Apples and Oranges?


Apples and oranges are the same in that they are both fruit. Yet they are very different when you get under the skin. The same analogy applies to rescue groups and sanctuaries. The Promised Land Dachshund Sanctuary is a little bit apple, but mostly orange. By that I mean we are in fact rescuers, but we are more of a sanctuary than anything else. To explain what I mean I need to go back a bit.

In the beginning of the sanctuary in July of 2001 we did a lot of rescuing, and we adopted out a lot of dogs. We worked with different rescue groups across the state of Texas, and they helped us place our young, healthy, adoptable rescues. In turn we helped them out by taking their senior and special needs dogs that were unlikely to be adopted. We also had a large website with adoptable dogs presented to the public for adoption. This process continued for four years.

In August of 2005 when I became ill, we had to discontinue our official rescue status. We took down our beautiful web site and stopped taking in dogs from other rescue groups. At the time we had 31 permanent residents of the sanctuary. We cared for those dogs just like we always had. And as fate demanded we rescued other dogs here and there that we found on the streets, or pulled from a local shelter. We did not have a website or any other public access, so those dogs became part of our permanent pack. Sadly, we also lost some senior dogs during these years. We did not conduct any fund raising activities during that period of time. Rick worked hard to pay all the bills to care for our pack, and we managed just fine. I regained my health in 2008 and life was good for us all.

Right after Christmas 2015 I began to write my book, “The Promised Land Dachshund Sanctuary”. Then in February 2016 Rick lost his job when the oilfield in our area took a serious downturn. At that point we knew we needed to do something to help keep the sanctuary going. We were very blessed when so many wonderful people on Facebook helped finance the publishing of my book, purchased the book, and donated to our sanctuary.

We felt we had the wind at our backs, and we began to actively rescue again. We have adopted out quite a few dogs since then, and we have also added to the number of permanent residents at our sanctuary. As most of you are aware, we are averaging 40 – 43 dogs here now. The largest percentage of those dogs were already residents at the sanctuary before we resumed our official rescue status.

One of the most frequently asked questions in my email and messages is, “Why do you have so many dogs, but you only have a few available for adoption?” The answer is very simple; some of our dogs have been with us for over five years. We could never consider letting them go, and would never even dream of turning their world upside down by allowing them to leave the home they have come to love. We are bonded to them and they to us.

Regular rescue groups (apples) save many dogs across this country. They place every one of those dogs up for adoption and work miracles at placing them in homes. But once in awhile they come across a dog or a pair of bonded dogs that they cannot place. That is where the sanctuaries (oranges) come in. They provide a permanent home for these babies where they can be safe and secure to live out their lives in peace.

The Promised Land Dachshund Sanctuary is an orange with apple skin. On the surface, we rescue a few dogs here and there. We try our best to find wonderful homes for those dogs as well a few rescued by our friend, veterinarian, and supporter Doc Jess. But our purpose in the nationwide army of people that give their hearts, their efforts, their money, and their tears to saving dogs in need, is a to be a sanctuary. That is what we are best at, and that is what we feel we have been called to do.

A healthy diet will probably include apples and oranges. A successful rescue community will include rescuers, fosters, transporters, advocates, and sanctuaries. Rick and I rescue and transport as well as advocate for dogs in need. But what we really do is run a sanctuary, The Promised Land Dachshund Sanctuary.

Quilt Raffle


We are raffling off this quilt during the Fall Open House to raise money for improvements to our sanctuary. The pattern is titled “Foreshadowing” and was designed by our daughter Jessica JE Smith. The quilt was pieced and quilted by me. It measures 68″ square and is made of the finest quilt fabrics. Tickets for the raffle are $10 each and can be purchased here on my blog thru the donate button, or by sending money to, or by sending check or money order to The Promised Land, PO Box 826, Gardendale, TX 79758.

The drawing is on Nov. 5th at 6pm so get your tickets purchased right away. Please make a note on your donation that you are purchasing quilt raffle tickets, and make sure I have a current address for you. I will post raffle #’s on our Facebook page under the Quilt Raffle thread that contains this picture of the quilt. We will also post a video of one of the kiddos at the Open House doing the drawing. You do not have to be present at the Open House to win. I will ship the quilt to the winner if need be.

