Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Dog Food For Thought

The Whole Dog Journal publishes their list of approved canned and dry dog foods every year.  January’s issue covered canned foods and February’s issue, which came in the mail yesterday, covers dry.  Jasmine’s core foods–Innova Adult Formula (small bites kibble) and California Natural Chicken & Rice (canned) are both blessed by the WDJ.

The criteria they use are simple:

  • High-quality animal protein should be at the top of the ingredients list (and should be at least the first two ingredients in the food since ingredients are listed in order of weight)
  • Use of whole foods (vegetables, fruits, grains)
  • Locally sourced organic ingredients

You should be wary of products that contain:

  • Meat/poultry by-products
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Added sweeteners
  • Artificial colors

Jasmine’s foods meet all these criteria as well as the WJD’s newest–that the companies disclose their manufacturers.  This is especially important since the Melamine debacle.  Natura Pet Products, the maker of Innova, California Natural, Evo, Karma and Healthwise brand foods, has very distinct manufacturirng quality criteria including the new criteria that NONE of their products contain ANY ingredients from China.

One of the surprising recommendations that WJD makes is that you regularly switch your dog to a different food.  Their argument is that a single type of food may have more (or less) of the nutrients that your dog needs, and if you only feed one type/brand of food throughout the dog’s life, he/she may get too much or not enough of vital nturients.  They also recommend that when you do change the dog’s food, do so gradually to avoid digestive problems.

I like The Whole Dog Journal in general.  It’s a nice, no-nonsense publication about the healthy life of our canines.  It’s all substance, no fluff (well, except for selling their own pubs).  I highly recommend the newsletter.

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Morning Bonding Time

As things become more crazed around here, I’ve been giving Jasmine some attention every morning.  She comes up on the bed to snuggle and sleep for an hour or so (depending on when she awakens and asks for “up” time).  When I get up, I greet her with a happy “good morning” and she gets up, stretches, wags her tail and bulldozes her face in the blankets.  I give her body rubs and her tail goes faster.  I then put her down on the floor, let her outside and fix breakfast for us both.

As I eat (she’s faster than I am), I give her bits of my apple.  Yes, I know I shouldn’t feed her while I’m eating…but she doesn’t beg.  And apples are good for her.  Yeah.  That’s it!

After I finish breakfast, I usually check email.  I bring Jasmine up on my lap and she snoozes as I read, click and type.  I got up to go get another cup of coffee this morning, and when I returned, I found that Jasmine jumped up on the chair to take advantage of the warm spot I left.  Hm…does she love me or does she love my body heat?  When we’re in bed, she always snuggles close to Hubby.  He’s the “Human Heater,” so I’m guessing that his body heat is much more attractive than mine…AND he’s the scratchie King…he’ll give Jasmine scratchies for hours if she’ll let him.  Ooops…I am rambling again.

Our current morning routine gives Jasmine a little normalcy before I turn into a whirling, packing dervish.  These next few weeks are going to be pretty taxing on us all, and we all need a little “normal” to stay sane.  And I do readily admit that mornings help me as well.  Warm puppy on the lap…oh, how nice!

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Cat!

Jasmine ignores cats.  When we’re in the back yard, the feral cats sometimes run across the yard or over the top of the fence, and Jasmine acts as if they don’t exist.  I found three feral kittens back there last year, and she was not in the least bit curious about them.  That changed yesterday.

Jasmine was sitting on the bed as I was working in the bedroom.  All of a sudden, I heard a sharp bark.  My head whipped around and I looked at her intently.  Her ears were up, but she was still laying down, seemingly relaxed.  I turned away and started working again when I heard a couple more barks.  I went to the window, and right outside the slider (but previously out of my line of sight) were two cats…er…making baby cats.

Cats!  Jasmine barked at the cats!  She didn’t like the cats! She barked!

I guess I shouldn’t get so excited about the barking, but I am.  It surprises me that she continues to make progress–even after 1.5 years of being with us.

