I’m in the Club!

Thought y’all would enjoy some pics of little Hero’s introduction to his new mama, who accepted him right away.

Hi there, little one. Want to join us? Plenty of milk here.

He’s up to a strapping 6.2 ounces — got a lot of catching up to do! We still have not found out the officer’s name who found him and took him to WellPet.

I'm in the gang!

Nothing can hold me back now!

If you can help with donations for his care (and the care of his new crew), we have a chip-in here:
He’s the second skull from the back, in between a black puppy and a cream puppy.

Dachshund puppy – out on the street

We had quite an adventure this weekend. Well Pet Humane in Chamblee (bless them for all that they do) called to say they had a newborn dachshund puppy who had been found on the road by a policeman. Could we help?

Vikki, Ivy, and Karen went into crisis mode. You have never seen such determined efficiency. They turned into puppy-seeking missiles.

Luckily, we have a new mama, Sugar Dolly, in our foster program, who came to us about-to-pop-pregnant from animal control. Karen is her foster mom, and we decided to see if Dolly would accept this baby. Vikki and Ivy went to get the tiny thing in Chamblee, and took it down to her in Griffin. On my way to safety

Sugar Dolly let that little boy join her party immediately, giving him a good tongue bath. But he couldn’t belly up to the bar — he wouldn’t nurse. Karen fed him from a syringe for day, and then he suddenly caught on, perhaps from the example of his new litter mates. He’s doing great now, sleeping in a puppy pile (as he should be).
Nice lady gave me food this way until I could nurse.

So how does a 2-day old puppy end up in dachshund rescue? Once he was out of the woods, I decided to find out.

As the story goes, a gentleman called WellPet Humane around midnight over the weekend, saying his chocolate smooth-haired dachshund was in distress giving birth. She had delivered one puppy, but it had been hours since then, and she was struggling. He said he could feel the other puppies moving around as mama’s body was trying to birth them. The folks at WellPet told him to bring her in, but he said he didn’t have enough money; he only had $200. (Note: WellPet is a low-cost practice.) He said he would wait until the morning, when he wouldn’t have to pay the emergency fee. They told him that it WAS an emergency, and they strongly recommended bringing her in. He was quite emotional, and said some unpleasant things to the staff.

He brought her in the morning. She was quite far gone by then, in bad shape. One puppy was stuck in the birth canal. Examination showed that the puppies were probably dead, and mom wasn’t far behind. WellPet recommended euthanasia, if he couldn’t do the ceasarian that was needed. He refused, because he wouldn’t (couldn’t?) spend the money. He had brought $60 with him, not $200. In pity for Jasmine, they somehow worked out a payment plan, and took Jasmine, the mama, in for emergency surgery. The man left.

Jasmine died just a few minutes later, while they were prepping her for the operation, and did not respond to resuscitation. The puppies were all dead. The WellPet folks called the man to tell him.

At about this time, a policeman saw someone throw a small object out of their car. Curious, he pulled up and saw that it was a tiny newborn puppy. WellPet Humane was the closest veterinary office to the site, and he took the puppy there. Of course, they put 2 and 2 together and figured out that this was the puppy who had been successfully born before Jasmine started to struggle with the birth.

What upsets me most about this story (and believe me, there are a LOT of things to be upset about), is that this person, knowing he could not provide medical care for his dog, still bred her. I can only speculate that he thought breeding these puppies would be a “free” way to make a little money. And in a perfect world, I guess that would have been true.

Clearly, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where dogs sometimes need medical assistance to give birth, and medical assistance isn’t free. We live in a world where every day, thousands of dogs in the metro Atlanta area, INCLUDING PUPPIES, are killed because there are far more dogs than there are homes. Yet people still choose to make a few more puppies, so they can make a few bucks (Newsflash: it isn’t even profitable if you do it right, with vaccines, dewormings, mama pre-natal care … and that’s for a non-eventful pregnancy! If there are any issues, forget profitability!) The man said that this was Jasmine’s third litter.
The other thing that upsets me is that the man, while professing his huge love for his dog, crying and shouting abuse at the WellPet folks, left her body behind at the vet AND tossed her puppy out the window as though it were garbage. He wouldn’t even spend $7 at the pet store for the puppy formula it would take to keep her baby alive. He didn’t take her home to bury her in his yard. Is that love?

