Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Tell Me What You Want

Jasmine was getting much more vocal before her injury.  When she wanted something, she was starting to squeak and woof at me.  It was great to see her beginning to communicate with me, and I was thrilled.

While I thought her crate rest would hamper her communication, it has in fact reinforced it.  She has woken me up at 4:00 a.m. with a small but distinct whine, and I’ve immediately responded by taking her outside.  One time, she barely made it out the door before she went.  She has also woofed at me when I’ve given her “crate breaks” for meals or a little petting.  The woof has told me that she needs her outside break as well…and I’ve been right.  I’ve wished in the past that Jasmine would communicate her needs, and she’s finally doing it.  Of course, all of it is up to my interpretation.  She might be saying, “Woof–I want lap time” and I interpret it as “Woof–I wanna go outside;” then when we get out there, she goes out of habit.

The crate rest hasn’t been fun, but it’s now part of her daily routine.  We’re thankfully halfway there, and I think she’s going to be just fine–just in time for our cross-country odyssey.  Now THAT will be an adventure!

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Crate Rest is Hard

Jasmine is feeling better.  MUCH better.  Much better as in, “Why are you putting me in jail, Mom?  What did I do wrong?”

Hubby decided that Jasmine should be out with him.  So he let her out and laid on the floor with her for an hour giving her scratchies.  Of course, he had to get up to go use the bathroom, and when he got back, Jasmine had jumped into the leather chair.  And of course, when he went to get her down, she jumped off of it onto the floor.

Props to him for even admitting this to me…I was a bit peeved.  But the point is that we have to watch her like a hawk.  We have been letting her out for potty breaks, meals and a tiny bit of “love” time, but in general, she’s been in the crate for about 23 hours a day.  The vet told us to stop the meds (to prevent irritation, kidney and/or liver problems with long-term use of the anti-inflammatory).  So, she’s now drug free and pain free.  The next weeks of rest should assure that her recovery is not short-lived.

It breaks my heart to have to crate her.  She doesn’t like it (well, except when she wants a nap, and then the warm fluffy blanket makes te crate her favorite place).  Mostly, she doesn’t like NOT being next to us or on us.  She craves that physical connection with us.  As do I.  Jasmine is such a love and such a joy to be around.  I love seeing her happy, and even though I know this is the best think for her, it’s SO hard to do what’s best.

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Two Weeks of Crate Rest

It has now been two weeks since Jasmine’s back injury, and I’m happy to report that she’s better.  I picked Jasmine up from the kennel yesterday, and it was all I could do to keep her from jumping and re-injuring herself.  She was so happy to see me…it was so nice to be greeted with such unbridled joy.  She cried all the way home.  I had to coo and calm her the entire time so she would keep from wriggling and moving around too much.

She is back to her old self.  She is squatting as she does her business, she seems to have lots of energy, and she has her spirit back.  Of course, it could be the “honeymoon” period of being home–when that wears off, she generally rebels a little to let us know that she DOES remember that we left her.  However, the “back to the crate” routine hasn’t been a rousing success.  She’s less inclined to desire to spend her time there.  Before we left, she was on pain killers, and that tended to put her out.  She’s now whining a bit to “pretend” to need to go outside to get let out.  Of course, she had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. this morning to go out (not pretending), and it was tremendously hard for me to crawl out of bed and do it, especially with this cold/flu that I picked up during  our trip.  Hubby and I are both fairly ill and slogging it out as we go through the pain of remodeling our house.  Oy.

I’m still going to continue the crate rest until she’s fully recovered.  I have to speak to the vet about tapering her off her meds (she’s still on anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants) given her more positive disposition.  I want her to be pain-free, but I also want her to be able to let her body do the healing.  She’s off to a great start, and kenneling her was actually good for her (she was on strict crate rest at the kennel except for bathroom breaks). I just have to remember that feeling good to her can push her towards behavior that could cause further damage.  This is probably the most dangerous time for her…she’s feeling better, but her back isn’t completely healed.  I have to keep telling myself that…it’s SO tempting to give her a little more lee-way and let her romp and play as she’d like.

