Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Walkies? Nah.

Jasmine still doesn’t like walkies.

When Jasmine first arrived, she bucked like a baby bronco over being put on a leash. After a few days of leash dragging around the house, she was fine. Walks were a bit difficult in the beginning, but after a little while, she was happy to go for walkies.

Then, I made the mistake of having her meet the neighbor dachshunds (barky little buggers, they are). After two meetings, Jasmine refused to walk alone with me. And after a few months and a little coaching from the pet sitter, I got her back to walking with me.

When we get her out for her daily walk, she’s a fairly good walker. She sits at every curb and corner and waits for a cue to move forward (most of the time). She either walks behind me or beside me. She’s not perfect–when she’s startled, she goes into “sled dog” mode and pulls on the leash until we’re out of “danger.” She knows the routes we take, and she often tries to dictate the “short” circuit. Nope. Won’t let her do that!

There’s one thing missing these days. Jasmine doesn’t like to go for walks. She used to jump up and down at the prospect. These days, she is reluctant to come to the door when I announce that it’s time for walkies. She is also hyper-aware when we’re walking alone–her ears are perked, she darts her head around at every noise, scatters and starts when any unexpected noise, person or thing appears. She’s less “worried” when my  husband is with us.

I love walking and walking her, so I’m sad to see her so afraid of the world around her. I’m being patient though. Not too long ago, all these things were completely foreign to her, and I’m hoping that further exposure to cars, people, leaves, squirrels, wind, kids, dogs, cats and the occasional skateboard will not cause total panic in her.

Someday, I hope walkies will become a welcome activity for her.  I love watching her jump for joy.

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Foodie Dog

When Jasmine first arrived, she was not food motivated at all. In fact, getting her to eat was difficult, and the only treats she liked were the Simon & Huey’s treats.

Today, Jasmine is a real “foodie.” She sits at attention when we’re eating certain foods–especially apples and popcorn. I accidentally found out her propensity for these foods–my bad. I left an apple core on the coffee table.  I dropped a piece of popcorn when I was transferring the contents of the bag into a bowl. I really didn’t want to let Jasmine eat human food, but these days when I eat either popcorn or apples, Jasmine goes nuts. She jumps up and down, wags her tail, gives me the “happy” face…aren’t dogs great at manipulation? And I’m a total sucker. TOTAL sucker. One look at those shining eyes and perky ears…I’m mush.

Jasmine’s food obsessions are quirky. Her apple-lust stops at the peel. She won’t eat the peel. But doesn’t she know that the peel is good for you? All that fiber!  When she eats popcorn, she gingerly picks it up and carries it to the far side of the coffee table. THEN she eats it. It’s pretty darn cute to see that little piece of popcorn sticking out of her mouth as she runs on by.

The good news is that her favorite treat is a good old dog bone. When I ask her whether she wants a bone, she goes ballistic. She jumps for joy and runs into the kitchen and faces the bone jar. She does a little doggie dance until I give her the bone. I have a feeling that giving her treats is more fun for me than for her. Well, maybe just a LITTLE more fun…she seems to be truly happy when I do.

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More Play

It’s so nice to see positive changes. Jasmine is starting to play more. Last night, she even played a little with my husband. He teased her with her ropey toy, and she started to play tug with him. This morning, she took two of her toys–thus far ignored–out from under the kitchen table and brought them into the living room. She has already begun destroying one of the toys, a plastic squeaky hedgehog that a neighbor gave to her. Good job, Jasmine!

She has been initiating play sessions by herself as well. Once in a while, she’ll go to the ropey toy and chew on it and fling it around a bit. While these sessions are short, she’s showing more interest in the world around her. I love that she’s becoming more active, playful and aware. It’s almost like she’s been locked inside and is quietly beginning to emerge.

Go Jasmine!

Play!

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Little Snuggler

Jasmine isn’t much of a burrower, but she is a snuggler. I was on the floor watching television the other day when Jasmine came up to me. She generally likes to climb on and over me when I’m on the floor, but this time, she wedged her body in between my arm and my torso, put her head on my shoulder and snuggled against me. After letting out a big sigh, she dozed off and started to snore. Of course, the sandman must have sprinkled both of us with magic dust because before I knew it, an hour had passed. I moved a little and woke her up. She yawned, stretched, and promptly snuggled back in and went to sleep.

Jasmine also likes to snuggle up in my lap. One of the best things about having a little dog is the “lap dog” benefits. Every morning, I sit on the floor, and Jasmine jumps in my lap to be brushed. Afterwards, she turns around and curls up into a little ball and goes to sleep in my lap. Warm, happy and comfortable, she simply puts her love and trust in me. Few things are better than this.

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Some Changes

Jasmine has been a little different since we got back from vacation, and I’ve noticed a few small changes in the past week.

First, she’s more curious. She’s exploring more, pushing the envelope more and just getting into things that she never got into before. She noticed a squirrel running up a tree today. She’s only noticed squirrels once before…otherwise, she just seems to ignore them when we’re on our walks.

This is manifesting itself in other ways. She stole an apple core off the coffee table today. I ate an apple this morning, and I left the core wrapped in a napkin on the table. I went out to get some groceries, and when I got home, the apple core was gone. I found half of it under the couch and the napkin on Jasmine’s day bed. Hm…I didn’t catch her in the act, so…

Jasmine also started playing by herself today. I’ve been teasing her with the ropey toy, and in the past, she would only chew on it when I was playing with her. Today, she not only initiated her own play, but she also took another toy (her little Bobo toy from PetSmart) and started carrying it around the room. This is a first for her, and it really is exciting to see her finally play.

