Bayonet’s Final Litter


There are a lot of wonderful things about a delivery with a mama who has delivered before: you know their funny little traits, you’ve previously seen the way they transition and labor, and you’ve developed a bond from having been a team before.  As Bayonet prepared for her final delivery before becoming a retired Dachshund, I was far less nervous than I usually am.  After having delivered 4 previous litters with Bay, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Or so I thought.

On the morning of February 24, I knew Bayonet was in labor.  Besides her occasional nesting under the blankets at my feet, she woke me up at about 4 AM wanting outside to potty and spent some time sleeping up by my head whimpering.  Bay has a history of taking a very long time to progress to actual labor and then suddenly ramping up all at once- usually when I’m not around!  On two separate occasions, she has waited until I wasn’t around to enter the final stage of labor!  I spent the day watching and observing her and at dinner, knew we were getting close.  Sure enough, about an hour later, we were ready to start pushing.

When Bayonet pushes, she makes this AWFUL noise that we call a “hurk” because that’s exactly what it sounds like.  She makes a couple loud frightening HUUURRRRKKK noises and within two or three of accompanying pushes, we have a puppy.  This time we had green discharge.  That is not always a bad thing, but it starts a clock.  If there is still no puppy in 4 hours, the vet will have to intervene.  If there isn’t one in two hours, we make a phone call to get them on standby.  And because I had been through this previously with Bay, I knew something was off.  When there was still no puppy at the one hour point, in spite of repeated hurk noises, I started to worry.  With as many rough deliveries as I have had in the last year, I worry that I am being paranoid and jumping the gun so I tried to wait out the two hour clock.  I began to pray even harder for a safe delivery for both Bay and her puppies and that God would be glorified through it.  But at an hour and a half, we were loading her in the laundry basket for transport.  Her contractions had lightened up and were getting further apart and I knew we were not progressing at all.

After taking her in for ultrasound, the emergency vet called and gave me the devastating news that the ultrasound showed 1 puppy with a heart rate of about half and that the remaining puppies were deceased.  I was gutted.  A retired Dachshund that you have gone through the years with is hard to say goodbye to, but to end on such a crushing note was even worse.  I authorized him to do what he needed to do but to please be sure that the pups were available for me to footprint and gather data for my records. 

A short 30 minutes after making that authorization, the vet called back to inform me that Bay had handled surgery well and was officially a retired Dachshund but miraculously, they had managed to resuscitate and save ALL of the puppies!  I can’t even begin to describe the disbelief!  He did caution me that there had been many issues.  One of the puppies had grown in an odd position and was severely disfigured from being bent sideways blocking the exit and that while she was alive, he wasn’t sure that she’d live long.  He also said that somehow one of Bay’s horns (their uterus is U shaped and each side is called a horn) had gotten back behind Bay’s kidneys and a puppy (the biggest) had grown back there.  He said when they went to remove the puppy, it tore her uterus in half thus necessitating the need to spay her at the time of surgery.  While the situation was less than ideal, it was a relief to me that Bay would be a retired Dachshund without the need for a second surgery.  I retrieved Mom and all three babies and took them home.  But our adventure was not over.

On the forty minute drive home, I noted that Bayonet was not acting like any other mama I have ever had after their c-section.  I called the vet and they assured me she had pain meds on board and suggested that perhaps it was just due to the complicated spay that went along with the c-section.  But as I have written about previously, I have had mamas with complicated spays that didn’t act nearly as concerning as Bayonet was acting.  Nonetheless, I continued home with her and settled her in while I weighed and printed puppies.  I noted that our twisted pup was much more severely disfigured than I could ever have imagined, weighed only 4 ounces, and that her breathing was rapid, shallow, and that she was squeaking in pain with every breath.  A half an hour after being home, Bay’s unresponsiveness had gotten more noticeable and she was shaking badly.  Combined with those symptoms, she was passing a dark green sludge.  I had given her a double dose of Doc Roy’s B Strong (a B vitamin, mineral, and iron supplement) and I still saw nothing encouraging.  I called the vet back, loaded Bay and puppies up, and headed back in.

To make a long story slightly shorter, Bayonet spent the night at the vet with her puppies.  In the morning, they informed me that she’d had a bad reaction to the meds that she’d gotten but that she would be just fine.  All three puppies were still alive and the two biggest had started latching and nursing.  Little Twist hadn’t nursed all night but was still fighting.  At that point, I made the call for her to be euthanized as we discussed her quality of life should she somehow survive.  Letting go is never easy, but there is no doubt in my mind that Twist is in a far better place. 

Our newest retired Dachshund and her sweet babies are doing well and thriving.  The entire litter was again female wrapping up Bay’s career stats with 5 boys and 11 girls.  She has been an amazing little mama and we are happy for her as she prepares for her new life being a spoiled princess with our bonus daughter and her husband.

Most of my retired Dachshunds are requested in advance and Bayonet is no exception.  It is rare for me to have a mama that someone hasn’t requested and if I do, it’s because of a tragic early retirement that we were not prepared for.  If a retired mama is something you are interested in, please be sure to reach out.

I’m looking for a dachshund stud


I frequently have people reach out to me looking for a Dachshund stud so they can have a litter with their girl who they love so much.  I totally understand that and do not believe that it is up to me to tell people what they can and can’t do with their dogs.  However, I do encourage them to educate themselves and be prepared!

I recently had someone reach out to me wanting to use one of my studs.  They had a darling red smooth coat who isn’t registered and were interested in using Titan as they were (I’m sure) envisioning litters of puppies that looked like him too!  We had a conversation about genetics and I informed them that without genetic testing, it would be better to use my Ammo.  Reds hide dapple and with red being dominant, the likelihood of Titan giving them anything but red with possible hidden dapple was too high to make it worth it. 

