The Beginning

Written by Rachel Heimburger as told to by Connie Steckly
Edited by Kristin M. Johnson

Friday May 6th 2005 was a day made to go into the history books for the Steckly family, as far as rescue goes. Our first foster puppy arrived, delivered by Rachel Heimburger, a WIN volunteer. She had driven to Des Moines to meet a woman from a shelter in Fort Dodge, IA. When Rachel first saw Ivan (now named Gunther Oswald) she was amazed at how he ran straight over to her and gave her kisses on the arm, considering the shape he was in. She could see right away that he was in very skinny and needed a lot of care. She thanked the woman for turning him over to WIN (Wheatens In Need Rescue)and set off for our house.

When Rachel arrived with Gunther, we were in total shock! Our new pup was malnourished; you could feel every single bone in his body. At first we all wondered if he had a growth, but then realized it was his hipbone. His coat was dull and his teeth were extremely crooked. He could only walk four or five steps before he had to lie down and rest. He couldn’t even sit–it took two full weeks before he was able to go into a “sit” position. But even though he had been severely neglected, we saw right away that no one had taken that wonderful Wheaten Greetin’ away from him. At ten months old, he had a heart of gold! We decided that Gunther’s new forever home should be our home and adopted him from WIN.

I received Gunther’s paperwork from the Fort Dodge shelter and decided to investigate some things. With a few phone calls and some inquiries I found the person who had originally turned Gunther over to the shelter. Gunther was not an owner turn-in or a stray; he was rescued from an auction for a mere $10. The person who turned him over was a dog rescue person and only wanted him to be placed in a good home. This person knew that Gunther could have been doomed to a puppy mill fate and took action. My new contact didn’t know that much about the breed but saw Gunther and decided that he needed help. We started talking about the possibility of rescuing more Wheatens through WIN. Before I knew it, we had ten rescued Wheatens of all ages and sizes coming to our house, all in dire need of grooming, medical help, and love!


Gunther receives a kiss from new dad, Tony


Gunther getting to know Bryce.