Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Cross-Country Road Trip

Just a quick post…

We are on a travel odyssey, meandering across the country. Jasmine and Juliet are with us, and are (near) perfect travel companions.

Dog-friendly is a relative term. The La Quinta and Drury Inns chains are 100% dog friendly. Others charge you am arm and a leg for your dog(s).

Read about our travels at the Tom and Mahgrit – Lost in America blog!

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A New(er) Dog

Since our return from our cruise, Jasmine has been different. Different, as in good different.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we had our friends from Maine over for a visit. We sat around on the deck, ate and drank and just relaxed. Both our friends are dog people, and they were bound and determined to have Jasmine come up and take a treat. We broke out one of her favorites–Wagathas organic Cranberry and Cheddar biscuits. Our friends broke off little bits and pieces of biscuit and calmly and carefully dropped their hands to Jasmine-level (um, that’s about 4 inches off the ground to you and me) and waited oh so patiently for her to come and take them.

The first biscuit is always the hardest. She stretched her little body to its limits and eased her head oh-so-slowly towards that delicious morsel. Craning her neck to lengths even I couldn’t imagine, she reaaaaaaached oh so slowly and cautiously and then jumped back. When the treat didn’t move (martinis make you calm, apparently), Jasmine stretched again and gingerly snapped up the treat and ran at the same time.

Another treat magically appeared. In this second attempt, she didn’t jump back so much and took just a little less time to take the treat. A few (!) biscuits later, she was eagerly awaiting the next morsel. This was a huge step forward for Jasmine. Taking treats from strangers–especially men–has been difficult for her especially when she isn’t sitting in my lap. This time, she was on her own (I was close by, but she wasn’t accepting a treat from the safety of my lap). I was so very proud of her.

Last weekend, we were over visiting the grandkids and our daughter-in-law handed Jasmine a peanut. She eagerly gobbled it up. I was so happy to see her trusting just a little bit and being much less scared of everything. In fact, we were at one of the grandkids’ pee-wee baseball game and Jasmine was curiously watching some kids kicking around a ball. Curiously. Not frightened, not shaking, just curious.

Perhaps a week without us made her appreciate us more. Whatever transpired, we have a little more outgoing dog on our hands. I’m so grateful.

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On The Road Again

This past weekend, we took a short respite in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Portsmouth is a seaport town about an hour from us. There are lots of shops, restaurants and nightlife–and it was someplace we wanted to spend more time exploring. We stayed at the Sheraton near the harbor. It was nice to find a nice hotel that was dog-friendly and didn’t charge an arm and a leg to bring your dog; in fact, there was no extra charge to bring the dog. They did make us sign a waiver stating that we would be responsible for damages, incur a pretty steep cleaning charge if there were “damages” of that nature, etc. But we knew that Jasmine would be no trouble.

After we checked into the hotel, we put Jasmine in our soft-sided carrier and went for a walk. It was fairly chilly–probably in the ‘teens–and while Jasmine was in her pink fleece jacket, we felt that she would be better off in the carrier, especially when we started walking into stores. We were right. Most of the stores didn’t even notice that we had a dog in tow even though Jasmine’s head popped up over the top of the carrier. Of course, when she was noticed, hearts melted everywhere. “Awwwww…how CUTE” was a common mantra. We found that she was calm and less stressed this way than if she was on leash. Perhaps it’s because the world is so big and that she’s so small, but she gets very skittish when we’re walking in a high-traffic area. This way, she could enjoy the new sights and smells and not fear being trampled.

We walked around downtown Portsmouth, and we even found a gourmet dog treat store! Bonus! We also bought her a “Woofie Pie” at one of the local stores–a Whoopie pie made just for pups. She definitely was ahead of the treat game.

She spent an uneventful night in the hotel room. She has definitely benefited from our travels. New places are still scary, but she seems to calm down more quickly these days, and she seems to enjoy these little trips.

However, it’s clear that there’s no place like home. When we returned, she bounded around the house with joy.