When they arrived at my home, they came in asking about emergency c-section as they had met with their vet prior and been warned.  I told them that it is ALWAYS a possibility and they assured me that they were prepared for it just to be safe.  Once I saw their girl in person, I knew that Ammo was the only option as she was much too small for Titan!  I assured them that the likelihood was all red smooth coat babies (unless we ran DNA testing) and they fell in love with my golden boy and the decision was made for the Dachshund stud they were going to use.  A contract was drawn up, and with the help of Marvin Gaye, the deed was done.

Just One Litter – It’ll Be Fun!!!

Being dutiful and conscientious people, they asked for my recommendations on food and supplements and worked hard to get things ready in advance for the big day.  As they day drew nearer, they reached out to me asking if I would be willing to assist in the labor process.  Of course I was more than happy to assure them that I would be available for them.  When the time came, they called me as active labor was starting and I headed down to their home.  Mama Ginger knew that I was there for her support and even jumped into my lap for part of the labor process!


For the sake of time, I will summarize the events of that day.  What should have been a 3-4 hour delivery turned into a 19 hour day at their house.  Mama Ginger struggled with staying in active labor, even with supplemental calcium on board, and we wound up transporting her to make sure heartbeats were strong and there wasn’t a puppy in the way that was too big.  The vet confirmed all was ok, mom was still low on calcium, and that as I had expected, Mom needed oxytocin and when she still hadn’t produced a pup after a couple more hours, they did the c-section.  Two of the pups were doing great post surgery, however one was “iffy” and the 4th was not doing well at all.  However, the vet did manage to bring us four puppies to take home!  I traveled home with them and helped them get settled.  I got 3 of the 4 puppies latching, gave them all some colostrum supplement, and told them to keep their eye on the 4th (little green collared) puppy and to keep trying to get her to latch on.

Now here is something worth noting!  ALL FOUR of those babies were born dappled!  Mama Ginger was a hidden dapple and that is exactly why I discourage using a dapple Dachshund stud if you don’t know the mom’s pedigree/dna!  If we had been able to use Titan, those babies would have been born double dapple and could have been deaf and blind as a result.

I left that night, after a 19 hour day, fully expecting little green collar to not survive the night.  She was weak and listless and after the vet’s report, it seemed pretty bleak.  You can imagine my surprise the next morning when I was texted that little green, after regular colostrum doses, was still alive!  I made a trip down to teach them how to syringe feed (Green was still strong enough that she did fine with it).  After two days of syringe feeding, they now had 4 puppies who were latching and feeding themselves!  Of course at this point, it was time for a new challenge!

About this time, the other littlest pup (the only boy in the litter) decided he was done nursing.  He declined rapidly (5 oz babies at birth don’t have a lot of wiggle room for dropping weight) so I rushed down there to teach them how to tube feed.  Unfortunately, it became clear that I was going to need to be the one to tube feed him!  Up to this point, I have not had a lot of experience tube feeding puppies.  I have only had two puppies that I tube fed and neither of them survived (both were too near gone before I started).  Tube feeding stresses me out and I am terrified of doing it wrong.  But it was either that, or our little Buddy wasn’t going to make it.  I would tube feed him, drive the 15 miles home, spend two hours trying to sleep/care for my dogs and family, then drive the 15 miles back to their house to tube feed him again.  I did this for two and a half days.  But little Buddy was gaining and hanging in there, so I wasn’t going to let him down!!!

Of course if that wasn’t enough, Ginger developed an infection from her surgery which resulted in a fever and slight dehydration.  A trip to the vet resulted in antibiotics and some anti-nausea medication.  Thankfully, little Green and her sisters were all still nursing and thriving!

After two and a half days of tube feeding little Buddy (with one night spent on their couch so as to save the extra drive time for resting), I had to make a trip out of town to pick up a Dachshund stud from a job and to see my son who had just celebrated a birthday.  It was arranged that their local vet would handle the tube feeding for the two feedings that I was going to miss.  He was SO close to trying to suck but still just didn’t have the strength, but miraculously, by the time I got back he was latching on with help!  And by the time it was bedtime, finding it and doing it on his own!  Of course he still required heavy monitoring, but now this litter of babies is 8 days old and all 4 are thriving!  Mama Ginger is doing great and us humans are almost feeling human again!

I heard a lot of “these aren’t your puppies…” and “you’re not responsible” from outsiders looking in but this is what I have to say about that:  This isn’t my dog.  These AREN’T my puppies.  But my Dachshund stud was used and that makes me just as much responsible for bringing these lives into the world as anybody else.  This is no different to me than people!  If a man fathers a child, it is his duty to make sure that child is cared for whether it was his choosing to create it or not!  My Dachshund stud isn’t capable of even being aware they exist and are his – let alone caring for them!  So that puts the burden on ME!  This is a role that I cherish and am honored to be able to do and I take this job VERY seriously. Believe it or not, I am so grateful and appreciative for this experience as it gave me LOTS of successful experience tube feeding and boosted my overall confidence in why I continue to do what I love in spite of the heartache and frustrations.

This is not a common experience for people who want to have “just one litter” but this isn’t a worst case scenario either!  This was a VERY happy ending!  Sometimes we get lucky and everything is smooth sailing from the get go.  But you need to educate yourself and be prepared for every eventuality!  Having puppies absolutely can be fun – but it’s not all fun and games.  There is a lot of hard work that goes into getting those babies to be fun!!!

When I meet people outside of the Dachshund/breeding/puppy world, they’re always surprised to hear what I do.  If I spend much time talking with them at all, I tend to hear a lot of the same questions over and over.

  • “How many dogs do you have?”
  • “Do you have puppies for sale right now?”
  • “Raising puppies must be such a fun and easy job!”

