<See 8/25 update at bottom!>

Some days it’s really hard.  I go to a shelter a couple of times most weeks, squeezing the visits in between my “paying” work and when I can coordinate with a vet and a foster home.  It’s always hard, walking through those rows of runs, where the dogs look up at you, some still hopeful (wagging their tails), others shut down (not even looking).

This week was one of the hardest, and I didn’t even have to go to the shelter.

I collaborated with a couple of other groups to save a group of 9 dachshunds who had been dumped in the “night box” at a rural shelter.  (How cowardly can you be, to leave your animal in the night box?  I guess it’s marginally better than abandoning them in the  median of I- 75.)

DREAM agreed to take 3, and another group arranged transportation.  I met them at the Windy Hill Chick-Fil-A.  (For some reason, Windy Hill Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s are popular rescue meeting points.  If you go there, please tell them we appreciate them letting us use their parking lot.)

I realize I’ve indulged in 2 tangents so far in writing this.  I’m dreading writing about Cygnet.  So, how about we start with her picture, sitting on my lap as I drive from Windy Hill to The Village Vets of Decatur.

Cygnet Day 1She looks like a baby bird fallen out of the nest, doesn’t she?

Her skin felt rough, thickened, and scabby under my palm.  Pieces came off on my shirt and pants.  Almost no hair…what looks sort of like hair in the picture is mostly pieces of skin.  She was hot; I tried to cool her off with my hands.  Her eyes were full of gunk.  I could feel her hipbones, and all her vertebrae.  Tiny birdlike ribs.  She was ravenous, and I gave her a few slivers of chicken.  Her tail wagged the whole time, and she licked my hand — probably for any food residue.  Then she balanced herself on one of my legs and sort of passed out, head lolling.  I tried not to panic as I mentally planned the best route to Decatur during rush hour.  I called Village and asked them to make sure a vet was there when I arrived, just before closing.  The other 2 dogs fussed in the back of the car.  Another one was bald too, but seemed otherwise alert.  The third seemed healthy, probably just the usual parade of intestinal worms.

We arrived at Village with a few minutes to spare.  Donnie rushed her to the back (I couldn’t believe how tiny she looked in his hands). Dr. Finke came out after a few minutes and said she was going to start antibiotics right away.  We might be dealing with distemper, she said.  Certainly she sounded like she had pneumonia, and the skin….well, the skin meant there were all kinds of underlying health issues and weaknesses to deal with. The prognosis was “poor to guarded.”  She’d need an oxygen tank, antibiotics, fluids, just to get through the night, if she made it at all.

She’s 8 weeks old, barely weaned.

We decided to transfer her to the Emergency Center (they share a building, thank goodness), so she’d have someone there with her all the time through the night.  We checked the other 2 into the regular vet, and I went home, poured a glass of wine, and bawled.  Waited for update phone calls.  Didn’t clean the house like I had planned (wow, what a social life).  Cried and watched LOST on DVD, when I could pay attention.

The next morning she was alive.  When I went to see her, she put her little feet up on the sides of the oxygen tent and wagged.  Her food bowl was empty — she had a healthy appetite.

Cygnet tankShe’s not out of the woods.  Distemper could still rear its awful head and kill her.  But Dr. Finke says that if she makes it through the weekend, she’ll probably make it.  She needs to stay a few more days, at least.

So, happy happy joy joy!  At least, for now.

Then I got the first bill.  OUCH.  It’s looking like the total bill, between emergency and regular hospitalization, will flirt with $2000.  Maybe more.  As you can imagine, that’s not good news for rescue groups.  In bad economic times, more dogs get abandoned, and fewer people donate, and those who do, donate less.

