Storytime: Don’t Read This While You’re Eating

Originally published in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Dachshunds.

Don’t Read This While You’re Eating


One day a friend introduced me to, where she was looking for a new dog. I was fascinated that they had over 300,000 homeless pets posted, and was equally taken by the profile of a paralyzed Dachshund named Skippy. I had never seen a dog in a wheelchair before, and for days felt compelled to return to his profile, rereading it over and over again. I was not in the market for another dog, (I already had a Yorkie), but before I knew it I was emailing the rescue group to adopt Skippy.

I found out that Skippy had been in foster care for three years – he must have been waiting for me! I filled out an application and we began to make travel arrangements. Skippy was in Illinois, and I am in Georgia, so we met halfway in Tennessee.  

The first few days with Skippy were a disaster. I had not been completely informed about Skippy’s toileting abilities (or lack thereof). He was bladder and bowel incontinent and left a mess wherever he went. I kept him in the guest bathroom at night and while I was at work because the hard floor was easier to clean. Regardless, I was constantly cleaning the carpet, bathing him, and doing laundry. On top of everything, Skippy was completely withdrawn. He wouldn’t make eye contact and couldn’t care less that I was in the room. Needless to say I was very disheartened and worried that I had made a terrible mistake.  

I tried doggie diapers and belly bands, but because Skippy dragged himself around, he easily got right out of them (he doesn’t use the cart at home). My next thought was to put him in a baby “onesie” to hold things together, but that didn’t work either. Finally, I put him in a doggie harness and pinned the belly wrap to it with old-fashioned diaper pins. It worked! (Well, for pee, anyway. Poop still just happened, but it was relatively easy to clean up.)  

The work would have been worth it if I thought Skippy was happy, but he just had a blank look on his face and no life in his eyes. He never looked at me, and he never played. Then one day while I was sitting on the floor with Skippy, he looked into my eyes. After what seemed like forever, he sort of shook his head, and the veil was lifted! It was as though he suddenly realized that he was home and that I was his forever mommy. He even licked my face!

We were making progress on the emotional front but the potty issues were still overwhelming. I had heard the term “expressing the bladder” but didn’t know what that involved. Finally finding some instructions online, I tried it – squeezing Skippy as I supported him over a pee pad. I was rewarded with a little bit of pee!

For days I thought I was doing the best I could until one night Skippy was being very wiggly, and I really squeezed him hard. He peed for five minutes and then seemed so relieved. I guess I had just been too timid to put enough pressure on him to fully empty his bladder.

Now that I know what I am doing, my carpets are a lot cleaner. Eventually, I taught him how to stand politely on the toilet seat, and I express his pee right into the toilet and flush it away. No more stinky pee pads!

About a year later, Skippy and I were vacationing at a hotel with my niece and nephew. My two-year-old niece was working on potty training. I noticed Skippy was about to poop, and I thought it would be a great incentive for my niece if she could see that Skippy went poop in the potty (I had never tried it with Skippy before). I grabbed Skippy and held him over the toilet. Sure enough, he pooped right into the potty! I began to wonder if I could control when and where Skippy went poop, just as I did with his pee. In no time at all, I learned how to express his poop, too! Woo-hoo!

Mastering Skippy’s bladder and bowels completely changed my life. Now I can take Skippy anywhere with no fear that he will have a messy accident. In many ways Skippy is now my easy dog. I never have to take him out into the rain or snow to go potty – we just go down the hall to the bathroom!

Angela Johnston

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Storytime: The 13 Days that Will Last Our Lifetime

Read this and other wonderful rescue stories in Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Dachshunds


Featured Rescue: Dachshund Rescue of North America


The 13 Days that Will Last Our Lifetime

We adopted Baron and his sister Abby from Hearts United for Animals when they were six years old. Baron had been an expensive dog – requiring back surgery for Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) at the age of four – and so the pair was surrendered by their owner due to financial hardship. Baron also had a heart problem and contracted a virus the week before we went to get him. He was so sick that he refused to eat and lost four pounds (he was only a 13-pound dog to begin with).

