Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

It Has Only Taken Eight Years

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


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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Wanna Play?

Jasmine and I have a morning routine. Each morning, I take a shower and get dressed. After I get dressed, it’s wrassle time. I call Jasmine over to “wrassle wrassle” and she comes bouncing over with a waggy tail. Sometimes we play (wrestling, of course), and sometimes we just snuggle and pet.

Since Juliet came on the scene, Jasmine has been much less playful and hasn’t opted to wraassle if Juliet was in the room. Today, Jasmine, Juliet and I were rolling around on the floor, and Jasmine began getting very frisky. She started to engage with Juliet instead of me, and she finally jumped up and did a play bow trying to get Juliet to play.

My Jasmine. The dog that isn’t socialized. The dog that doesn’t play very often. My sweet girl was trying to get another dog to play. Juliet wasn’t in the mood, but regardless, I saw a side of Jasmine that I’ve only seen once before–when we went and visited her foster home. Jasmine wanted to play and she wanted to play with another dog.

These little victories make me feel like tap dancing around the room. I see so many positive changes in Jasmine since Juliet came, and I can’t wait to see her grow and change as she gets more socialized with her new sibling.

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Big Changes Coming Our Way

I have a bad back. I’ve had a bad back since I was 17 and was in a car accident and developed herniated a disc. Now, many years later (I shall not say how many), my bad back has made it known that I need to go into the “shop” and have a “tune-up.” As in back surgery.

Around the time when we moved from California to New Hampshire, I had a fall. I was putting something up on the wall and fell off the stool I was standing on. The floor was very hard and I really walloped my back and hip. And as a result, I herniated a disc. It took me six  months of pain to finally go get an MRI and a diagnosis. The doctor recommended surgery, but I decided to take the more conservative route and try to let it heal on its own. And it did, for the most part.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bad case of the flu. I spiked a fever, and I was in bed for five days flat. When I emerged, my back was inflamed. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt throughout these years of back pain. It was painful enough that all I could do was stand. That was the only time I was out of pain. I went back to the doctor, had a repeat MRI, and confirmed my fears–the herniated disc was worse than ever, and I needed surgery for pain relief.

One of the reasons that I didn’t get the surgery done last year, and it may sound stupid to most people (although I know you, as a fan of dogs and dachshunds, will understand), is that I wouldn’t be able to pick Jasmine up for a full six weeks. And since Hubby can’t get close to Jasmine without her skittering off in fear (yes, that is still the case after three years), I was afraid that we wouldn’t do well with my inability to care for her.

Now I have no real choice but to move ahead with the surgery. And the six-week recovery period. Six weeks without being able to pick Jasmine up and bring her downstairs, put her in my lap, in bed, oh my…not good. Her routine has already been altered, and she’s been very…er…vocal about it. Since I haven’t been able to sit down since the recent flare-up, she can’t sit in my lap. I have a make-shift office in my kitchen so I can stand here and work. She’s been by my side all the way, but she has taken to wooft-ing at me for attention. “Wooft…why aren’t you sitting in the recliner so I can sit next to you?” “Wooft…why can’t we snuggle?” “Wooft…why can’t you play?”

The one benefit of having to be on my feet for hours on end is that walking does give me pain relief. So we’re back to our walks, and both Jasmine and I are starting to be in better shape because of it.

The surgery is scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Some people might think it silly of me to be worrying about how my DOG is going to respond to the changes due to my recovery. But it’s a big consideration since she brings so much joy into my life in the things we do together.

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Jasmine’s Vacation

Hubby and I needed a getaway. After 18 months without a vacation, renovating a house and a cross-country move, we were due. We wanted to just relax, but we also wanted to include Jasmine on the fun, so we decided on a driving vacation up the coast of Maine. It would conclude with a visit with some old friends in Durham, Maine. The best part of the trip was that, outside of the stop in Durham, we had no agenda. We had no reservations anywhere. We just wanted to explore the area and end up where we ended up. High season ended on Labor Day weekend, so availability of accommodations wouldn’t be a big problem.

Jasmine likes to ride in the car, so we got her favorite blanket, toys, and treats and hit the road. The first day, we drove the back roads all the way up to Portland. We stopped in Portsmouth, NH as well. Jasmine attracted attention wherever we went–people just love wiener dogs–and we were never denied access to any store; I carried her in many stores and galleries, and that was just fine. Jasmine was further exposed to new experiences and lots of people approaching her–a good thing. Unless people approached her aggressively (surprising how many “dog people” had no idea how to approach a dog), she was cautiously okay with a scratch behind the ear or a little pet.