It seems that even though it’s not the most commonly asked question to start a conversation, it’s usually a question asked with the emphasis on “How”.  “HOW many dogs do you have?!!” is always the response when I mention how many dogs I have.  Right now, as I type this, I have 21 dogs in my house.  Of those 21, 11 are puppies under the age of 6 weeks.  Even with 21 in my house right now, I have 5 additional dogs who reside in guardian homes!!!  14 dogs are in my breeding program currently (with 2 more arriving within the next 2 weeks).  Of those 14, 4 are male, 6 are of breeding age females, 4 are upcoming females.  I also have 3 retired dogs that aren’t counted in my breeding program but are 3 of the 21 living here.  Overwhelmed yet? 

The phrase that I do hear most commonly is people questioning if I have puppies for sale.  Surprisingly, the answer to that is always no!  I’m not a pet store or a warehouse.  I can’t just go to the backroom and get a puppy off of a shelf.  I carefully and selectively plan each litter for the confirmation, health, and colors that I am looking for as a result of that breeding.  And as carefully as I handle that part, I am even more careful in adding people to my waitlist.  I spend a great deal of time communicating with the families on my waitlist and prefer to sell puppies to people that didn’t impulse buy one “because they saw one that was cute” or off of some other whim.  My puppies are spoken for months before they are even born even if I don’t yet know who will be getting which puppies or from which litter.  When a litter is born, they are all put on hold while I assess their health and growth.  After they are 4 weeks old, they begin to make their way down my waitlist.  I almost NEVER have puppies available after my waitlist and if I do, it’s never a girl and most certainly not a dapple. 

The Reality of raising puppies

The reality is, raising puppies is anything but an easy job.  This may be the hardest job I’ve ever had – perhaps even harder than raising children.  There is so much physical and emotional work that I invest in every dog and puppy.  From the minute a mom comes in to heat I begin praying for her and her babies.  Sometimes a mom isn’t receptive to a male and I have to have a back-up plan ready to go.  And sometimes, that happens with a time crunch and an 18 hour drive necessary!  When you have to consider PRA testing, dapple status, and bloodlines, it’s a long ways from as simple as “just let them have sex”.  Raising puppies starts before their insemination and after it, you spend the next 30 days watching for signs of pregnancy!  Moms don’t start showing in their belly until after the first 30 days so I watch nipple growth, behavior, and palpate the abdomen starting on day 24 to see if I can feel the little bumps.  I watch the what day in their pregnancy they are on so I can switch from Royal Canin Pro 42d (for the first part of pregnancy) to Royal Canin Pro Pregnant and Nursing Mama Formula.  And then the real work begins!  A week before their due date, I start logging temperatures twice a day.  And we won’t even get into the stress of delivery!!!  Once babies are born, that’s when “raising puppies” actually becomes raising puppies!  I chart temperatures daily while monitoring the health of Mom and babies.  Just when you think the hard part is over, the babies start eating kibble and walking and that’s when they get MESSY!!!

During the whole process of raising puppies, I communicate with my waitlist faithfully.  I send emails about heat cycles, matings, confirmed pregnancy, and litter announcements.  If a complication arrives, I send another email and let everyone know we need their extra prayers and good wishes.  I send weekly photos of the litter and probably give way more information that some people want.  When the puppies get to be 4 weeks old, I start working my way through the waitlist in the order they joined, completing contracts, and lots of paperwork.  The communication gets easier after that – just new photos once a week to the buyers along with updates.

For the last year, EVERY litter has had complications.  I think the “easiest” litter in the last year was only $280 in vet bills for Mama.  At this point, I’m just grateful when a litter doesn’t need me to bottle feed it every two hours!  The business of raising puppies is more than just that – it’s about the love and care that goes into your breeding program to make sure that your adults needs, both physical and emotional, are cared for long before they are required to participate in the breeding process.  People are shocked by how much I do because of their preconceived conceptualizations of people who have puppies for sale.  The reality is though, I know there are many breeders who make me look like small potatoes!

At the end of it all, I have collected payment and delivered a puppy to a home that has been waiting for this very moment for sometimes up to nine months!  THAT is the greatest reward of all – seeing their delight and watching their new puppies greet them with wagging tails and kisses.  But just because I’ve sold the puppies doesn’t mean my commitment to them is ended.  I am committed to each puppy and their family for its entire lifetime and even beyond! 

Dachshund Dog Ramps for IVDD safety

If you own a Dachshund, you are probably very aware of the risk of IVDD.  IVDD is the intervertebral disk disease that Dachshunds are prone to due to their dwarf gene.  While there is a health screen for it, ALL Dachshunds will always test positive for it because they all carry that dwarf gene.  But not all Dachshunds will develop IVDD.  There is some research stating that spay/neuter too early can lead to it but what it ultimately boils down to is injury.  Calcium deposits on the spine certainly make a dog more prone to injury but what can we do to help prevent the risk of injury?

There is only so much we can do because dogs will always be dogs!  Just like children, they are going to push their boundaries and act like knuckleheads and therefore put themselves at more risk.  I always said my Bullet was the most likely to develop IVDD because he would insist on “sitting pretty” and there was no ramp he was using.  He much preferred to launch himself from heights like Superman.

Unfortunately, when I got Bullet, I didn’t have ramps in place so he never learned to use them as routine.  He DID use ramps to get in to my bed but I would frequently see him launch himself from it to get down.  And of course I have dogs that won’t go to the ramp because the shortest path to me is to jump up on the couch.  But after having had ramps for the last couple years, I have noticed that the pups that grew up with ramps in the house use it MUCH more frequently than those who were already here when the ramps appeared.

But do not be fooled!  All Dachshund dog ramps are not the same!!!

The best ramps are exactly that – ramps- not steps!  Steps make the dog jump up each step where a ramp is a gradual increase.  There are some really amazing ramps available but the ramp of choice for our house is the Snoozer brand scalloped ramps!!!  (I am not paid for endorsing them.  I just really love them!)  I once purchased a cheaper knock off brand and was SHOCKED at the difference. 

