Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

She’s Gone

I know I haven’t written on the blog in some time. I guess I should have, because then you could learn more about the aging process. Looking back, I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since Jasmine starting showing signs of age and decline. And on Friday, February 16, 2018, we made the terrible and loving decision to put Jasmine to sleep.

Jasmine the Dachshund

One of my favorite pictures of Jasmine

When we first adopted Jasmine, my husband Tom suggested I get the youngest of the rescued Dachshunds so I’d have a better chance for a longer time with the dog. I remember he said, “I know how attached you’ll get.” What he didn’t bargain for was how deeply attached he was to this love of a dog. We are both devastated. But Jasmine was “my” girl…we had a special bond from the very beginning. When she finally trusted me, which really didn’t take too long, she was my shadow. All she wanted was to be with me. That sounds a bit egocentric, but it’s true. I was her sun and moon. And she…she was mine.

As I started to detail in the post The Sadness of Aging: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, Jasmine has been showing her age. Jasmine was incontinent, and she also started wandering around the house, sniffing and pacing, more and more often. She had times where she would stare off into space, with a vacant look on her face that I had not seen before. She started banging into things as well, so we knew that she was losing her eyesight. It was sad, but she managed well and still was a happy dog. She had her routine. She had us.

Last August, we moved. We downsized our house to a one-story house with a lovely deck and yard. We now had a walkable neighborhood. It was a good choice for us, but it took Jasmine some time to adjust. By this time, she was completely blind, and all the new smells, the new layout and the chaos of packing and moving…it was a lot for her. However, over the last six months, Jasmine had adjusted well to the new house. She found her way around. I made sachets and put some scents in different areas—in the kitchen, near the water dish, near the couch—so she could better find her way around. While the Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) was getting worse (she was wandering more, her incontinence was getting worse), it was still relatively easy to manage. She was with me every day, and she loved her routine.

A couple of months ago, Jasmine started to drink water excessively and to urinate more. Her incontinence got significantly worse—she was wetting the pads up to three times a day. We found a local vet and took her in for tests. She had a UTI, but worse, her blood tests suggested she had Cushing’s Syndrome. The Vet suggested we clear up the UTI and then put together a diagnostic plan.

Jasmine had finished the antibiotics for her UTI. She seemed fine. She had two bouts of loose stools, but nothing else. Her incontinence was bad. We had to do one or two loads of laundry every day, washing incontinence pads and blankets from overnight, during the day, and in the evening. But again, this was more inconvenience than a huge issue. We knew we were moving forward with diagnostics and a treatment plan.

Then, it happened. I went out of town to visit a friend, and a day later, Jasmine was greatly lethargic. She was barely eating. Tom took her to the Vet on Monday morning, but they didn’t have anyone ‘in’ that morning. Seriously? They referred us to another Vet, and Tom took her there. She had a raging 105-degree fever. The Vet put her on an IV, gave her IV antibiotics and that reduced her fever. But she was lethargic and wouldn’t eat. Blood tests and an x-ray didn’t show anything diagnostic. The Vet suggested we take her to a 24-hour emergency clinic so she could get round-the-clock care. Tom took her down immediately. In the mean time, her fever had spiked again, she had black diarrhea, and was listless.

She was so sick…so tired

I was able to hustle home the next day, and Tom picked me up from the airport. We went to the emergency clinic so I could see Jasmine. She was ‘better’ according to Tom, but what I saw was an emaciated Jasmine who barely sat up. I held her and she fell asleep in my arms. She did take treats from my hand—a great sign. Her fever was down, and she was improving. She was scheduled to have an ultrasound the next day to see if they could determine the cause of her infection.

The ultrasound could not pinpoint the cause of her infection, but it did show clear signs of Cushing’s Syndrome. She had a highly enlarged Adrenal gland. The doctor guessed that her Cushing’s was caused by a Pituitary tumor, and given her other symptoms, he hypothesized that the tumor could be invading her brain. She’d need an MRI to confirm the diagnosis and to develop a treatment plan, but he thought a potential course of action would be radiation treatments.

However, he still could not explain her infection and black stool (an indication of blood in her upper GI tract). He said she was well enough to go home since she was eating a bit and her fever was down. So, we took her home. The next day, Thursday, she ate a little, drank some water and mostly slept. She still had black stools. She also was alert for a short while. She didn’t seem to have a fever. But there was no improvement.