Good luck everyone!!!


Who Speaks for the Dogs?

Over the years we have rescued quite a few dogs from backyard breeders and puppymills. I have written about the over-population of dogs in our country, and have advocated for spay and neuter programs nationwide. None of those efforts will curb the tide of over-population, however, because the breeders and the puppymills continue to produce millions of dogs each year.

I have talked with some backyard breeders that argue that their genetic line of dogs is superior to the “common” dogs of that breed, and therefore their breeding is actually good for the canine population. Some breeders claim that their dogs are the best dogs to train for companion and assist dogs. But I have witnessed many programs that pull dogs from shelters and train them to be excellent companion or assist dogs. And we have cared for many “common” pure bred dogs that were stunning in their conformation and coat. So the argument that breeders are good for the canine population falls on deaf ears where I am concerned.

So who regulates these breeders? The answer to that question surprised me. In at least ten states there are NO laws regarding the breeding of dogs. No license is required and no inspections of facilities are ever performed. In Texas, breeders are required to have a license. They are also required to undergo inspections every eighteen months. But I have seen with my own eyes how inadequate that regulation is.

Most of these breeders register their dogs with the AKC (American Kennel Club). So I did some research on the regulations required to register dogs with the AKC and I was horrified at what I found. The AKC has long billed itself as “The Dog’s Champion”. They have a committee that is tasked with inspecting large breeders and puppymills. But their inspections are kept private and are very sparse in nature. I read one report about a breeder in North Carolina that had passed their AKC inspection. But shortly after that they were busted and charged with animal cruelty because their dogs were either standing on 5 inches of packed feces, or stacked in wire crates where they urinated and defecated on the dogs below them.

I read a long list of proposed regulatory bills that the AKC fought hard to defeat. One example is a piece of legislation that requires puppy producers to adhere to basic care standards, such as regular feeding, cleaning, minimum space requirements, safe housing, and basic veterinarian care. One case involved an ordinance in Shelby County, Tennessee that would prevent dogs from being left in hot cars for more than an hour. The AKC article arguing against that ordinance called it unwarranted. A proposed USDA rule that would require breeders to provide six inches of space for a dog to turn around and lie down is being lobbied against by the AKC as being too burdensome. And they fought against a bill in three states that would prevent breeders from debarking their own dogs. We rescued a dog that had been debarked by its owner and he ended up with a broken jaw!

Why isn’t the AKC standing up for the welfare of our precious canine friends. The answer, as usual, is money. When they proposed in 1996 to put more restrictions on large breeders, many puppymills boycotted the AKC and started their own registries of purebred dogs. In 2011 the AKC revenue reached $59.5 million. $22.8 million of that came from registrations of litters and individual puppies. When the AKC saw their bank accounts decreasing they gave in to the puppymills. In fact they are now “platinum sponsors” of a group called the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, which is one of the organizations that boycotted the AKC for trying to crack down on puppymills.

So what exactly has the AKC done for the dogs registered with them. They have changed the criteria that make a beautiful dog a “winning” dog. They have established conformation standards that set a benchmark for traits that are extremely harmful to our dogs. These changes include shorter snouts on Pugs that produce dogs that can barely breath, smaller heads on Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that cause at least one third of that breed to suffer with syringomyelia which causes the dogs extreme pain because their brains don’t have enough room to grow. And we are all familiar with the double dapple Dachshund who carry beautiful coats but most often suffer with severe genetic problems.

I was asked a few days ago why I can’t report a breeder that is breeding nine year old females. My answer was that they were not doing anything against the law. And sadly, that is in fact the case across this country. The states that do regulate breeders don’t regulate things such as ages of breedable dogs. And now I know that the AKC, which I believed were advocates for dogs across this country, is only concerned about their bank accounts.

There are two answers to this situation in my mind. We must research and know what the laws for breeders are in our states, and we have to impress on our state representatives that we want this situation changed. And perhaps even more importantly we must spread the word that the AKC is not acting in the best interest of the dogs we all love. The public in general must be educated to stop seeing AKC papers as a sign of a “quality” dog. We all know what a quality dog is and it has nothing to do with any paperwork in our files!


