Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

Welcome Princess Buttercup!

I know it was bound to happen. After almost six months without Jasmine, I felt strong enough to welcome a new bundle of fur and fun into our lives. And then came Princess Buttercup!

Buttercup

My husband had a discussion with our brother-in-law a few weeks ago regarding looking for a new dog. This brother-in-law was the one who introduced us to the rescue organization that led us to Juliet. Well, a few days later, we got a text and a ton of pictures of this sweet, sassy little redhead!

Princess Buttercup is an owner surrender. We gave her a new name…yes, from The Princess Bride…to give her a fresh start. The owner got divorced, and her new living situation did not allow her to keep Buttercup. The rescue took her into a foster home and contacted our brother-in-law about her. We asked a bunch of questions, and then we made plans to meet her and take her home.

She’s WONDERFUL! We’ve been used to rehabilitating unsocialized puppy mill breeders. Buttercup has been loved since she was a puppy. It shows. She’s happy, spunky, sweet and friendly. She is house trained (YAY!!!), loves to play and go for walks. In other words, she’s a DREAM!

Buttercup

The first couple of nights were hard. She’s been shuffled around a bit from home to home, and it took her a few days to settle into a routine with us. She also had never been crate trained, and is an ACROBAT. She loves to surf the tops of our couches.

However, except for the disastrous “climb under the fence and run around the neighbor’s yard” incident, she’s been an angel. We love her quirky personality (she likes to ‘talk’ to us), her playfulness, and her sweet demeanor.

Juliet, however, isn’t so happy with this new addition. She has been territorial and has been trying to claim Alpha status. We’ll see. At first, Buttercup would shrug it off. But she’s now barking back!

The first couple of days with Princess Buttercup were hard on me too. I really really missed Jasmine. I wanted Jasmine back. I wanted the same close bond as I had with Jasmine. I was heartbroken all over again.

But time and love are great healers. Buttercup has been with us a for a couple of weeks, and she’s well into our routine. She has infused new love into this house, and I am so grateful. I’m sure Jasmine is too.

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PJ the Dachshund Needs a Home

Dachshund availableI stopped by the local shelter this weekend and met a wonderful little boy that needs a new home. His name is PJ (short for Prince John) and he’s a 10.5-year-old black & cream dapple. He’s very friendly with a very waggy tail. He’s sweet, affectionate and very food oriented. He was in only one home over his life. The owner had to give him and his “pack” up due to financial reasons. He’s good with other dogs–not aggressive, but also not overly curious.

I noticed that PJ had a very short attention span and could use some good old basic obedience training (sit, stay, leave it). He’s purported to know his name, know “go outside” and “come,” but he seemed…um…stubborn about commands (“hm…are you asking ME something…nah…couldn’t be…”). I wasn’t sure if he was hard of hearing or just had “selective dachshund hearing” that we typically see in our favorite breed!

PJ was in a four-dog household, and kept outside in a fenced yard most of the day. I don’t know if he’s completely housebroken (he did have an accident when I was visiting with him), so you might have to spend some time with him to get him acclimated to your household rules. He’s not hyper like some doxies can be, but he can be a bit of a whiner at times. He doesn’t seem to play much…he didn’t seem interested in anything but food and treats.

I do have to say that I was tempted to take home this boy. He is calm, sweet and seemingly happy. But we’re a one-dog family and we’re going to stay that way. While I think he’d be fine in a multi-dog household, I’d love to see this little boy in an environment where he can be showered by love and attention. If you’re looking for a really sweet dachshund to add to your home, this little guy could be it.
He’s at the Animal Rescue League of NH in Bedford, NH and was available as of yesterday.

11/11/2010 Update: It looks like PJ has been adopted! YAY!!!!

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Rescued NH Dachshunds in Need of Homes

Oh, this tore through my heart.

29 Dachshunds and 1 Pomeranian were rescued from a home in Deerfied, NH. The dogs were kept in DEPLORABLE conditions and were covered in fleas and waste. How can anyone do that????? I’m so sad and angry. And so tempted…

If you have been wanting a(nother) cute, willful, fun, loving and loyal little dog in your life and home, here’s your chance to give a dog in need your help and love.

Here’s the link to the NH SPCA website and press release on the dogs: http://www.nhspca.org/press/press9-30-2010.htm

Update

I got an email from the adoption counselor from the NH SPCA. ALL the available dogs were adopted on Friday. However, NOT ALL of the dogs that were rescued were “available” then. More dogs will become available Tuesday or Thursday of next week. If you’re wanting one of these precious pups, please fill out an adoption application. It will give you a better chance of adopting one of these wonderful animals!

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Rescue Orgs: Please Focus on Matching Dogs With People

I’m going to vent a little here. Sorry.

I often go through the available Dachshunds on Petfinder. And what I read leaves me cold. Why? The typical ad by a rescue org reads like this:

“Adult male dachshund named Skippy. 5 years old, 12 lbs.”

Then there’s 6 paragraphs on the rescue organization’s policies, how you have to pay up-front, how you have to commit to a dog (sight-unseen) and transport it from Alabama at your cost again, with payment up front.