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Doggie Dungeon

Hubby and I are going away for a well-deserved weekend break. We’ll only be gone a couple of days and are flying, so taking Jasmine with us is not an option. Thus, we’re going to board her at a kennel.

Now my first choice of kennels, American K9 Country, was, unfortunately, fully booked when I called 3 weeks ago. Since they are a small kennel with only 12 runs, well, I’m disappointed but not surprised. I’m even less surprised given the alternatives.

The first kennel I found was at a dog training facility. It wasn’t bad. The kennel area was relatively clean. However, the kennels were not segregated; only chain link fencing stood between the kennels, and I think Jasmine would’ve been really spooked to be that exposed. So, I decided to look further.

I found what looked like a great place on the Internet and booked her stay with them. I wanted to go over and view the kennels this past weekend; the person who answered the phone told me that they only did “tours” of the kennel on Wednesdays. Um, okay. Here’s a potential new customer, and they don’t want to show you their facility except on Wednesdays? Hm. I asked again–I only wanted a couple of minutes to see the kennels. Again, the person on the phone just said, “we only do tours on Wednesdays.” Well, it’s a family-run place and the kennel is adjacent to their home. I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

I went for the tour on Wednesday. The “tour” consisted of climbing down a flight of stairs into their basement from their office and walking around a very cramped kennel area. It took all of two minutes. There were very narrow inside/outside dog runs that were wet–it looks like they had just hosed the place down. Wooden pallets were on the ground of the runs. I suppose this was what kept the dogs dry. Most of the dogs did not have beds in the runs; there was only one dog there in the runs that had a soft bed. Not good.

There were stainless steel crates (like those used in vets offices) on both ends of the runs; they had dogs in them. I looked at them and asked if that was where Jasmine would be kept. The “guide” (the son of the owner) said no, those were the “day care” dogs. My dog would get a full run. Oh yippee. This means that this kennel’s “doggie day care” consists of putting a dog in a crate? Sheesh.

Okay, so it’s hard to keep a kennel clean, but this place was way too dark, dingy, smelly and damp. The thought that came into my head was that this was a Doggie Dungeon. I felt so bad for the dogs. Now, it was NOT unclean, it was just dark and dank…dogs were barking, leaping…oh, the Pirates of the Caribbean jail came into my mind. I felt like springing all of the dogs. But I was 2 days away from kenneling Jasmine; I didn’t want to be put on the spot and NOT have a place for her. I kept the reservation and left.

As I drove back to the office, the more I thought about it, the less happy I was of the prospect of Jasmine staying there. I got back to the office and started to search for an alternative. I found another place down the road from Doggie Dungeon and called straight away. They had room, and I could go see the place anytime during business hours. I hopped in my car, drove down there and was pleased to see a fairly clean, straightforward kennel. What struck me was the hundreds of pictures of people and their dogs in front of the kennel’s building all over the lobby area. Okay. I felt much better. After looking at the facility, I knew right away that it was a better environment for Jasmine. So she’s staying there. It’s still not as clean and nice as American K9 Country, but at least I have an alternative.

I called and canceled my reservation at the Doggie Dungeon. They were curt when I told them I was canceling, brusquely said “FINE” and hung up the phone. I shouldn’t have trusted a nice website and claims about being champion breeders. A narrow escape for my pup.  No dungeon for my doggie. *whew*

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New New New

Well, we’ve been here in New Hampshire a little over a week (it seems like MUCH more time), and we’ve been supremely busy preparing for my Mom’s move out here as well as getting some much-needed items for ourselves (a car, some furniture…trivial things like that).  In these last 10 days, Jasmine has been exposed to hundreds of new experiences, and it amazes me how quickly she has adapted.

