Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Spa Vacation

We just got back from a lovely 7-night cruise in the Caribbean. During our absence, we boarded Jasmine at the Country Club Kennel. It’s a good, safe place for Jasmine, and I know the owner knows dogs. The hundreds of photos of dogs and their owners in front of the kennel is a testament to the longevity and quality of the place. We even saw a picture of our realtor with her dog on the wall.

Jasmine doesn’t do well when we go away. She doesn’t eat for days. She always comes back to us lighter than when we dropped her off. I don’t expect her to be in tip-top shape when we return. However, this time, the stay was healthy for her.

Jasmine got chunky over the winter. I was getting a bit worried about her weight–she was over 12 pounds. When we picked her up on Monday morning, she was back to a very healthy weight. She looked as slim and trim as she was when we first arrived in New Hampshire last year. So one week  (hunger strike and all) made up for a winter of being cooped up and not exercising. Now we just have to get walking more often to keep her weight at a healthy point and her overall health in check.

Now I wish I could say that I came back from the cruise lighter than when I left…but no.

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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 Dog Resources

As we explore New Hampshire, we’re stumbling our way across new resources for ourselves and for Jasmine.  As we were driving down route 101, we saw a huge red barn and a sign–American K9 Country.  I looked them up on the web and saw that they did training, boarding, grooming and day care.  We knew that I’d have to fly back to California for a couple of days, so I decided to board Jasmine there.  They are less than a mile away from our home.

We were in the Town Hall registering our car, registering Jasmine and doing various administrative tasks (I’m sure that the drums are already humming with the news that Californians have invaded).  I saw that the town clerk had a picture of her dog on her desk, so I asked her about where she boarded her dog.  She said “American K9 Country.”  A good sign.

I took Jasmine there Saturday afternoon, and of course, Jasmine was not happy.  But I was.  The owner was happy to take me for a tour including through the kennel area.  The kennel area was SPOTLESS.  Dogs were happy and yappy.  All the areas were well maintained.  The people were great.  I asked the owner for a referral to a good Vet and he stated that the animal hospital that just happens to be within walking distance of our home is great.  There is a regular vet there as well as one of the best Neurosurgeons in the area there.  I asked another gal the other day about who she took her dogs to and these vets (although pricey) were it.  Two referrals in one week.  AND if Jasmine ever has serious problems with her back…well, there’s a Neurosurgeon across the highway from us.

I called the kennel Sunday morning to check on Jasmine.  She apparently felt good enough to scarf down her dinner on Saturday night.  Jasmine has been exposed to so many new things lately that I feel that her capacity for change has increased.  It’s all part of her socialization process.  As she learns that change and new isn’t bad and that we will come back–no matter what–she is becoming more adaptable to new situations.  I’m so glad.

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A Stay at the PetsHotel

My husband and I had to go back East for a family wedding and to attend to some business this past week, and given Jasmine’s lack of invitation to return to our friends’ home, we decided to board Jasmine at PetSmart’s PetsHotel.

For $25 per night, Jasmine would get a small “Atrium” room (aka kennel) in their indoor, temperature controlled facility.  Since she’s not a real social dog and is pretty intimidated by other dogs, I didn’t sign her up for the “Doggie Day Camp” or “play time” sessions.  However, I did indulge in one add-on–a daily “Treat Time” consisting of doggie ice cream and a cookie.

I reluctantly brought Jasmine down to the hotel, and they checked her in.  I had put her in the facility once before for a single night, so all her info was current, including her feeding regimen.  They don’t charge extra for providing your own food or special dietary needs.

The handler came out with a name tag for her and to bring her back.  Jasmine became “bucking bronco” dog, and she fought the handler.  *sigh*  The handler was firm but gentle with her, and finally got her calm enough to take her back into the kennel room.  As Jasmine was walking through the door, she looked back at me with large, sad, scared eyes.  I don’t think I’ve felt that bad in a long time.  I felt so guilty for leaving her there.

I called there the next day to see how Jasmine had acclimated.  I was put on hold as they searched for the handler, and when she got on the phone, she said that she would get Jasmine to put her on the phone!  Huh?  What was I to say to her, “Be brave little doggie, mom will be back soon…” as the handler made gagging faces to her buddies?  And what would Jasmine really think…it was me, but in a different form?  Um, no.  I just promptly told the handler that I didn’t want to talk TO the dog, but about how the dog was doing.  She was not eating her food, but she did manage to scarf down most of her ice cream.  Yeah, that’s my dog!  She also hadn’t “gone” yet, so I clued them in on her “go” words.  That worked well.