Dangers in the Dark


When Rick and I first moved to Gardendale in 1984 we loved so many things about our new country home. The brick fence around the backyard was one of our favorite features. It created a safe place for our dogs to enjoy the sunshine and country air. That fence has not only kept our dogs safe from wandering, it has kept them safe from predators. Last night that safety was breached for the first time in 32 years and the consequence was disastrous.

Everyone here at the sanctuary had enjoyed a quiet Saturday afternoon. We had a short rain shower and then a cool evening. The air was crisp, clean, and cool. Shortly before dark, as is my routine, I went out back and gathered everyone inside the porch and closed the door for the night. Of course our dogs have access to a doggy door to go in and out, but many of our seniors enjoy settling in on their favorite beds at dusk. They know I will be checking on each of them, straightening blankets and beds for the night, and covering up a few of the more fragile seniors. Last night that routine played out like every other night, and I began to make dinner and pass out the night time meds. Rick went about his evening chores which include putting his horses in the corral and spending some time with some of our larger dogs who live outside the perimeter of our back fence.

Around 8:00 pm the dogs all over the sanctuary began to bark. Nothing new there. Horses and their riders wander by, skunks can be detected in the breeze, and the rabbits get active in the pasture. All these things cause our pack to bark and pronounce their presence behind the safety of our fence. So we pay little attention to what has become the song of our existence around here. But something was different last night, and our dogs knew long before Rick and I did that danger was present.

When the barking didn’t calm down within a few minutes Rick and I began to check on everyone, and Rick drove the property shining his flash light into the darkness. I fussed about the front porch lights being burnt out and tried to calm my shepherds without being aware of what they were trying to tell me. Rick soon came through the front door and found me watching the dogs on the back porch barking with an unusual fervor. We both stepped out into the enclosed porch and found Max with blood on his back hip. Striker continued to raise his voice and charge at the closed back door.

So we took our flash lights out into the yard and Rick saw three large black shapes run behind our back fence. He screamed at them to scare them off and we immediately started to frantically count heads on the back porch. Everyone was there except for Ginger, Max’s mom. We checked under each blanket on the porch, and when we still could not locate Ginger we walked the yard. We found her lifeless body in the darkness of our previously safe yard.

Rick ran for his pistol and searched the area around our home and shop building while I wrapped Ginger in her blanket, and turned my attention to her son Max. I placed him in a feeding kennel and cleaned the blood off his back end. I found six puncture wounds and one tear in his hide about an inch long. He was obviously in shock and I began to administer first aid.

The next half hour or so are somewhat of a blur for us both but we managed to lock the doggie doors all over the sanctuary to insure everyone was secure within the confines of our home. We counted heads numerous times in an attempt to quell our fear. I gave Max something for pain and an antibiotic. I also sprayed his wounds with an antiseptic all the while trying to maintain a calmness that would benefit the dogs but was elusive to say the least.

Our night was long and full of grief for our sweet lady, Ginger. Max is doing as well as can be expected this morning and I have received instructions from Doc Jess on his care. Just within the last hour Rick’s brother who lives 1/2 mile from us had to fend off an attack from these dogs with a pipe. They also jumped on another dog down the road from him. Rick and his brother are tracking them now while we wait for the Sheriff and animal control. All of our sanctuary dogs are still locked safely within the walls of our home. There are actually four dogs in this roaming gang and we will not rest until they have been dealt with.

Rick and I have both spent the last sixteen hours trying to figure out how to restore the security that was shattered last night. Our dogs have all been as upset as we are, and no one got a good night’s sleep. Rick and I spent several hours on the back porch holding and loving on each of our babies. Finally around midnight they began to settle down, Rick and I did not fare as well.

In our 32 years here in this home we have NEVER had a predator get into our yard. We are now considering, very seriously, extending the height of our back fence by several feet. Money will no doubt be an issue as brick fences don’t come cheap, but the security of our fragile dogs will now take priority over everything else.

RIP sweet Ginger. You are now whole and without pain. Please know that we will care for your brave son to the best of our abilities. He, no doubt, tried to rescue you and was sadly unsuccessful. We will, however, succeed in returning our sanctuary to the fear free environment that we have worked so hard to achieve. We will miss you and we will never forget your sacrifice.