There’s nothing about trying to find a good match between dog and home. It seems as though the most important thing to these organizations is to get people to take dogs. There’s little thought about matching the right dog to the right home.

Okay, so there’s little real estate in a Petfinder listing to really dig deep into a dog’s history and needs AND detail the organization’s policies. But I really was offended with the rescue organization that said “send us a depost via PayPal and THEN put in your application.” Sorry, this isn’t a hot rental property. It’s a little life that someone does care about. Rescue organization, please don’t make it look like you care more about running your organization than placing dogs in great homes. I know it’s not what you are…you’re doing this because you care so deeply about these abandoned little loves. But you’re making me not want to work with you to give a home to a deserving little dog.

Okay. Rant off.

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Rolling Dog Ranch

One of my favorite shelters is Rolling Dog Ranch.  (I wrote about their organization and other rescue orgs in a 2008 blog post here.) I love that the ranch is a sanctuary for handicapped animals. I love that they are a shelter of last resort for many animals who would otherwise be put down. I love that they blog a lot about their love and care of these wonderful animals. I look forward to reading about their quirky, fun and beautiful animals and the lengths they go to give these animals the life they deserve.

And I also love that they are making a huge move from Montana to my home state–New Hampshire!! I’m thrilled that they will be closer and that we could possibly visit or volunteer. It still sits in the back of my mind that we could bring another animal into our house…perhaps a blind dachshund would pique Jasmine’s interest…and not challenge her too much.

If you have a moment, check them out. Also, please vote for them in the Shelter Challenge (Rolling Dog Ranch in MT for the search).

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Final Decision: No Second Dog

I was browsing Pet Finder the other day when I ran across a dog at the Lakes Region Humane Society. Scoobie, a somewhat chubby dachshund, was surrendered by his family due to financial reasons.  He’s a bit of a senior dog, supposedly sweet, doesn’t bark, is housetrained and loves people, dogs and cats. Perfect.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I want a second dog. I would love for Jasmine to have a doggie mentor…a dog to help her become more…well…dog-like.  Learn to play. Romp. Wrastle.  You know, doggie stuff.

I put in an adoption application for Scoobie after trading emails with the coordinator at the shelter. I’ve been thinking about him. I know we could give him a good home, but how would it impact Jasmine? My greatest fear is that I disrupt the progress she has made. I also love her deeply (as if you couldn’t tell that from this blog), and I would never do anything that would cause her distress. Jasmine is happy now days. She romps through the yard. She loves snuggling with us on the big bed. She has a good dog’s life, and she is enjoying it to the fullest.

I told Hubby how conflicted I was about bringing a new dog into our happy home.  I’d love to give Scoobie a home. But would it hinder Jasmine’s progress? Would it take away from her?

He finally asked me WHY I wanted another dog. Jasmine is happy. I am happy. I told him that I wanted him to have a dog as well. HIS dog. A dog who follows him everywhere. A dog who greets him with the same joy that Jasmine greets me.  He told me that while it would be nice, he’s not the dog person. I am. So it wasn’t necessary for him to have HIS dog. As long as Jasmine and I are happy, he’s happy.

And we are. I love the life I’ve given Jasmine and the companionship she gives to me.  I don’t think I want to disrupt that. So once and for all, no second dog.

UPDATE: One of this blog’s readers saw this post and is now going to adopt Scoobie!!!!!!  YAY!!!  I’m SO happy that Scoobie is getting a home and that I had some small part in his adoption.  WOW!

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Dog Town and Other Rescue Organizations

I have been watching the National Geographic TV series Dog Town (also here) about the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.  This extraordinary shelter takes “unadoptable” dogs and cats and attempts to rehabilitate them and place them into homes.  If they can’t rehabilitate these dogs, they are given a good home at the shelter, but the real goal is to correct behaviors that are keeping these dogs from being in loving homes.

This shelter was also given the opportunity to rehabilitate some of the dogs confiscated from Michael Vick’s illegal dog fighting kennel.  These poor animals were bred and conditioned to fight, and the change in the dogs due to the handlers and trainers at Best Friends was remarkable.  These terribly abused dogs were given a chance to prove that they could overcome their aggressive training and become loyal, loving animals–and they surpassed all expectations.  They take on many types of dogs–most of which would be put down in other shelters.  I’m so glad places like Best Friends exist…and I’m so glad that people like the extraordinary staff and volunteers at Dog Town make it their mission to make a difference.

Another shelter I admire is the Rolling Dog Ranch.  They are a sanctuary for disabled animals–mostly dogs, cats and horses.  Many of the animals are blind or deaf and/or have other physical disabilities that would make them otherwise unadoptable.  Steve Smith and Alayne Marker founded the ranch in December 2000 in the Blackfoot River Valley of Western Montana.  They take in animals from all over the country and provide them with a home for life–or a chance at adoption.  They are privately funded from donations.  I love their blog–I read it every day.  Their experiences show everyone that disabled animals can live full and wonderful lives.

