Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

Stress Transfer

I’m stressed out.  I’m facing packing 12 years worth of stuff into boxes and shipping it across country, remodeling my house and facing a whole new life back East.  In the last weeks, we’ve suffered setback after setback–from a freak ice storm in New Hampshire that KO’d some of our plumbing in our house to a very shaky real estate market to small things like a bad grout job (and subsequent re-grout job) on our bathroom floor.

All this stress, and all these changes, is having an impact on Jasmine.  Dogs are sensitive to our moods and feelings, and I know Jasmine can sense my unease.  She’s as sweet as ever, but since the routine has changed (Hubby’s office shut down for the holidays) and the packing has begun, she’s been a bit stressed as well.

We went out to run errands this afternoon, and when we returned, I had found that Jasmine had vomited on the carpet.  I’m not sure if it’s because she had a rawhide treat and it didn’t sit well or because she was as unbalanced and stressed as I am these days.  Things will get better, but it’s hard to tell a dog that.  We continue to snuggle with her whenever we can, but we’re just in a daze with all the work we have to do over the next month.  And I need to take time out to be with her and give her the attention that she needs–no matter how busy I am.

I can’t wait until this is all over and we’re settled again.

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A Quiet Christmas

This is the first year since Hubby and I were married that we didn’t travel back East for Christmas.  Since we’re moving soon, we decided to stay here and work on the house instead of spending the time and money to travel during this hectic time.

While it was nice not having to brave airports, bad weather and living out of a suitcase along with having to kennel Jasmine, it was hard not being around family this year.  We had a small gathering at our house and celebrated quietly and simply.  While it was nice, it was a little lonely.

Jasmine, however, was quite happy to have us here.  Well, that’s being presumptuous.  Jasmine’s Christmas was a leisurely morning in bed followed by a nice dinner complete with Honeybaked Ham scraps from the dinner table and a bag of candy cane-shaped rawhide chewies in her stocking–blissful but just another day in the life of our now pampered pooch.

Jasmine enjoys Christmas morning

Yummy candy cane rawhide bone!

Yummy candy cane rawhide bone!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Will She…Or Won’t She?

We’ve had a bit of rain lately, and when it rains, it’s difficult to say whether or not we will have an issue with Jasmine’s bathroom habits.  She hates the rain.  She hates sprinklers.  She hates wet pavement.  Well, if I had to walk barefoot in it, I would too!

She’s been relatively good except during the torrential downpours.  We’ve also been hit with unusually cold weather, so the surprise blast of arctic air in the morning is no happy circumstance for either of us (especially me in my robe and slippers).  There have been several mornings that I have called her to go out, had her come bounding down the hallway only to come to a screeching halt and do an about face when the cold air hit her.  She then “hides” in the corner and tries to be as small and unnoticeable as possible.  I have to pick her up to take her outside.

Once outside, it’s uncertain whether she WILL go.  The mornings are fairly easy, but during the day and evening…well, that’s another story.  Take tonight.  Hubby and I went out for dinner, and when we got home, I took her outside.  Of course, the new neighbor decided to come home at that very second, and you could hear the car doors open and slam closed right across the tall fence.  Jasmine was doing the circle/sniff/pace/sniff/circle/sniff pre-event ritual when her head and ears perked at the sound of the neighbor’s car door.  She then gave up the try and ran behind my legs.  I encouraged her to “do her business,” and she started the circle/sniff ritual again.  At that very second, the neighbor’s child decided to sing song “daddy daddy daddy” and made Jasmine practically jump out of her skin.

*sigh*  Inside we went.  I decided to try the front yard since the neighbors seemed to be putting something away in the back.  Of course, as soon as she was in serious sniff mode, they come back out front.  To add insult to injury, the dad had to call the kid over to look at the cute little dog.  I waved and fake-smiled and took Jasmine inside.  There would be no elimination event in the near future.

So, each day Jasmine keeps me guessing…will she…or won’t she?  More often than not, I guess right.  But sometimes Jasmine just gets performance anxiety due to uncontrollable forces (darn those leaf blowers) and I stand there in the cold, my hope flying away with each ticking moment.

And why does it always happen that when she is her most stubborn or frightened, *I* get a supreme case of “gotta go’s?”

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With Experience Comes Calm

Jasmine woke up early this morning–and of course, she woke us up with her tag-jingling, ear-flapping body shake.  However, instead of the usual next step–jumping up on the side of the bed to signal that she wanted to come up, she trotted out the bedroom door and down the hall.

I jumped out of bed, threw on a robe and immediately took her outside.  Experience told me that she was doing this because she HAD to go and there was no waiting.  And I was right.  Jasmine had a mild case of indigestion and loose stool.

