Things You Better Get Used To When Owning A Dachshund – Watch your step when you turn around. They have a way of appearing out of nowhere. Their nose can smell a crumb hitting the floor a mile away so be prepared to share your favorite snack with them. Never leave the “Perfect Cup of Coffee” unattended. They love coffee. When it rains don’t even think about taking them out. You might as well go on a scavenger hunt for that unexpected surprise in the house. They are extremely stubborn and strong. The word “Indestructible” does not exist for a Dachshund. “Talk To The Paw” as there has never been a toy that I know of, and I have tried a lot, that a Dachshund hasn’t destroyed. And be prepared to meet the “Best Friend” you will ever have in your lifetime. They are such loyal soldiers.
Do you have a fur baby? While I grew up with dogs none of them were Dachshunds. However, Hubs did. He grew up with many. So when Ladybug announced at the age of 12 that she “had to have” a puppy she and Zelly got on the internet to research. They typed in miniature dachshunds because Zelly wanted to show Ladybug how cute they were and there it was, “Come Meet Moose”. We set out on a little adventure December 26, 2008 to “Meet Moose”. It was a cold and rainy day. We got out of the car at the home where Moose was born. The lady who owned his mom and dad opened their front door and a pack of miniature dachshunds came running out like the starting gun went off at the New York Marathon. They zoomed around the house for a while. Then we picked Moose up and it was love at first sight. Almost. Let me fill you in quickly that I may or may not have had a few days of “what have I done” moments when we first brought Moose home. But I quickly became attached and apparently he did too. I have learned that Dachshunds are very loyal soldiers to their owners.
Fast forward to May of 2016. Moose is now 8 years old and happy as can be. We carry him almost everywhere because Dachshunds are prone to Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) and any jumping or pounding on their discs can cause serious issues. So we are very in tune with the little guy. We started noticing that he was tripping on curbs, bumping into objects that he normally would not and lifting his paws as if to feel for things. So we took him to a vet in Atlanta, GA that specializes in canine eyesight. Moose met with a doggie ophthalmologist and she said he had Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) that affects the retina and causes complete blindness. This was an area we were completely clueless about but eager to learn to help our “Little Man”. Zelly and I like to research and read. Especially subjects that interest us or in this case get dropped in our laps with no warning. At this time I had just started the Coffee Chat Girl Instagram page. Zelly was helping me search dachshunds one day and found Jack’s Instagram page @jack_the_blind_dachshund. Jack’s page appealed to us because his mom Julie was always posting cute and uplifting posts of Jack and his brother Rocky. As I followed along with Jack’s day-to-day life I started learning incredible tips to assist a blind dog. Things like putting mats on the floor to alert Moose that a step down was coming or the texture of the floor was going to change. Placing a mat under the food and water bowl to alert your fur baby that the goods were there. Julie puts a cute leash and bandana on Jack that says “blind dog” so humans will know to approach them gently. I learned to leave a clear path with your furniture so your sweet pooch would be able to roam freely without bumping into anything. This has been a learning experience but Jack has made it so much fun. I was so happy that he agreed to do the Coffee Chat Girl Takeover Tuesday with Moose and I am excited for you to meet Jack and his mom Julie and hear his story.
Without further ado here is Jack’s Story:
Adopting Jack, a Special Needs Dachshund.
I first saw Jack on the Instagram page for Little Paws Dachshund Rescue in February 2016. I wanted to adopt a Special Needs dog and was considering a senior or IVDD dachshund, but the minute I laid eyes on him I knew he was the one! I guess you could say it was love at first sight!
Jack was a breeder dog before being rescued. Most likely, he lived in a kennel. At five years old, he had never been potty trained. A very sweet and gentle dog, he did appear well cared for. He was taken to Maryland where the foster mom began potty training, as well as, evaluating him for adoption. Originally from a warm climate, Jack was a little stubborn when it came time to go out in the cold weather. Little Paws http://www.littlepawsdr.org approved our adoption application, even though it would require Jack to travel. It was decided he would fair better in the warm Florida sunshine!