I called every day for four days until the handlers were probably rolling their eyes at the overprotective mommy.  Yes, she was fine and had adjusted well.  Yes, she was eating.  Yes she was doing her business.  Okay, so I was just trying to lessen the guilt for leaving her in a kennel.  A KENNEL!  What a terrible mom I am?  Couldn’t I have placed her in an in-home overnight care place?  Well, at $45 a night, um, no.  Let’s be frank…it just costs way too much.

So, I picked up my precious this morning.  She had been groomed before I got there, her bedding had been washed, and she was wearing a cute little bandana–a final touch from the grooming session.  Her coat was shiny, and she came running at me with a huge waggedy tail. She cried all the way home.  She romped around on HER lawn.  She ran into HER house.  She was home.  And while I still feel a bit guilty for taking her to a kennel, she was well cared for, she’s healthy, and she’s just fine and dandy, back to her routine.

Maybe next time will be easier.  Uh, probably not.

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Post-Vacation Bliss

We arrived home this morning and promptly picked Jasmine up from our friends’ home.  We rang the bell, and the resident pooch greeted us at the door.  Jasmine was nowhere to be seen–that is, until she appeared at the end of the hall.  I called her name.  What did she do?  She ran away!

I walked down the hall to the kitchen/family room and Jasmine once again appeared.  I called her name and she nervously came over.  She squatted down when I tried to pet her.  I think she was glad to see me, but so very confused.   I sat on the floor, and she finally climbed on my lap and licked my face.  And when I put her in the car on her travel pillow, she sank in and just sighed.  She snuggled in and closed her eyes.  She was on her way HOME.

Apparently, Jasmine had asserted herself a bit when she was visiting and upset the resident cats.   Jasmine doesn’t seem to pay any attention to cats, but she likes cat beds as well as the resident dog’s bed.  She kind of usurped her host animals’ comfy spots and upset the cats to the tune of aromatic protests around the house.   Unfortunately, the jealousy that the cats have shown (the other dog has been fine) has precluded Jasmine from becoming an overnight guest in the future.  I understand–keeping another person’s dog is a lot of work, and if  it upsets your animals and your household to the tune of significant “payback”…well, it’s always okay to say no.  So, we’ll have to find another place for Jasmine to stay when we next go away.

Regardless, I’m so grateful for our friends’ generosity.  Having her in a safe, loving environment made it so much easier for me to enjoy our vacation.  I’m happy, relaxed and oh so rejuvenated.  And Jasmine, she’s a bit better socialized and less skittish.  We all did well (except for that darn cat).

Jasmine is laying at my feet on her poofy pink pillow, digesting a nice meal.  Her little snores are music to my ears.  It’s so good to be home.

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Socialization

Today, I took Jasmine out for lunch! We went over to my husband’s office. They have a nice patio, complete with shaded tables. We sat down, and Jasmine allowed hubby to feed her cheese! Progress! Other people–all men–joined us, and Jasmine calmly accepted their presence. She was calm, quiet and relaxed. Yay!!!

After that, I went to check out the local PetSmart PetsHotel boarding and day care facility. The kennels are not huge, but clean and sufficient. What I like is that they are all visible by anyone who walks in. There are walk areas and play areas. Basic overnight boarding (feeding, two walks, etc.) is only $23 per day. Doggie day care costs more, but I don’t think she’s well socialized to other dogs, so I might go for a few sessions but not every day. An exit bath is $10. Compared to the $45 per day at other facilities (which provide about the same level of care), it’s a bargain.

We walked around the store, and Jasmine did SO well. I’m trying to get her used to many situations, and although she was a bit stressed (tail tucked some of the time), she handled it well. However, Jasmine doesn’t like sliding glass doors! Eeek! She did let people approach her, though, and even let one of the employees pet her!!!

Our housekeeper came today for our monthly cleaning. Jasmine growled at her, but I corrected her with a “shhhhh” right away and she stopped. I know she’s just protecting her territory, but I also want to let her know that she must stop on my command. She’s a really good doggie! She’s handled everything so well today!

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