This is the third time this has happened.  The first was bad–whipworm.  The second was nothing–just a bit of indigestion (and a $200 vet bill to prove it).  This time, well, let’s just say that we’re doing what we need to (bland diet of rice, cottage cheese, a tiny bit of wet food for flavor and some water) and watching her closely to ensure that she doesn’t get worse.  If she gets worse or  if she doesn’t get better in a few days, we’ll have her checked out, but the experiences I’ve had with her make me less inclined to panic and more inclined to just deal with her issues calmly.

Well, I guess that’s relative.  She leapt out of Hubby’s lap the other day and landed on her face.  Panic is a light term for how I reacted.  Of course, she got up, shook it off and feigned ignorance that she did a face plant in front of me (looking very silly in the process).  She looked at me like I was the one who embarrassed herself.

Dachshunds. *snort*


Couch Wars

It’s my own fault.  I know this.  But it still irks me.

Today, I had to go out to run errands.  I got out the door, started the car, and then remembered that I left something I needed in the house.  I turned off the car, went back in the front door…and I saw her.

A little head popped up above the top of the couch, ears perked, eyes bright.  Yes, the white damask couch with the down cushions and pillows and the 8-way-hand-tied-oak-frame.  My favorite piece of furniture.

Oh, that BAD BAD girl.  Jasmine was up on the couch in the very (warm) spot that I had been sitting in just a few minutes before.  I walked over to the front of the couch, gave her a low, growly NOOOOOOOOO and told her to get down.  She didn’t.  She looked at me feigning disinterest.  I picked her up, told her “down”, and put her down.  I then placed various “booby trap” and blocking items on the couch to keep her from climbing up again.  I picked up the item I had forgotten and then left.

But I didn’t leave.  I waited a minute and then went back inside.  I think she knew I had been lurking outside, because she was sitting on the carpet at the edge of the foyer and looking at me.  Hm…

I went out and ran my errands.  When I returned she was NOT on the couch, but a couple of the “booby traps” (magazines) were askew on the floor.  She had obviously tried to climb up on the couch and had dislodged them.

So begin the Couch Wars.

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My First Dachshund Encounter

This is a little off the topic of Jasmine, but I wanted to share how I was first introduced to Dachshunds.  They’ve been my favorite dogs since childhood simply because of one funny little encounter–I’ve loved these little dogs ever since.

When I was around six years old, my parents took my brother and I over to visit one of their friends–a grand lady with a grand house.  This lady had two little doxies–both smooth reds–who were cute, sweet and very friendly.  I think what I liked about these dogs, besides the fact that they were so cute, was that they were smaller than me.

Our previous dog–a german short-haired pointer named Sukoshi was a huge, lumbering bundle of love.  While Sukoshi (which means “a little” in Japanese…a play on words for this dog) was my protector and a loyal family member, he couldn’t come with us when we emigrated to California from Okinawa, Japan.  So while I was familiar with dogs (including little rat dogs that were owned by friends of ours back in Okinawa), the dachshunds were a bit of a wonder to me when I met them.

Their wagging tails, their floppy ears, their cute little trot and gait, their unabashed desire for pets and treats–oh, I was in love.  I frankly don’t remember much from that period except for strong memories of events that really made an impression, and these dogs were burned into my memory and my heart.

The grand lady gave my brother and I dog biscuits to give to the dachshunds.  We had never seen Milk-Bones before in our lives, so we thought these cute cookies were for us.  As the dachshunds clamored for the treats around us, my brother and I ate them.  Boy, were they crunchy.  And boy, were the dachshunds NOT amused.  “Hey Mom, those munchkins ate OUR treats!”

That was my first dachshund encounter.  And look at where it has taken me (as I type over the dacshund happily sleeping in my lap).  Those dogs made such an impression that Jasmine is here with me today.  And just like those first dachshunds, I love her wagging tail, floppy ears, cute little trot and gain and unabashed desire for pets and treats.  At least these days, I don’t eat the Milk-Bones.  At least not in Jasmine’s presence! ;-D

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Jasmine has a very distinct snuffle that she uses to convey her mood…um…her disdain.

If Hubby is impinging upon her territory, not providing her with proper scratchies, snuggling with me and not with her, eyeing her in the wrong way, not sitting in his chair where he belongs, holding onto a treat too long, standing in between her and her food bowl, looking at her too long, breathing too heavily…out comes the snuffleupagus.  Snort.

If she could toe-tap, she would.  Her innate ability to convey her annoyance through that snort is just priceless.  She rarely does it to me, but when she does, she generally is trying to convey a bit of impatience…mom, will you pleeeease get me that bone?

In human terms, her snorts are like our tired and irritated sighs.  But her ability to pull it off at the optimal moment…she must have a very good sense of self and of us to have such magic timing.

It never fails to amuse us.  Which probably pisses her off even more.  😉


Jasmine the Whiner

First of all, I really like the fact that Jasmine doesn’t bark.  I’ve experienced excessively barky dogs.  In fact, our new neighbor next door has one.  It scared Jasmine while we were outside…I ignored it and encouraged Jasmine to “go.”  Thankfully, she did.

