arthur. Smokey Joe. Fella. Bobo. Willow. Luke. Elliott. Frasier. Jake. Jerry Beasley. If THEIR real homes don't find them and go to a breeder, where will all of them live?

Maybe one day, when I'm 80 or so, all the dachshunds born will have a home to go to and stay forever. Then I'll be able to breed. Until then, I'll rescue.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Luke's paddling

No, not the punishment kind of paddling -- DOG paddling!

Luke has begun therapy with Dog Paddle -- an aquatherapy kind of thing. We just returned from his second session and he is sacked out in his crate sleeping hard. It is hard work. He swims with Marna for about 15 minutes, then takes a rest. Repeat three times. Marna said she could tell a difference today -- that under the water he was kicking against her hand. His legs, especially around the hocks, are still very contracted, but much better than they used to be.

I hope one day he will walk again, but even if he never does, he will still be a happy dog. One day he will find his forever home, someone to love him and take care of him, and whether or not he walks will not be the most important thing. The most important thing will be that he found that home.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dachshund Event March 3!

We have a 2007 event on the books! Last weekend at our board retreat, we planned our first 2007 event....a "Weenie Roast"!

No, it won't be hotdogs. (That's for HowlOWeenie!)

It will be a dinner event. People attending will send a picture of their dachsie, and Carol is going to make a presentation slide show out of it. During dinner, people will stand up as their dachsie's picture comes up, and tell a story about their doggie. (That's the roast part. Get it?)

We'll also have information about DREAM in general, but the main point is to have fun, talk about our dachsies and how much they mean to us, recognize some folks who really helped us this year, and raise a little $$ for the dogs. Carol will probably make a wonderful dachsie art mosaic item, and we'll have a little 50/50 raffle.

Mark your calendars for 3/3, and watch the website for details. Tickets will go on sale after the new year.

I'm the decorations committee... better get to thinking about how to decorate on a dachshund's shoestring. Hope to do a better job than this lady at the sink!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What's it like to express a dog's bladder?

A lot of people wonder what is involved in expressing a dog's bladder, in case their dog has a spinal injury and can no longer control his or her "business." Unfortunately most vets are not too encouraging of people to try it, and I think this causes many people to decide to euthanize because the vet implies it is really difficult to do.

I too was mystified. It seemed like an odd and involved process. Then I took a chance and agreed to foster a little girl who had gone down in the back.
So, here's the real scoop, from my experience with TWO down dachsies, Tabby and Luke.

Question: How often do you do it?
Answer: I express Tabby and Luke's bladders whenever I let the other dogs out to potty. About 6 times a day. So yes, they go all day when I'm at work without being expressed.

Question: How long does it take?
Answer: About 10 - 20 seconds. Yep, that's it!

Question: Do you need equipment or hoses or protective clothing or syringes or bags or tubes or rubber gloves or anything like that?
Answer: No special stuff is needed. Just your hands. I can do it anywhere, including over my toilet. (Talk about potty trained!)

Question: So, HOW do you do it?
Answer 1 (Female): I squat next to my toilet in the bathroom (or outside), and hold Tabby with her behind hanging over the toilet, resting her front half on my left thigh. (She is so used to it, sometimes she keeps a toy in her mouth during the whole thing.) With my right hand, I reach under her body and cup my thumb and fingers around her abdomen. I feel in her tummy for something that feels like a water balloon -- that's the bladder. I squeeze gently, mostly with my thumb and middle finger, with a sort of milking motion toward her tail, and the stream of urine comes out in a little arc. Success! After, I put her on the floor, she shakes her head, and "thumps" away. I actually have a little video of myself doing this, but haven't figured out yet how to post it on the website.

Answer 2 (Male): I hold Luke vertically with my left arm while I stand outside, resting his bottom on my left thigh, with my left leg slightly bent. He looks at me with his enormous brown eyes and kisses my face. With my right hand (again thumb and middle finger), I squeeze around the base of his penis until I feel the "water balloon" of his bladder. (Luke has a bit more bladder muscular function, so he has little spurts instead of just a stream.) I get him started with a gentle squeeze and he does the rest. Then I make sure the bladder is empty by feeling that the bladder is flat. After, I put him down inside and he barks for a treat.