First, the flight.  I was so afraid of her being freaked out about being in the small Sherpa carrier.  Well, she was a little reluctant to get in, but after she was in, she was fine.  She was nowhere near happy, but she was safe and warm.  In the airport, the TSA guys told me it was fine to carry her outside the bag but not to walk…so she stayed in my arms until the very last minute that she could.  The flight was very full, so we were packed in like sardines.  Jasmine sat under the seat in front of hubby and, except for some ear flapping, made absolutely no noise during the flight.  She slept.  Hubby slept.  I even slept (I rarely do on red-eye flights).  We landed at Logan airport, and as we were waiting to disembark, we unzipped the top of the Sherpa bag.  Out popped Jasmine’s cute little face.  All of a sudden, there were “awwwww” noises coming from around us.  People were surprised to see Jasmine, and remarked on how good she was…no one even knew that we had a dog on board–even the flight attendants.  I wonder why I had to pay the $100 dog fee…I probably could have gotten away with sneaking her on board.  Or not. 🙂

When we got to our new house, Jasmine was understandably confused.  However, she took one sniff of the back yard and was romping around.  The new smells were driving her nuts…tail high, running full tilt, stopping and sniffing, running more.  She seemed like a different dog.  I was a little concerned about the four steps down from the deck to the yard and while I carried her down, she side-stepped me and ran back up.  Hm.

The one thing she did NOT like was the ice.  There was still a lot of ice left in the back yard in the shady areas.  She mistakenly stepped on a patch and quickly jumped off.  No, I don’t think she’s going to like winter at all.  But that’s many months away.  We can ease her into it later this year.  Yeah…sure. 🙂

While the house smells different, the nice thing is that all our things smell like us.  Her dog beds are here.  Her blankets are here.  All her toys are here.  It’s nice to not live in a sparse, Aero-bed environment like we’ve been living in for the past month in our California home.  Our new furniture just showed up yesterday, so we’re enjoying a brand new bed.  Jasmine also approves (although she doesn’t get to SLEEP in it, she gets to LOUNGE on it).

I’m so amazed at how resilient Jasmine is.  Everything is new, scary, different and strange.  And she’s just fine.

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Dogs on a Plane!

We will soon be introducing Jasmine to New England.  To do so, we have to traverse the U.S. via the friendly skies.  Uh oh.

I have a Sherpa bag given to me by a woman on Freecycle.  It’s the perfect size for Jasmine and has roll-up windows to give her a view and ventilation without letting her out.  It’s sturdy and nice.  However, I’m not sure how she’s going to react to the trip.

I called my vet to get Jasmine’s medical records and to discuss the value of sedating her for the trip.  The vet told me that sedation on a plane is not healthy for the dog–it can cause low blood pressure and a decrease in heart rate–not the best thing.  IF a dog is stressed or way too manic, a little Benedryl (dosed for the size of the dog, of course) could be okay to get her sleepy.  I am chosing not to sedate her in any way.  We’re going on the redeye to Boston out of San Francisco, so it should be a quiet and calm trip (I hope).  With me there and the lights out, I’m hoping Jasmine has an uneventful trip.

Have you taken your pup in the cabin of a plane?  How was the trip?  I have the priviledge of paying $100 each way for taking Jasmine with me.  Given that my air fare was only $250, I would have gladly paid the extra $50 to get her a seat.  No dice.

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A Dry Run

This past weekend, hubby and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.  We headed down to Carmel for the weekend.  Of course, we took Jasmine with us.

Carmel is a very dog-friendly town.  There are tons of inns/motels that not only allow dogs but welcome them with open arms.  We chose a little inn in the heart of downtown Carmel–Hofsas House.  This little inn is a bit funky and dumpy, but it was within walking distance of everything, was a great deal, and was very welcoming to Jasmine.

We arrived in Carmel around 2:00 p.m. and checked in (luckily, our room was ready).  We then took a walk to downtown and stopped at the Hog’s Breath Inn for a cup of coffee and a snack.  Jasmine was in her pretty pink fleece coat and was warm and snuggly even though it was overcast and a bit chilly there.  The fireplace also helped.  Many of the restaurants have outdoor dining patios, and dogs are welcome there.