Friday, she was worse. She was refusing water. She wouldn’t eat. It was a struggle to get her meds down. She wouldn’t take treats. She was barely awake. She didn’t respond to touch, to my voice.

We called the emergency clinic, but they wouldn’t allow us to talk to any Vets without coming in for a ‘recheck.’ We had just paid them over $1600 for 48 hours of care. I was disgusted. We called the other Vet who had taken Jasmine on with no hesitation. The emergency clinic had already transmitted her records back to the Vet, so she went over them and told us, honestly, that even if we took extraordinary measures to get Jasmine over this infection, her prognosis wasn’t good. The test results indicated the Pituitary tumor, and with the totality of her symptoms over these last months, it was a probability that the tumor had invaded her brain.

The Vet said that while we could take measures to extend her life, we also had the choice to humanely end her life. And I told her that we didn’t want Jasmine to suffer. So we brought her into the office an hour later.

The Vet and the techs were supremely kind and careful. They sedated Jasmine so she didn’t feel anything. Jasmine slept peacefully through it all. I cradled her and whispered to her the entire time. I told her what a good girl she was and how much I loved her. And then she was gone.

Yesterday, we got a card from the Vet with her paw print. Today, we went over to pick up her ashes. I’m numb. I keep looking over to where she always cuddled up on the couch, burrowed in her blanket. I look down and think of her little face, excitedly awaiting her “Good Girl” treats. I listen for the tick-tick-tick of her nails on the hardwood floor. I look around to find her. And she’s gone.

Jasmine was with me for over a decade. She brought me joy every day. She connected with me and touched me like no other.

She was mine and I was hers. And she’s gone.

Jasmine

Run free, my little love

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Belfast Wienerfest

This weekend, we attended the 10th annual Belfast Wienerfest in Belfast, Maine. When we vacationed in the area last year, we happened upon this little-known event an had a ball! Wienerfest is a celebration of all things Dachshund. Doxies of all shapes, sizes and colors congregate, and it becomes one big bark-fest! The event includes a parade, costume contest, wiener dog races and vendors! Last year, we had ‘store bought’ costumes (the girls were the ultimate New England sports fans). This year, I went all out and made them costumes! While the weather wasn’t the best, it still was a fabulous event! There was a professional photographer on hand to memorialize the girls in their fabulous Geisha Girl costumes!

Jasmine Juliet Belfast Wienerfest Maine

Oh my lovely Geisha Girls – My favorite part is the hair

Unfortunately, the girls did NOT win the costume contest, although they did get into the finals (top 5 out of 36). The local favorite won (drat). It was fixed!!! 🙂 We still had a blast.

The girls had doggie ice cream from the Loyal Biscuit Company. It was sweet potato ice cream with meat gravy and liver ‘sprinkles.’ As you an see, they gobbled it up!

Jasmine Juliet ice cream Belfast Wienerfest Maine

Nom Nom Nom

Jasmine Juliet doggie ice cream Belfast Wienerfest Maine

Oh, that’s SO good!

Both dogs enjoyed the day, although Juliet was a bit more outgoing while Jasmine was content to view the festivities from the comfort and security of their ever-popular doggie stroller.

Juliet Belfast Wienerfest Belfast Wienerfest Maine

Juliet enjoys Wienerfest

Do not feel bad for Jasmine. She’s definitely enjoying the mini-vacay!

Jasmine Belfast Maine

Jasmine Loves Maine

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Stubborn is a Dachshund’s Middle Name

Since we returned from our travel odyssey, Jasmine has been a much more demanding, stubborn dog.

Gimme a treat!

Gimme a treat!

 

She definitely is into her routines. Dinner promptly at 5. Soon thereafter, we have the “Have you been a good girl?” treats that include practicing ‘manners’ and other commands. After that, when I’m drinking a drink with ice in it, the indignant stare happens. “YOU’RE having ICE and you’re NOT sharing?”

Okay, so this is my fault. I have spoiled this dog rotten. She get what she wants. But she’s been getting vocal about it. Demanding. Little moans and maw-maw-maws in complaint if I’m not giving out her favorite treats.

And then there’s the “I don’t want to do what you want me to do so I’m going to ignore you” stance. When it’s time to go outside, go to bed, etc., and she’s happily ensconced in her doggie bed (now THAT’s another story), she gets a scorching bout of SCH. Selective Dachshund Hearing. As in…oh, my hearing is going bad, because I’m going to just lay here and do what I want to do.

