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

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bad, bad, bad couple of weeks

I am not even sure how to start. We have had such a bad couple of weeks.
Not DREAM as a group -- the organization is healthy and doing well. All foster dogs are well-cared for, thanks to our wonderful foster homes all over Atlanta.

Our own dog, Jack, went down in the back with a disc rupture on June 11 when I came home from work. It happened in seconds. After our experiences with fosters Luke and Tabby, we luckily knew exactly what had happened, and only a few hours later, Jack had his surgery. He has had a rough recovery. He was in the hospital at UGA for a week. When we brought him home, he was listless. We found out later he was dehydrated. He probably also was reacting to the pain medications. He wouldn't eat. Those issues took 2 days to resolve. It was like he gave up on life. We cried so much. We thought we would have to euthanize him, which we could barely even consider. He still cannot walk, but we know we can deal with that. As long as he is not in pain, and happy, that is enough. If he is meant to walk, I will get him there with swim therapy and whatever he needs. We express his bladder 6 times a day, along side of Luke and Tabby. His cart comes in about a week.

In the midst of all that, Delia had her puppies. At risk of sounding trite: what joys they are, and what a good mama she is! She had 6 babies, with absolutely no fuss. They are now 10 days old. We can't wait for their eyes to open. It is strange as a rescuer to whelp and raise puppies -- so much of what we do is intended to AVOID this very situation. But Delia was almost ready to give birth when we got her out of animal control. So, here we are: 6 tiny puppies in the house. But they have doubled in size in the past week.

Jack is now back to something like his old self. He is more cheerful, and such a loving boy. He gives kisses again. He went for a little walk today in Luke's cart. Delia and her babies were a welcome distraction. So far, she does all the work -- but I know that will change soon!

We seem to be out of the woods now. Thank you to all the dachsie lovers who helped us. Here is Delia in a shot I call "Milk Machine." Those babies look like they are bellying up to the bar, don't they?
Our latest rescue addition: a little foster baby with a birth defect: his urethra is external. We're evaluating surgical options now. More on Andy (Andi?) later.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Luke's progress

It has been a while since I posted about Luke. We have now had Luke in foster care for almost a year. His disc (IVDD) surgery was July 24. He didn't recover much after surgery, so in December we started swim therapy. We go to www.dogpaddle.net every weekend, and it has been like a miracle for him. Where his legs were completely contracted out straight, now they are fairly bendy -- the left more so than the right. He began to take steps. Now he is "UP" about 50% of the time. When he gets out of the pool at therapy, he actually RUNS the length of the pool to meet me! (His favorite part is getting wrapped up in the towel like a babushka.)

Here is a picture of my brave boy standing in the yard. Marna (his therapist) says that he must learn a new way to walk. He will use different muscles in different ways. It is fascinating to watch him learn, figure out new strategies. He plays like any other dog -- loves to tear up a stuffed toy on the bed.

He still needs help with his bladder, but it is really no trouble. I know that one day we will find his new forever home, who will see what an incredible spirit he has, and want to have that spirit as part of their lives.

I am so proud of him!



I drove down to Meriwether County Animal Control on Friday to pick up a little girl who was due for euthanization that afternoon. The people at the AC are very active in trying to find rescue. They said that they actually don't have to euthanize very often, but they were very full, and she had been there the longest.

She's a little dachshund shepherd mix, and so sweet. Just wants to please and be loved. But the surprise was -- very pregnant. Craig and I have never whelped puppies before, so we are doing a lot of research on what to do. We will take her to the vet this week to get a better idea of when the big day is. Her belly looks so big, it can't be very long.

We have named her Delia but call her Mama Dog most of the time. Whenever we come into the room, she wags so hard her tail hits both her sides. Then she rolls over on her back for a belly rub. I don't think she has ever eaten dog food before. We have to bribe her by mixing cottage cheese into her kibble. We keep telling her that she is safe, and that she doesn't have to worry any more.

I can see her in the next room as I type, and whenever she sees me look at her, she wags.

The people who turned her into Animal Control are well-known for not caring for (or, obviously, not spaying or neutering) their dogs. So much suffering in this world, for no reason. We can only do our part to alleviate a little of it.


Saturday, June 02, 2007


I was musing this morning, as I drove Luke to his swim therapy, what a huge role trust plays in the rescue life.

When a dog comes into a new foster home, she has to learn to trust the people (and the dogs) there. Some trust right away. This doesn't necessarily have that much to do with where they came from, or their backgrounds.
I have had dogs leap into my arms right at animal control, while others were shy or even growly. Some crawl out of their cage slowly, and climb into my lap. Or they cheerfully trot outside and hop into my car without a backward glance. (I guess those figure that anywhere is better than that place!)

I have had dogs that came right from their families, who don't trust anyone. We have no way of knowing how they were really treated, or why they might act the way they do. Some are protective of their toys and food, some hide under the bed. Some slot right into our cast of characters without a murmur, as though they were filling in a spot they'd rehearsed for their entire lives. (You can practically see them walk in, look around, and sigh with relief: "Finally! The right script!")

The common principles seem to be stability, consistency, and gentleness. If we provide a stable environment, with a good schedule of food and potty times, behave consistently toward them so they know what to expect from us, and give them lots of affection, almost all come around to trust us. (Some good training techniques help too, as well as positive reinforcement of the behaviors you want.)

Then, we must place our trust in the people who apply to adopt from us. We talk to them. We check their references. We look at the application to see what dog might work (or NOT work) for them. We visit their homes. Sometimes it takes an immense amount of trust on my part to hand a dog over to her new home, when I've seen her learn to trust me again.

It is my greatest hope that these dogs somehow understand that their trust in me was not misplaced -- that I too did not abandon them. I do believe that after they live in one of our foster homes, a dog is able to look at new people and say, "These people must be OK. My foster mom seems to like them, so I can trust them too."