If you can help — a little or a lot — please do.  I want Cygnet to get every chance to grown into a big, strong, beautiful swan of a sassy little dachshund.  I think her hair is sable. She might even be a beautiful longhair in there.  She needs us.  We can show her that not everyone is like those people who let her get into this condition, and then stuck her in a box in the middle of the night, in a scary place where most dogs don’t make it out alive.  Most of us aren’t like that — I have to believe it.  Can you help? Please go to our website,, and donate.  It matters.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.” — Gandhi

UPDATE on CYGNET 7/28:  The little pistol was discharged from the vet last night.  She still isn’t out of the woods, but now will do best in a home environment where she can run and play.  She is on 3 medications, and needs  a followup visit in 2 weeks to make sure she is progressing.  We hope to be able to vaccinate her then too (right now it would be too much shock to her immune system).  So for now she is doing her best to pester her (fully vaccinated) foster brother Frank.  Please everyone, send healthy, hair-growin’, immune-system strengthenin’, puppy-playin’ vibes to the little sweetie.  Right before she left the vet, she was spending most of her time on her hind legs, pushing against the sides of the oxygen tent, begging for attention.  Whenever anyone would reach in there, she would roll over on her back to try to wrestle with their hand.  What an amazing little spirit!  If anyone can fight off her obstacles, it is Miss Cygnet Camellia!  I’ll update at least once a week on her progress….hopefully all happy news from here on out.

From Cygnet:  “My foster mom gave me a pretty pink blanket to keep me warm until I get my fur back.  She said I was very sweet but I just want to play and then it makes me sleepy. I have no problem eating or drinking except for stopping when my belly gets full. My foster mom Robin says to tell DREAM thank you for saving me from the scary place and bring me to the doctor to get better.  I love to run around my new home and play with the toys, those stuffed ones don’t have a chance when I shake them silly. I’ll send an update once a week so you can see how I’m getting better and fall in love with me even more. Until next week…”

UPDATE 7/30 From Cygnet:  “I was nekkid so my foster  mama put a sock on me.  The DREAM lady said she’s resourceful, but I don’t know what that means!”

Cygnet's foster mom made her a sock dress to keep her warm

Cygnet's foster mom made her a sock dress to keep her warm

Cygnet's sock dress

I keep eatin so you won't see my bones no more.

Update 8/9 — Hey!!! It’s me Cygnet again. Guess what I found? My growl Listen GRRRRR…..rrrr!!

I am so tough now!!! I hope you can see, I think some of my fur is coming back And…no more bones I love all of the food in the whole world that goes in my bowl. I had my first bath and my foster mom says I smelled divine!! I love exploring my neighborhood but the other dogs who bark make me nervous…but my foster mom is always right there to say it’s OK they just want to know who I am. Well, gotta run the toys are trying to get away I think — Cygie

I got big responsibilities.

I got big responsibilities.

I am so happy.  I have found my “forever home” which is a miracle for a little girl like me.  These people really love me, and they are taking care to make sure I keep getting healthier and healthier.  They give me toys to play with, and I have 2 other doggies to pester and wrestle with.  They make sure that every day I get food, and water, and somewhere nice to sleep.  Thank you to everyone who donated to make sure my vet bills were paid.  (I don’t really know what that means, but my new mom says it’s important.  Alls I know is that I feel better every day, no more yucky infections or itchy skin.)  I am so happy that my life is settled and I know where my safe place is with my new mama and dad.  Also my mom said now DREAM has another foster space open to save a little one like me.  So that’s good.


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracey Sutton-Vitabile
    Jul 26, 2009 @ 13:09:50

    Your story about Cygnet broke my heart. I am the proud Mom of two puppy mill doxies. They are wonderful. They really rescue us as much as we rescue them. To see them recover and blossom is truly one of the joys of my life. I am sending healing thoughts to Cygnet. Doxies are small but mighty. How fortunate for her to have found you. All the best to you, what a wonderful thing you do for these precious dogs. I will be making a donation towards her care. Oh, I wish I could hold her in my arms and give her a kiss, please do it for me. Sincerely, Tracey Sutton-Vitabile


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Jul 27, 2009 @ 17:16:11

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Cygnet is hanging in there, she is a tough little thing! We appreciate any donation you can make to help.


  2. Heather
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 03:16:01

    Kristin, I am so glad that DREAM is there to help dachshunds in need. My prayers are with Cygnet and I hope he gets better so he can find his forever home. It breaks my heart and I cry for those out that need help. I agree with the person before me, they rescue us as much as we rescue them.


