Austin dachshund goes viral showing life on wheels, wiener dog race

Austin dachshund goes viral showing life on wheels, wiener dog race
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AUSTIN (KXAN) — One Austin pup — with help from his human — is using social media to share his day-to-day life as a “wheelie weenie” and encourage other pup owners with similar situations.

Teddy, an 8-year-old dachshund, lost mobility in his back legs about four years ago after he was diagnosed with intervertebral disk disease, or IVDD. The disease is prevalent in dachshunds due to their long spines, impacting 15-30% of the breed.

His accounts show his daily routines as a paralyzed dog, his recovery and a now-viral video of his wiener dog race on wheels.

In 2020, Teddy’s owner Michelle Babb noticed her dog was moving more sluggish and increasingly lethargic while spending a few days near Lake Travis. She thought he was overheated or having a heatstroke because it was summer. She called an emergency vet for help but the vet recommended monitoring him.

Teddy’s condition became more concerning overnight as he became more restless and began panting. When she put Teddy on the ground, he wouldn’t stand up.

“That’s when it immediately shifted to ‘Oh my god, like, it’s a back injury,’ which is every dachshund owner’s worst fear and something that I had tried as much as possible to prevent,” Babb said.

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  • Teddy, a dachshund living in Austin, uses a wheelchair to get around after he was diagnosed with IVDD. (Courtesy @teddythedox)
  • Teddy, a dachshund living in Austin, uses a wheelchair to get around after he was diagnosed with IVDD. (Courtesy @teddythedox)
  • 1719091769 206 Austin dachshund goes viral showing life on wheels wiener dogTeddy, a dachshund living in Austin, uses a wheelchair to get around after he was diagnosed with IVDD. (Courtesy @teddythedox)
  • Teddy had IVDD. The disease happens when a disk is displaced and impacts the dog’s nervous tissue. Babb took him to the vet and learned Teddy needed surgery as quickly as possible.

    Teddy’s recovery included acupuncture, physical therapy and hydrotherapy—anything that could help him make a full recovery. Unfortunately, by the time Teddy had surgery, it was too late and he didn’t show improvements after months of efforts. He was paralyzed in his lower body.

    Babb said their turning point was when Teddy’s surgeon urged her to make his life as happy as possible with his disability.

    One conversation between Babb and Teddy’s vet brought up euthanasia as an option for owners who can’t physically, financially, mentally and emotionally care for a dog with a disability. However, the doctor promised Babb that Teddy was in no pain, which made the decision easy for her.

    “I just had so many weeks and so many months of accepting my dog is different now, and how could I possibly move forward?” Babb said. “I was very much in my own head about, you know, did I do the right choice?”

    Today, Teddy uses a wheelchair when he is out and about but he prefers to scoot around at home—zoomies and all. He has a clean bill of health aside from his paralysis and has adapted well to life on wheels.

    “He recovered from the injury faster than I did, if we’re talking mentally and emotionally,” she said.

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    Run, Teddy, Run

    The local dachshund has many friends on the internet with over 68,000 followers on Instagram and 23,000 TikTok followers with nearly two million likes. You can follow his journey at @teddythedox.

    Following a few viral videos—featuring Teddy’s love for bathtime—one video brought nearly 5 million views to Teddy’s account. It showed him at an Austin dachshund race at Skinny’s Off Track Bar in east Austin earlier this year. This was his second dachshund race but his first race on wheels.

    Video courtesy @teddythedox on TikTok

    The TikTok video shows the other competing weiners quickly race to the finish line. Teddy was hesitant to run, which led the crowd to cheer him on.

    “I could see that they were happy to see that Teddy was still participating and still wanting to be present and like he had a place to race,” she said. “Ultimately, in true dachshund in fashion, he only ran when food was involved.”

    As Teddy was the only dog in a wheelchair, Babb was hesitant to put Teddy in the race initially because she didn’t know if it was the right venue for him with his disability. It turned out to be one of her most cherished memories.

    The response to the now-viral video brought new followers to Teddy’s online community and turned into a story of resilience. Comments on TikTok include “Last on the field, first in our hearts,” “don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry,” “This is why representation matters” and “didn’t win the race, but definitely stole the show. love it!”

    ‘He can still do these things’

    Teddy’s social media allowed Babb to share Teddy’s journey with IVDD, his recovery and life in a wheelchair, connecting with other sausage dog owners with similar situations.

    “What I’m trying to achieve with this account is showing people that yes, there are those like beautiful stories like the weenie race that really make your your heart melt,” she said. “But then it’s also I love to show you that every day with him, you know, not showing that it doesn’t always have to be about those big moments.”

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    Babb views his account as a daily opportunity to help other pet parents see what a dog’s life can look like post-injury.

    “It’s important to show that like he can still do these things,” she said.

    What is IVDD?

    Intervertebral disk disease is when the intervertebral disk herniates or ruptures, causing the disk to be displaced and putting pressure on nervous tissue, according to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

    This causes back pain and weakness in dogs, commonly in dachshunds due to their long backs. To treat the disease, dogs can undergo medical management for mild symptoms or surgery for more severe symptoms. According to the Texas A&M vet hospital, surgery has an 85-95% recovery rate.

    IVDD is most common in these breeds: dachshund, pekingese, shih tzu. lhasa apso, miniature poodle and beagle.

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