The smaller ramp was approximately $45.  In less than a year, it looked like it does in this photo.  The larger ramp is a medium size Snoozer and was $129 original price.  That’s a HUGE price difference but the larger ramp was over two years old at the time this photo was taken and is now over 3 years old and is in the exact same condition!  Not only that, but the smaller ramp would have foam break apart every time you took the cover off to wash it and put it back on!  It just crumbled apart.  My Snoozer ramp foam is a much better quality foam.  If you buy cheap, you’ll wind up replacing it and ultimately spending more than if you’d just bought quality to begin with. 

My dogs love their Dachshund dog ramps and I have one in my camper for the bed, one at my couch in the living room, another at a couch in a second TV room, and one at every bed.  I have them ranging in small to large and it was the best investment I think I could have ever made in helping prevent IVDD.  Does this mean they won’t get it?  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees about that.  But it does help them make better decisions about how to get up and down to where they want to be – next to me!

As I said, I do NOT get endorsed for recommending these ramps but here is the link if you’d like to check them out.  They are occasionally available on Zulily and they do occasionally offer sales on them from Snoozer directly as well.  Here’s to helping our babies stay healthy!

Scalloped Dog Ramp


New Year, New Life, New Goals at FleuryDachs


Every season I hope to be better about my blog posts for FleuryDachs and life gets so crazy, before I know it I’ve moved into another new season without accomplishing any of my goals.  I think there are a lot of people who can feel that on a really personal level.  But the new year always inspires us for new goals and here I am again, hoping to do better!

We have had such great success in the last year but were slowed down after having to pull a couple girls from our program after complications relating to their first litter.  Thankfully, I had already been bringing new blood into our program so it was only a slow-down and not a complete derail.  As a direct result, we have decided that we will be keeping/buying a minimum of three new girls every year so that they are grown and ready to step in should we face similar circumstances.  And as we retire girls into their forever families, we will have young mamas ready to go.  This should help keep our waiting list from stalling quite so long if we have similar complications in the future.

Last year we added OFA certifications and DNA testing to our program for all age appropriate dogs.  We got a designated puppy room instead of just a corner of a room and we added puppy cams for our buyers to watch the chaos of our house and their puppies (and to make it easy for me to check on puppies).  I purchased customized whelping and weaning pens from Jonart that have made confinement of puppies so much more enjoyable. 

I have become more focused in what I want to do with my program and am being far more selective in the puppies I buy/keep.  It’s SO hard to pass up an especially beautiful puppy, but if it will not be a puppy I am able to utilize for my goals, then I am learning to say no!  English Cream will always be my passion and it is my goal to ensure that I have English Cream puppies at least two to three times a year.  I am working hard at having cream pies but I plan on always having at least one mama who will have solid creams.  There is a new fad for ee cream (or platinum blonds as some call them), however I do not plan on breeding for ee.  When puppies are born ee, that loci is known to hide their true color and pattern.  This makes pairing for breeding much more difficult and requires DNA testing (something I would do anyway).  That all said, I will have occasional ee pups because my chocolates are all Ee.  When paired with each other, they will produce some ee pups.  So for those who love the look of an ee, I will occasionally have some available.  Besides the English Cream, I will focus on chocolate and cream, black and cream, brindles, dapples, and piebalds.  If you are looking for a red, unless you get one this year from Remi, it is highly unlikely I will ever have a red for you.  Perhaps at some point in the future I will acquire a red brindle, but until that day, the reds are going to be few and far between.

It is my goal this new year to learn how to utilize artificial insemination.  I don’t know if I will ever use it myself, but I feel that it is a valuable tool to have in my wheelhouse- especially to help with my guardian home program.  This could help me bring new championship bloodlines into my program as well.

And as always, it is my goal to do more blog posts!  I have quite a few ideas jotted down and just haven’t had the dedication to sit down and write them out.  Additionally, I am going to set aside more time to work on my AKC educational program!

Slightly related, we are working hard to build a new house this year where our current home is standing.  Plans for this house will give us a grooming area indoors, a back-up generator for power outages in case of newborns or deliveries, and no more carpet in our house!  With the removal of carpet, it will allow puppies more playtime in the main living area of our house without the hassle of difficult clean-up! 

We have seen a lot of new faces and said goodbye to a lot of beloved faces as well.  As hard as the goodbyes can be, it is so amazing and such a privilege to be able to build families and see them flourish together.  We are proud to say that some of our dogs have gone to help widows grieve as well as help young girls become seizure free because of their bond to our dogs.  Thank you to all of you who are a part of the FleuryDachs family – be it through ownership or support.  We wouldn’t be what we are without you and are excited to see our family grown this new year.



Taking the Leap into dachshund DNA testing

For the last year it has been my goal to get our dogs DNA tested here at FleuryDachs.  There are a lot of good reasons to do so (including accuracy in color as well as moving forward to breed certain colors) but for us, the reason we moved forward with this expense was in order to ensure the betterment of the breed.  As a new breeder, it was always my goal to preserve the Dachshund breed that I had fallen in love with, but there was so much I didn’t know and even more that I will continue to learn about.

I am not a fan of the snobbery that can be common in any breeding industry and have always stood firm in my belief that we all should do the best we are capable of and treat others with respect and courtesy.  Of course we all have things that are a priority and any good breeder will always worry about the integrity of the breed.  But to some breeders, that means only colors and patterns that are accepted in the show ring.  For others, that means colors that won’t pass along a chance for health issues.  But for all quality breeders, that should mean HEALTHY puppies with the best chance of not inheriting anything that can compromise their health and happiness.