  3. dreamdachshundrescue
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 17:16:24

    Thank you Heather!


  4. Suzanne from Atlanta, GA
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 01:03:08

    Thank you Dream for taking care of these helpless, innocent dachshunds! I made a donation today after seeing the photos and reading your blog. I am always happy to help Dream and my prayers will be with Cygnet! Bless you!


  5. Karen Jones
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 12:55:10

    Good morning, please give another update on Cygnet. My husband and i just donated through PayPal what little we could dispense of today. may be able to send more on Friday. I know we can’t save them all but we can sure as hell try. That is why there are 4 of these critters in my bed with me at night! 3 of them were rescues. I would have 10 of them if it wouldn’t mean a divorce for me. You do great work! As I tell my friends and family – at least I am going to get into animal heaven!


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Jul 28, 2009 @ 14:46:45

      So are so kind. I am amazed at the outpouring of support this little girl has received. Her story has collected about 2/3 of her vet bills to date. Thank you for your compassion for these sweet creatures.


  6. Dorothy Sanders
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 16:19:24

    Thanks so much for the update! I have been thinking about that baby a lot, and wishing the best for her. Sent a small donation yesterday – if everyone will just give a little, it will add up to a lot, I know.


  7. Suzanne from Atlanta, GA
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 17:11:34

    Thanks for the very sweet and heart-warming update! Sending lots of healing thoughts her way! What a cutie – and I’m sure she’ll be a swan when her hair grows back in!


  8. Marylon
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 20:19:35

    Cygnet sounds like she has the spirit and determination that our MONA LISA had. With lots of love and kindness she will blossom. The folks at DREAM give the love needed 10 times over. God Bless for all the foster homes!!!


  9. Karen Jones
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 16:58:50

    She is tooooooo cute for words! I love the sock dress! We did that with one of ours – and it was my hubby’s idea.
    Why does she already have the spoiled-rotten doxie look in her eyes? It doesn’t take them long to learn! And I refuse to believe that I have been an enabler with the spoiling of my 4 that sleep in the bed with us!


    • dreamdachshundrescue
      Jul 30, 2009 @ 17:33:57

      heheheheh — sounds like *someone* is in denial about being an enabler!

      Thanks for your support of that little girl!


  10. Karen Jones
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 18:09:35

    I don’t know who would be in denial about being an enabler, it sure ain’t me 😉
    A pushover maybe but not an enabler.


  11. Rae Myles
    Aug 08, 2009 @ 02:11:10

    What a story! Our two dachsies are so spoiled compared to this little one….and yet I know that, since we got them from DREAM, it’s very possible they lived through rough times as well. My prayer is that Cygnet finds a forever home and a warm bed to sleep in….he deserves it!
    I’m making a (small) donation – wish it could be larger, but if we all do a little, it adds up to a lot!
    Blessings to you and all the folks and pups at DREAM!


  12. Marylon
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 18:18:39

    Miss Cygie you are starting to turn ino the beautiful little girl we know you are! Miss Mona would tell you to watch out for all your toys as they have a way of sneaking into your bed at nite so you aren`t lonesome. I have a feeling it won`t be long until you are barking right back at everything. Keep up all the good work. Eat and sleep . Those are good responsibilities to have. Can`t wait to talk to you again.


  13. Suzanne from Atlanta, GA
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 00:45:53

    What a great recovery Miss Cygie has made! She’s such a cutie and I bet her growl will get even more brave and vicious! I love hearing her updates – please keep ’em coming (like the food in her bowl, the toys in her bed and the love you are dishing out that she deserves!).


  14. Tracey Sutton-Vitabile
    Aug 14, 2009 @ 20:10:11

    So great to see Cygnet’s progress. She is adorable. If by some slim chance she does not get adopted and if you ever allow an out of state person to adopt her ( Pa) , I would be very proud and thrilled to be her “Mom”. She is very lucky to be a part of DREAM. Sending good thought to all of you.


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