To Rescue a Daschund... or Two

 

Written by Lisa Ann Wohltmann in the September 2005 Issue
Dr. William Hickman recently lost his pet to an age-related disease. Heidi, his 14-year-old miniature daschund, had been with him since she was only weeks old.

She had been his dog while he bravely served in the first Gulf War, when his wife unexpectedly left him, and during all those lonely years in the aftermath.

Hickman and Heidi were more than owner and dog. She was his constant companion, his confidant during and after the break-up of his family, and his best friend on the planet. When she died, this strong, customarily staunch Navy captain and University of Central Oklahoma professor sobbed for days. He had known no one more faithful, loving and giving as Heidi. She had been a huge part of his life for almost a decade and a half.

During one sleepless night, Hickman surfed the Web, hoping to glimpse a photo of other miniature “doxies” who reminded him of Heidi. What he found instead was a website crammed with photos of daschunds available to rescue. There were standard and miniature sizes with long tresses, short hair, smooth coats and kinky manes. They were red, tan, black or an amalgamation of many colors. Patterns called piebald and dapple were represented in the photographs, as well as a mishmash of everything else. Then, of course, there were colors and textures that had no names. It didn’t matter to him. He liked them all. They were daschunds, and that was all that mattered.

This website wasn’t a place to simply buy a dog. Instead it was a site representing an organization of 130 paid staff and an incalculable number of volunteers committed to rescuing daschunds from death or worse – cruel puppy mills.

The Daschund Rescue of North America is an organization dedicated to finding good homes for daschunds that have been injured, abandoned, malnourished or sentenced to a breeding farm, or “puppy jail.” These holding pens for puppies are created for the sole purpose of mass producing puppies for sale. When these dogs are no longer able to produce offspring, the owners of many of these mills toss the dogs away. They outlive their usefulness and become a financial burden.

Kathryn Dickerson, the DRNA representative for Oklahoma out of Tulsa, discovered two puppies ready to be condemned to a puppy mill. Dickerson could not bear to see these tiny creatures end up with such short but tragic lives. Therefore, at just 8 weeks old, she took Zoe and MacGyver (brother and sister) into her home and became a foster mom. Although she already had one dog that needed adopting and three of her own dogs living in her home, she still had to save these two babies.

Photographs of Zoe and MacGyver were on the website about 24 hours before Hickman discovered Zoe. He took one look at her and fell in love. She looked so much like his adored Heidi when she was just a baby. A few clicks later, Hickman was e-mailing Dickerson about the details to adopt. The three-page adoption form didn’t scare him nor the $300 fee. He knew this somewhat hefty price tag ensured Zoe would be spayed, she would have all her appropriate shots and would have complete medical care before being handed over to him. In fact, veterinarian costs for an average daschund are $235 because they must have healthy teeth, be free of parasites, and then treated if necessary.

Instead of backing down when Dickerson required a home visitation, Hickman welcomed her to not only bring Zoe, but also MacGyver and Dickerson’s dog, Khakki. They could all come and play together.


Before Dickerson could make the 90-mile hike to ensure Hickman’s home was puppy-friendly, she had to thoroughly check out all three references. As expected, these references all gave him glowing recommendations to become a future daschund dad.
Little did Hickman know that he would hold MacGyver in his arms for 30 seconds then agree to adopt this little puppy as well as his sister. “Zoe needed a playmate anyway,” Hickman rationalized, feigning indifference. However, he wasn’t fooling anyone because it was clear, by all the petting and cooing, that Hickman truly wanted MacGyver.

Dickerson initially brought all three dogs over for a couple of reasons.

“I felt it would make Zoe more comfortable and she’d act more like herself,” Dickerson explained. “I wasn’t really sure if (Hickman) only wanted one dog.” Since he hadn’t actually seen Zoe, Dickerson thought maybe Hickman would decide one over the other, she added.

Hickman, though, has another take on Dickerson’s reason. She knew MacGyver’s looks and personality would win Hickman over. She didn’t know it would be so easy.

Now that Hickman is a dad to two daschunds, he’s got double duty as a doxie dad. Zoe and MacGyver have a fenced backyard to run in and play. Neighbors already are lining up as babysitters when needed. The fun of raising two adoring doxies is about to begin.
Somewhere, Heidi is wagging her tail in agreement.

To learn more about the Daschund Rescue of North America, visit www.drna.org.
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