While I waited for Jack to make his trip to our home, I began researching “adopting a blind dog” and found very little information on line. I realized in order to prepare for his arrival, I would have to think as if I were in fact blind. This was not very difficult, as I grew up visually impaired. Having eye surgery to regain my independence I guess I had a unique “Vision”. I would now be a Seeing Eye Person!
I prepared our home using rugs with different textures; A kitchen rug where he would eat his meals, rugs to mark where we have a step leading to our bedroom, etc. as well as a place mat under his water bowl.
Looking at the house from a dog’s level, we had to see what a blind dog would run into. My husband and I got into the habit of putting items like bags on the counter rather than the floor. I tied ribbons around door handles to remind us to open the doors all the way, and put up baby gates in areas he would not be safe in.
I ordered a “Slow Blind Dog” street sign so cars would know to drive carefully; and had a collar and leash set with “blind” tags and sleeves ready for his arrival.
The amazing volunteers at Little Paws arranged to bring Jack by airplane and car all the way to the Florida Keys. He arrived at his new Forever Home on April 24, 2016. He had a very long few days, but he did amazing on the trip! Because I knew he would be frightened and tired, we planned a nice quiet evening with him.
The first thing on the agenda was teaching him the layout of the house. We went slowly, and worked with the step first. Because dachshunds are prone to IVDD, it was imperative he maneuver this immediately to avoid injury. It took hours, but it was a great accomplishment!
Next up, was “Find Mom”! For safety reasons, I wanted Jack to be able to always come to me when called. He did great, and now it is even his favorite “game”. He finds me around the house and gives me a little nudge!
Talking to Jack was the biggest help in getting him acclimated to his new home. I had a running “conversation” with him! I narrated everything I did. Every sound was new to him, so I told him what he was listening to. I learned he needed warnings for sudden, loud noise, so I taught him phrases like “ice, Jack, ice” for the ice machine, and “noise, Jack, noise” for things like the mixer, etc. He also learned “Watch your face” which I use when he gets excited and runs too fast!
Our biggest surprise was when Jack discovered the toy box. He loves to squeak toys and is a master at toy destruction! He goes to the toy box and I help him by placing toys on the floor. Recently he has been figuring out how to pull out the one he wants all by himself.
Potty training a blind five year old dog has been a work in progress. He has definitely taught me a big lesson in patience and helped me find my sense of humor! Outside can be a scary place for a blind dog. Consistency and awareness are the key to success. A blind dog will run when frightened, so keeping him calm and secure are my focus.
Adopting a Special Needs dog comes with it’s own set of “rules”. Once you learn them, though, the reward to you – and the lucky rescue – are immeasurable.
Jack is the sweetest, most loving little guy. He makes us laugh every singe day! He has brought joy and happiness to our home!
If you think you have the personality to give a sweet dachshund who has had a blip in the road a “forever home” please visit http://www.littlepawsdr.org – As a thank you to my readers I have put together a giveaway in honor of Moose and Jack and Little Paws Dachshund Rescue. All you need to do to enter is like our Instagram pages @coffeechatgirl @jack_the_blind_dachshund and @cool_rockyd You will automatically be entered. Winner will be announced on Friday. A special thank you to Julie and Jack for collaborating with Coffee Chat Girl on this post and for teaching our family how to keep Moose safe and happy. He’s a happy “little man” and glad to be Jack and Rocky’s friend. And thank you to Terry at http://www.terrypond.com/index.html for providing the cute artwork at the opening of this blog post. I can’t wait to frame your creation in the Coffee Chat Girl office. And be sure to visit Mystic Custom Designs for the cutest mugs. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MysticCustomDesignCo?ref=l2-shopheader-name#items
Thanks Y’all for reading and following along. Be sure to tag @coffeechatgirl on your Instagram posts so Moose and I can meet your fur babies too.