The Mighty Thor




Thor is a purebred miniature Dachshund. His backyard breeder was giving the whole litter away in the Petco parking lot. One of our foster parents saw this and took the ones she had left. She had homes for all but Thor. Thor had palsied movements, he was shaky, he had trouble holding up his head, and she brought him to us. He was 5-6 weeks old.


The First time I saw Thor, I thought he might have distemper, I thought he might have been poisoned. We took him to the vet where we decided to treat him for poisoning and put him on medications…to wait and see. When his symptoms did not improve, we took him back to the vet. It was time to dig deeper. After blood tests and scans and a lot of head scratching, the diagnosis: cerebellar hypoplasia.


Here is a link to more information:


Time was passing all these trips to the vet and test take time. My son who was Thor’s primary care giver went to a school overnight fieldtrip. In the middle of the night, Thor had a seizure. Then he had more. Terrified, I raced Thor to the vet. The latest conclusion: Hydrocephalus.


Here is more on that:


With everything, that Thor had going on; he was not expected to make his first birthday. The talk was about minimizing the seizures and improving his quality of life for the time we had him. Well, by this time Team Hammond, most especially my (at the time) 12 year old son were bonded. We loved Thor. We would do all we could. We put him on the recommended seizure meds and started hydrotherapy for his muscle strength, until he developed a wet cough, back to the vet, where they determined that he had aspirated water. These little dogs are very prone to pneumonia. No more swimming.


Thor was 5 months old. It was March and time for Team Hammond’s annual trip to California for Spring Break in the motorhome. We take all the dogs and there was no question of taking Thor, he was family. As luck would have it one of the friends we go to visit every year is a machinist and dog lover. He built Thor a cart. Thor loved it, for the first time Thor could stay upright and move. He could finally chase all those dogs he wanted to sniff. We were thrilled.


However, 5-month-old puppies, even those with special needs, grow and before long, he had outgrown his cart. The weather was still warm, it was easier for Thor to get around in the outdoor sunshine, and certainly, the bark chips and grass were a softer landing than the hardwood floors.


Thor was now a year old, time to celebrate! We were told and all our research suggested that if Thor made it to a year, he should have a normal life expectancy. Now what?


We were heading into winter, too nasty to cruise around outside, we needed another cart. Therefore, we ordered one from a wonderful company online. We were so hopeful but when it arrived, it was too bulky for Thor and it did not provide the suspension support of his first cart. After many frustrated weeks and several modifications, we gave up on the cart. Thor started to give up on moving, we started to notice.

We went back to the vet but they were out of ideas, even after consulting with specialists, no one was as motivated as we were to find a solution that is until we took him back to Bailey’s Journey Canine Swim Therapy. They were eager to help and understood the importance of keeping his nose out of water. At first, he was a clumsy swimmer and the first couple of times his legs would not work together but on his fifth time as my son held Thor in his life vest, he started swimming all four legs and before he even reached the water.


Now Thor is getting stronger and he spends much more time on his feet. We swim him twice a week and work with him at home. It is time for another Spring Break trip to California and another cart. We are excited about what comes next and we will keep you posted 🙂


Thor is a long-term foster and will remain with Team Hammond and Second Chance Salem the rest of his days. He has been in foster for 2 and 1/2 years.


  1. Susan Miller

    I donate when I have extra money to you and I wanted to say how much I appreciate what you do for animals. It breaks my heart when I see abused or neglected animals and I have 3 rescue cats. I travel too much but have a cat/house sitter but unsure if I could devote the time to have a dog. Please know you are Gods Angels! Thanks for your devotion to rescue and placement!!! Kindest regards, Susan

  2. tabitha

    So cool, i know thor and love him dearly

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