Don’t Eat That!


The latest statistics show that over 100,000 dogs each year are poisoned from common household items, foods, and medications. After doing some research I was amazed at some of the items that make the top ten list of substances that poison our babies.

The most common element of our everyday lives that can be fatal for our dogs is human prescription medications. They are often left on bedside tables to be easily accessible for us. Unfortunately that easy access applies to our dogs as well. Even small amounts of pain medications, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications can do irreparable damage to our canine friends. Dogs that are owned by the elderly are the most likely to fall victim to this type of poisoning.

In second place on the list of the most common toxic materials for our dogs is not a surprise. Insecticides can be quickly fatal. One of the most common used insecticides around our pets is the flea and tick prevention that many of us depend on to keep the pests off our babies. Apparently it is fairly common for large doses to be split between several small dogs and the danger is very real that the dose will be too high. I just recently learned that Dawn dish detergent is an excellent product to use to kill many of these pests. Doc Jess suggested I use it to bathe the Three Musketeers when they came to the sanctuary with ticks. It did the trick and did not dry out their skin. It also works great to spray your yard to kill ticks and fleas.

Over-the-counter medications come in third on this list. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and Advil are some of the most common over-the-counter medications that we all use. Herbal medications and joint supplements can also be deadly for canines. Most incidents of these type of poisoning occur when these medications are spilled or dropped on the ground. I know my babies will jump on anything that I drop thinking it might be a tasty morsel and will often eat it before they inspect it.

Medications such as dewormers and pain meds that are prescribed for our dogs are in fourth place on the list. While they are essential to the care of our little guys, they can be deadly in doses that exceed the prescribed amounts.

Fifth on the list is common household products. We all know that bleach, many cleaners, antifreeze, paint thinners, pool chemicals, etc., are dangerous to humans as well as dogs. I did not know that common fire logs also pose a huge risk for dogs. Chemical burns, depression, upset stomach, renal failure and death can be the result of even tiny exposure to ingestion of these substances.

Human foods can also be extremely dangerous for our dogs, and they are number six on the list. Alcohol, even in small amounts can cause vomiting, breathing problems, and irreversible coma. Avocados, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, bread dough, onions, and garlic are some of the more common foods that we all enjoy. They can be deadly for our dogs. I have noticed a new trend with dog owners to give their pets more and more human foods to supplement their dog food. Nothing is wrong with that as long as the owners are doing their homework to insure the foods they share with their dogs are safe. I have found with my dogs that the more human food they eat, the more they beg for human food. While Rick and I are aware of what they can and cannot have, they will carry that begging behavior over to any guests that might not be cognicent of the dangers. With the holiday season approaching we must be alert to these innocent situations that can cause grave damage to our little guys.

Chocolate is one thing that most of us know is dangerous for our dogs. It stands alone at number seven on the list of most common poisons. The darker more bitter chocolates that are common in our kitchens such as baking chocolate are the most dangerous because they contain the most methylxanthines such as caffeine. The size of the dog and the amount consumed will determine how lethal ingestion of chocolate can be. Years ago our beloved Christy managed to get on the kitchen table while we were gone. She consumed a corner of a slab of fudge before we came home and caught her. She vomited for several hours but thankfully recovered under Doc Jess’ care.

Many popular indoor and outdoor plants also pose a risk for our canine friends, and they occupy the eighth spot on the list. Azaleas, rhododendrons, tulips, daffodils, carnations, calla lillies, and begonias are only a few on this list of culprits. The bulbs and seeds of many plants are also killers for our babies.

Number nine is rodenticides. Living in the country we deal with mice on an ongoing basis. Years ago we had a little Scottish Terrier that made her way into my pantry cabinet and she not only ate a box of mouse poison, but she also ate the BOX! An IV of B12 saved her life. Needless to say we have not had any mouse poison on our property since. We were naive enough to to think that dogs would not eat those poisons. And we were unaware of how dangerous it can be for a mouse that has ingested those poisons and becomes crazy to wander out into the middle of a room where a dog could and would kill it. The poison inside the mouse will poison the dog as well. Needless to say, we now use traps instead of poison.

