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!

Big few days for DREAM Dachshunds

Wow, we have really had a chaotic few days.  I feel like I’m driving a big weiner dog train, and all the weiner dogs are hanging onto the tails of the ones in front of them with their teeth, like circus elephants used to do, and I just have to have faith that they will all hang on and get to where they need to be.  Thank goodness my “real” (read, paying) work isn’t too hectic right now, so I can keep all of this going for the moment.

Miller, fostering with Robin, may have distemper. This is one of the poor Waycross doggies.  He was vaccinated for it at Pets are People Too, but Village Lilburn thinks he has it. I’ve never had this happen before, so I don’t have any insight on why / how that could happen, but he’s not able to be neutered this week as scheduled.  He is at Village now, and will go back to Robin’s in a couple of days with antibiotics.  He should be okay, but has a nice snootful of yuck in the meantime.

Pauly, another of the Waycross boys, is being neutered Wednesday at Village Lilburn. Yay Pauly!  Yay, Village!

Ben and Stewart (2 more from Waycross) are being neutered tomorrow. After that, Stewart may be adopted by one of the Pets Playhouse people, and I want to move Ben to Jackie’s as soon as we know that Frannie’s adoption will “stick.”  Mara is taking them to Lifeline in the morning, and I’m picking them up to take them back to Pets Playhouse in the afternoon.

The final two Waycross girls, Maura and Chamblee, will have their surgeries early next week.

Sneakers (the “down” dog) is still at Village. He will not allow his bladder to be expressed, and we don’t know why. They have to catheterize him. We’ve started him on some drugs to relax the bladder sphincter, and we hope this will help. As soon as he can be expressed, he will go to Kim. He has some tone in his back legs, and deep pain, so I am hopeful for him learning to walk again.  He is a very handsome dapple boy (so many dapples seem to have the IVDD disc back problems), and he needs to lose a lot of weight.  That will really help with his recovery.

Scooby (currently with Kim) has his recheck on Wednesday at Village, hoping that broken pelvis is healed. If all goes well, he can move to Vicki’s after that.

Petunia is coming up from Savannah tonight, and has her mammary tumor surgery on Thursday at Village, and can go to Vicki’s after that.

The puppies (Callie, Boo, and Miss Maudie) were spayed/neutered today. Callie is being adopted tomorrow, and Miss Maudie has a good app by one of the Syrens of the South gals. Their mom, Scout, started heartworm treatment today.

I picked up three new puppies (Brulee, Beefsteak, and Gumbo) today, along with their mom and a dog that might be their dad.  The pups will be neutered in 3 weeks, and ready for adoption then.  Their mom is Vivien. They are all at Village tonight, being checked out tomorrow.  Cross your fingers for negative heartworm tests.   I’m picking them up tomorrow from Village. Clark, the possible dad, is a very handsome black and tan. He’s being neutered tomorrow.  He is a very friendly dog and I think he would love an active house.  THANK YOU CHATTOOGA COUNTY for being proactive to find rescue for your dogs!

I think Rammy needs to go to the vet for bloodwork. He is skinny, and drinking a lot.  I’m going to wait until we get through all of the above, though, my brain can’t take one more thing!

We are waiting to find out when Little Miss Fiona’s appointment is at UGA.  She’s the darling little longhair girl with the strange birth defects in her back legs, but man, she does not let that slow her down.

We’ve done good work lately — and a lot of it.  Send good vibes!  Send money!

Humane Society’s lobbying day is tomorrow at the Georgia State Capitol.  I learn so much at those events.  I have high hopes for the animals in this year’s legislative session.  I’ll post later this week about the bills in play, and what you can do to support them (or oppose them) with your own state legislators.

Tabby racing at Howl-O-Weenie

Check out my little girl racing across the field at Howl-O-Weenie. The best part is the facial expressions on the crowd. She can fly! I will race her again at DRNA’s picnic on 11/3. She is such an ambassador for “down” doggies. Her injury doesn’t slow her down one bit. If you have not checked out her video on YouTube, please do. Just search for Adventures of Tabby and you’ll see it.

Luke the down dachshund speaks for himself

This is Luke. My foster mom is really busy, so I told her I’d write the blog for this week. I thought I’d tell you about a typical day for me. In the mornings, I can hear my foster mom’s alarm clock going off in the bedroom. Luckily, she’s a snoozer so I don’t have to crawl out from under the covers just yet. I can stay burrowed under them in my crate until I hear her really get out of bed. When I hear that bedroom door open, I pop my head out from under the blankets! She sings out, “Good morning, Luke,” and I kind of hop up and down in return. She gets me out of my crate and takes me into the bathroom, where she squeezes my bladder so I can pee, and holds me over the toilet while I poop. I usually yawn and give her a little kiss when I have the chance. All of that takes about 20 seconds, and sometimes I think she is still asleep when she’s doing it. Then she puts me down, and I go into the bedroom where I can climb up the ramp and get into bed (that’s my special morning treat, to nap in the bed while she gets dressed for work). Now that I’m walking, I can climb the ramp all by myself, and I am very proud.

