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.


AH, a rainy fall with dachshunds

HowlOWeenie is behind us, and it was glorious.  We now turn our sights to fall, when a young rescuer’s thoughts lightly turn to thoughts of ….. murder, mayhem, and rage at the machine.

No, not really.  But there are a few things I’m pretty hacked off about right now.

1.  Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He vetoed a bill to outlaw puppymills.  Seriously, Arnold? A “responsible breeder” is not going to have more than 100 adult dogs on his / her property.

2. Stories I heard today about a certain county south of Atlanta where—

A) they “adopted” a mama dachshund and her 4-day old puppies, along with an unneutered male, to a backyard breeder.  Georgia law says that dogs coming out of a shelter must be altered by the owner, but this shelter is not one of those that follows up on that.  So, nice life coming for that crew!  And not even any registration papers for the puppies.  So these will be cheap puppies.  And that means, they will get no vet care, because that costs money.  Nice!

B) one of the county commissioners let his unneutered dachshund run free.  Picked up by AC several times.  Last time, didn’t come claim him.  So eventually a rescue got him.  Dog was heartworm positive, had all the intestinal parasites.  And who knows how many litters he’d sired on his adventures. County commissioner is suing the rescue group.  Wanted his dog back.  But the dog had died because it wasn’t healthy enough to survive the heartworm treatment.

I know there are a lot of crazy rescuers out there.  There are some animal rights nutjobs, and there are some overzealous people doing overzealous things.  But when we are just trying to save the lives of the real dogs that are right in front of us, and the “authorities” not only don’t help, but actively oppose, it makes my stomach hurt.

Recent victories:  Rosie from Chattooga County.  Sassy from Dekalb County.  Lester from Fulton County.  And getting another tomorrow.


<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, www.dreamrescue.org, 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.

Waycross dachshund bills are coming in!

ThistleIn January, DREAM took in 6 dogs from the raid on the hoarder in Waycross, Georgia.  In May, we took 4 more.  All were sweet and loving, even with all they had been through.  Thistle.  Spindle.  Clover.  Petal.  Stewie.  Pauly.  Miller.  Chamblee.  Maura.  And tiny Ben.

That’s Thistle in the picture.

So far, bills have topped $4000.  More bills will come in as some of the dogs continue their ongoing treatments.  Many are fully treated and adopted to their forever homes, but others still need more.  Even with the great discounts we get on vetting, this is adding up at a dizzying rate.

All of them needed spay/neuter, vaccinations, fecal tests, and heartworm tests.

Two, Miller and Clover, had heartworms and needed treatment and antibiotics.

One, Petal, had several mammary tumors and a hernia, and needed 2 surgeries.  The tumors were too big to take in one operation — Petal wouldn’t have had enough skin to close.

Four had mange….which meant a lot of antibiotics and other topical treatments.

Three contracted pneumonia and other respiratory infections.  A few days in ICU, hospitalization, emergency vet visits on the weekends, oxygen tents, and nebulizations.  And lots of antibiotics.

And Clover gave birth to three dear puppies a week after she was safe.  The puppies will need shots, several dewormings, and their spay/neuter surgeries.  One of the babies has a deformity in a front foot, so he will need some surgery for that.

$4000 and counting.  If you have any money to spare, we could certainly use it.  HowlOWeenie, our major fundraiser, is a long way away.  I would hate to have to stop taking in other dogs in need because we don’t have the funds to care for them.  We have never had to do that.  But we have also never taken in 1/3 of our total doggie capacity at one time, from a situation like this before.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll help, or pass our story along to someone who might.  Go to www.dreamrescue.org and click on “Want to Help?” to donate.

Deaf + halfblind + cushings + heart murmur = Double Dapple

We took in a couple of double dapples from Oconee County a couple of weeks ago.  They had been turned in by their owner, and came with their breeding papers.What an adventure we are having.  (At least, I’m trying to look at it as an adventure, rather than a tragedy.)

One of the dogs, Blossom, had no apparent issues.

The other, Bree, has the full gamut of health issues associated with double dapples, which are the offspring of 2 dapple dogs.  (You can read more about what this means at this link.  ) The fact is, many puppies born “double dapple” are blind, deaf, both, or worse.  Breeders who create these puppies consider the destruction of those puppies as a cost of doing business.

Bree on the day he came to DREAM

Bree on the day he came to DREAM

The bottom line is that this pattern should NOT be recognized by the AKC, and should NOT be bred by anyone.  It is far too dangerous to the puppies.