Last on the list is our many lawn and garden products we use to protect our expensive landscapes. We have a huge population of ants in our area and we have had several dogs fall prey to multiple bites from an ant bed that we were unaware of. I learned about ten years ago that corn meal will kill many different types of ants as well as most insects that play havoc in my vegetable garden. Such an easy, inexpensive solution to what can be an overwhelming problem.

If you ever find yourself in the situation where you feel your dog has been poisoned there are several steps to take immediately. Try to discover what they may have gotten into. Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-213-6680. They can help keep you calm while the needs of your pet are evaluated. Don’t try to neutralize the toxin yourself.  Several home remedies that have been popular over the decades such as milk, salt, or aspirin can in fact cause more problems. Some cases will require the induction of vomiting, others will be more dangerous if the dog vomits. Your veterinarian is best equipped to make those determinations. Take samples, if possible, of any toxin in question, the packaging of that toxin, vomitus from your dog, or any stools produced after ingestion for examination and testing by your vet.

Basically making our environment safe for our dogs is the same as baby proofing our homes. We must all be aware of the dangers and be willing to investigate the risks of everything our smallest family members are exposed to.




Heroes For Today

Today as our nation remembers the tragedy of 9/11 we honor the many fallen, and we salute the first responders who risked their lives to do what they could for their fellow man. Those first responders included approximately 350 search and rescue dogs who enabled a torn country to retrieve their loved ones. All of those brave men, women, and canines deserve our never-ending respect. They deserve the statues and memorials that remind us of their great sacrifice for people they did not know. They loved those strangers enough to go forward into chaos while most of us would have run from the danger.

As I contemplate that love today I think of the many service animals that on a daily basis enable the people they love to live a happier, more fulfilling life. Service animals for the blind, the deaf, the disabled, the cancer patients, the PTSD sufferers, the autistic children, the diabetics, the children in hospitals all across this country, the paralyzed veterans, etc. This list could go on and on. These animals give so much more than we would have dreamed possible fifty years ago. No amount of praise is too much for their contribution to the lives they have grown to love and protect.

I read several articles this morning about dogs who have saved their families from fire, tornadoes, floods, attacking animals of many species including other dogs. For the families blessed with the devotion of these heroes, life will never be the same. So many of these brave dogs died in their selfless acts of courage, and some suffered disabilities for the remainder of their lives. Those families will pass the stories of their amazing dogs down through the generations and they will never be forgotten.

My own life has been touched by several gallant canines that will forever hold their place in my heart and in my family’s history. As a teenager my family loved a stray dog that became an icon to not only my family but the entire neighborhood. Bertha was a mixed breed that grew hair like a sheep waiting to be sheared. So she often appeared to be a big bundle of hairy matts that could never be brushed out. She walked the concrete fence in front of our home and the neighbors and visitors to the neighborhood soon came to expect to see her lounging on our brick wall. Twice during my late teenage years Bertha corralled my young sister and prevented her from running to the street by sitting on her or pinning her to the porch.

As an adult I loved a beautiful German Shepherd Dog that came between me and strangers that would not heed my request to leave our country property. She barked, she growled, and eventually she chased off the dangers that she knew frightened me. Sasha was my guardian for many years, and I loved her like one of my own children. Now I have Jake and his giant majestic appearance ensures my safety not only in my home but on walks around our neighborhood. He is truly a gentle giant until he senses my fear, then he becomes a force to be reckoned with that no one has felt confident in challenging.

Most of us have a story about a dog that showed amazing gallantry in our lives. These stories are told over and over and they mark that hero’s place in our lives. But what about the everyday routines of our lives that go untold? How many of us know a senior citizen that is saved everyday from loneliness by a faithful dog? How many of us know the comfort of coming home after a tough day to a happy dog that doesn’t care about the world outside? How many of us have a furry baby that lies at the end of our beds when we don’t feel well, or cuddles against us when we cry?