And you know, she might be getting to be a little diva, but I kind of like the fact that she’s becoming more assertive…more…Dachshund-like.

You go, girl!

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Sunshine Makes Me Happy

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…

Jasmine

ZZZZZ

Sunshine almost always makes me high…

Jasmine

ZZZZZZ

Happy Sunday everyone!

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Jasmine’s Six-Year Anniversary

Six years. I cannot believe that on Monday, Jasmine will have been with us for six years.

Looking back on what we’ve gone through–and how far we’ve come–I can happily say that we have a healthy, spunky, fun-loving, waggy-tailed dog. She greets each morning with romps and jumps for joy. She can’t wait for the major activities of the day, either “go to work” or “studio time.” To “go for rides,” even after almost two months on the road, is still an exciting and joyous pleasure.

What we have here, ladies and gents, is just a happy dog. Not a puppy mill breeder. Not damaged goods. Yes, she’s still shy in new circumstances and with new people. But she’ll get over that fear and take a treat from your hand. She no longer resembles that mess of quivers and shakes that we brought home from her foster home. Her shiny coat, her expressive face, her begging for yet another treat, her barking at Tom to go “get me” when I’m pulling into the garage…she’s just a goofy pup.

That’s what I wanted for her, what I wanted to give her. And looking down at her as she snoozes away, I know that I have given her all the love she deserves–and more.

Happy Anniversary Jasmine. You’ve given us so much more that we could have ever imagined, and we thank the stars that you came into our lives.

Jasmine

What a beauty!

Jasmine

Road dog!

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Sea of Pee

I’m disappointed.

The bouts of intestinal distress continue with the pups, but at least we know root causes and cures. We had our annual holiday party on Saturday, and last night, Juliet had another bout. When we discovered it this morning, we  just cleaned it (and her) up and went about our normal “back on track” routine. NO food today to give her tummy a rest, and then a chicken and rice diet until she’s back on track. We’re now used to the cycle; if her routine gets disturbed and she’s in distress, her tummy shows it. Okay. We’re on board with that and we know how to deal. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was the discovery under our bed. The sea of pee.

Apparently, Juliet has been using our bed as a stealth toilet. She and Jasmine romp around the bedroom before bedtime. Apparently, she was taking a few seconds every now and then to relieve herself. What’s surprising is that she had never been shy about doing that in FRONT of us before; however, I had not discovered that she had also been doing this out of our sight. That shouldn’t be surprising, I know. But I’ve looked underneath the bed before. This time, I spotted a dark blotch which I had thought had been from the night before. It had not. And, after closer inspection, there were spots all over the carpet under the bed.

So, one quart of Nature’s Miracle and four bath towels later, I’m tired and really disappointed. I had thought we were making progress with Juliet’s house training. I guess I was wrong. Juliet is now under strict observation again. I’m so disappointed in the setback.

Of course, there is a slight chance that I’m attributing this to the wrong dog. Jasmine COULD be the culprit. That would be an even bigger disappointment.

I’ll get over it. But right now, I’m pretty bummed out.

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A Second Dachshund—We Finally Did It!

 

Juliet dachshund

Jasmine Juliet dachshund

Meet Juliet, a 6-year-old long-hair mini Dachshund, and the newest member of our family!

Yes, we finally did it. After YEARS of debating the subject, we finally brought another dachshund into our home! Juliet came from Wooffun, a local rescueorganization. She is a long-haired miniature dachshund, black & tan dapple piebald (say that five times fast!). She was brought up to New Hampshire from a backyard breeder in South Carolina–one of 18 dogs in the breeder’s stock. He became too old to continue managing his dogs, so he reached out to a local vet to find homes for his dogs.

While Juliet isn’t a puppy mill rescue, her demeanor, lack of training, etc. shows me that she wasn’t a pet. She isn’t housebroken. She is pretty skittish and shy. But she IS socialized to other dogs and familiar people, and she does love a warm lap. Points for her.

Juliet came up with two other dogs–Twix and Misty. When we met her at the foster home, she was socialized to these dogs and comfortable in a pack environment. We took Jasmine to meet Juliet, and it was clear that both dogs were submissive, gentle and relatively low-energy. It was a good match.

