Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

3870 Days

Dear Jasmine,

3,870. That’s how many days you were with us.

59 days. That’s how many days, so far, that you’ve been gone. Today marks two months since you left this earth.

I don’t really know if you understood how much you meant to me, but I think you did. Every day, you brought me joy just looking at me, your sweet face and that piercing blue eye watching my every move. Or when you hopped for joy in anticipation of a treat. Or when you wagged your tail and gave me an impatient bark when you were awaiting your dinner. Or when you lay asleep on the couch, covered by your favorite blanket.

I find myself looking for you every day. I listen for your footsteps. I wish you were there when it was time for ‘good girl’ treats. I wish I could scratch you behind your ears as you slept and dreamt on the couch. I wish I could pull up the soft blanket around you so you’d be warm and comfortable.

When we first got you, I was so unsure of whether you’d be the right dog for me. But in just a short time, you won me over. Completely. I was your Mom, and you were my child. I know that sounds silly. People who never have had this kind of bond with a dog will never understand this. But you trusted me and loved me with no reservation, and I loved you with all my heart. You were mine, and I was yours.

I loved having you by my side every day. Your quirky personality made my day a delight. Coming home to your excited face was so wonderful. And rescuing you from the horrors of your past and making you whole and happy…it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.

I hope you’re in a better place. I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I believe that the love I have for you, and the love you have for me, lives on. Your soul was beautiful, and it is now a part of mine. And that gift…that is worth all the heartache I have felt in these past 59 days, and all the heartache to come.

Run free, my little love.

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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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It Has Only Taken Eight Years

Okay, maybe 7.75 years. Jasmine has finally started bonding with Tom.

Jasmine

Jasmine hangin’ out with Dad

It has been a long time coming. I started a new business last year. That left both Jasmine and Juliet to spend all day every day with Tom. And slowly…ever so slowly…he has been winning her over.

Jasmine enjoying "Tom Time"

Jasmine enjoying “Tom Time”

Just of late, she has been going to him every morning for some love and scratchies. She politely takes her bits of apple from me and then moves on over to snuggle with him.

While I’m a tad bit jealous–she has always been MY dog–I’m so happy that she’s finally overcome her fear and has bonded with Tom. And, happily, Juliet has bonded more fully with me.

We’re finally one big, happy family. It has only taken eight years. That’s 56 years to you and me! 🙂

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I Will Protect You

We are proud to have non-barky Dachshunds. Jasmine and Juliet are relatively quiet dogs with very few of the hyper and barky tendencies of most Dachshunds. However, that also means that they don’t alert us to ‘dangers’ (intruders, squirrels, etc.). This changed the other day when we got a furniture delivery.

We confined the dogs in my upstairs office while we were waiting for our new couch to be delivered. Both dogs LOVE to ‘go to work’ with me due to the positive reinforcement (aka TREATS) they get for going into the office and the crate. So, I put them up there for the duration of the furniture delivery to reduce their stress and to keep them out of the way.

The furniture guys arrived, and all of a sudden, I heard BARKING. I thought it was the neighbor dog, but lo and behold, it was Juliet alerting us to the noise (aka DANGER). Really??!!! The delivery guys laughed and called, “Hey doggie, it’s okay!” to no avail. It’s one more step towards ‘normal’ doggie-hood for Juliet. I’m SO pleased!

Of course, one of the reasons we got the new couch was to give the dogs the ability to hang with both of us as we lounge in the family room. And they were both rewarded with a snuggle.

Juliet Dachshund

Snuggly Juliet on the new couch

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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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Almost Good as New

Jasmine dachshund crate rest

Poor little pup!

Jasmine has been on crate rest for about two weeks now. She’s not happy about it. It’s very apparent that she’s feeling better and that she’s NOT happy about being crated.

For those of you who haven’t had a pup that has been on crate rest…well, you’re lucky. Imagine being in prison; your cell is just about large enough to stand, lie down, turn around and sit in. Your meals are all served there. The only time you get to go out is when you have to use the bathroom. Your friends are walking around you and taunting you through the bars. Your family is sitting outside your cell, giving you treats and pets, but you can’t go out and hug them.

You stare at them with sad, lonely eyes. For hours and hours on end. You finally relent, bury yourself in your blankies (yes, your prison has blankies), and in a huff…you nap. But at every move, every crackle of a plastic bag, you jump up, ready for action.

That’s what the last two weeks have been like. Now, when Jasmine had IVDD the last time, this lasted EIGHT weeks. Of course, some of that time was spent at the kennel (it was right in the middle of our move from California to New Hampshire). It SEEMED easier. Perhaps because Jasmine was a different dog back then; she was much less playful, energetic or demonstrative. And she didn’t have Juliet traipsing around either!

Jasmine’s sentence is officially over on Friday. Thank goodness! And it seems that there are no serious/lasting injuries. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort.

What’s also nice is that the vet and the vet tech both noted how very different Jasmine is today. When she first started seeing the vet in NH, she used to shake in fear so badly that they could barely keep her still enough to do blood draws and exams. Even though she’s still scared, she’s a much more calm and ‘normal’ dog today. It’s good to see that other people notice the positive changes in her.

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IVDD Strikes Again

If you have ever had a dachshund, you know that one of the most dreaded (and common) health issue with the breed is IVDD–Intervertebral Disc Disorder. Basically, it’s a spinal cord injury due to a herniated or ruptured disc in the spine. Jasmine had this before we moved from California to New Hampshire and fully recovered with crate rest.

Late last week, Jasmine came out of the sleep crate a different dog. Instead of her bouncy, happy self, she was timid and off. She barely wagged her tail. She didn’t play. She was like this all day, and I was worried. However, her appetite was good and she wasn’t yelping in pain.

When she woke up the next morning with the same disposition, I immediately made an appointment with the vet and took her in. He gave her a thorough exam, checked her bloodwork, and then prescribed some pain medication to see if it would help her disposition. It did. Within a few hours, she was perkier. The next morning, she was back to her old self.

Given these signs (including a slight tenderness in her back during the exam), he’s thinking that she injured her back again (or it’s flaring up). She’s on strict crate rest for at least two weeks; the Dodger’s List group recommends eight full weeks of crate rest. Oh, she’s not going to be happy. But I need to make sure that my pup is okay.

If you haven’t done crate rest with a dog before…well, it’s not fun. It means that the only time she should be out of the crate is to go potty. No running, no jumping, no playing. She eats in the crate. It’s intended to restrict her movements so she can get the rest her back needs. Given that she’s feeling better now, keeping her contained is not going to be easy OR pleasant. But it’s what we need to do to help her heal.

 

Jasmine Dachshund

Hello there

Jasmine Dachshund
Find Jasmine (no, it’s not the black spot–that’s a blanket)

 

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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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