I listened this morning to Alan Jackson’s beautiful memorial song “Where Were You When  the World Stopped Turning?” He speaks of God’s gifts to us and how love is the greatest of those gifts. For me, and for so many people I speak with each day, that love comes in the form of a four-pawed “baby” that lights up our hearts each day with the unconditional love we all crave. On September 11, 2001 I was sitting on my bed, with my dogs cuddled close around me as the tears fell. I watched in horror the events of that morning and my babies comforted me with all the love they had. That love proved enough to help me get through that horrible day. Heroes indeed!


Killer Parvo in the Air?


On June 20th of this year I rescued this little black terrier mix and a little red Dachshund mix from our local shelter. This baby was terribly skinny and very much in need of our love. I named her Chloe and immediately began to fall in love. She wouldn’t eat much for me that first evening, and when I discovered diarrhea in her isolation pen late that first night I began to worry. First thing the next morning I dropped her off at the vet for blood work and an exam by Doc Jess. Before the day was over I received a call from Doc Jess that sent me into a panic and broke my heart. Chloe had passed away with Parvo. Her little body had been ravaged by this heartless disease and it had spread to her heart and she could not be revived.

Chloe had spent her time at the sanctuary in quarantine because that is our policy with any dog from any shelter. I asked Doc Jess for advice on the care of the other young dog I rescued with Chloe and for concerns for my fragile seniors. She advised me to immediately get rid of anything Chloe had touched. I threw out the clothes that Rick and I had worn, I threw out the crate that Chloe spent the night in as well as the one that she and the other dog rode home from the shelter in, all blankets, and food and water bowls that they both used. The other dog was still in isolation, and we began to handle her with sterile gloves. I washed all of her blankets daily with bleach for weeks while we watched and waited for any sign that she was infected. Surprisingly, she never showed any signs of the virus and has since been placed in her forever home as a healthy, happy little girl.

I drew comfort from the knowledge that all the residents of the sanctuary had been vaccinated on a regular basis and were likely safe from the infection. My main concern other than the health of the new resident was the Parvo in my environment that might affect future rescues. Doc Jess and I both agreed that disposing of all materials that we could was the safest route to take. Small sacrifice as far as I was concerned for the safety of the next baby that needs our care.

My experience with Parvo is not unique in the southern part of the US this year. Many rescue groups have all but stopped taking dogs from shelters at this point as we have all been affected by this particularly strong strain of Parvo. There is even speculation in the vet world that this strain may be the first that is airborne. We have always been taught that Parvo is spread mainly thru contact with vomit or feces. So the idea that it might be spreading thru the air in our shelters is more than many of us can deal with. Our policy here at the sanctuary of ALL dogs being quarantined for at least two weeks in a pen away from the other dogs has been upgraded to three weeks in an enclosed room.

I’ve done some research on this new strain (2c) of Parvo and reports of adult, fully-vaccinated dogs contracting the disease is fodder for nightmares. Dogs who were once considered safe because they had survived Parvo earlier in their lives are also becoming infected. Some breeds such as German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Labs, and Dobermans are for unknown reasons more susceptible to the virus. All areas of the US are reporting increased Parvo this year but the southern states are suffering the highest degree of fatalities from this killer. This particular strain has even been reported in cats that were once thought to be safe.

Puppies that are vaccinated in our shelters are ironically more at risk because of the introduction of a small amount of the virus in the vaccine. The puppy’s blood can fight off the modified live virus in the vaccination but it leaves their immune systems weakened and more vulnerable to the full, live virus. Chloe had received a Parvo vaccination five days before I rescued her.

Successful treatment of a dog with Parvo can cost between $500 – $6,000. That is more than most rescue groups can absorb. That fact along with the increased risk of infection thru the air, and susceptibility of fully-vaccinated dogs will cost the lives of many precious dogs. Not only the dogs that are unfortunate enough to have contracted the disease but also for the dogs who will not be rescued because of the danger of infection thru their first Parvo shot and the possibility that it might be floating in the air.

I wish I could think of a way to keep my dogs completely safe. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there is an answer. The steps I intend to continue to take are to keep my dogs away from any dog that has not been part of our pack for years. We don’t do dog parks, we don’t do Petsmart with our dogs on a leash, and we don’t handle other dogs, especially puppies.

