Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

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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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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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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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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