I hope you’ll consider doing the following:

1.  contact the AKC and ask them to stop accepting double dapple registrations.

2.  not patronize any breeder who offers double dapples, even if you are not buying a double dapple yourself.  (You know, as a rescuer who deals with the downstream effects of the high population problems we have, I’d prefer you not patronize breeders at all, but if you must, at least do not finance this practice).

I don’t know if we will be able to help Bree.  Having him in the house is like having Helen Keller, so he needs a special foster home, and right now I don’t know who that is.  He can’t communicate with us, and we can’t communicate with him.  The other dogs running around scare him.  He picked one of the other dogs and constantly humps him in what I imagine is his only feeling of control.  He is frustrated and reactive, and cannot settle himself down.  He snatches at food, because he also can’t smell very well and he’s afraid he’s going to lose out when he finally does smell something yummy.  It’s like he’s having a 24/7 anxiety attack.  Then add the other health issues — cushing’s disease, heart murmur, undescended testicle (and we can’t neuter him yet because of all the other risks — ARGH!)

We have found a trainer who will work with Bree so he can learn sign language with the little sight that he has. I hope that will alleviate some of his anxiety.  He will go there in the next day or so.  His cushing’s medication is beginning to work.  He is having X-rays today to understand what is going on with his heart, and how dangerous it would be to neuter him.

We are trying to do right by this dog.  He loves people, he loves to be held in a lap.  His life is worth something.

Somewhere out there, a home awaits.   A quiet home without too much activity to startle him.  A patient person who will learn his sign language.  A soft bed for him to lie in next to his person.  Is that really too much to ask for a little deaf dog?

The world says yes, but we, at least for now, say no.  We will keep trying with him as long as we can.

Sigh. I’ve been so discouraged since the Obama thing.

I was really in a funk about the Obamas getting a dog from a breeder, and the huge missed opportunity to set an example about saving a dog in need.  Then the head of the Humane Society posted this, and I feel a lot better.


Second Chances for President Obama, His Pup

For the President of the United States, the personal is the political. Nothing he does in his private life is off limits and without implication, it seems.

Take the case of food. Animal advocates, slow foodies, and sustainable agriculture types have been trying to get into his pantry from the beginning. They’ve been more than heartened and encouraged by the First Lady’s decision to plant a vegetable garden on White House grounds and about the healthier fare the new White House chef is preparing for the family. It’s all about a higher standard of personal conduct that sets an example for the American public and it’s also a possible predictor of sounder policies that may flow from Secretary Tom Vilsack and the USDA.

Obama puppy, a Portuguese water dog
© The White House
Bo, the Obama family’s new dog.

It’s through that same lens that so many animal advocates have had their tongues wagging about the First Family acquiring a dog—the anticipation heightened by President Obama’s own positive pre- and post-election wishes to go to a shelter for a dog for the girls. With all the shelter talk, he set high expectations, especially given that his predecessors never hit that high mark in bringing their pets into the White House. And he and the First Lady acted responsibly in postponing any decision about a dog until they were well settled in their new home, an approach we recommend to potential adopters.

Admittedly, the choice was complicated for the Obamas by daughter Malia’s allergies, and the information circulating about suitable pets for their situation. Nevertheless, the Obamas’ decision disheartened animal advocates. But the circumstances do have some shades of gray for animal advocates, given that the dog, now named Bo, was in a home, but was apparently returned to the breeder because he was just not the right fit. For that reason, we call him a second-chance dog. And we’re happy for Sasha and Malia, who have been exceedingly patient in waiting for a pet to join their family.

Nonetheless, the disappointment in America among our supporters is palpable, and I’ve been getting lots of emails from folks who feel passionately that an opportunity was squandered to help America’s shelters and the animals in them.

Only 20 percent of dogs in homes come from shelters. And there are nearly 2 million dogs euthanized each year. If we just increased that percentage of homes with dogs from shelters—to 30 or even 40 percent—we would solve the euthanasia problem. Obviously, there’s no one to provide a better example to the American public than President Obama, and no one better to say there’s not a thing wrong with dogs at shelters.

So be disappointed, but don’t despair for long. Hold him accountable to make other decisions that will have enormous implications for animals. He can still laud shelters and speak about the urgency of supporting them. He can also get Bo neutered, as a reminder of the importance of spay and neuter as a way to combat pet overpopulation. And, at the end of the day, he can actively support policies that crack down on puppy mills, eradicate Class B dealers, enforce laws against dogfighting, promote regulations to ensure safe food for our companion animals, and much more.

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.

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