Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Posted April 24, 2015
Dachshunds are the love of my mother's life. She had her first dachsie when she was a child and when I was a teenager, she decided to get another one. Cherie was bred by a professional breeder but ultimately purchased from an independently-owned pet store. To be perfectly honest, we felt that maybe she was taken from her mother too soon, as she had quite a few digestive problems that ultimately led to her needing veterinary care within the first week after her adoption.
Cherie was very young when she was adopted - only eight weeks old - therefore she was still very clingy and needed a lot of cuddling and soothing. She did not want to be put down, even for a second. As a result, she howled throughout the night and had to sleep with a human. She never outgrew this habit and always had to be under the covers with someone every single night.
Cherie also never really wanted to be housebroken. No matter how much effort was placed on potty-training her, she never cared. When Cherie was walked on a leash, it would take her at least 20 minutes to find "a spot" to release her bladder. When she was free in the backyard by herself or her canine friends, it would take even longer. I have heard this stubborness is a trait of dachshunds.
Another trait that dachshunds have that Cherie was not immune from is their tendencing towards back problems. I purchased "Dachshunds for Dummies" for my mother not soon after adopting Cherie. It stated in the book at the time that the average age for dachsies developing back problems is five years. Cherie was exactly five years old when she had to have neuro-surgery.
Always the daredevil (another endearing trait of dachsies), Cherie would barell up and down stairs, leap off of elevated surfaces, and basically had no regard for danger. One day she was acting as if she was injured and so we put her at crate rest. When my sister and I let her outside to relieve herself, Cherie started dragging her back legs behind her. We knew from speaking with our vet earlier in the day that this was a bad sign.
Cherie was rushed to the emergency vet and was seen just in time, as her bladder was extremely full and she had lost all nerve sensation in her bladder. After transporting her to another emergency vet with an available neuro-surgeon, Cherie had an hours long back surgery that ultimately saved her life. She recovered without any lasting issues. We were advised to not allow her to jump off of ANYTHING or to use stairs but she was not too keen on these rules.
When Cherie was 10, she started to gain a lot of weight and started eating anything when she had always eaten like a bird. Then her fur started falling out. After vet tests, it was discovered that Cherie had Cushings, which is an endocrine (glandular) disorder that affects the adrenal glands. This disease causes an exessive amount of the hormone cortisol to be released throughout the body.
The prognosis was never good for Cherie after this diagnosis. Not only was she now a senior which is when most dogs develop the disease but the vet thought it was caused by an inoperable pituitary tumor. Cherie was given two years to live and she made it about a year before having a hemorraghic stroke causing her to lose her quality of life.
Cherie was a wonderful dog and we loved her soooo much!!! Although she was the most stubborn and ornery little thing I've ever met, she brought a lot of love to our family and was a special friend to my mom. It was sad to watch her go through all of her health problems. My mother is a nurse so she was able to help care for her and more importantly pay for Cherie's many veterinary bills.
After everything that happened with Cherie, I would say that I would love to have another dachshund at some point in time, just not right now. Cherie was a miniature dachshund but she was large for a mini and more than that, she was very long. Dachshunds are normally long but she really did need to have a third pair of legs in the middle to help support her thoracic spine. This issue was obviously genetic and nothing we could have predicted, although that didn't make it hurt any less watching Cherie go through all of that.
The best advise I could give to someone adopting a dachsie is to research the lineage of the animal on both maternal and paternal sides. Ask hard questions about the animals' health and especially of their spinal health. If the other animals are longer in stature then I would be especially careful of your precious pet and carry them in a specific way and lessen their exposure to stairs or high elevations.
If you are reading this then you are obviously doing your research before adopting your pet and that's awesome. These dogs are not for everyone but for the right person they will bring you lots of love and sometimes make you want to pull your hair out.