Chloe was the first dog in our over fifteen years of rescue that we did not bury on our land. The risk of that virus living for ten+ years in the soil was a risk we were unwilling to take. We will not stop rescuing as the babies still need us desperately, but we will take all precautions to insure that our pack is not exposed to even the slightest possibility of this new killer virus in our air.



Road Trip!



When most people think about rescue they think about the rescue groups and the adopters. The middle link can often be left out of the discussion. Every rescue group has a cherished list of transporters that they depend on to get the dogs where they need to be. Transporters often pull dogs from shelters and help deliver them to the rescue groups, and they also deliver them to their new families. They dedicate their time, their gas, and the wear and tear on their tires to insure the babies get to their destinations.

The Promised Land Dachshund Sanctuary is no different than all other rescuers and we have been blessed with many wonderful transporters over the years. They make the process so much easier because they allow me to move dogs around a huge state without having to be away from the sanctuary for hours and hours.

They deal with frightened, ill, or injured dogs on the way to the rescuers with no time to get to know the dogs ahead of time. If they are in the beginning or the middle of the rescue chain they miss out on the happy meetings of the dogs and their new families. Their anonymity does not overshadow their importance to either end of that chain, however. The rescuers could not place dogs outside of their own areas without these selfless volunteers, and the new families would be restricted to adopting from their own areas as well.

Because I have done some transporting of my own, I know that the trips do not always go as planned. My car has been vomited on, peed on, and pooped on. I have had seats torn, carpet ripped, and interiors that smelled from the trip for days after it was all over. On one harrowing trip years ago I looked up to see all the cars in front of me swerving off the road. When my line of sight focused in on the problem there was a toddler standing in the highway. I, like everyone else on that road, ended up in the ditch. No one was hurt, but I suspect we all lost a few days off the end of our lives from the terror we experienced. How many stories like this are out there that no one ever hears?

So today I would like to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful people that have helped transport dogs for me over the years. I hope they know in their own hearts how valuable they are to the overall process of saving as many dogs as possible. Their stories don’t make it to the rescue webpages, and I would guess we lose a wonderful insight by allowing their anecdotes to go untold.




Too Far?


A few days ago I came across a post on Facebook of a competition for dog groomers. All the contestants displayed dogs that had been painted on and groomed to appear as if they were wearing hats, animals, costumes, flowers, etc. I shared it to see if my friends would react like I had, and they did. This just doesn’t set well with me, and an overwhelming number of the people that responded to my shared post.

I understand that the groomers are extremely talented artists that used the dogs as their medium . I also understand that they use paints that are not going to harm the dogs. What I don’t understand is why would anyone want to take a perfectly gorgeous dog and use them as canvas. The obvious answer is money. Groomers would not have time to do this to customers’ dogs if there was not a demand for this service.

I’m concerned because I have seen what happens to Dachshunds that are being bred for exotic color. These dogs almost always have genetic problems such as blindness or deafness. The naturally occurring dapple coats aren’t beautiful enough for some people, so the breeders respond to the demand for more “colorful” dogs by breeding dogs that are likely to have multiple genetic issues. I feel sure that the first Double Dapple breeders did not intend for thousands of dogs to be born with disabilities that were inflicted on them because the public wanted the fancy coats. They were chasing the dollar that these “beautiful” dogs bring.

A few people responded to my shared post by pointing out that these dogs enjoy their grooming even if it includes all this paint and no doubt hours of carving their coats to appear this way. A few even compared this practice to agility dogs. To me that is apples and oranges. Agility dogs are some of the most fit and happy dogs around. They are healthier and enjoy expanded lifespans because of the exercise they receive. I’m sure these painted dogs enjoy the attention they get during their grooming process. And I don’t question the fact that they enjoy the attention they would receive if they walked into the local pet store painted up like this. But are these outcomes really the same?

I’m aware that these specialty groomed dogs are not permanently damaged from this practice. But what effects will they have on the market for dogs? I can envision dogs being sold with the idea that the new owner will have a “canvas” fit for these crazy, attention drawing coats. What scares me is when the new owner discovers that their dog isn’t blessed with the disposition to stand still for all this grooming. And what happens when an owner can no longer afford these no doubt expensive grooming jobs? Does that dog still mean as much to that owner as they did originally? Will they still be willing to do the necessary grooming of these dogs when this new fad fades away, or will rescuers find them in the shelters covered with matted filthy hair?

