by Lee Juslin
Trooper was rescued from a puppy mill where he was one of hundreds of dogs in crowded, unclean conditions. Sadly, his owner, though his heart was in the right place, simply couldn’t follow through on providing Trooper a forever home.When a toddler came into the picture, the owner, even though he had had Trooper neutered and had every intention of keeping him as a beloved pet, was feeling overwhelmed and so he relegated Trooper to the backyard. At about one year old, it became clear that Trooper had problems. He couldn’t walk far and had trouble holding his head up, and, living in the yard with a Pit Bull, he was undernourished. A neighbor noticed Trooper’s sad living conditions, persuaded the owner to turn him over to rescue, and contacted Susie of Eastern North Carolina Dachshund Rescue of North America.
When he came to Susie, Trooper was underweight, had a yeast infection in his ears and on his skin, and those troubling walking problems. After a vet visit, it was determined that while they could treat the yeast infection, his physical problems needed a consult with a specialty vet. Doxies are known to have back problems, but perhaps Trooper’s behavior indicated something else. Susie applied for funds for Trooper from the rescue organization’s board to follow through on the testing needed to assess Trooper’s condition, but was denied. It was determined that given Trooper’s age of six and the cost of the testing needed, limited rescue funds could be better spent on other dogs needing the organization’s help. Susie was disappointed and decided to try a fundraiser for Trooper. Eventually funds were raised but not quite enough. Susie reapplied to the board and was granted the additional funds for Trooper.
At the specialty vet, Trooper underwent an MRI and a spinal tap. It was found that he had an underdeveloped cerebellum and was too old for it to be corrected. Susie resigned herself to keep Trooper, though it was not a hard decision as little Trooper had proven to be just that, a trooper and with a very sweet, loving disposition. He loved toys and he followed the other dogs in Susie’s pack determined to do everything they did. According to Susie, it may have taken him longer to run to the fence or go up the deck stairs to the house, but he always figured a way to go along with the pack.
Trooper proved to be smart as well as determined. He crate-trained himself when he discovered that being alone in the kitchen wasn’t as much fun as being in the “crate room” with the other Doxies. “He figured a way out of his fenced in kitchen area to get to where the other dogs were. When I put a crate down for him, in he went,” said Susie.
Trooper remained listed on the group’s website as a Sanctuary Doxie, which means due to his special needs, if an appropriate adopter came along, the usual adoption fees would be waved. However, the other requirements like a home visit and references would still apply. Susie wasn’t holding her breath.
In March a woman from Cape Cod contacted Susie to inquire about Trooper. She had family in NC and was coming down for a visit. In addition, she already had two handicapped Doxies. This time Susie held her breath. When Kristy came to meet Trooper, she was taken with his sweet personality but wasn’t sure if he would fit in with her two older, handicapped Doxies. Susie agreed to let her take Trooper while she visited with her family and her two other Doxies which she had brought with her. Very quickly Trooper wormed his way into Kristy’s heart and as for the other two Doxies, they readily accepted Trooper.
So, Kristy drove the fifteen hour drive home with the three Doxies and the next day she drove three hours to Eddie’s Wheels, a company that makes specialized carts for handicapped dogs. There, Trooper was fitted for a special four wheel cart. Happily, Trooper’s new wheels arrived a few weeks later right on his birthday. “I knew then,” said Susie, “that sad as I was to let Trooper go, he and Kristy were a miracle match. I can always let a dog go if I know that the home he is going to is a better place than my home, and that was certainly the case for Trooper. And as a bonus, when Kristy comes to NC to visit her family, I get to see him.”
Many experienced rescue folks will tell you that rescuing a special needs dog, one that would certainly be euthanized by a shelter, has a very special payback because handicapped dogs like Trooper often turn out to be especially loving, and wonderful role models for turning the proverbial lemons of life into lemonade.
If you would like to learn more about Dachshund Rescue of North America, volunteer to help, apply to adopt a rescued Doxie, or make a donation to this all volunteer rescue group, check out their web site: Doxie Rescue.
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