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 On average, foster dogs spend about a month with their temporary households “until the right family comes along.” They make a trip to the veterinarian where they receive any needed shots, are spayed or neutered and are microchipped. When adopted, they often come with a crate, collar and toys. The adoption fee — usually around $300 — just covers the cost of the rescue organization.
The foster families conduct a thorough screening of those who apply for adoption, do background checks, speak to veterinarians that may have dealt with the perspective adoptee and then conduct site visits at the family’s home.
“These dogs have had enough trauma,” David said. “We want them to go to a forever home. We don’t want to see them returned.”
And, it is often heart wrenching to give the foster dogs up, David said.
“They become a part of the family,” he said. “It is so hard to let go, so it becomes very important that we are comfortable with where they are going.”
Kathy, arriving home from her job at Gunnison’s Orchard, sat in another arm chair and Zelda immediately leaped into her lap, looking up longingly for a kind pat on the head.
Kathy took her in her arms.
“She is such a sweetie,” Kathy said. “She really needs another small dog that she can hang out with.”
If it were up to David, they’d have three dachshunds.
“And that would be the third,” he said, motioning to Zelda.
Diane Irwin, president of All American Dachshund Rescue, said her organization places between 300-350 dachshunds a year in new homes, nearly 90 percent of which come from southern states like Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee, where puppy mills flourish and the statistics of spaying and neutering are much lower.
“Dachshunds are literally raining out of the sky down here,” Irwin said. “We get 5-10 requests a day to take dogs in and there is absolutely no way we can handle that many, so they die.”