Jack Bangerter isn’t just your average Dachshund puppy. He and his owner, Merissa Wattenbarger, are sharing stories about their 18-month-old Maltese-Dachshund crossbreed on Reddit with the hopes of raising awareness for the furry friends suffering from the painful condition of nail growth.
Jack has over 70 growths on his nails, but when Merissa first found him, he was already bald and had about a mile of hair growing on his front legs. His nails, once just a few inches long, have multiplied into mammoth feet with about 10 feet of hair growing behind the nails. To help his foot wear out, Jack can get about 20 foot-long nails trimmed off his feet every few weeks, or that is how long he will endure, according to Merissa.
Luckily for Jack, veterinary medicine students Annette Weiden and Erica Draddy are taking online offers from people who want to donate a giant chunk of their nails to him and others like him. Merissa says they have chosen to save one toe, either due to the small length, the problem of draining the nail clippings from his feet, or the length of time it would take to groom the toe and possibly not cut it properly.
Though Jack will have to wait a while longer before he has his nails trimmed, Merissa is focusing her efforts on raising awareness for Dachshunds living with a condition called gypsy nail, which can’t be treated with shaving. They usually require steroid injections, or laser treatment like Isolator, to effectively kill the nail.
“I thought everyone who looked like a Dachshund owner had this issue or lived here, but I’m sorry to say we just live in the Midwest where they’re invisible,” Merissa told POPSUGAR.
To help people in Jack’s position get their nails trimmed and preserved for future use, Merissa created a subreddit using the hashtag #JackAwayNails. Anyone who wants to help Jack is urged to keep looking until they find someone who knows how to give Jack a haircut that isn’t going to ruin his toes or help his feet get puffy with toe bites.
Jack’s nails are not the only issue people are raising awareness for by asking to help Jack. As Jack’s size grows and because he has access to a grow table from a local pet store, people who are interested in adopting him are suffering from a crowded market. Since his owners want to make sure he’s healthy and happy, they let him have a caretaker and will not take in other Dachshunds for that reason.
“Jack has a really unique story and we’ve only been able to find one kennel to house him and his caretaker for about four years,” Merissa says. “A lot of people wanting to help Jack have to wait because there are a lot of Dachshund dogs that are homesick and can’t stay with their owners — other kennels have pets too. And people are looking into adopting a Dachshund because they think they’ll have Jack.”