It’s people like these that make the world a little better place.  Jasmine was rescued by a local vet and fostered through the Southern California Dachshund Rescue.  This rescue organization takes in needy Dachshunds who are rescued from shelters, from individuals who cannot care for their dogs anymore, and from other rescue organizations.  When we adopted her, the fee was around $250.  Some rescue organizations charge even more than this, and some people may balk at the fee.  However, given the costs of fostering these animals (many of which have been neglected) including neutering/spaying fees, shots, dental cleaning, and other veterinary costs, many of these rescue organizations spend far more on these dogs than they ask in fees.

I applaud these organizations–and the many other groups throughout the country–for what they do for these forgotten, neglected and abused animals.  Jasmine came to us because of the kindness and caring of many people throughout this chain of love and care, and we are grateful that she graces our lives and that we can give her the loving home she so deserves.

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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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Jasmine Comes Home: Part 2

We called the foster mom and told her the good news–we wanted to have “Orchid” come live with us. We were so excited. We got all the doggie supplies (and THEN some) we needed, and dog-proofed our home. I scoured the library for dog behavior books, and while there were some excellent books regarding bringing a puppy home, there were very few that addressed the special needs of an adopted adult dog–one that might have been abused. Finally, Sunday came, and we went to bring Orchid–renamed Jasmine–home.

She was skittish when we arrived, just as she had been when we visited her before. I was concerned that she was not going to bond with us, and nervous that all the other dogs in the foster “pack” were more outgoing and friendly than she was. My husband, Tom, told me that everything would be fine. We snapped on her snazzy new red collar and I carried her in my arms as we drove home.

We parked in the driveway, and I got out of the car. We snapped Jasmine’s leash onto her collar, and I put her down on the pavement. Suddenly, the mild and quiet dog that I had just held in my arms became a bucking bronco. She was cowering in fear, trying to get away. She began to lose control of her bowels, and I quickly picked her up and brought her to the back yard. She was freaked out. I cleaned her up with some wipes and brought her inside.

Jasmine must have walked a mile that first day. She constantly paced through the house, sniffing every corner. She was confused, scared and once again, displaced. She would run to avoid us if we entered the room. She cowered at every attempt to touch her, so we generally left her alone–but under close watch. I had a nice crate for her, and she finally settled down and spent some time in it. I was vigilant in keeping an eye on her–I didn’t want to have an accident in the house, but I looked away for a minute, and of course, she urinated on the slate floor in the entryway.

I took her outside, but she didn’t do anything more. I was outside with her for about 30 minutes to no avail. She was trembling, scared of the unknown smells and sounds of our back yard. I tried to lead her into the house, but she was very afraid of the two steps into the house at the back door. I had to finally pick her up and carry her into the house.

The first night was difficult. I got her into her crate, and I don’t believe she slept at all…I could hear the jingle of her ID tag throughout the night. I was riddled with doubt…never having had a dog of my own (although we had dogs throughout my childhood), I wasn’t sure if I wanted a dog with such issues. I knew that she had been mistreated in the puppy mill, but I didn’t know the extent of the psychological damage she suffered. I was afraid that I couldn’t help her.

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Jasmine Comes Home: Part 1

Jasmine, a 3-year-old miniature dachshund, came home with us on Sunday, July 15 after a journey that traversed the country and brought her from a miserable existence to a very fluffy pillow.

Jasmine was purchased by a veterinarian who scoured dog auctions across multiple states, buying dogs that were breeders for puppy mills. The vet then brought the dogs, 49 in all, to the San Francisco Bay area to be treated for medical issues and adopted out to loving families. (You can read all about it on SFGate.) The various breeds were taken by a number of rescue organizations throughout the area, and were placed into foster homes until they could be spayed or neutered, treated for various health issues, and deemed fit for adoption.

I had been wanting to raise a dachshund for many years, but due to a very hectic work schedule, my husband and I decided to postpone raising a dog until we had enough time to devote to its care. When I finally decided to make a go at bootstrapping my own company (and working out of my home), we decided it was time to begin our search for a new member of the family. Then, my husband came upon the story about the puppy mill rescue dogs.

I called the vet that rescued the dogs, but we never connected. I found some dachshund rescue organizations, but never heard back from any of the volunteers. I finally started to scour PetFinder and found a very cute dachshund available for adoption. I called the contact for the dog and left a message. When she returned my call, she gave me the contact names of several of the fosters taking care of the puppy-mill dogs. I finally got in touch with one of them, and I went to her home to view the available animals.

“Holly” was an over-10-year-old dapple with a sweet disposition. She was mildly friendly, but still very skittish. I thought about adopting her, but I felt that I wanted a younger dog…more years to spend with the dog. Then, I saw “Orchid.” She was a very small short-haired dapple with one blue eye and one brown. She was very wary of strangers, and even when the foster “mom” put her in my lap, all she did was tremble. She had just whelped a litter six weeks before, and her puppies were happily frolicking in the yard. She was protective of the puppies, but other than that, she seemed to show no interest in anything else.

We were a little hesitant about adopting “Orchid.” She wasn’t socialized at all. She was afraid of people. She wasn’t housebroken. But something about her tugged at my heart, and we decided to move forward with the adoption.

(more to come)

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