Right now, she’s on my lap, her nose tucked into the folds of my robe as I type and sip my morning coffee.  What could be more normal than that?

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Bark!

Jasmine is getting much more assertive about what she wants.  With all the hullaballoo around here, I’ve been taking her up on my lap on the couch each time I take a break.  Yesterday, as I finished dinner, Jasmine ran up to me with a happy face and wagging tail.  She did her front hop/pup-squeak, and I knew she wanted to “come up.”  Well, I was eating and I wasn’t about to bring her up.

She did a lap or two around the coffee table as I finished my food and then came back.  This time she actually barked a little bark when she did her front hop.  Now, Jasmine just doesn’t bark.  I often forget that she can.  I asked her if she wanted to come up, and she did her little happy dance.  I brought her up.

Ooops.  Did I just teach Jasmine to bark?  I hope not.  I like a quiet pup.  But I also like the fact that she’s communicating what she wants.

Notice the little pup-squeak.  Oh so cute!

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Jasmine Celebrates Inauguration Day

Thanks to Photojojo.com, I found this little Obamicon.me site to create your own Obama-style poster.  In celebration of the inauguration of our 44th president, here are Jasmine’s posters:

My Little Wiener Dog

My Little Wiener Dog

Get Doggy!

Get Doggy!

Have a great day, everyone!

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Dog Underfoot

Packing.  It’s one of the most unpleasant experiences.  Boxing up all the stuff you’ve accumulated…well, MOST of the stuff you’ve accumulated (that’s what the giant dumpster in the driveway is for) is an exhausting task.  Having a tiny dog shadowing you makes it all the more difficult.

Jasmine is my shadow.  Wherever I go, she wants to be.  As I’m bending, wrapping and boxing, it’s been increasingly difficult to avoid backing into her or stepping on her.  Jasmine is a “stealth dog”–she just doesn’t make any noise (except for the little yelp when I’ve mistakenly stepped on her paw).  I’ve been ultra careful about keeping her at bay and not tripping over her, but it’s been tough.  I know she just wants to be near me. but I wish she could go into t he other room and just relax.  It’s not in the cards, so I keep up the chatter and give her lots of pets.

The constant movement has been tough on her.  Instead of settling into her comfy pillow while I work on the computer, I’ve been very busy for the last two weeks.  Jasmine has been in constant movement as well.  I feel bad that she can’t laze around like she’s accustomed to…oh my poor (spoiled) pooch.  When I take a break, I usually bring her up on my lap.  She immediately curls up and takes a dog nap.  I’m usually back up and working about 20 minutes later, and she reluctantly follows.  At night, she drops off into a deep (snoring) sleep as soon as she hits the bed.

In a few more weeks, things will change again when all these boxes and furniture are gone.  What will she hide behind then?

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Little Rest For The Worried

I’ve been busy this week with sorting through my art studio.  I’ve been deciding what to take with me and what to give away.  Giving away stuff is harder than it seems, and giving away art supplies has been stressful.  First, plowing through 10 years of supplies has been very labor intensive and time consuming.  Finding the right people to take them (I’ve donated my excess supplies to classroom teachers) has been even more taxing.

The process has also been taxing on Jasmine.  We have had “strangers” in the house every day this week–often more than one at a time.  Jasmine has been everything from worried to extremely nervous.  She has been watching from afar, sneaking closer, and just as we discover her presence, she has been bounding away–just to start all over again.  There have been people she has distinctly been uncomfortable with.  When these people have been in the house, she has found a box to hide behind or a corner to snuggle up to.  I don’t know if she was picking up on my stress or if she had felt the same vibe I felt…some of these people just rubbed me the wrong way.