By the way, YES, it is illegal to abandon a live puppy on the road. Or anywhere. But that is someone else’s battle to fight. We can take care of that puppy, give it its vaccines, its dewormings, and all the love of a foster home and a litter of brothers and sisters. And then we can find a forever home for him.

As for that man, I can only hope that someone who reads this is in a position to figure out who that guy is, and how he should make reparations for his callous cruelty to that puppy. I wish he had to make reparations for what he did to the mama,which in many ways was more cruel and callous, but his neglect of her isn’t actually illegal.

The missing piece of the story for me, now, is the name of that Chamblee policeman who saved that baby’s life. I have a message in to the lieutenant who led the shift that night. That policeman cared enough to carry a tiny, 5-ounce spot of brown fur, with closed eyes and ears, to the people who could help him. Because DREAM has a puppy we would like to name after him.

Hollie, our latest Biggest Loser

The newest foster dachshund in our home is Hollie. I’m calling her Hollie Berry to give her confidence that she is beautiful, but I’m not sure she gets the reference. Hollie weighed 21 pounds when she came to DREAM. She should probably weigh about 10. She looks like a waddling black and tan mushroom. A limping, waddling black and tan mushroom — she has arthritis in at least one of her front legs.

AND — poor Hollie has a sensitive tummy, and can’t tolerate any NSAID pain medications for the limp. Our only recourse is to just focus on getting the weight off.

She had blood work, no thyroid issues that could cause the weight. She does have Cushing’s, and we’re starting her on Vetoryl. But this is FAT, not Cushing’s potbelly.

After 2 weeks, Hollie had lost 2 pounds. Imagine. We didn’t even really try — just gave her a measured amount of food with some canned pumpkin for bulk, and a bit of yogurt for tummy upset. She doesn’t beg for food, so we don’t have that issue. I think she might have tried the first day, but we ignored her and she stopped.

Strangely, as the pounds have come off, she hasn’t shrunk overall. Instead the fat seems to be sliding off the back of her as if it is in a bag she carries around on her back, and it’s become off balance as it gets smaller. She needs to hitch up the load.

It’s especially challenging that she cannot exercise, with that painful leg. I do manage to get her to wrestle with my hand, lying down on her bed. She gets really excited and barks and play bites me. If you know what you’re looking for, you can see that she’s doing the classic “play bow” position — you just have to recognize it through the giant brisket fat pad she has on her chest!

In the last 2 weeks, she lost another 1/2 pound — a more comfortable rate. The limp is getting a bit better, though still quite pronounced. She spotted a squirrel in the yard the other day, forgot herself, and ran 5 steps! I was amazed!

You can follow our progress on twitter at #BLHollie. We are @DreamRescue.

Some rather strange weight loss milestones for Buckles

Last Friday, Buckles had a perfect weigh-in — he lost 0.6 pounds, right on track with where I’d like him to lose. Not too fast, not too slow. Yay Buckles!

Our food regimen continues as follows:
Morning: 1/4 cup of kibble (with his thyroid pill)
A couple of veggie snacks during the day (if I am home). Carrot or cucumber.
Evening: 1 cup of kibble, 1 cup of mixed veggies and yogurt (usually some pumpkin, some green beans, and some yogurt, but I try to mix things up a little to keep it interesting). Also his thyroid pill.

He doesn’t act hungry during the day, so I know the pumpkin and green beans are doing their job of keeping him full. The 1/4 cup of kibble in the morning keeps his blood sugar relatively stable too.

Now Buckles has lost a total of 3.6 pounds (down from 63 pounds when we started). Our goal is 30 pounds, I think.

This week, Buckles discovered that he can bend around and lick himself “down there” as many dogs delight in doing. Now he acts like he has to make up for lost time (!). That’s a rather odd milestone, eh? I actually had to go sleep in the other room last night because the slurping sound was driving me crazy.

And that’s when I realized that ….

