Deputy County Attorney in Great Falls, Montana called us
about a handicapped miniature Dachshund named Bailey who
was caught up in a court case. Bailey was one of more than
100 dogs found at an animal hoarder’s property.
Two years earlier, a veterinarian had treated
Bailey for disk problems, but the surgery didn’t work.
Bailey sometimes ‘fish-tailed’ when he walked.
Other times his rear legs would cycle rapidly, leaving him
hopping in place. If he turned too fast, his hindquarters
Bailey’s owner decided she didn’t
want to deal with him any longer. She handed Bailey off
to ... the animal hoarder.
Fast-forward two years. The County Attorney’s
office asked the same vet to evaluate the dogs at the animal
hoarder’s property. There, hiding in the corner of
a pen with 15 other dogs, was a miniature Dachshund with
a damaged spine. The other dogs were running over him and
falling on top of him.
The vet recognized Bailey as one of his former patients.
It was the first time the vet knew his client had abandoned
Bailey to an animal hoarder. The vet told us Bailey looked
like he had given up. He said, "You could see it in
his eyes. There was no hope. He just wanted to die."
So we expected a sad little thing to arrive
at the ranch — but instead we got an 11-pound bundle
of spirit and playful energy. On his first trip outside
to pee, Bailey promptly took off down the drive, relishing
his new freedom. He scampered as fast as his little legs
would take him, fish-tailing as he went, but astonishing
us with his speed.
We took him to a specialist in Missoula for
an exam and also consulted with our board-certified veterinary
surgeon in Spokane, Washington. The conclusion: Any more
surgery would not be an option for Bailey. Generally there’s
a maximum 2-month window in which surgery can be done on
disk problems, and Bailey was long past it. Since the first
round of surgery hadn’t succeeded, it was a moot point
The important thing is that Bailey does not
seem to us to be in any pain, and our specialist detected
no sign of it either during his exam.
Today this plucky little survivor lounges
all day on a bed in our living room, and at night he sleeps
in front of the wood stove. And oh, how Bailey loves his
toys! He’ll grab a soft toy with his mouth, toss it
into the air, then hop over to retrieve it and toss it again.
During his first few days here it seemed like
Bailey couldn’t believe his luck. He kept looking
around the house in wide-eyed wonder, as if it were too
good to be true and wasn’t going to last. Now he has
a look that says, “This is home and I’m here