The Hog's Breath Inn is a dog-friendly restaurant in Carmel...and is very yummy!

The Hog's Breath Inn is a dog-friendly restaurant in Carmel...and is very yummy!

After our snack, we happened upon the Coach bag store.  Let’s just say that hubby and Jasmine spent a substantial amount of time waiting…and waiting…ahem.  Hey, they were having a 50% off sale.  Do I have to say any more?

We went back to the inn and changed for dinner.  We fed Jasmine, put her in her crate and went out to dinner.  The inn has a policy of “no leaving dogs alone in the room,” but when we checked in and I asked about it, the front desk person said, “I don’t know anything about it if you leave your dog in the room, but if it barks, people will call the police.”  Okay…no worries with our non-barking dog.

When we got back from dinner, Jasmine was happy to see us as usual.  They left a little blanket for her to use, so we put her on the blanket and went to bed.  Around 4:00 a.m. Jasmine got a little restless.   I wasn’t sure if it was because she was in a strange place or if it was because she was out of her crate, so I scooped her and the blanket up and let her sleep the rest of the night with us.  I was worried that she would “go” inside if I didn’t.

The rest of the weekend was just fine.  Jasmine rode well in the back seat, she sniffed like crazy at all the new and different smells in the air, and she was happy and content just to be with us.

I was hoping she would be fine, given that we’ll be driving across the country soon.  She seemed to handle the changes in schedule and venue well…just so long as she was with us.  This was  a great “dry run” and a great weekend for us all.

And shame on you Point Lobos State Park for not allowing dogs.

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Easy Rider

My husband has recently started using public transportation to get to work.  His company subsidizes the use of CalTrain.  We’re about 3 miles away from the train station.  Since the weather is still good, he’s been taking his bike to/from the station and the office.

The exercise has been great for him, and it has also prompted me to dust off my bicycle and start riding again.  Of course, Jasmine is not going to be able to keep up with a 10-15 MPH ride, so I ordered a doggie basket for my bike.  It is supposed to arrive via UPS tomorrow.

We’ve been taking weekend rides as well as our Sunday walks down to Starbucks.  The Starbucks trips give all of us about 45 minutes of walking time, while the rides have been shorter–around 30 minutes.  However, Jasmine has not been able to share in our rides, so I’m looking forward to having her with us when we explore the neighborhood.

I’m not sure how well she’s going to take to the basket.  I know that she loves to go for car rides, but those rides are more enclosed and she also has room to run around in the back seat.  She also has a tendency to play as we ride in the car–she loves playing “turtle” with her pillow and she has also discovered that burrowing under the fleecy cushion of the back seat sling is great fun.  The basket–the Solvit Tagalong Deluxe–is nice and soft on the inside, but it’s not made for jumping, running or burrowing.  It has a safety leash to keep her from jumping out and a sun shield for warm days.

We’ll just have to see if she takes to the new mode of transportation–and whether my currently-weak thighs can take another 11 pounds of pedal weight.  🙂  I’ll let you know!

Measure twice before ordering!

Measure twice before ordering!

UPDATE: Um, make sure to measure your dog BEFORE you get one of these carriers. Jasmine, a moderate sized mini at about 10.5 pounds, just fits carrier.  She has to curl around a bit to fit, but she seems okay.  I was worried at first because I couldn’t get her to sit down it it and it seemed WAY too small.  Of course, with anything new she’s somewhat uncomfortable, so I’m going to take small steps to get her accustomed to the carrier before we venture out on the bike.  I put one of her blankets in there to make it a bit more familiar and comfy.  I have a feeling that a little pink cushion will be inhabiting the bottom of the carrier soon!

UPDATE 2: AAARRRGGGHHHHH! Unfortunately, the metal bracket that comes with the carrier does NOT fit on my bike.  My bike’s front brakes are wired through the handlebar stem and down the front stem of the bike where it then yokes onto the front brakes.  Of course, the brake line is in the exact area where the bracket’s brace leans onto the stem.  The brace is about 1.5 inches wide and pushes against the brake line.  I spoke to the owner of the shop where I bought the basket, and he told me that I’d probably have the same problems (or worse–instability) with other baskets.  So, it’s probably time to think about a doggie trailer.  Oh boy!