We brought him home and hoped he would recover, but his heart could not take the strain the illness put on it. Two visits to the highly skilled vets at Texas A&M could not reverse or lessen its devastating effects and on the morning of his 13th day with us at 8:14 am, Baron crawled into my arms to give me the first kiss of our association and the last one of his life. He put his head down on my chest, his heart gave a stutter and a thump, and he was gone. He tried so hard to stay with us but passed of a massive heart attack.

Though it had been only 13 days, Baron had a lasting impact on our lives. We believe that Baron knew it was his time and stayed with us just long enough to give Stomper, our other disabled Dachshund, the courage to walk again, and to ensure his sister Abby was safe in a loving home.

Stomper swam very well using his back legs but refused to move them on land. By putting his nose under Stomper’s rear end, Baron was able to lift Stomper up and push him around. To our surprise, Stomper started walking again, which he might not have done if not for Baron. He’s wobbly, but we’ll take it!

With that first and last kiss, Baron demonstrated that he knew he was home, loved, and in our hearts forever. Baron is buried in our front yard with a rose bush that is forever to be known as Baron’s Rose. A beautiful, red rose bloomed a week after Baron’s passing, and the bush continues to bloom throughout the winter, reminding us of the lasting impact Baron’s few days with us had. –Southwind Kane

Recognizing Rescuers: Sharon Smith

Kitty Landauer wrote in to honor Sharon Smith of DARE:

I am the proud owner of 2 awesome Doxie  rescues from the wonderful Sharon Smith. If you are looking for Doxies please contact Sharon through the DARE website. She is great.

I had a wonderful Doxie, Norton for 14 years.  He passed away in October 2009.  I had a really tough time when he passed away.  A year later a friend suggested that it might be time to look for another Doxie.  I was put in touch with Sharon who went out of her way to find the right match for our household. In July 2010 Sharon brought Humphfrey to our house.  He is a four-year-old black & tan boy who is a love.  Sharon would follow up with me to see how everything was going.

A month later I found myself as the practice manager for a wonderful new animal hospital, East-West Animal Hospital in Lutz, Fl.
I organized our open house and asked Sharon to be part of our celebration.  She brought 2 adoreable Doxie’s, Harley & Lucas. Guess where I hung out almost the entire time, with the Doxies.

Two weeks ago our animal hospital participated in Dogtoberfest at The Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel.  We were placed two vendors away from DARE ( Sharon was there as well ).  Again guess where I hung out.  Sharon brought 3 Doxies to the event & one of them was Harley. That was fate because a week later Harley was added to my household.

Because of Sharon’s commitment to DARE she will always be part of my life & our animal hospital.  Both Drs. Odachowski and Register at our animal hospital admire Sharon’s dedication.

I could go on and on but I think you see how I feel about Sharon and DARE.

Recognizing Rescuers: Deborah Bird

Christine Harte wrote us to honor Deborah Bird of Florida Dachshund Rescue:

I had the pleasure of meeting Deborah Bird of Florida Dachshund Rescue when I had my home visit for my first rescue dachshund, Reese in 10/09. What an amazing person she is!!! Deborah was extremely easy to get to know, so easy that I wound up rescuing a second dog from her and my 3 dogs currently board with her. There are very few people that would be willing to take in the amount of dogs like Deborah. There’s no case too big or small for her to open her doors and heart to. From the minute she awakes to the minute she hits the pillow at night(mind you with dogs surrounding her), her life is completely dedicated to rescuing, fostering and rehabilitating these sweet dogs. Deborah’s love for the dachshund breed is quite evident in her home. From pictures to statues, signs and the like, she has it all. Her home is simply that, a home for so many dogs, regardless of their story, she takes them ALL!!!! I continue to stay in touch with Deborah and every time I talk to her, she has another sad case of an unwanted, mistreated dog. She will drive to and go anywhere simply because it’s her passion. If only we had more people with the amount of love, passion and dedication to dachshunds like Deborah. Hats off to one of my favorite rescuers, Deborah Bird!