Question: Does it hurt?
Answer: No, it doesn't hurt them at all. (Or me.) Luke has some muscular control, so sometimes he resists my squeeze with his abdominal muscles, but then he relaxes so he can pee.
Question: Can husbands learn to do it?
Answer: Yes, my husband can do it too. A common statement in my home is "Honey, have you squeezed Tabby since dinner?"

Question: What about the poop?
Answer: The poop is really different from the pee. (Boy, I never thought I'd write that sentence!) First of all, the poop will come out on its own, without you helping, and there's no risk of it staying inside and causing infection.
With the bladder, you have to empty it often or the dog will become poisoned in its own waste. The pee will not come out by itself; it will only overflow what it CANNOT contain as more urine flows into the bladder from the kidneys. The rest stays put. That's one reason why these dogs are so prone to urinary tract infections.
Back to the poop: With Tabby, I can feel whether there is anything in her bowel by feeling around her spinal column, near her tail. Tabby's injury was so profound that she has NO muscle tone in her back half. Then I can squeeze the poop out like toothpaste. Luke has muscle tone in his back half, so I can't feel his rectum like that. He just poops when he's ready, and I clean up the floor. I give both of them fiber supplements so they have nice, tidy poops.

Question: How often do you wash your hands a day?
Answer: Countless times!

Question: Can you express a bladder while wearing formal, fancy, clothing?
Answer: Yes, I have done so many times: gotten dressed for a fancy event and then gone out in the back yard to "squeeze" the dogs right before we leave, in high heels and all.
Send any other questions my way! But the biggest thing to remember is, if this kind of injury happens to your dog, don't let the intimidation of the bladder expression keep you from keeping him at home.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Luke - woke up last night to go potty

A very strange and wonderful thing happened last night.

I woke up in the middle of the night, hearing one of the dogs scratching to get out of the bedroom. I turned on the light and it was LUKE! He had crawled out of the bed, down the ramp, and gotten to the door -- and he'd had diarrhea all over the floor on his way.

Now, when you wake up in the night to a floor full of liquid poop, you may not think of it as wonderful. But here's the kicker: This means that Luke knew he had to go to the bathroom. And that's a first, as far as I can tell, since his surgery in late July.

There's more. When I opened the bedroom door, he made a beeline for the back door so he could go in the yard. (He can travel amazingly fast considering he only really uses his front legs, and he's really trying to get those back legs under him. The muscles are still too contracted for him to bend them on his own, but the contraction gets softer every week.)

I have never been so inspired by poop.

We will redouble our physical therapy efforts. I am also looking into a water therapist for him.

Yahoo Luke!

Now, if I can just fix this case of the trots he has. Here he is enjoying a little time in the sunshine.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Arthur, Frasier, and Smokey Joe

DREAM has three fosters who seem to have a lot in common: one of which is making their DREAM family their forever family. This is problematic to say the least!

Arthur, Frasier, and Smokey Joe have each fostered with me at some point in their DREAM care. I currently am still fostering Arthur.

Sometimes I think that they are purposely trying to make their DREAM foster homes their forever homes!

Each is a TERRIFIC dog: good natured, friendly, playful, and loving. And each is extremely intelligent. I swear they have figured out how to game the system.

Case in point: Arthur. Arthur is fostering with me now. When he came to DREAM, he had been stray for a few weeks, out in the storms, and was very afraid. He warmed to me immediately though, and I thought he would be no trouble to adopt out. But Arthur knew a good thing when he saw it. Whenever a new family would come to see him, in the hopes of connecting with him for an adoption, he would bark and bark. One poor woman (if you're reading this, you know who you are!!) got a nice little nip on her tush when she came to meet him! Yet Arthur gets along great with all my friends, my little 6-year old niece, and other visitors who give him time to warm up to them. Arthur's greatest joy in life (besides his morning snuggle) is to stand on various items. Outside, he loves to stand on rocks. Inside, he loves any book or small piece of furniture that will support his little front feet. He would be a great little pet for any home that didn't have a lot of visitors.

Smokey Joe. One of the most handsome dachsies ever to live! Shiny, smart, and oh so cuddly. Loves hiking and active people. His little problem is with cats. Ditto Frasier.

Since DREAM does not recommend dachshunds for anyone with small children (or plans to have them!), these three spectacular specimens of dachshund go unclaimed.

Are YOU the one who holds the key to their hearts? If you talked to any of their foster moms, you'd get an earful about how much love these boys add to their houses.