Instead of being barky, Jasmine whines.  Really really really softly.  It’s kind of cute and (on occasion) annoying at the same time.  She whines and does the “pounce and run” when she wants up on my lap.  She whines when we’re out for one of her favorite activities–going for a car ride.  In that case, I think she wants my attention WHILE she’s enjoying the ride.  Sorry Jazzy, I can’t do that and drive safely.  She whines when she wants something and is trying to convince me to do whatever it is she wants.  I generally have to guess what it is based upon the time of day.  I never quite know if I got it right, but regardless of whether I did–or not–my actions generally provide her with an action that is pleasurable.

I know I’m reinforcing a bad habit–whining.  It could get annoying, and then I won’t be able to get her to stop.  However, she doesn’t ask for much and is not entirely communicative, so I’m encouraging her to TELL ME when she wants something.  Sometimes she gets it (lap time) and sometimes she doesn’t.  But at least she’s communicating with me.  I like that.

Now if I could only get her to whine and paw when she needs to go out.  I never did get her targeting and ringing the bell.  However, I DID get her to recognize the bell as the “go outside” noise when she’s half a house away.

Progress.  Baby steps sometimes, but we’re always moving forward.

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The Craft Fair

My husband and I had tables to sell our handcrafted items at his company’s holiday craft fair today.  I didn’t want to leave Jasmine at home alone all day, so I decided to take her with me.  I could leave  her in his office while we manned the tables and sold our items (I make jewelry and gift items and my husband makes turned bowls and vases).

I brought Jasmine in along with her “doggie bag.”  I have a little red quilted bag with a water bowl, a bottle of water, poop bags, a towel, an extra leash, treats, baby wipes and enzyme cleaner that I take with me when we go out anywhere–just like a diaper bag for a baby.  That with her paw-print fleece pillow from the car, and we were in business!  We arrived at hubby’s office and she paced around nervously.  He has a real office–rare these days in Silicon Valley’s land of a thousand cubicles–so we were able to lock the door and keep her there undisturbed.

We set up for the show and I went up to check on her and give her a bathroom break.  After the break, I brought her into the craft fair.  My lovely little markeing ploy!  Every person who walked our aisle stopped to say hello to Jasmine–thus giving them time to look at our items.  While I think she was a little stressed, she sat in my lap and took it all in–she even put her head down on the table while she was watching people pass by.

I kept her there for about 30 minutes and then took her back up to the office.  It was another great opportunity to socialize her, and she did a great job!

I was a little peeved, however, at the clueless idiot that came up behind me, hovered over Jasmine and stuck her hand in Jasmine’s face trying to pet her aggressively.  She started spouting about how she has two dogs blah blah blah and cooing loudly at Jasmine with as much calm, gentle behavior as a tackle going after a quarterback during the Super Bowl.  I blocked her hand and told her that Jasmine was skittish.  She didn’t take the hint, so I ignored her and not-so-subtly shielded Jasmine from her with my body.  She finally went away.

I guess that her owning two dogs has taught her NOTHING about how to approach dogs.  If Jasmine had been even a wee bit aggressive, that woman might have one less finger.  GRRRRRRRRR.  I’m so proud of my little pup!

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Raised Expectations

Last week, I was flat on my back with a slightly herniated disc.  I could stand or lie down, but sitting upright was pretty painful.  I stayed prone for most of the week and took lots of ibuprofen to decrease the inflammation.

What that meant for Jasmine was six days of snuggling with me on the bed.  I had a bed caddy to place my laptop on so I could continue working, but she was able to sneak onto my lap at times with her head under the caddy.  She’d also sleep beside me in pure bliss.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have let her hang out with me all day like that.  I should have let her up for some period, then put her back down in her own bed.  Why didn’t I?  Because I had to be ultra careful picking her up and putting her down or I’d make my back injury worse.  And because it was nice having a warm, snuggly dog next to me.

The aftermath of all this is that Jasmine is now pushing to spend much more time on my lap.  We’ve gone back to our usual routine.  When I’m working, I’m usually on my laptop on the couch.  She now does this (cute) little whine/yelp with a slight sit-hop (butt still on the ground, front paws go up) to signify her displeasure of not being welded onto my lap.  She has also jumped up onto the couch twice–and has been immediately been sent back down.

I’m not letting her get her way, but she still has lap time with me when *I* say it’s lap time.  However, the whole experience last week has certainly raised her expectations…she really liked the all-day snuggles and pets.  That she’s being a bit more vocal about what she wants…well, it’s a good thing and a bad thing.  I like that she’s asking for affection, but I want to ensure that I’m still in a leading position.

Of course, that yelp/jump is pretty darn cute.  I’ll have to make her do a few tricks and then give her some lap time when she does ask for it.

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