When I originally sent off my first order for Dachshund DNA testing kits from Optimal Selection, I figured I would test the majority of the dogs but not worry about the dogs that only have a couple litters left before retirement.  I knew the other two girls didn’t carry dilute and I knew what I could expect color wise for their puppies and I was hoping to save a few hundred dollars!  After some of the results started to come in, I decided I was going to just bite the bullet and spend the money to test all of my dogs.  You see, some of my dogs from reputable breeders came back as carriers for the cone rod dystrophy gene (PRA).  While this isn’t a big deal, this meant that I absolutely do not want to be breeding a carrier to a carrier and have a 25% chance of affected puppies!  (Disclaimer: not all affected dogs will have problems.  There is belief that it requires an “activator” gene in order for them to have vision problems.)  Additionally, I wanted to make absolutely certain that I wasn’t unintentionally breeding a carrier to an affected dog!

It was completely disheartening to see that not all of my dogs were clear of everything.  It’s very easy to fall into the “but if I never tested, then what I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me” mindset, but that is NOT how I want to run my business!  I want to know that my pups are going to forever homes that will not have to worry about things that are preventable on my end!  And I want any potential buyer to know that as well!  I am still waiting on the dilute testing (it went to PawPrint Genetics) to make sure that I am not breeding dilute to dilute and breeding dilute puppies.  They are so beautiful and I absolutely love the blue, but I don’t want to intentionally breed a dog that could wind up with skin alopecia (CDA) when it is something I can avoid for sure.  I know breeders who breed them and I am happy to refer people who are making an educated choice before buying the beautiful dilute colors. 

I have had to make some changes in future breedings, but I am SO grateful that I took the plunge and spent the extra money to make sure that Dachshund DNA testing could improve my business!  Ammo will not be available to stud outside dogs unless they have already been DNA tested and are PRA clear.  He also carries a dilute gene and is not available at all in breeding dilute.  I had hoped to carry on his line, however, I will not do so without DNA testing any potential breeding puppy first.  Rosie will not be bred with Ammo but will instead be making a trip to Billings for an available stud who is PRA clear until I have verified her D allele and the PRA of my other non dapple males.  Remi is not a dapple and will be bred to Titan (who is clear for everything) for her next breeding!  She does not carry piebald either but we can hope to see black and tan dapples as well as reds.  As I move forward, I will not be buying dogs unless I know that their parents have had Dachshund DNA testing.  I will continue to test every pup I intend to use for breeding, no longer will I be waiting with baited breath about the possibility of them being affected.  It is a risk that I will not take nor will I ever again expect my buyers to take!

How did i become a dachshund rescue?

When I got Bullet, my first Dachshund, my husband’s one comment was “Promise me you’re not going to want to breed, k?”  I assured him that I never saw myself wanting to breed dogs again.  But by the time I got my fourth Dachshund, you can be sure that the idea was in my brain.  After some convincing from the seller of my 3rd and 4th Dachshunds, I decided that I wanted to go that route.  But I NEVER imagined the day where I’d want to bring an adult into my home with who knows what problems until I could find it a new home.  That day I was safe from, right?

The Dachshund breed is such a funny little dog and each dog has such a unique personality.  I have 9 dogs in my home (and 6 puppies) and all are completely different from the others.  Ammo is a mama’s boy and lays at my feet everywhere I go.  Cali is a little neurotic and is so fast she can sneak into any room behind me without me noticing.  Bayonet is totally submissive and will let everybody pick on her.  Maggie is the “Queen Wien” and bosses all the other dogs but greets all visitors like their arrival was what she’s been waiting all day for.  Rosie is an obsessive licker and thief and steals things to go outside.  Ricki is a jealous pants and has to be as close to my face as she can get.  Remi is the barker that barks the most but loves everybody once she’s met them.  Powder is the cheerleader who barks at the other dogs when they’re wrestling and knows a sucker to pet her when she sees one.  And the next dog I get will have her own personality that makes her stand out and special as well.  So was it really any surprise when I got a phone call about a Dachshund rescue that needed me that I chose to go help?

I got a phone call from a fellow breeder and friend of mine who had sold a pup into a home in my area.  She said they wanted to surrender it “because of her high anxiety” and because she was “stressing out their Chihuahuas”.  I told her to give them my number and they called me about their dog.  I told them I would be glad to come and get her, and after a few more days for them to be sure, I went down to pick up Sophie.  Sophie was a beautiful long haired dapple who had injured her back as a pup and completely recovered.  She was super sweet and although it took her a few days to relax in our home, I knew this dog was going to make somebody a fabulous pet.  After getting her spayed and all of her vet needs caught up, I put her on my site as a Dachshund rescue with a rehoming fee.  Strangely though, her forever family met her at PetSmart while we were in there with her!  The very next day she went to live with them and I now receive frequent texts and photos of their sweet girl they love so much.  It makes my heart feel so good to know that Sophie is where she needed to be getting all the special love and care she deserved.  But of course Sophie was only the first Dachshund rescue for me!

Another fellow breeder and dear friend in Boise contacted me regarding an adult they’d placed in a home.  They had rescued her and five other Dachshunds from a puppy mill in northern Idaho and placed her into a home with a lady who lived 90 miles away from me.  Due to a change in this lady’s circumstances, she was looking to surrender Squeaky due to claims of her “aggression”.  I’m not going to lie here and pretend this didn’t make me nervous- it absolutely did!  The thought of bringing a possible aggressive dog who was reported to having bitten grandkids into my home terrified me a little!  But not only did my friend need me, so did Squeaky.  When I arrived to pick her up, I was horrified to see that they had no fenced yard for her and lived on a very busy road.  Squeaky was desperate to get outside but showed no signs of aggression at all.  We brought her home and quickly discovered that Squeaky’s only problem was that she had been beaten by someone and is terrified of people grabbing at her too quickly.  She very quickly proved that she trusted us completely though and we joke all the time about this “terribly aggressive dog” who has joined us temporarily in her home.  Squeaky is awaiting dental work (her teeth look like they’ve never been brushed at all) before going to her new home but I am absolutely confident that she will make someone with a quiet home a wonderful lap dog.  She sleeps curled up in my armpit at night (just like Bullet used to) and is horribly disappointed when her nap in my lap is interrupted by my needing to get up.  She does wonderfully with our cat and dogs and my daughter and I don’t worry about her at all.  I don’t yet know where she’ll end up, but my only concern is that this sweet girl never has to be shuffled around again and gets all the love she deserves.