Pretty soon after that, I listen very carefully from the bedroom when I hear my foster mom go into the kitchen. Sometimes she feeds me before she goes to work, and other days my foster dad feeds me a little later. If I hear the metal can with the food open, I fly down the ramp and through the house to the kitchen, because it is really important that I am there to cheer them on when they are scooping out the food. They give me my bowl (they put some water on my food to make sure I drink enough) and I eat as fast as I can so I can check out the other dogs’ bowls when they finish. My foster mom gives me another squeeze before she goes to work. I know that I can’t go with her to work (even though I type very well), so I don’t follow her to the door in the morning. Most mornings I decide that is time for a NAP! I climb back up the ramp and snooze in the big bed for most of the day. If there is a new stuffed animal around, I might rip it up to get the squeak out. Those squeaks are a menace to society and it is my job to make sure they are disposed of with great dispatch and enthusiasm. Otherwise I get under the covers.
My foster dad is waiting for his new job to start, so he’s working around the house right now. Still, I sleep most of the day. I have to be ready for whatever happens in the afternoons and evenings.
When my foster mom gets home in the afternoon, I am at the door to greet her – I know what her car sounds like. I spin around in circles on the floor until she picks me up. She lets the other dogs outside and gives my bladder a squeeze in the bathroom. Then we usually hang out for a while. She sits at the computer in the dining room and makes all kinds of comments that I don’t understand, about dachshunds in shelters, organizing transports, euthanization, spay and neuter, and puppy mills. Sometimes she cries. When that happens, I go sit on her feet. Sometimes she calls people for references who want to adopt one of DREAM’s dachshunds, and she always sounds really happy when that goes well.
If she decides to go out in the afternoon, I know there is a chance I get to go too, so I make sure I keep an eye on the door. If I see her start to put her shoes on, pick up her purse, or get her keys, I do my spin around in circles thing. Often that trick works – she will take me with her. Some days I go swimming with my therapist. Other days I get to go to the pool and watch my foster brother do his swim therapy, but I don’t actually swim myself. Those are my favorite days because I get to show off to the people sitting around the pool with their dogs. They all cheer for me when they see me run around the pool, because they knew me before I learned how to walk again. My foster brother Jack ruptured a disc too, just like me, and we are all hoping that one day he will walk again, like I have learned to do. I really like to go to the pool and see the other dogs swim, because the people there say I am an inspiration and they let me get away with all kinds of show-offy behavior that I can’t do at home. I like to bark at Jack from the sidelines and tell him what he isn’t doing right.
Other evenings, people come over to our house to eat dinner in the back yard. My foster dad likes to cook on the grill. I love those days, because everybody sits outside together, and I can run to the fence to bark if anyone walks by with their dogs in the neighborhood. Even though I can’t fully use my back legs like other dogs do, I CAN run and I have learned all kinds of little tricks to help me get around really fast! I can even jump up the 2 steps from the back yard into the house.
At night is my favorite time. Most evenings, my foster mom and dad watch a movie and I get to cuddle with them and the other dogs. I am a champion snuggler. I get to stay in the bed until lights out. I follow my foster mom back out to the bathroom when it’s time for bed, so she can give my bladder a last squeeze. Then I follow her to the dining room, where my crate and my blankie are. She gives me a little treat and a chewie, and I hop right into the crate to enjoy them. If they leave the bedroom door open, I can see that mom & dad are still awake, and I will bark because I do not like to miss anything. But if they remember to close the door, I go right to sleep like a good boy. I know that the next morning I will get to do all my favorite things again.
I am really happy in my foster home, but one day I know that I will be adopted by someone who isn’t afraid of expressing my bladder. Then I might get to cuddle and sleep in the big bed every night. My foster mom says that I am ready, and what she says, goes. I love her very much, and I know that she gave me another chance at life when my first family couldn’t take care of me when I was hurt. But I am ready for my real life to start, and I know it will contain lots of love, snuggles, stuffed toys, blankies, chewies, and everything else a dachshund needs. People don’t have any reason to be afraid of my disabilities, because I can teach anyone how to adjust for them. It isn’t hard at all, and I promise to reward you with more love than you have ever known.

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!

Tabby’s video – paralyzed dachshund

I am so excited! Tabby’s video, showing the quality of life possible for a paraplegic dog, is finally on YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Saf_kZvwClE

Big thanks to Rob at Bleeding Edge Studios for his help. If you ever are in need of a corporate video or tv commercial or music video, he’s terrific to work with.
www.bleedingedge.tv

Yahoo for Tabby! She amazes me every day with her spirit, love, and boundless energy. My hope for this video is that people will learn how much joy and happiness these dogs can have, really with minimal care. The message many people get from their vets at the crucial moment is, tragically, often very different, and they give up when they might not have to.

14 steps

Luke is making incredible progress. He has been in swim therapy for 5 months now, almost every weekend, and he has begun to take steps.
His contractures are almost gone. He is on his feet just as much as he is off of them. Most of the time he is in a standing position, but he is so impatient to get where he wants to go, that most of the time he still drags his legs beneath him (although in standing form).
When he slows down enough, he takes steps. Whenever he stands and starts to step, we start to count. A few days ago he was up to 14. They are not normal steps, but they are steps.
Tonight: another breakthrough. Luke tried to squat in the yard to poop! And he pooped on his own, in position!
Here he is at swim therapy, the little trooper. Check him out — standing up!!!
Thanks to Sherri, our new foster home, for the great pictures.

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