DollyDot & Martie represent so much and so many dogs
This is the start of Schnauzerfest Week which is our big fundraising event of the year, where schnauzers & other dogs go on walks this coming weekend across the country to raise money for the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre (DBARC) and East Midlands Dog Rescue (EMDR). It was at DBARC that Twinkle and Susie-Belle experienced human love and care for the first time, and in Susie-Belle’s case, spent 6 months in foster care recovering her health and from eye surgery. I owe DBARC more than I can ever say, and seeing the success of Schnauzerfest already this year – we’ve already raised several thousand pounds and the walks haven’t even started yet – is so rewarding. People across the world are showing support, and I’m not exaggerating, it’s been incredible the spread of awareness and support. Alongside the fundraising, awareness of puppy farming and rescue is central to what Schnauzerfest is about.
To give more insight into the work of DBARC and the depth of dedication they show to all animals in their care, I asked Donna, a volunteer and fosterer to tell me about two special examples of dogs that DBARC have helped, Martie and Dolly Dot.
I’m one of the DBARC volunteer team, and I’m also a serial fosterer of Mini Schnauzers, and I’m proud to admit that I am also a serial FAILED fosterer! In my defence, I have allowed many, many more of my foster dogs to be adopted than I have adopted myself, but that still means I currently share my life with 7 permanently resident rescue dogs, four being Schnauzers! I feel very blessed.
It’s very rare that an ex puppy farm dog comes to DBARC without multiple health problems, usually requiring extensive (and expensive) veterinary care, the most dramatic always being the dogs with little or no sight, which can be quite magically restored with surgery, and I have cared for several of them. But two of my failed fosters had different medical issues, and had their lives transformed for the massively better because of DBARC’s policy of doing the best for every dog if they can afford to, and with so many people supporting Schnauzerfest, and thus supporting DBARC, perhaps you might like to know how your support can translate into veterinary care that is literally life-changing for the dog that is able to be funded thanks to your generosity.
Martie was rejected by a puppy farm where he had been born, at about six or seven months of age. Goodness knows why they kept him that long as it must have been clear that he wasn’t saleable as he had a seriously deformed hind leg, almost like it was put on back to front! His poor little leg just dragged along the ground as he gamely tried to play with other dogs, so that his foot was constantly sore and bleeding. He was a pathetic sight, underfed, crippled and with dreadful skin, but his bright little face just looked with love and trust at anyone who gave him a kind word, even though he must have known little kindness in his short life thus far. It was my privilege to foster this little angel.
DBARC Manager Janet arranged at once for him to have proper Veterinary treatment, including X-rays, and the expert opinion was that Martie would have to lose his leg,and this happened as soon as he was well enough to stand the surgery. The amputation didn’t go smoothly, as major blood vessels were in the wrong place, and for a time it was touch and go, and he was still a very poorly little chap when I took him back home to continue to foster him, and it was sad to see him struggle to learn to be a tripaw while still weak and wobbly. But Martie is a real little trier, and he never was other than cheerful, always ready to wag his tail, to do his best to get around, and although never a robust dog, with ongoing digestive problems that he still has, he steadily recovered from his surgery. This took several weeks – then I discovered he had stolen my heart! I felt that this adorable, brave darling had fitted in perfectly with my pack and was really enjoying life at last. With us he could take as little or as much exercise as he felt able to manage, as my dogs varied from the manically active to the rather sedentary. His early life had left him with an unpredictable fear of some locations or situations, and whilst that might freak some people, it didn’t bother me or his many friends at DBARC. So he stayed!
Today Martie is a happy little soul, always ready to comfort and cuddle with any new foster dog I take in He is looking forward to his Schnauzerfest walks, but what would have become of him had he not come into the care of DBARC?
DollyDot is a mini Mini Schnauzer, as she weighs in at about 5k! I think she is the result of inbreeding to achieve extra small dogs. DBARC has had several small foster Schnauzers come our way from the dark world of puppy farming, all with congenital defects, and it is likely that DollyDot’s problem is similar, as sadly she has a very abnormal spine, one of her vertabrae being massively out of place. This is either congenital or the result of trauma in very early life. Eventually rejected by the puppy farmer as unsaleable, she was about 6 months old when I started to foster her, and although this was over three years ago, I still remember the astonishment on DBARC Manager Janet’s face when she saw DollyDot’s X-ray. How could a dog even walk with an abnormality like this? Yet DollyDot would race around the place like any puppy, albeit with a weird, bunny-hopping gait. The DBARC Vets were equally surprised, very worried for what this might mean for her, and said a CT scan was necessary, if the charity was able to justify the expense, as a CT scan would cost several hundred pounds. DollyDot justified the expense. This cheeky, funny, naughty, happy, loving little girl deserved the best, as in her short life she had survived the worst. She was scanned, and the results referred to an orthopaedic expert.
Sadly, nothing could be done to “repair” DollyDot, and it was impossible to say for how long her spine would be stable, or even to advise whether she should be given a restricted lifestyle to keep her safe for as long as possible. The suggestion was that she was not rehomeable, unless someone would be very careful with her. We thought long and hard about this. DollyDot’s quality of life was what mattered, and her opinion. She clearly thought that she should have a full and active life, playing energetically with her foster family. She didn’t “do” restricted exercise or confinement, and it would be both impossible and very unkind to try to make her, and whilst it would be heartbreaking if and when a traumatic event to her spine finally caused her to be paralysed, which the expert warned could happen at any time, she obviously had no awareness of this possibility. By now I had come to love this cheeky little madam, so all things considered, it seemed best (certainly for me!) if I accepted being a failure once again and that DollyDot stayed with us for as long as we were lucky enough to have her. The DBARC Vets would be able to keep an eye on her, and of course Janet would be able to advise on her care. That has been over three years now, and I am daily thankful that DBARC has enabled this very special little girl to have the life she was meant to have, however long that may be. Her life is full of joy, and she shares this with the many fosters that pass through our home, always ready to teach a new and terrified little soul that they can put their miserable past behind them now and have fun.
DollyDot is also looking forward to Schnauzerfest. She’s hoping to meet lots of new canine friends to demonstrate her unusual walking style, and unusually loud voice – a small dog with a big voice and an even bigger personality, but where would she be, had not DBARC been able to help her?
Find out more about Schnauzerfest here, or follow on Twitter @Schnauzerfest14 and Instagram @SchnauzerfestUK
To show support, even if you can’t take part in any walks, you can donate to DBARC’s Schnauzerfest fundraising at this link.
Every single penny raised will help DBARC continuing to help more Marties and DollyDots.