I don’t claim to pretend that Squeaky will be the last Dachshund rescue I bring in to my home.  I’m quite sure she won’t be.  But with these two “bad dogs” as the founders of my rescue efforts, I don’t worry nearly as much about my ability to help more when the opportunity arises again.  You hear a lot of “Adopt; Don’t Shop” supporters and I couldn’t agree more- to an extent.  Adopting a dog who needs a home is the best thing you can do for them and possibly you.  But let’s not pretend that people who adopt don’t also shop.  They shop for the breed, size, gender, or color that they like and they certainly shop for the personality that fits in best with their home.  And that is as it should be!  Rescues don’t come for free; every shelter I know charges a fee to cover the costs of the care they’ve provided for these dogs- just like breeders charge a fee to cover the resources we spend trying to make our programs the best they can be.  It’s nice when you know a dog’s parent’s history and you know they’re being bred with love and care to help ensure the best possible health for them.  But the ultimate goal for all breeders of quality is the same as that of shelters- we don’t want to see our dogs unloved and uncared for even after they leave our premises.  We want happy, healthy, quality lives for our pups forever and ever.  I am so grateful that the one pup I’ve sold whose owners chose to rehome him went to such a wonderful person and I am so proud and honored to call her a part of the FleuryDachs family!  And I am proud and honored to be able to add FleuryDachs family members through our combined efforts in Dachshund rescue as well!



breeding dachshunds: A journey in learning

I only made the decision to make FleuryDachs a thing a couple years ago.  I haven’t had much experience breeding Dachshunds although I grew up in a home with parents who bred Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and then later West Highland White Terriers.  I bred Siberian Huskies over 20 years ago.  I have had to learn a LOT about breeding not just because going from big dogs to little dogs is such a big change, but also because I wanted to be sure that my pups were getting their best lives and people were getting my best efforts.

When people ask me about breeding Dachshunds, I always tell them that breeding is a personal decision and not one that should be made lightly.  Some breeders will go a dozen litters with nothing awful to deal with, but that is not something you should count on.  You need to be ready for anything and always learning.  And more importantly, you need to accept the responsibility that these puppies did not ask to be brought into this world.  You made that choice for them so therefore it is up to you to do everything you can for them to have their best lives.

Powder delivered her third litter on Monday, Oct 7.  I noticed Sunday that she was acting unusual and was choosing to spend the majority of her time away from my daughter (and her girl) and instead, in her daughter’s (Rosie’s) kennel and bed!  I took her to bed with me that night after checking for (and not finding) a temperature drop, and she kept me up all night pacing, nesting, and carrying on.  The next morning I woke up my daughter with the news that Powder was in the beginning stages of labor and I was pretty sure we were going to have puppies that day.  Sure enough, around noon, Powder delivered her first puppy.  Over the next couple hours, she delivered the three expected puppies all from a breech position.  She retained a placenta with the last puppy, so after 3 hours of not delivering it, we went to the vet for a shot to help her pass it.  She passed it later that night and we settled in.

Over the next 5 days, I noticed Powder’s milk wasn’t as heavy as normal so I was extra watchful to make sure pups were continuing to gain and thrive.  On Saturday, my vet tech arrived to remove dewclaws and brought with her a bag of Lactated Ringers (IV fluids) so that I would have one on hand should I need one in an emergency for dehydrated pups or dogs.  Powder came out to greet her and she looked Powder over and commented on how well she seemed to be doing and noticed that her milk was starting to come in better.  Powder ate a can and a half of puppy food that day and remained active.  Saturday night, before bed, I felt the overwhelming urge to check on her and the pups before going to bed (in spite of my daughter having just been in with her an hour earlier). 

Listening to the voice in my head, I made a trip in to check on her and as I rounded the corner, I noticed that she was laying on her side nursing her puppies.  The pups were greedily going to town and as I said her name, I noticed there was no response from Powder.  I got closer and noticed that her eyes were glazed over and not blinking.  I genuinely thought she had died.  I touched her and noticed rapid shallow breathing and still got no response so immediately checked her gums for dehydration.  When I lifted her lip, it did not slide back down over her teeth.  I knew she was severely dehydrated and rushed to set up my bag.  I subq’d her 100 cc of fluids and then went to get my 11 year old to see if she could get a response from her.  When I turned her to check her temperature, I noticed a clear sticky substance under her tail and reassured Kathryn that we were taking her in even if she didn’t have a temp.  A dog’s temperature is usually between 101-103 and hers came in at 104.6.  As I lifted her into a basket with her puppies, it was like moving a dead dog.  Her eyes seemed to be looking at me better, but she wasn’t moving at all. 

We rushed the 30 minutes to the vet and along the way, I called them to let them know I was on my way in and gave them all the information I’d gathered including the actions I’d taken.  By the time we got there, Powder was lifting her head and looking around observing the adventure we were on.  By the time the vet examined her, she was giving us kisses and I almost cried with relief.  They did an xray and decided they needed an ultrasound as well.  Part way through the ultrasound, the vet started shaking his head and stated she needed surgery immediately as something had ruptured into her abdomen and it was full of fluid.  They rushed her back and told me that it would probably be 4 hours before I’d hear anything.  They told me the pups would need hand fed even if she made it as she’d be on antibiotics that would endanger them.  I took pups home to start feeding.  Forty five minutes after leaving the hospital, we got a phone call from the vet.  It was the most terrifying ring a phone has ever made.

