SIOUX FALLS, SD -
You've heard about dog rescues for breeds such as Pit Bulls, but a group in the Sioux Falls area is working to make sure another group of unwanted dogs get the care they need.
Dachshunds are popular, but because of some breeding methods, some of the dogs end up with defects; others are just abandoned or hurt and in need of a home.
Mary Kaiser has always loved dogs and had Dachshunds growing up. But what started with one Dachshund coming into their home, ended up with dozens of dogs filling up the place.
"He thought I was crazy," Mary Kaiser said.
But it didn't take long for these dogs to win over her husband, Dan.
"I just like dogs," Dan Kaiser said.
But it was more than just a love of dogs. The Kaisers soon found out this breed needed rescuing. You see, some breeders can make a lot of money by producing the preferred Double Dapple coat. But it comes at a high price to the dogs.
"That particular dog carries a gene and they're beautiful coats, and they're beautiful dogs except 50 percent of them turn out either blind or deaf or both. So, what they'll do is breed these dogs continuously and they'll keep the good ones. But what do you do with the ones that are defective? Put down," Mary Kaiser said.
Ron is blind in one eye. This dog, Peanut, was constantly bred until she couldn't produce any more puppies.
"When she came to us she didn't know how to walk up a step. She didn't know how to walk up inside a house. She didn't know about grass. She'd been in a kennel her whole life just making babies," Mary Kaiser said.
And then there is Dash, the little Dachshund in a doggie wheelchair.
"Dash, in November, was found alongside the road by a good Samaritan lady, lying there paralyzed, and picked him and brought him, by the grace of God I would say, to our vet, the vet that vets for our rescue," Mary Kaiser said.
The vet performed surgery and someone saw Dash's story on the Dakota Dachshund Rescue site and sponsored his wheel chair.
"Typically people would just put him down. He was really ill when we got him and you just can't believe how fast he recovered. It was nothing short of amazing," Mary Kaiser said.
With all the dogs they've taken in, the Kaisers have seen some amazing progress.
"For a few days once, we get these dogs, even her, some of them are frightened, some are really skittish and just so afraid. But it doesn't take long, it doesn't take long before they turn themselves around," Mary Kaiser said.
The Kaiser's main goal is to get the Dachshunds into foster homes so they can eventually be adopted.
"It's hard to give up some of these dogs because you get so attached to them. But the rescue is so good at checking backgrounds on people, you know they're going to good places," Dan Kaiser said.
And while it may take an emotional toll on the Kaisers to nurse these dogs back to health, only to give them up, they say their rescue mission has its own reward.
"Sometimes people think that Dachshunds are mean and nasty or persnickety; they can be all that. But they've all got different personalities. It's like having a bunch of kids in the house. Each one of these dogs has a different personality and something to offer; so, for us to match up a dog with a family, wow!" Mary Kaiser said.
And the Kaisers hope more awareness about the problems surrounding Dachshunds will help people open their hearts and their homes to these little dogs.
If you'd like to find out more about the breed and the dogs that need foster homes, visit the Dakota Dachshund Rescue website.
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