While she’s not thrilled with the crate, it’s what’s best for her right now.  I know that, and I *am* the adult here. 😉

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Jasmine’s Herniated Disc: Day 5

In just a few days, I’ve learned a lot about Canine Intervertebral Disc Disorder, or IVDD for short.  I’ve learned that we are lucky, and that Jasmine has a good chance of full recovery.  I’ve learned that the there are primarily two courses of treatment–medically and surgically, and we’re taking the more conservative (medical) approach due to the lower severity of her injury (drugs and rest).

Jasmine is doing okay, but she’s certainly not the bounding happy pup that we know.  While she can walk, she’s a bit limpy on her bad hind leg.  She is unable to squat to eliminate, but has figured out that she can walk and do her business.  I’ve been following the advice I’ve received and making sure that she doesn’t move around much and is helped to/from her bathroom spot.

On the advice of the kind people who contacted me after my last post, I joined a Yahoo Group called Dodger’s List.  It’s a list for dog owners (mostly dachshund owners, but not exclusively) that have dogs with IVDD.  Right off, they give you their “tried and true” advice on how to deal with IVDD.  They also provide support, answer questions and give you hope for your dog.  They asked me questions about Jasmine’s care and provided some useful insight into her meds–particularly the anti-inflamatory (Metacam) and its side effects.  Because of them, I now have Jasmine on a course of preventative medication (acid reducer) to ensure that she doesn’t develop stomach issues from the medications.

I know that this is going to take some time to heal.  She has been fairly unhappy about the crate confinement.  However, she has been letting me know when she needs to go out (unlike before) using her recently-discovered voice.  While it was not amusing to have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to let her out, I was still very happy that she let me know…another step forward.  This sly little dog has also learned that the little “gotta go” whimper is also a great way to get out of the crate for scratchies (under the guise of needing to go out).  Smart little thing.  She’s eating well–a good sign that she’s not in so much pain that she can’t eat.

Thank you all for your concern and kindness.  I’m kind of going nuts with worry right now especially since we had to board her this afternoon in preparation for our move-in at the house in New Hampshire.  If there was any way that I could have avoided boarding her, I would have.  They have strict instructions to give her strict crate rest except for bathroom and ice cream breaks.  I’m hoping that her favorite blanket and the ice cream give her a little comfort and happiness while we are away and that she’ll just sleep and be well until we return.

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Intervertebral Disc Disorder

Jasmine has joined the club of approximately 25% of dachshunds that develop spinal problems–specifically Canine Intervertebral Disc Disorder.  Luckily, she has a mild case and should recover fully.  However, she will always be prone to back issues and we have to be much more vigilant about maintaining her back health.

Yesterday was our move out day.  From 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the movers were here wrapping, lugging and loading the semi truck to take our sum total of belongings to New Hampshire.  We had Jasmine confined to the bedroom so she wouldn’t get underfoot and squished.  After the movers left, we took a walk down to Starbucks, had some coffee and walked back.  On the walk back, Jasmine was unusually sluggish.  When she knows she’s going home, she usually picks up the pace and practially trots home.  At every corner, instead of sitting as she usually does, she just stood.  We had to tell her to sit at every instance, and she did so reluctantly.  After we returned home, she climbed up into my lap but was increasingly agigtated.  She couldn’t get comfortable.  I tried to put her down on the floor and she squealed in pain.

I put her down, and she climbed into her bed.   I thought I had bent a paw or held her wrong when putting her down, thus causing some discomfort.  She seemed okay after that.  Hubby and I went and got some dinner, and when we returned, we got a lukewarm reception from Jasmine.  Instead of bounding out to greet us, she slowly sauntered toward us.  I knew something was wrong.  I gave her a few pets, and her hind quarters siezed up and her tail curled into a pigtail.  I knew something was really wrong.

We fed her dinner, and she lopped it up.  No loss of appetite.  Good.  However, when I tried to pick her up, she yelped in pain again.  And when I took her out to do her business, she couldn’t squat.  Oh no.  I put her into her bed and sent my hubby out for some baby asprin to ease her pain.  We gave her the asprin, but after an hour or so, she seemed to be more agitated and uncomforable.  I called the on-call vet at the clinic, and he told me that I could try to hold out and wait until morning to see them or if she was uncomforable, we could go to the emergency clinic.