Relief hit me like a ton of bricks when the vet told me she’d made it through surgery and that she was waking up.  He said that her uterus had ruptured within 24 hours before opening her, and it had filled her abdomen with pus.  “When I opened her up, I didn’t think she was going to survive the surgery.  If you hadn’t done what you did when you did it, she wouldn’t have.  I would even go so far as to say she wouldn’t have survived the drive in,” he informed me.  He flushed out her abdomen and said her intestines pinked back up right away.  He said that it appeared to him as if during delivery, there had been a strain that scratched or tore the uterine wall and that it had caused the infection that then ruptured her uterus.  There was still a chance of complications, but the vet told me he was optimistic about her recovery reiterating that she wouldn’t have made it if I hadn’t been so prepared and stating that I’d saved her life with my quick actions and readiness.

I learned a lot of lessons from my most recent experience in breeding Dachshunds.  I am still learning from it every single day.  We are hand feeding puppies every two hours and we are learning things about that too!  Powder is on the mend and doing well.  She’s struggling emotionally with not being allowed to nurse her puppies but her milk is still in and we’re working to make sure it’ll still be there when she’s cleared to nurse.  Until then, she has accepted her role as butt licker and heating pad.  After this, her sole role from here on out will be that of a companion to my little business partner.

What have I learned?  So glad you asked!

Breeding Dachshunds is not for the faint of heart

  1. Always trust your instincts.  Just because you’re past the point of usually having to worry much about mom doesn’t mean that there’s not still a chance of something going wrong.
  2. Be prepared.  Be ready for every possible thing that can go wrong.
  3. Have a good working relationship with your vet.  I now have a case of Lactated Ringers and sterile equipment so I’ll never have to worry.  (If this had happened a day earlier with Powder, I’d have not had the fluids she needed.)
  4. Be on top of your records.  I knew Powder’s weight before getting pregnant, at the end of her pregnancy, and post whelping.  I knew her temp.  I knew when I’d given her fluids and exactly how much.  My knowledge made it easier and faster for the vet.
  5. Nursing puppies is exhausting.  If I had a job outside my home, I don’t know how I’d even do it.  Miracle Nipples are wonderful for syringe feeding.  When they’re strong enough and gaining steadily, people baby bottles are even better.  Less risk and quicker feeding.
  6. They make breast pumps for dogs and THEY WORK!

There are days when I feel like perhaps I should give up breeding Dachshunds.  There is so much to worry about and so many things that can go wrong.  I follow a breeder group and see posting after posting of all of the worst possible things you can imagine happening to people with their dogs.  The chance of a vacation is about one in a zillion with breeding dogs due to the possibility of a heat or a litter due.  There is no profit in breeding dachshunds for me- every penny I make gets reinvested into the dogs to make sure that I can breed the healthiest puppies with the least amount of stress on us and the dogs.  But I love this breed.  I love seeing families share with me their adventures with their puppies.  My passion is in breeding Dachshunds.  My vet told me that I am the kind of breeder they love working with and he wishes there were more like me.  He told me a half a dozen times that my knowledge and preparation saved her life.  So the next time I’m feeling stressed or frustrated, I’m going to remember this.  I know I’ll lose puppies.  I know that there will be accidental breedings (the #1 reason I won’t have male and female dapples that live together).  But I know that my heart is all the way in this.  And my pocketbook.  lol  And I know that I will always put the health and well being of my dogs ahead of my own.  I am not just breeding Dachshunds; I am making families.

Today would have been Bullet’s 4th birthday. I started writing this journal two weeks ago as a way to work through my grief. Please forgive editing errors I may have missed. Every year I made a carrot cake for Bullet for his birthday (only for his though- not all of the dogs get their birthday made into a big deal) and we have decided that we will continue to do so every year moving forward. We will celebrate Bullet and all of our dogs on Bullet’s birthday. After all, if it hadn’t been for this perfect Dachshund, I would never have learned how amazing this breed is.

Bullet’s 3rd birthday – 2018

Going to bed without Bullet that first night was the hardest thing I ever did. I hated when I would travel without him and had to go to bed without him but it was even harder in our bed where we belonged. Ammo and Ricki went to bed with us as always and Cali joined us because some nights she decides she’s not sleeping with my daughter. Nobody took “Bullet’s spot” in my arms and I cried myself to sleep but woke up during the night with Cali in my arms, Ricki at my knees right below her, and Ammo pressed against my other side. They came to me and surrounded me and it was an amazing comfort.

I keep remembering all the silly things that made Bullet the most special perfect Dachshund. He was totally obsessed with our fish tank and would randomly “rediscover” it. He’d cry and carry on and watch them for hours. He loved to get up on my desk and plant himself right in the middle of my lesson plans and laptop, put his face in mine, and demand all of my attention. On his less needy days, he would just insist that I sit with my foot on my leg to make a nest for him to sleep in. And of course I always humored him.

I home school our daughter and Bullet loved to snuffle and whine while he sat pretty asking to be picked up and snuggled while we would read her history or science- usually because I had removed him from my lap so that I could stand and read over her shoulder with her. If I didn’t respond, he’d jump up to the back of the couch where he could be harder to resist.

I joked that my husband trained Bullet not to like men for my husband’s peace of mind. Bullet was not a fan of men. He would growl and act tough even when in my arms. He loved my husband and my boys though. It was his sworn duty to make sure no strange men were ever comfortable in our house. And once he loved somebody, he would “gopher” (as my father-in-law likes to call his sitting pretty) at them until they’d pick him up and pet him. Although he was not a perfect Dachshund, he was perfect for me and he made himself pretty hard to resist.

