Early July, 2011. Indiana was experiencing a heat wave.
A woman walks into our local humane society and waits to be waited on. Once her turn comes, she explains that she can't care for her dog- the dog is too old. She wants to surrender her to the humane society. They ask her where the dog is.
Locked in the turned off car. Where the windows are up.
A 20 lb dachshund, 13 years old. Locked in a car in the heat of summer.
Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, rushed to the vet for emergency care.
A foster mom steps up- experienced with the breed, the age, the special needs discovered in the course of veterinary care. Cushing's Syndrome.
This wonderful foster mom works with Button until she is in good health. Gets her on medication for the Cushing's, controls her food intake to bring her weight down to a healthy 15 lb. Loves her and snuggles her and builds up her trust in humans again.
I watched this story unfold on the Humane Society for Hamilton County's Facebook page. I love their social networking efforts and I think they've seen good payoff for their efforts. There are many dogs that I have followed over the past few years- cheered when they have a day out or find a foster home or- best of all- forever home. Button was a dog that always stayed with me.
Sassy is my own little 13 year old pooch. Even as her health starts to deteroriate- she seems to be losing sight and hearing on some days- I can't imagine taking her and abandoning her to a shelter. Yes, dogs are more work and less fun as they age. But it's just like life, isn't it? Hard work in the early years, independent for a while, and then health and body starts to deteriorate as we near the end.
The week after Christmas, after finding myself thinking of that sweet little Button over and over again, I finally caved and posted a picture of her on Facebook. My hope was that someone would want to adopt her or that there would be enough peer pressure that the scales would tip in favor of this family going to meet Button for possible adoption.
The peer pressure worked. We applied, were approved, had contact with the foster mom, and finally set a time to go to the humane society to meet Button. We all got along and so she became ours.
Day 1 was easy. Lots of snuggling and learning cues and petting and such.
Day 2 was a challenge. It started out easy enough. But the honeymoon had to end at some point. We are a busy family so dogs in this home have to be able to be left alone while we are at work, school, church, activities, and so on. Jeff stayed home from church to stay with her and we did our first time out of the house later in the afternoon- leaving her for about 45 minutes.
She pushed open the baby gate, went downstairs, tore up 2 bags of trash, and pooped on the floor.
We went out a second time- grocery store. She got out again (we hadn't full latched the gate the first time and made sure to fully latch it this time but that didn't stop her). And she managed to get a tin of Danish butter cookies open and mostly eaten, opened a tin of Poppycock caramel corn, pooped a large pile in the living room, and peed in the kids' bedroom and the bathroom rugs.
Wow. These humans learned a very important lesson!
So we are adjusting. Jeff is stopping the by the house as often as he can to take her outside and check on things. She had another accident overnight and again during the day.
This evening, we discovered that all of the trips outside haven't been so great for our sweet little old girl. With her swollen dachshund / Cushing's belly and her soft little paw pads, she has gotten hurt on our concrete steps and sidewalks. We noticed she was hesitant to go down steps and was walking a lot slower. We assumed it was tummy ache related since she has yet to poop after her food rampage. But it's because she has rubbed a sore patch on her belly on the steps and rubbed a few raw spots on her paw pads on the sidewalk. So we apologized profusely to her, loved on her like crazy, and will be carrying this little dog down steps and to grass everytime she goes outside.
So we are adjusting. It will be a week (at least) of adjusting. There will be accidents and trouble. And there will be even more pets and snuggles and hugs. Best of all, in just a few days, we are all bonding. Sassy and Buttons (See? We changed her name from Button to Buttons!) have started to snuggle close to each other. The kids adore Buttons- even when she's been bad. She's a keeper.
We have a special little dog in our family. She is sweet and funny. I had no idea doxies were so adorable- just the way her little legs work and how adorable her big nose is on the end of her little snout. I read that the average life span of a standard dachshund is 12.7 years so there is no guarantee she will be with us very long. No guarantee we will have Sassy very long either. The kids are aware- but the losses will still hurt when the time comes.
For now, we will just take each day as it comes and enjoy it as best we can.
Don't worry- there will be plenty of pictures to come!