Buckles also has acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that is caused by 3 things: obesity, hypothyroidism, and food sensitivities. Poor Buckles has all 3! This looks like lots of dark spots on his belly, and raised crinkly skin in his armpits. Before he lost the initial 3 pounds, I didn’t think he was itchy — but the truth seems to be that he DID itch, he just couldn’t SCRATCH because he was too big! The poor guy has been itching and itching all this time, and couldn’t do anything about it! So now I am giving him benadryl to help with the itch, and topical creams. On Friday he will have an oatmeal bath after his next weigh-in, and that should help too. We also do cool compresses on his belly, where the itch seems to be worst.

We discovered, thanks to our friend Regina (@ReginatheRVT), that Buckles LOVES squeaker toys. I don’t have any around the house because one of my dogs annihilates them within minutes, so I hadn’t seen Buckles with a squeaker before. But Regina gave him one after his weigh-in last week, and he he loved it! He had a big smile on his face as he squeaked that cheeseburger (ironically, the only kind of cheeseburger he is allowed). So now, when he rides in the car, he gets to squeak the burger the whole way.

Through it all, he is calm, affectionate, and oh-so-grateful to be safe, fed, and loved every day. Once in a while, he asks to be hauled onto the bed for snuggle time. He trembles when it storms, but he calms down when he gets his snuggles. He is a very special guy, and he is going to love getting all the attention he deserves in a forever home some day.

Weigh-in Tomorrow for Buckles!

We had a great start last week on Mr. Buckles’ Biggest Loser diet plan. He lost 3 pounds in his first week! Now, to be honest that was a bit of a shock. And I think it’s too fast. But still, it was a nice way to kick-off his success.

The first week, we were struggling with some diarrhea, which was probably from all the stressors he had been through (being in animal control, going to the vet, riding in the car, staying in another cage). He was tested at the vet and was negative for any intestinal parasites or little buggies like giardia or coccidia. So I had to take a few days to get his tummy under control. He fasted for one day, then had plain rice for a couple days, then we started gradually working up the what I would consider the “normal” weight-loss regimen for a 63-pound dog who should really weigh around 30 pounds: 1 cup of Natural Balance kibble (the regular blue bag). 1 cup of mixed vegetables: carrots, canned pumpkins, green beans. And a bit of whole milk plain yogurt.

So his weigh-in last Friday showed a 3-pound loss. He is definitely feeling more chipper. His waddle has a bit of the strut about it now. And he’s beginning to try to kick up his heels in the yard, just a bit.

This past week, I fed the same as above, except I added a 1/4 cup of kibble in the morning to try to keep his blood sugar more even (insulin production can encourage fat storage).

Tomorrow is our next weigh in. Wish us luck! I’ll tweet from @DREAMRescue and send a picture. I’m hoping for another 1/2 – 1 pound. Nice and gentle, but steady, loss for my sweet man.

Buckles Regimen: Week One

Buckles’ tummy seems to have straightened out (thank GOD – that was foul), so yesterday we started him on the usual weightloss regimen.

A 63-pound dog would normally eat about 2 cups of food per day. Yesterday I gave Buckles an evening meal of high-quality kibble (we use Natural Balance, the regular blue bag) and a combination of canned pure pumpkin, yogurt, and green beans. About 1 cup of the kibble and 1 cup of the other stuff (total). I don’t believe in reduced-calorie kibble, it has too many fillers.

Buckles didn’t like the green beans when I first tried them a few days ago, but he likes them when they are mixed with kibble. I guess they get kibble crumbs on them.

The pumpkin is very bulky with fiber, so that should keep him feeling full. He does not act like he is hungry in between meals.

To keep his blood sugar on an even keel throughout the day, I give him a veggie snack in the morning and afternoon. This morning it was carrots. He really liked those. Last night all the dogs got bell pepper snacks. Buckles was not impressed with those at first, but when he saw the other dogs chomping on them, he changed his mind.

We will have Buckles’ first weigh-in on Friday, and I’ll try to weigh him every week on Friday to make sure he is progressing. (Does anyone know how to do a progress graphic chart on wordpress? Like one of those thermometer things that shows the target and how much you’ve progressed toward it?)

I don’t expect that he will have lost much, if any, this week, since we spent most of the week getting his tummy straightened out. After that I am hoping for about a half pound per week at first.