Bullet was above all the rules. He knew that he was special and therefore when I would tell all the dogs to go outside, he didn’t think that applied to him. He’d go, but only after I would specifically call him by name. The same would apply for going to his kennel. His spot was in my lap and all the other dogs knew it- just like my armpit in bed. He got to go places when the others didn’t. It was important for him to know that no matter how many dogs joined us, he didn’t have to worry.

Every month when our Barkbox subscription came, Bullet would get so excited and claim all of the toys. Squeakers were his frenemies and he saw it his duty to remove them. The squirrel toys that would come were his particular favorite and seemed to withstand his tortures the best. He could de-fuzz a tennis ball in the space of minutes.

Bullet loved to go for car rides. Every time he got to go with us, he would run to the tree in the driveway and “greet it” with a watering and then leap into the car. I would joke that he was worried the tree would fall without his care. And when we were in the car, he thought it a great game to roll all the car windows down. He was a wonderful traveling companion and every time we would come home, he’d wake from his spot in his basket as I turned off the highway completely aware by the angle of the car where we were. The same could be said for going to our property in Lake Mary Ronan. His perfect Dachshund senses always knew when we were coming home.  He’d already learned to recognize the sounds and angles of the turns and would wake from a sleep excited to be getting to our home away from home.

Coming home to my perfect Dachshund not being here still hasn’t gotten easier. Every time I’d open the front door and I wouldn’t hear his excitement at me being home to let him out of his kennel, another piece of my heart would break. My lap and my arms have been so empty. My husband used to say to me periodically when he was frustrated with packing up 8 (or more) dogs to go somewhere, “Why couldn’t you have just been happy with only Bullet?” And sometimes, when I was overwhelmed or when I was snuggling him close in bed after the others had gotten up, I would wonder the same thing. I realize now that it was because I needed the others to help distract me when I lost him. If I didn’t have 7 other dogs in my home right now, I’d be an even bigger mess. It takes the whole team of them to even begin to comfort me.

Of course I keep rehashing everything in my mind trying to figure out the coulda/woulda/shoulda’s. Every night he went to bed and the woke up drastically worse the next day. His neurological function was hugely impacted going from being able to stand on his back legs but not walk with them on the first day to not being able to lift his head a mere 5 days later. I should’ve insisted on blood work on Friday. Why did I even take him in? I could’ve lived with the leaking. If I would’ve never taken him in on Tuesday, maybe none of this would’ve happened. Several veterinarians and numerous people who have dealt with IVDD have made statements that his case was highly unusual. Many believe that there was something else at play as the severity of his initial injury wasn’t that bad. The vet that treated his IVDD thinks that he had a rare case of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. Nobody saw a reason to think that this was going to go the way it did. But those reassurances don’t put him back in my arms. And in the meantime, I find myself questioning everything I did and everything I could have done.

It’s so easy to feel like I share this grief alone because he wasn’t just a perfect Dachshund, but he was also my baby. I know my youngest daughter misses him terribly but I see in her eyes her hurt for me more than her hurt for our having lost him. But I know that everybody who was a part of our pack feels his loss tremendously. My oldest daughter special ordered a customized Dachshund earn for his cremains as a gift for me. My husband mentioned one night that he spent all day thinking of him and picturing him “gophering” and he can’t believe he’s really gone. One of my oldest friends has been so supportive and helpful in my seeking to find answers as well as in her role in helping him rest in peace. Countless friends have sent messages and called to see how I am doing and to share in my heartache.

So while this entry is full of heartache and pain, I am going to focus on my perfect Dachshund’s perfections. I don’t know what doggy heaven looks like, but I choose to believe that it looks something like this: He will never be in pain again or get pancreatitis again. He will never run out of squeakers to distract from poor unsuspecting toys. He will never be told he can’t have people food because it’s bad for him. He will never have a tennis ball taken away from him. He will never feel the heartache of loss but will play happily until the day when I get to join him. He knew he was loved.

While I still vividly ache from the loss of Bullet, life has begun to move on. It took a week and a half of coaxing and rejections before Ammo moved into Bullet’s spot at night. I almost cried as hard having him there as I did from not having Bullet. It wasn’t about the fact that he wasn’t Bullet as much as it was the happiness I felt at having him come to me knowing that it’s his duty to be there for me now. Since then, Ammo comes to snuggle me closely at least for a part of the night. But living up to being a perfect Dachshund is a mighty tall order.  Together, we are making it through our grief. And Bullet, even though I can’t feel you the way I used to, I know you’ll always be here with me.


I have said more times than I can count that I dreaded the day I had to say goodbye to my Bullet.  By lunch time, Bullet was barely able to move his head.  Calls were made and a “Rainbow Bridge Vet” was contacted to come release Bullet from his suffering in the comfort of our home with the whole pack surrounding him.  That is not a job I’d ever want to have.

I was ready to let him go by the time the end came.  It hurt so much to see him locked inside his body with no ability to do more than move his eyes and occasionally turn towards me.  There is some speculation that there was something else going on to as he progressed so rapidly and so severely.  Letting him go was the easiest hard thing I’ve ever done.  I so believed there would be a miracle and I had time to work through my anger and frustration in my God who didn’t spare my little dog.  I don’t know why his time with me was so short.  I know I did everything I could to prevent this from happening and I did everything I could to fight it once it did.  I know that he has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and will shepherd any future pups that we may have that don’t make it.  I know that he will be free to chase mice and lift his leg on plastic bags and I know that one day he will be the first to greet me.  Letting go of Bullet isn’t easy, but saying goodbye to his suffering with IVDD is something that I can be grateful for.

Bullet was the best friend I ever could have asked for.  He loved unconditionally and was never selfish or held things against me- not even the arrival of another dog to live here.  I am so grateful for the time I had with him and the joy he brought into my life- not just in his being here but in showing me the amazingness of the Dachshund breed.  Rest in peace, beloved Bullet. I will see you again one day.

9/23/2015 – 9/8/2019