We brought Juliet home that night, and we found Jasmine suspicious, but tolerant. The picture on the right shows Jasmine giving us the “Save Me” look. Okay, it’s going to be an adjustment!

 

 

Juliet enjoying a warm lapJasmine Juliet DachshundJuliet is very skittish. She is very afraid of loud noises. She runs incessantly until she finally runs out of steam and then settles down. However, if she finds a lap, she’s calm. And we found out that she’s a jumper. She jumps all over the furniture. We never let Jasmine jump, but Juliet is a pro. Okay.

She has a lot of parallels to Jasmine when she first came to us. She’s a nervous nellie when it comes to eating. She isn’t food oriented. She’s tremendously skittish. She’s definitely not housebroken.

But she has a lot of traits that make me feel that she’ll come along faster than Jasmine. She is okay with laps and petting (she jumps up on our laps!). She likes rawhide bones (only when we’re not around). She comes close to us without “corralling.”

But, how is Jasmine doing? Absolutely fabulous!! We found the RIGHT dog to bring into our home. Jasmine is blossoming. Competition is bringing her out of her shell. If Juliet is getting scratchies, Jasmine will come over to hubby and demand the same. She’s seeking him out for lap time. She even has learned manners in the short time Juliet has been in the house and doesn’t tear after Juliet’s food after she’s snarfed her own!

Such progress in just a few weeks! We’re so happy to have Juliet in our new home. And, of course, this blog will probably be more active now that we have so many more stories to tell. I already have a few in the queue waiting to be told.

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Ooof

That’s the sound I made this morning as Jasmine pounced on my stomach. Jasmine, the ultimate bed hog and snooze button killer, wanted to go outside. And she wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer.

6 a.m. comes way too early, and if I move at all after 5 a.m. or so, Jasmine immediately springs into action. She goes from coma to bouncy little bunny in 2 seconds flat. If I move or roll over, she springs out of a deep sleep and bounds to the foot of the bed. She then bounds back to me and back to the end of the bed in a frenzy of excitement to greet the morning. I pat the warm, empty space beside me to try to entice her to come back. She bounds back. She then decides if she wants to burrow back under her blankets.

If burrowing is an option, she certainly doesn’t do it quietly. The blankets go awry. There’s a lot of grunting, turning, smooshing, throwing, circling and more grunting. She might plop down and fall back into a deep snore, or she might stop, continue the blanket dance and then abandon it altogether.

So, there’s about a 50/50 chance that I’ll get back to sleep. And of course, the minute I do, the alarm goes off. And we go through this morning ritual again.

Is there a snooze button on a dog? Um, no.

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Call of the Dachshund

Every time I see an ad for a dachshund that needs a new home, there’s a little tug at my heart. It’s the “oh that dog is so cute and he needs me” tug. But then reason sets in and I back away.

Reasons we aren’t getting another dog:

  • Lifestyle. We like to travel locally around neighboring states and areas. Jasmine has been welcome in many hotels and motels, but two dachshunds…that might be more difficult to manage. And Jasmine is a tremendously calm and easy traveler. Dachshund X? He/she could be barky, destructive, etc. Having Jasmine visit friends with us has been fine. Two dogs…we would be staying in hotels or kenneling the dogs when we go on visits. Not good.
  • Jasmine. We don’t know how she’ll do…okay…the truth…I don’t know how I’ll do splitting my time and attention between two dogs. She’s been the apple of my eye for three years now. How will a second dachshund change her? She’s making great progress right now. Will it set her back? Make her withdraw? Make her more or less social? Unknown.
  • Cost. One dog is a bit of work and the health issues have been costly with Jasmine. What will a new dog bring?
  • Work. Jasmine is a gem. She’s so easy. A new dog with new issues? Oh boy. We KNOW we have it easy with Jasmine. She’s NEVER chewed anything that wasn’t hers. She has never had huge daily separation anxiety issues. She’s quiet. She’s the perfect energy level for me (couch potato). She’s house trained.

I know other people have added second dogs with no issues. Am I being silly thinking that my “bond” with Jasmine will not be as strong and I will be somehow taking something away from her/us if I add a second dog?

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Jasmine the Work Mate

I’m coming down with my first cold of the season (ick), so I decided to work from home today to keep my co-workers relatively safe from my germy-ness. Jasmine is a great work companion. She loves sharing the recliner with me and my computer. What a lovely way to work.

Jasmine Works Hard

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