Years ago when the taco place came out with the cute little Chihuahua dog that talked, everyone had to have a Chihuahua. And for years after that there were more Chihuahuas in the shelters than anyone ever invisioned. Could that be the future for these naturally gorgeous dogs if they end up with someone who tires of the grooming bills? Will they still be desired and special when the public tires of this new fad?

Another response to my shared post that I felt might have been a little misguided was a mention of this process being akin to people who dress their dogs in cute little outfits. Again with the apples and oranges comparison. Some people love to dress their dogs up in human outfits. But I’ve never spoken to any dog owner that bought their dog specifically because it would look great in a new skirt or special pjs. Does a t-shirt that says “I Love Mom” make a dog more likely to be overbred? Will a dog that doesn’t want to wear a t-shirt be discarded for that reason?

In my mind dogs of all breeds are so very special just as they are. I believe when we begin to admire dogs for how we can change their looks to make US happy, we do a disservice to the precious creatures they are born to be. Isn’t it possible that this process may be going too far considering the long term effects on the animals we all love?



Dream On


As a young girl growing up in a not-so-perfect home I lived through my books. I escaped my environment by reading. While I loved reading the children’s classics I also enjoyed biographies. I read about Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Clara Barton, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Their lives of accomplishment and overcoming adversity inspired me to write. I wrote short stories for school and kept a diary from the time I was about ten years old. There is something very uplifting and therapeutic about writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper. The dream was always to write something that someone else would enjoy reading.

The years passed like a fast-forwarded movie. Rick and I married on my eighteenth birthday and within a few years we had started a family of our own. We moved to the country to raise our children. Once they grew up and began to raise families of their own Rick and I pursued a dream that we shared, rescuing Dachshunds. Our lives quickly became emmersed in the world of rescue and our home quickly filled up with senior and special-needs Doxies. That was in July of 2001 and now fifteen years later we can’t imagine our lives without the sanctuary.

The day after Christmas 2015, I sat down at my computer to write about our sanctuary. The notes from my journals and the ledgers I kept of our rescues refreshed my memories, and the chapters poured out of my heart so fast I struggled to type them. A very busy and short six months later my book is published and helping to support our dream.

A few weeks ago as I sat down for the first time to package books for shipping I realized that it was no longer just my dream, it was now my product. The little girl that dreamed many years ago of writing for the public is now an entrepreneur, a marketing executive, and a source of advice for many dog lovers. And to insure that my thoughts of accomplishment don’t carry me away, I still get to scoop doggie poo out of the yard each week. 🙂

Rick and I are beginning to set our sights on our new dream. That is the long-term prospects of the sanctuary. Right now we are limited to around forty dogs, because they are housed mostly in our home and our back porch. We have eighteen acres of land that is mostly going unused, and we can’t help but ask ourselves what if we were able to build a separate building for our sanctuary? What if we were able to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home twice the number of dogs we can handle now? What if we never had to say no to a Dachshund in need because we don’t have the space?

We have no way of knowing what the future will bring. But we do know that our dreams have a way of coming true when we work everyday to make it happen. We know that we are doing what we were meant to do and that God isn’t through with us yet. We know that many wonderful people are willing to help us reach our goals if we can assure them that our hearts are true and our intentions are strong.

So we say to everyone who has purchased the book, and to everyone who has donated to our expenses that we are not done yet! We are going to follow our dreams as long as we can still get out of bed each morning. We are going to continue to RESCUE ONE till there are no more that need us. We hope and pray each day that you will all continue to help us make those dreams come true.

The little girl inside me squeals with delight each time we get a new order for the book, or read a new review of someone who has read the book and believes in our efforts. That little girl that dreamed of making a difference with her life and her words has not lost her dedication. She found the perfect Prince Charming and together they can make all of their dreams come true.

Please purchase the book if you have not already done so. You can mail a check or money order for $14.95 + $5.00 shipping and packaging to The Promised Land, PO Box 826, Gardendale, TX 79758 or use (