While these may seem like small changes, I think they are big steps towards normalcy. I guess I’ll have to be more careful where I leave things from now on…she’s ignored everything thus far, and I have been taking it for granted that she’ll always stay this way. Judging by the stack of magazines that she pushed over, the honeymoon is ending and we’re starting to get a curious, mischievous and happy dog amongst our midst. It’s about time.

I had to share this picture of Jasmine. It’s so cute-ugly…my little “rat” dog.

Rat Dog

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Paparazzi

Jasmine is faster than my camera. Digital cameras are notorious for having a significant lag time between pressing the shutter button and taking the actual picture. Auto focus, auto flash, auto everything just slows down the process. So out of every 20 to 30 shots, I might get ONE that I like–that is, one that isn’t blurry or full of movement, that actually includes Jasmine in the picture, that actually captures what I was trying to capture. When I get ONE of those pictures, I post it to Flickr.

Every day, I see Jasmine doing cute stuff that I just can’t capture in a photo. Either the dog is too fast, I’m too slow, or it just isn’t one of those times that I have a camera at hand. She tilts her head and looks at me just so, or she rolls around the floor being a goofball…and I miss the shot. She’s happy and rompy and playful, and as soon as I reach for the camera, I become the ultimate buzzkill. She looks at me like I’m invading a private moment, and her “serious” face comes on. That’s why you haven’t seen a “smiling” dog picture of Jasmine. She doesn’t ham for the camera.

I feel like I’m the paparazzi pursuing the elusive Jasmine…waiting for that one moment that I can capture in perpetuity. Of course, hundreds of those moments are embedded in my heart, but I’d love to be able to share them with others. Roll over, Jasmine! Good dog! 🙂

Typical Jasmine Photo

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Jasmine, Cheese!

I thought I’d share my favorite Jasmine video with you. Jasmine is a cheese hound. When she knows there’s cheese, she comes running. You will also experience her “hooves of thunder” in this clip. She’s so darn cute. My husband asked me, “Why didn’t you give her the cheese after you called her?” I did. Off camera. 🙂

I tried using Flickr’s new (as of today) video service, but I’m having problems embedding the video into a WordPress blog entry. I think it’s because WordPress’ hosted service doesn’t like embedded scripts. Oh well, YouTube works too!

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Happy Puppy

I took an art class this past weekend which kept me out of the house for 10 hours each day. It was a really great class and I had a lot of fun.

What was even more fun was coming home. Jasmine spent both days hanging with my husband. They did a little more bonding–a good thing–but when I arrived, Jasmine was a joyful pup. She was jumping around, madly wagging her tail and “smiling.” My husband hasn’t had the chance to see much of this side of her since she tends to just eye him suspiciously with her shoulders hunched and her head down, and I was glad that he got a chance to see her in her happy mood.

He watched her frolicking around and looked at me and said, “Wow.” He went on to talk about how glad he was to see her so happy, and that it was remarkable since she came from such a horrible place.

Jasmine was a puppy mill breeder dog. Last week, Oprah aired a show on the blight of puppy mills. Lisa Ling went out with the head of the Main Line Animal Rescue organization with a hidden camera to a number of puppy mills in the Pennsylvania area. The conditions are horrible, the dogs live a miserable existence, and it’s all perfectly legal.

It breaks my heart to see what Jasmine has been through, but when I look at her now…well, I’m so happy that we made the decision to take in a rescued dog. No, she’ll probably never be a totally “normal” dog. But she will give us love and always be loved. And regardless of what she has been through in the past, Jasmine is a happy puppy. Watching her bask in the sun streaming through the window yesterday afternoon, wiggling her little butt here and there to “regulate” the amount of sun hitting her body, I know that we’ve given her the life and love she deserves and the wagging tail and smiling face are just little indicators of how far she’s come.

Jasmine enjoys the afternoon sun

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Will She Ever Get Over Her Fear?

Jasmine is still having fear issues with my husband (and men in general).  He feeds her breakfast and dinner, he takes her out every morning, he gives her treats (he’s the Treat Man), and he’d pet her forever if she’d let him.  He takes her for walks.  He does nothing to scare her except exist.

It’s so sad it’s sometimes funny.  Every night when we get ready for bed, she sits by my closet door and waits.  After we both are in bed, she runs over to his side of the bed, checks to make sure he’s there and not lurking in some shadowy doorway waiting to pounce on her, and then (and only then) she runs back to my side and hops into her little bed.  If he makes noise, she sits up to determine if there’s a threat.  She then finally settles down and goes to sleep.

We have been trying different ways to get her acclimated to my husband, but thus far, she’s still terribly skittish around him and will only approach him if I’m sitting right next to him or if he has a treat that’s too good to pass up (frozen yogurt, Simon & Huey’s soft training treats).  If he has a treat, she creeps up to him, then runs away, making a “lap” around the coffee table before approaching again.  Eventually, the lure of the treat gets to be too great, and she approaches gingerly, stretching her wiener-dog self oh so far to take the treat.  If it’s fro-yo, she’ll lap some up, do a lap, stretch again and repeat her ritual.  If it’s the Simon & Huey’s, she’ll snap up the tidbit and do a lap.  If I’m sitting next to him, she’ll sit as far from him as possible while still being within my reach.  She sometimes allows him to pet her, but she never climbs on him and she often runs away if he moves too quickly.

I’m so glad that my husband is a patient man.  It would have broken my heart to have this little dog be so afraid of me.

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