By William Given
I was recently afforded the opportunity to visit with Linnie’ Girouard, the President of All Texas Dachshund Rescue. The founding of ATDR goes back to the year 2006 when Barbara Lewis and other dachshund loving members of several local dachshund rescues recognized the need to become something more. With a shared concern for both the health and welfare of the dachshund and especially the seniors and special needs dogs, these men and women came together to form an organization that would devote itself solely to the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of dachshunds throughout the state of Texas. ATDR is the second largest dachshund rescue in the United States but the largest operating in a single state.
When ATDR was founded six years ago there were only ten to twenty dogs being fostered at any given time. Last year the group averaged 130 dogs in foster care. This year with the continued down turn in the economy, “ATDR has about 150 dachshunds living in foster homes at any given time,” said Ms. Girouard.
Last year approximately 270 dachshunds were taken in by ATDR and 279 were adopted out and into forever homes. More and more of the incoming dogs are coming from homes where the families cannot afford the medical care or the surgery their dachshund needs and deserves. This year ATDR will likely take in even more dachshunds needing a forever family. During the first six months of this year 133 dachshunds have found their forever home.
The Cost of Rescue
Too many people do not understand the true cost of rescue. It is taxing emotionally, physically and of course financially. The volunteers of ATDR make sure that not only the dogs’ lives are healthier and happier but that the lives of the adopting families are happier by finding good matches for their lifestyle and home situation. Finding a loving dachshund their forever home makes all the costs worth it.
There are a great deal of costs associated with rescuing and re-homing dachshunds. Last year the operating expenses of the All Texas Dachshund Rescue totaled $115,000. Of that approximately $105,000 was for veterinary care and treatment. In the first six months of this year has racked up $67,000 in veterinary costs. The adoption fees are not nearly enough to pay for all of the group’s veterinary expenses and operating costs.
“Monetary contributions are extremely important and allow us to meet our most immediate needs first and paying vet bills is more often the case,” says Ms. Girouard. What you may not know is that there are other ways to give and contribute to the success of All Texas Dachshund Rescue that are very important to them. Donating items as simple and inexpensive as a few dog toys to a bag of dog food help to reduce the costs of operation.
We have compiled a short list of items and services for you to consider donating to All Texas Dachshund Rescue. A “wish list” if you will, items that the rescue is in constant need of:
* Prescription dog food, canned and dry. This can be expensive but is necessary to manage health conditions such as bladder problems and diabetes for foster and hospice dogs.
* Cosequin DS. This is needed to help the senior dachshunds with joint issue so they enjoy a higher quality of life with reduced pain and increased mobility.
* Heartworm medication. To ensure the doxies are protected from heartworm disease and to provide a starter supply for adoptive parents.
* Flea and tick control. Frontline provides fast-acting, long-lasting flea and tick control and helps to prevent future infestations for the dogs in foster care.
* Pet store gift cards. These help ATDR purchase supplies such as over-the-counter medications and other necessary items.
Donations of these items cover some of the operating expenses so the group can devote as much funding as possible to veterinary care of the dachshunds.
All Texas Dachshund Rescue has two upcoming fundraising event and you are invited to attend both of them. The next big one is “Pet Fest 2012”. It will be held in Old Town Spring on the 20th & 21st of October. This event is a two day, fun filed adoption fair highlighted by dachshund racing. Some 10,000 people and 2000 dogs attend.
The following Saturday, October 27th is “Wienerfest.” It is held in College Station and is hosted by the Brazos Animal Shelter. This event includes a 5K walk/run, costume contest, live music and dachshund races. It draws more than 750 people and about 400 dachshunds.
“We have a variety of fundraising events aside from Wienner Fest, and we welcome good ideas when it comes to holding fundraising events,” said Ms. Girouard. Ms. Girouard also expressed her appreciation for any individual or business that would like to sponsor a fundraising event.
The Value of Volunteers
Volunteers are the heart and soul of all rescues. “Our volunteers keep the organization running and we couldn’t do what we do without them,” said Ms. Girouard.
Volunteering is another great way to show your support for All Texas Dachshund Rescue and volunteers are always welcome. Ms. Girouard stated, “We need people with a wide variety of talents and we really need a special volunteer to assist in the recovery of dachshunds from remote shelters and transporting them to an intake volunteer.”