I waited for another hour to see if she would settle down, but she seemed to be more uncomfortable.  We bundled her up and took her to the emergency clinic.  The vet was nice, but he wanted to run a slew of tests; I wanted some meds to make her comfortable for the night so we could get her to our regular vet in the morning.  He complied.

Getting her to take the meds, well, that was near impossible.  She wouldn’t take it in cheese, squeezy cheese or in a soft training treat.  I gave up after 30 minutes of trying to disguise it.  She did settle down though enough to get to sleep, so we left it to the morning.

She was up early, and immediately thought of giving her the meds in a chunk of wet food (I guess my brain had addled enough last night that it didn’t occur to me).  I did and I was successful.  She took the meds, ate her breakfast and was much peppier in about an hour.  The meds were doing their job.  The clinic called me first thing in the morning, so I took her in.

Her x-ray looked good–no narrowing of spaces between her vertabrae.  The vet was hopeful that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, coupled with some muscle relaxants and pain meds would help her relax enough to let the back heal.  Unfortunately, we’re leaving on Wednesday to meet the moving van.  We’ve booked her to kennel at a veterinary clinic so she can get emergency care on site if necessary, but I still don’t feel good about it.  I’m just glad that it wasn’t worse–there was no paralysis or loss of control and all her neurological signs were positive.

She’s resting in her crate where she’ll spend the next few days.  Right next to me, of course.

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Are You Talkin’ to Me?

Rooo-mau-mau.  Oooh-rooo?  Mau-mau-mau.  Roof!

That is Jasmine talking to me.  Since she started equating vocalizations with me putting her in my lap, she’s become much more vocal.  The little barks have turned into more roooo-mau-mau sounds that  are just too precious for words.

Hubby used to try to describe the sounds she’d make to him (and only him) when she was fed up by his escorting her outside for her “business” and was ready to go inside.   She used to make a noise at him to signify her displeasure at being held captive by him.  He’d try to describe the noise, but I just thought she was whining.  Nope.

When I’m in the leather chair in front of the computer stand and she isn’t in my lap, she does a few hops for attention.  Since she’s usually behind me when she does that hop (in her bed), she has figured out that some sounds make me look over and take notice.  It started with a bark the other day.  I wanted to discourage the barking, so I ignored it that last couple of times she tried it.  It has now evolved into the “mom pay attention please” mau-roo sound.  I couldn’t ignore that sound.  It was pretty darn funny.

Oh man, she’s so cute.  And she knows it.  And she knows that I think she’s too cute for words.  Ruh roh.

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The Fun in Everything

Do you know what I love about dogs and children?  They can find the fun in anything.  Leave a kid in a room with a shoe box, and suddenly it’s a pirate ship.  And leave a dog in a room of boxes, and suddenly it’s a maze–to navigate, to hide in, to climb on.

I haven’t been Ms. Fun lately.  I haven’t had much time to cuddle and play with Jasmine.  And on the one occasion where she was just fed up with me, she let me know it by pointedly “going” in the house, right in front of me.  NOT fun, but I got the message.

Jasmine has been faithfully following me everywhere as I have been running around the house and packing like a madwoman.  Occasionally, Jasmine will simply disappear.  I call her and call her and…nothing.  Sometimes I’ll suddenly hear her tags jingling and she comes running through the maze of boxes.  But I have also had to go looking for her (she’s a stealth dog who makes little noise), and she’ll be wedged between boxes somewhere, sitting or laying peacefully and looking at me expectantly, “Well, what took you so long?”  I have now taken to calling “Jasmine, Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!” when I’ve been looking for her.

She also loves running through the living room maze when we’re going from one side of the house to another.  Instead of just running down the hall, she diverts through the living room, stops, looks at me and then tears around the coffee table after me.

Jasmine helps me find the fun in everything.  With her, it’s not hard to find.

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