Buckles has learned that in the evenings when I read, he is allowed on the bed for snuggle time, which he loves.
He can put his front paws on the side of the bed (barely) and then I put my arms around his middle and haul him up. He gets down again by the ramp. Snuggle time is very important to dachshunds’ emotional health!

Buckles starts his Biggest Loser Journey

This is Buckles, the sweetest, gentlest, most patient dachshund of all time. He is probably part beagle (maybe that’s where the patience comes from). But the most important thing to know about Buckles is that he weighs 63 pounds. ACK! An appropriate weight for a standard dachshund is 16-32 pounds. An appropriate weight for a beagle is less than 25 pounds.

Biggest Loser Buckles

I estimate that Buckles should weigh about 30 pounds. That means he has more than half his body weight to lose. With this weight, he is at extreme risk for a back injury due to IVDD, diabetes, thyroid problems, and all kinds of other nasty stuff that I’d rather he not have to deal with. He deserves a happy life.

I’ve had Buckles only 3 days, and he has already started following me everywhere I go around he house, and he settles down sweetly on his bed beside mine. (Thank goodness he doesn’t want to sleep IN the bed; there isn’t anywhere close to enough room!)

For the next few months (who am I kidding, at least a YEAR!) I’m going to journal Buckles’ progress and what we do to help him get healthy again. Buckles is only 7 years old, and he should have a lot of life and love left in him.

But before we go on the weight loss plan, I have to get his tummy straightened out. Right now he has terrible diarrhea. The vet checked him out and didn’t find any parasites or bacteria, so we’re going to start with some bland food (rice, boiled chicken) and plain yogurt until he’s not having that problem any more.

I’ll also be tweeting his progress with hashtag #BLBuckles if you want more info along the way!

Wish us luck!

Crazy Rescue People

The rescue community can be a little, let’s say, unpredictable. There are a lot of “crazies” who do this work (if you can call what we do work — we don’t get paid, and we do all seem to love it). And “crazy” can mean a lot of things. Let us muse on crazy for a moment.

Crazy can mean you are willing to live with a slightly higher number of dogs than the usual citizen would. Let’s say, 6.

Crazy can also mean you have few (if any) boundaries when it comes to number of dogs. Maybe you have 10, or 20, or 100, or even more. When does the line to hoarding (a real “crazy” disease — I think it is in the DSM-IV even!) get crossed?

Crazy can mean you perhaps occasionally are a wee bit judgmental when someone asks you for help because they can no longer keep their dog. (This is a tough one, as most dogs come into rescue for “people reasons” not “dog reasons” and the people reasons could have been avoided.)

Crazy can mean you’re a real idealist / purist, and you see everything in black and white. So you “never adopt to someone who XYZ” and you are critical of rescue groups that do.

Crazy can mean you actually feel competitive with other rescue groups. (I’ve never understood this one. There are plenty of dogs to go around!)

I’m realizing that each of these could be their own blog post (thank you, inspiration!). There is plenty of crazy to go around. I do think that to do this work, you have to be crazy in love with the dogs. Otherwise, who would put up with the poop, the pee, the barking, the fighting, the risks of disease to your own dogs, the biting, the noise during dinner parties, the inconvenience of trying to go on vacation, the extra expense, the late night drives, the horror of the animal control visits, the hassle of the high-maintenance foster homes, the extra time needed by the adopter who wants a million tiny questions answered when you have a full-time job and twelve other adoption applications to call, the hassle of the owners who act like THEY are doing YOU a favor by “giving” you a VALUABLE DOG? No one would.

We’re all a little crazy. Some of it is good crazy, some is bad crazy. We try to stay out of the bad crazy. What’s your crazy?

DREAM Update

We had a tough year in 2010. Our president (that’s me) was diagnosed with TINU Syndrome (an autoimmune disease) in March and has been down for the count pretty much ever since. The rest of our FABULOUS board of directors has scrambled to fill the gaps, all the while keeping as many dachshunds as we can away from the needle. It has been a bumpy road, but we’ve learned a lot — about each other, about the importance of compassion, about patience, about how important it is to do work that is important to you.

I’m getting back into the swing of things, slowly. We have a board retreat coming up at the end of February where we will reconnect, and figure out how to make 2011 a better year.