As a volunteer you could organize and assist with fund raising events and adoption fairs. Some of the volunteers do the pre-adoption home visits and others work with adoption applicants to match doxies with new families.
You could provide foster care for a dachshund waiting to find a forever family. Too often, what a rescue group needs more than anything are good qualified foster homes and that is the case for All Texas Dachshund Rescue. “We always need more foster homes and our ability to take in dogs is in direct relation to the number of foster homes available,” stated Ms. Girouard.
ATDR currently has about 50 active foster families. Ms. Girouard added, “If we had 50 more, I would have to wish for more because of the number of dogs needing more individualized attention.” Some of the foster families are so committed to the rescue that they are currently fostering as many as five dachshunds and other volunteers foster one dog after another without a break. Every dachshund that is fostered is made more adoptable and easier to place in a forever home with a loving family thanks to the efforts given to care for, train, and socialize them by their foster family.
Adopting an ATDR Dog
Should you have the room in your heart and in your home, you could consider adopting one of the wonderful dachshunds needing a forever home. Your dachshund will likely do everything he can to make you feel as though you are the most important person in his world. He will greatly enrich your life.
The adoption fee for a puppy 12 months old or less is $300 and for adult dogs over the age of 1 year the fee is $250. The adoption fees are meant to ensure all dogs get spayed or neutered, receive basic vaccinations and receive a dental cleaning or other veterinary care if needed.
Pros of the Breed
He comes in two sizes, standard and miniature. He comes in three coat varieties, longhaired, smooth and wirehaired. Dachshunds also come in 10 colors or patterns, so there has to be a dachshund that is right for you.
Dachshunds are low maintenance in that they do not require much exercise. The dachshund is adaptable to any rural or urban residential situation, including apartments and condos. The average life span is 12-15 years.
Cons of the Breed
He is really quite intelligent but he is so very strong-minded that he can be a challenge to train. The extra time it takes to train him will be worth it. Dachshunds are notoriously hard to house train.
Their weight must be closely monitored because too much weight contributes to the development of physical problems with their back. Jumping off furniture and climbing stairs should be minimized as it adds to the potential for back problems.
Special needs dogs
ATDR has several seniors and special needs dogs that are in need of especially loving homes. Among them are Taten and Oits.
Otis is a 2 ½ year old red, miniature, neutered male. His ribs are still showing a bit and he is missing an eye that was removed when he came into rescue. Otis has suffered a set-back when he had to be rushed to surgery with a ruptured disc. He is recovering nicely at the hospital but should be back with his foster family soon.
Taten is a precious black & tan, miniature, spayed female. She was rescued from the most absolute worst street life imaginable. She was picked up in a Fiesta grocery store parking lot in what the media referred to as Houston’s “Corridor of Cruelty!” Her rescuers thought she was a baby opossum when they picked her up. ATDR got Taten medical care and into a foster home that same day. She has had weeks of rehab and her skin is healing from having both types of mange.
Ms. Girouard and all of the volunteers of the All Texas Dachshund Rescue would like express their sincere appreciation to Dr. Jeffrey and staff at Animal Medical Center in Magnolia, to Dr. Caplan and staff at the Capital Area Veterinary Specialist in Austin, to Dr. Barstad and staff at the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center in Dallas, to Dr. Carroll and staff at the Midway Hollow Pet Clinic in Dallas, to Dr. Scott and staff at the My Family Vet in Spring, to Dr. Streid at the VCA Tanglewood Animal Hospital in Austin and to the team of other veterinarians who give the rescued dachshunds the medical care they deserve.
For more information on adopting, fostering, donating, or sponsoring fundraising events, please visit www.atdr.org. The opportunity to assist in making All Texas Dachshund Rescue successful in their mission is yours and rest assured knowing that your efforts will be very much appreciated.
The All Texas Dachshund Rescue will also be at the Reliant World series of Dog Shows this coming weekend. You are invited to visit their booth and speak with any of the volunteers. They will be happy to talk to you about volunteer opportunities, fostering, adopting, and the importance of your financial assistance.