OK, so the headline is a little dramatic, but on Saturday I did my little part with Southern States Dachshund Rescue to help transport five “foster” dachshunds from Virginia to Tennessee. The route covered 700 miles of highway for about 10 hours of driving time, and was traveled by nine people handing off the crated dogs.
For you readers in other countries, you probably know that Americans are crazed about their canine companions. Some of that love is demonstrated in the form of “rescue groups,” where lovers of a certain breed connect to ensure that whatever dogs they’re obsessed with have homes. Being wacky about wieners, I occasionally volunteer with various dachshund rescue groups. And whenever I feel the need to add to my wiener-dog family, I always adopt through a rescue group.
The situation was in fact pretty dramatic. Cindy, in Virginia, who was fostering the dogs until permanent homes could be found for them, slipped on black ice and seriously injured her arm. She lives alone and couldn’t care for them. Dachshund rescue volunteers sprung into action, especially Patti Phillips, who mapped a route, sent out the word online that drivers were needed, and then coordinated them. Cindy’s friend Milly arrived from Detroit to help Cindy and get the dogs on their way.
Milly and I, communicating by cell phone, met just off the interstate in South Hill, Va., for the first hand-off. I’d located a parking lot to meet in and we moved the five crates from her SUV to the back of my Honda Civic hatch. She told me that several of the dogs had been abused and some used only for breeding. It was heartbreaking. All in all, they were incredibly well behaved, considering the stress they were under.
Durham resident Sharon met me at my house, as we had a 30-minute layover and could let the dogs out in my fenced-in back yard to do their business, have a drink, and sniff the ground. One of them, 4-year-old Elvis, was twice his optimal body weight. Yikes! Some were dachshund mixes, some long-haired, and all very sweet. Wessel jumped in to help with crates, water, and photography, of course. My wieners, Roxy and Sabrina, were totally annoyed that they weren’t allowed to lend a paw.
We got an email Saturday night from Diane Irwin, the president of Southern States Dachshund Rescue, and the new foster mom, reporting that the dogs had arrived safe and sound — and that Elvis is already on a diet.
Thanks to all involved, and a rapid recovery for Cindy!