Throughout the day, she has had little rest.  When people have been visiting, she has been constantly on the move–shucking, darting, sneaking around, peeking around corners, running away, running back–all the time, looking as cute as can be.  I’ve tried to help calm her when these people are around, but she won’t relax unless we’re alone and I’m sitting down.  So, sorting and packing has been tough on her, but she’s getting a ton of exercise (as am I) and she’s getting used to people coming in and out of the house.  With Hubby’s large family, she’s going to need those skills in the future.

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Little Climber

When I take a shower, Jasmine does one of two things–she lays down on my robe (which I lay on the floor for that purpose) or she paces around the shower door and occaisionally taps on the door (“Aren’t you done YET?).

The other morning, instead of placing my robe on the floor, I piled it with a bunch of clothes on the bed.  I went and took a shower, and when I got out, this is what I saw:

Jasmine scaled the mountain of clothes and pillows and made it to the top

Jasmine scaled the mountain of clothes and pillows and made it to the top

Jasmine has never climbed onto the bed alone before.  Apparently, she was so motivated to lay on my clothes that she scaled an accent pillow on the floor which allowed her to climb up onto the cedar chest and onto the bed.

Instead of admonishing her, I grabbed the camera (of course).  I called hubby, and he was suitably impressed.  I guess we shouldn’t be so amazed that she can figure out how to get what she wants.  Dachshunds are good at that!

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Getting A Little Closer

Last night, we were mighty pooped from all the work going on, so we went to bed early and caught up on some shows on the DVR.  For Jasmine, that meant plenty more time to snuggle with us before she was put into her bed.

Like most dachshunds, Jasmine loves being on the big bed with us.  I’ve kept the “dogs don’t sleep with us” rule, but have allowed her snuggle time both at night and in the morning.  During these snuggle times, she gets pets and scratchies from both of us.  However, in the last few weeks, she’s been spending more and more time “exploring” Hubby’s side of the bed.  She now sniffs his face and occasionally gives him kisses.  Her being face to face with him without him towering over her has helped her a bit with her fear of him.  His being home for two weeks during the holidays also helped.

Well, last night was another milestone.  She usually accepts pets from him for a bit, and then comes over to me and snuggles up next to me to go to sleep.  Last night, instead of leaving him and coming to me, she curled up in a ball next to him.  He put his arm around her and snuggled with her.  She wasn’t frightened and for the first time, she allowed him to just leave his arm on her without getting nudgy.

Of course, this morning when he was getting ready for work, she skitted under the bed to hide.  But that little step forward is another indication of her further acceptance of him.  It made me so happy to see them snuggling together…I hope there are many more nights like that.

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Kibble Eater

Since we got Jasmine, we’ve been feeding her kibble mixed with some wet food and water.  When we first got her, she refused to eat dry kibble.  She would sniff it and walk away.  She would have nothing to do with it unless we mixed some yummy wet food in with the dry.  Oh, my pampered pooch.  We then started mixing in about 1/2 cup of water in with the wet to make a gravy and to give her plenty of hydration.  Jasmine doesn’t seem to drink much water, and we were worried that she was not getting enough to stay healthy.

Well, tonight I found out that I’ve been played.  Now, that probably doesn’t surprise any of you Dachshund owners out there to find out that a 10-pound hound has manipulated her way into gourmet food.  However, it might surprise you to know that she allowed me to SEE that I’ve been played.

When I was fixing her dinner tonight, I was thinking of the 18 things I have to do this week.  I put her wet food/water mixture into the microwave (15 seconds takes the chill out of the refrigerated wet food…YES…I KNOW…I KNOW…).  In my preoccupation, I put down her dish with the dry kibble in it instead of waiting until the wet food was mixed in.  To my surprise, Jasmine jumped on it and started crunching away.

Dry kibble!  She’s eating dry kibble.  Waitaminute.  She’s eating dry kibble!

All this time, I thought she poo-poo’d dry kibble.  As she crunched away, everything became clear.  I’d been played.

So what did I do?  I poured the water/wet food mixture in her bowl and she happily lapped away.  Everything is as it should be.

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