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.

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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.

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.

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.

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