Thanks to all of you who have hung in there with us during all of this upheaval.

Top things DREAM dachshunds are thankful for

I polled all the dachshunds in DREAM’s foster homes, and they all were thankful for something different!

Eli was thankful for tennis balls, which he now chases as much as possible (sometimes for hours), and for his foster mamas who throw the ball for him.  Over and over and over. And over.

Stan was thankful for his new foster dad, who is teaching him about the crate being a safe place.

Nicodemus is thankful that his teeth don’t hurt any more. And for his dashing eyepatch.

Wendell is grateful that he has a safe place to sleep, with other dachshunds around.

Sweetness is thankful for her arthritis medicine, and her warm bed.

Fritz Gerald is grateful that he isn’t with that lady who turned him into DREAM, carrying the new puppy in her arms that she had just bought from a breeder.

Maci is thankful that she has someone to sit next to on the couch and watch movies.

Miss Dolly is grateful for her bed and her pretty yard.  That’s all she really needs, she says.  She is retired.

Zap! is grateful that everyone he meets loves him as much as he loves everyone he meets.

Yodel is thankful to be in a foster home with no other dogs.  He likes all the attention all for himself. And for being so good-lookin’.

Zucker is thankful that someone came to get him after he was so scared and all alone on the street, and turned him into a vet who then found DREAM.

Jerry Beasley is thankful that anyone puts up with his grumpy old self.

Missy is grateful for her foster mama, who loves her old old face with her tongue sticking out the side.

Simon is grateful that he doesn’t have all those heartworms anymore.  They made it really hard to breathe.  And for the people who are going to adopt him tomorrow.

Brandy is thankful that her mom didn’t take her to the vet for the “blue juice” when she moved into an apartment that didn’t take dogs. And for DREAM.

Havarti was grateful for the training he is getting at Canine PHD to help him not be so scared.

Tonka is thankful for the dog park.  When can we go again?  And for his foster sister Delia, who plays “wild mustangs” with him.

Angus and Nessa are grateful that their dad’s friend knew how to find DREAM when their dad died, so that they didn’t go to the shelter.

Fella said he was grateful not to be in that dark  garage any more, where he spent 4 years before coming to DREAM.  Also warmies in his crate to help his arthritis.

Shannon is thankful that such a nice lady wants to adopt her, even though she has had skin cancer.

Rosie is grateful for her understanding foster family, who drove her around so much when she needed those surgeries on her mammary tumors and her bad tooth.  She feels so much better now!

Pumpkin is grateful that she and her 8 babies are not in the animal control anymore, and the babies are not sick.  That is no place to have your babies! (Soon she will be grateful that they are all in their forever homes.  She is tired of nursing.)

Buttercup is thankful for her nice quiet foster home in Savannah. And that her eye doesn’t hurt anymore.

Mouse is thankful that her foster home has a big ramp, because she is too little for stairs, and their doggie door is on the second floor!

Starling is grateful for FOOD.  But she doesn’t like her foster mama’s tricks to slow her down so much.

Manchego is grateful for the lady who found him at animal control and called DREAM.  And also for his foster dad who is taking care of him while he finishes heartworm treatment.

Brady is thankful for bellyrubs.

Kirby is thankful that the lady at the dogpound found DREAM, because the mean man who dropped him off at the pound knew he’d be put to sleep that night and left him anyway.  And he’s just a baby!

Olivia is grateful that she isn’t in a scary concrete run anymore at animal control.  No place for a teeny chiweenie!

John-Boy is thankful that he is going to a foster home today that has another young dog that loves to play play play!

Duncan is thankful that his foster mom understands that he doesn’t mean anything by it when he tries to go on an adventure.  (And for his new harness.)

Mattie is thankful for her adoptive mama, who drove up to see her from Columbus and is going to take her home as soon as her heartworm restriction period is over.  And for her foster mama who took care of her during all of that.

We at DREAM are thankful for all the people who love the dachshunds and care for them their entire lives.  We wish there were more of you.

I am thankful for our foster homes, who show these dogs so much love (sometimes for the first time in their lives), and then send them on to their forever homes, so they can help the next dachshund who needs them.

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