Rev. David and Kathy Hirtle are part of All American Dachshund Rescue, a group that takes in abused and abandoned dachshunds before finding them homes. The have two dogs of their own as well as a foster dog.
Photo by John Gereau.
continued “It breaks my heart to think what they did to her,” Hirtle said. “But she is slowly coming around with lots of love, and is putting on some weight.”
Hirtle has had dachshunds his entire life — between 10 and 15 in total —and just “loves the breed.” He and his wife Kathy decided 15 years ago to become involved in helping rescue dachshunds that had been abused, cast off or surrendered by their owner. He since has taken in more than 40 foster animals and helped screen and place them in “forever homes.”
Along with All American Dachshund Rescue, Hirtle also works with Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue based in Jacobus, Pa., to help rescue and place dogs with adoption homes.
“I’m just glad to do what I can,” Hirtle said. “I just don’t know how anyone can abuse one of these little guys.”
Hirtle currently has two miniature daschunds of his own, a 10-year-old wire haired dog named Fred and a 2-year-old long haired dog named Emma. Squatting on the floor between the two, Hirtle spoke about how the family acquired Emma after their last dog Fritz passed away from a brain tumor.
“After Fritz died, Fred went into a deep depression and refused to eat,” Hirtle said. “He was circling the drain, as they say.”
So, Kathy and David took Fred to a breeder in Vermont to pick out a new housemate. When they arrived, 8-week-old Emma strolled over, took Fred by the leash and began walking him around. The couple knew they had found the newest addition to their family.
“It saved his life,” David said. “Never underestimate how socially bonded dogs become with one another.”
The Hirtles use that bond to help acclimate their foster dogs with their household, and help ready the dogs for their permanent homes that also may already have pets.