Rescue Stories

An Inspiring Weiner: Formerly Paralyzed Dachshund Competes in National Race

Nobody puts Lady Bug in the corner!

Photo: Courtesy JudetheBeagle/Twitter

When Lady Bug—a.k.a. “The Bug”—O’Neil was dumped at a shelter in Riverside, California on New Year’s Eve in 2014, she could not walk, and as a result of her paralysis, she was scheduled to be put down. Fortunately, the staff at Dachshund Rescue of Los Angeles decided to save her life.

Little did they know that one day, Lady Bug would compete in the 22nd Wiener Nationals Race at the Los Alamitos Race Course in front of 10,000 cheering fans. 

Lady Bug’s journey to mobility was nothing short of heroic. After spending four months in foster care, she began intensive physical therapy at California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) where her rehab schedule included acupuncture and workouts on an underwater treadmill. Within two months, she could take a few steps. Within a year, she was running.

During the time of her rehabilitation, there was only one person whom Lady Bug would walk for—Dr. Deanna O’Neil, the veterinarian who treated her. After working with the sweet Doxie, O'Neil was smitten: She looked into Lady Bug's eyes, realized she couldn’t say no, and took her home that night. The dachshund has lived with her ever since.

Lady Bug and Dr. O’Neil share their home with two cat siblings. Chasing them helped the 13-pound pup prepare for the Wiener Nationals Race, in which she competed against 90 other dogs. Although a dachshund named Baby Bo was the ultimate champion (completing the 50-yard course in eight seconds!), there were plenty of people cheering for Lady Bug who successfully crossed the finish line after 45 seconds.

In finishing the course, she proved something every dog lover knows: Never give up on a shelter pup. There’s always hope that they’ll recover—or even become a national celebrity.

Here is some of our favorite footage of Lady Bug preparing for the competition:

Lady Bug drinking Smartwater to hydrate.

Lady Bug icing her legs the night before the race.

Lady Bug in her racing gear.

Training hard.

Lady Bug crossing the finish line.

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