Disclaimer:  All discussion about products on this blog are made independently and are solely stories and/or opinions based upon personal experiences with the products.  I am not affiliated with any company producing or selling these products.

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Car Safety

As I’ve written before, one of Jasmine’s favorite things to do is to go for rides.  It’s right up there with the “B” word–“BONE!”  She wags her tail and leaps around the room, eyes bright and happy.  We go outside, she does her business and runs to the car door.  I approach, open the door and she runs around in anticipation.  In order to get her into the back seat, I call to her, point to a spot near me that I want her to come to and speak the command “here.”  She comes to the spot, I pick her up and put her in the back seat.

I was concerned with her safety in the back seat after I had to make a short stop one day and she fell into the foot well.  She wasn’t injured, but she could have been.  I went online and found a sling bed for the back seat.  One set of straps fits around the front seat headrests and the other fit around the headrests in the back.  The sling has a nice fleecy pad on the bottom and velvety material on the sides.  Jasmine no longer has to worry about falling down in the back, and the sling also prevents her from trying to climb into the front seat.

I’m also thinking about more ways to keep her safe.  I haven’t been using a harness on her, but she has taken to standing on her hind legs, putting her front paws on the arm rest and sticking her nose out the window as the sights and smells whiz by.  I don’t THINK she could, but there is a very remote possibility that she could propel herself out the window of the car.  So, I’m thinking about tethering her using a harness and a short leash that is secured by the rear seatbelt.

I thought about using the kinds of harnesses that have seatbelt loops on the back, but that would weld her to one spot in the back seat.  Nope.  I want her to be able to explore and move around–she acts more like a regular dog in the car than at any other time…no fear and a happy face–and given her new propensity to play “turtle” with her pillow, I don’t want to cut down on her fun.  This is one of her favorite things, and I’m going to make sure it stays that way, all the while, keeping her safe and secure.

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My Separation Anxiety

We’re leaving on Wednesday to go finalize and close on the new house.  Unfortunately, that means that we’ll have to kennel Jasmine again for a week.  We’re putting her, once again, at the PetSmart PetsHotel.  They have taken good care of her in the past, and she seems to be okay when we return, although she’s always lost a little weight–it’s unavoidable since she tends not to eat when she’s anxious or in unfamiliar surroundings.

The cost is reasonable–$25/night for a small inside kennel complete with elevated cot bed that keeps her off the floor and twice-daily time outside of the kennel to relieve herself.  We also add a $3/day “Treat Time” daily treat–doggie ice cream and a cookie.  Ice cream is the one thing we can count on her eating when she won’t eat anything else.  We don’t buy the play times.  I have observed several group play times during my visits to pick Jasmine up or drop her off.  It’s just a room filled with dogs and one guy with a squirt gun.  If the dogs get too rambunctious, they squirt the dog.  That’s it.  Yes, it gets the dog out of the kennel, but there’s very little interaction with the single staff member (1 staff member to 10 to 20 dogs does not a play time make).  They also offer training and other items on an Ala Carte basis or I can sign her up for Doggie Day Camp.  If I was going to pay that kind of money for her care, I’d put her in a private pet sitter home situation.

I know she’s going to be fine, but every time we have to kennel her, I get anxious.  To them, she’s just an animal that they care for; it’s a job.  To me, well, that’s my Pup-Pup.  She means the world to me, and whether I put her at the PetsHotel or leave her with a friend, I’m pretty anxious about her being away from me and out of my care.  Of course, NO ONE could ever take care of her the way *I* do.  Nope.  So while we’ll be ultra busy closing on the house and getting it ready to rent out, I’ll be thinking a lot about coming back to that cute little face and wagging tail–and the enevitable pee on the carpet out of protest. 🙂  That’s my girl!

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