Written by Daelene Berson
Professional photography by Warren Nicholas Photography
It all started on the 12th of April 2021 when Dachshund Rescue South Africa (DRSA) posted on their Facebook page about a special needs dog in need of a home. I contacted San-Marie Jacobsz from DRSA to say I’d take her, not knowing anything about her or her past and what had happened to her.
I was told she had three legs – the back left leg wasn’t working; it was just a stump – and her back right leg was also not “working”, so she dragged her body.
She was found alongside the road and rescued by a kind young man and his girlfriend. At that stage, he was looking for work and lived with his grandparents but took care of the little Dachshund. However, when he did find work, his working hours didn’t permit him to keep her and his grandparents weren’t up to the task.
Judy Jooste of Vesper on Wheels had been tagged in a post for wheels and contacted the family directly offering her help. The young man loved this little dog dearly, as Judy could see when they went in to fit her for wheels. However, with COVID-19 hitting the world and the subsequent loss of jobs and lack of financial resources, the sad decision was made to find this little dog a home where the people could care for her and accommodate her special needs.
After I approached DRSA (who very kindly facilitated this rehoming), we leapt into action and arranged a meeting with Nadine Nel of Pretoria Dog Rescue, whom the family had made contact with, and agreed that it would be in Toontjie’s best interest to find a home where she could have 24/7 care as soon as possible.
On the morning of the 24th of April, Toontjies (now Tootsie) found her forever home. I met Nadine in Centurion at the Engen Garage, and when I got into Nadine’s car, this little head popped up from the plastic basin that was serving as her bed.
I started crying when I saw that precious little face and promptly fell in love with her.
We arrived home and I introduced her to my pack of Dachshunds and Pharaoh Hounds, and they accepted her as though she’d always been there. She was obviously a bit weary and concerned, but within a few days she’d settled in and started to learn the household routine, as though she’d always been a part of the family.
After watching her closely, I realised that she has some movement and deep pain sensation in the right leg. I gave her a few weeks to settle in at home, and then I took her to the vet practice where I work to be assessed and have x-rays done.
Dr Jean assessed her and did the x-rays, and although we couldn’t see any previously broken bones, she was concerned about nerve damage. She advised us to get Tootsie assessed by Ansi at the PetFit rehab centre.
I started doing some exercises on Tootsie’s right leg at home and realised that she wanted to push herself up. Our first appointment with Ansi was on the 21st of May. Ansie agreed with me that Tootsie was trying to push herself up and said we definitely had something to work with in the right leg.
One of the main issues, though, was the shortened tendons in the foot, due to the accident, and the lack of usage of the leg for many years. We would need to start working on “stretching” the tendons and getting her to stand when eating.
On the 28th of May, Tootsie had her second PetFit appointment and Ansi was happy with her progress and started “walking” her (assisted) on the treadmill.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen small but promising changes in Tootsie. She can now correct her right foot by herself, tries to push up harder, and we even manage to do some tail-walking, which is when we support her by her tail and she can then walk using all three legs. She eats standing up with us supporting her.
On the 4th of June, Tootsie had her third appointment, and Ansi is happy that she’s making even further progress.
We know that this is going to be a very long road of rehabilitation. All I want for Toots is to give her the life she deserves… if we can get her walking, it will be amazing, but most of all I want her to be happy and loved.
She’s an amazing little girl with such high spirits who zooms around in her wheels being a typical Dachshund barking and playing with the other dogs.
Nadine Nel, of Pretoria Dog Rescue, shares…
I came across a Facebook post in February/March looking for a foster home for a special-needs Daxie. I immediately asked for more information and made contact with the family who were doing their best for this precious little dog.
The young man had rescued her from the side of the road and even though her owners were found, they didn’t care much for her and willingly agreed for the family to keep her.
The young man did his utmost to tend to her needs as best he could and he got in touch with Judy of Vesper on Wheels to ask for wheels for Toontjies.
With the situation at home being less than favourable due to the young man’s working hours and his grandpa’s inability to take care of Toontjies, we all agreed that finding a more suitable home where she could receive the round-the-clock care she needs was urgent. I contacted Sanmarie of DRSA with whom I work regularly and together we put out a plea for the perfect home for Toonjties.
The few weeks that it took to find her a home felt like a lifetime as I knew the situation was desperate, but in the end, the wait was all worth it.
It was an emotional day when the time came for Daelene to fetch her and for me to hand her over to her new mommy, but I couldn’t have wished for a more wonderful home for her!