Deciding what type of dog would fit best into your home is a question that has perplexed even the new presidential family.
But for Dawn M. Janz, 39, of Palatine, there was never any question - she loved dachshunds. She currently lives with two rescued "doxies:" Willie, a 16-year-old miniature red smooth; and Joey, a 5-year-old miniature longhair silver dapple. She also has a foster dog who is waiting for a new home - Buddy, a 10-year-old red smooth.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've been enchanted by 'hot dogs,'" Janz said.
She adopted her first dog, Ansel, from MidWest Dachshund Rescue. He was 11 with a previous back problem who had literally been through the fire.
"Someone threw him into a bonfire on the 4th of July. He came to rescue with burns on his paws and underbelly. He lived with me until last year when he died at the age of 17," Janz said.
Janz started volunteering, talking to people at events about the breed and rescue in general. She got more involved and is now a member of the board of directors and an adoption representative. She also does a lot to help with fundraising: attending animal fairs, garage sales, eBay sales, etc.
The need has grown exponentially in the past year, with the worsening economy. In 2007 they had 95 dogs come through rescue and 185 in 2008.
"That is a huge increase for a small group like ours - fully self-supporting through adoption fees and donations and operating with about 20 foster homes," Janz said.
She said more people are moving into apartments or in with family and they can't take the dog.
"The hardest part is when there is more than one dog that need to stay together," she said. "We only have a few foster homes that can take more than one dog at a time."
It breaks Janz' heart to see some of the dogs that come through the rescue. One example is Wyler, a puppy mill dog. While he was trapped in a cage, someone burned his ears with a cigarette, leaving round lacy scars.
"Wyler is in rescue and looking for a loving, patient home, but he has a lot of trauma,"Janz said. Wyler is being helped by Alex Brooks Canine in Des Plaines.
"They have been a wonderful asset to our dogs, working with them to overcome past abuse and gain confidence," Janz said.
It is the compassion of these volunteers, coupled with other caring individuals, that make a difference in these small dogs' lives. One example is Dino. Earlier this year in the middle of the night, multiple sets of hands worked to save Dino, who was hit by a car near O'Hare.
A driver picked him up him to a Skycap at the airport who called Chicago police. Chicago Animal Control determined Dino was critically injured and contacted the MidWest Daschund Rescue. In the middle of the night, Dino was rushed to Veterinary Specialty in Buffalo Grove where he underwent surgery for a shattered pelvis. His long recovery and therapy was overseen by a volunteer vet technician who fostered him until he was adopted.
How can you help MidWest Dachshund Rescue? The group is always in need of foster homes, who make a homeless "doxie" part of the family until an adoptive home is found.
Creative, crafty people can donate items to raffle or auction to raise funds for the dogs; gift certificates and discount coupons from businesses and donations of dog supplies such as Frontline, Heartguard, dog beds, toys, collars and leashes are always welcome.
For more information, visit the Web site www.mwdr.org.