The first night was a little uncomfortable for her. She paced a lot in the hotel but we decided to keep her with us on the bed so she was happy to snuggle up and sleep. The new environment was a little disconcerting for her, but she adjusted well and did not have any accidents the entire week.

The next day was her first challenge. We decided to take a cruise of Portland harbor. It was a 2-hour tour of the islands around the harbor on the local ferry, and dogs were welcome (and required a separate fare). We carried her on and got our seat up top. She sniffed the air and settled on my lap. It was so fun to watch the other passengers on the trip; they were more enamored with Jasmine than they were with the tour. One gentleman took more pictures of Jasmine than he did of the bay! Jasmine did so well; she was calm and interested in all the smells and sights.

The rest of the week went well. Jasmine adapted to every environment that we presented. Finding pet-friendly accommodations was generally not an issue, but it was surprising how few hotels were open to pets. In Boothbay Harbor, we only found a few places and ONLY with the help of the local chamber of commerce. We did end up at a particularly wonderful place, the Spruce Point Inn, that was both pet-friendly and didn’t just reserve the worst rooms for that purpose. The worst experience? Hampton Inn. We went in to get a quote. Jasmine was calmly encased in my arms. The genius at the front desk fumbled with his reservation system, and after several minutes, we got some rates. However, it only occurred to him to let us know of a property-wide BAN on pets after this whole process. Um, why go through with rate quotes when you can clearly see that we aren’t going to take a room due to the pet ban? Duh.

The end of the week was interesting. We got to our friends’ home in Durham. They have two dogs, one of which is a black lab “puppy” that they’ve had for three weeks. He’s 45 pounds of pure puppy energy. Jasmine wanted nothing to do with either dog. However the puppy, Bailey, was fascinated by Jasmine and took every opportunity to try to play with this new “toy.” Jasmine snapped at him a couple of times and endured getting swatted in the head by a puppy paw, but she was generally calm and comfortable in my arms. Well, as comfortable as she could be, as you can see in the photo below. Overall, Jasmine did wonderfully and we had a great vacation together. She was happy to be home, but she also had some great socialization experiences to help her growth and well being. And tons of treats, pets and kisses.

Jasmine, meet Bailey. Bailey, meet Jasmine.

Jasmine, meet Bailey. Bailey, meet Jasmine.

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Peppy Pup

Jasmine continues to blossom in our new home. I wonder what it is about this house or this area that has made her happier, more lively and finally coming out of her shell. Perhaps it’s because the period before our move was so chaotic. It took two months of 12-hour days to sort and pack our belongings in preparation for the move. I know that dogs are very sensitive to our moods, and I’m sure I was less than calm, cool and collected when we were in preparation mode.

After we moved here, I was able to unpack, arrange and decorate at my leisure. I relaxed. From day one, Jasmine just seemed to like it here better. The first visit to the back yard was a huge awakening for her. She sniffed her way throughout the yard and explored scents that were new and exciting. She romped through the grass bounding with joy as she discovered her new territory. She seemed to relax here much more than at the California home. It was as if she was really home. Strange.

The past few weeks have marked other changes for Jasmine. While her incontinence problem has subsided a bit, it still continues to be a worry. We’re taking her out more often which has helped, but I still don’t know what the root cause is of her bed-wetting. That she continues to lie in the bed after soiling it…well, I think that could be a hold-over from her puppy mill days.

However, there are significant positive changes in her as well. She’s become a more peppy pup. She initiates play with me–something she hasn’t done much of in the past. She is a much more peppy, waggy dog that demands attention and fun. Every night, she has been expectantly waiting for “training” sessions. We practice her tricks and behaviors (we’re currently working on “stay”), but to her, it’s just a chance to get some Simon & Huey’s Soft Training Treats–woo hooo! If I don’t play with her, she sits in front or behind me and woofs a little (and includes a bunny hop for emphasis).

We can clearly see how much happier she is. Every day, she seems to relax a little bit more. Hubby says she’s becoming more like a dog each day she is here. She’s breaking from her past traumas and enjoying her life here. That’s what we hoped for so very long ago, and we’re so happy we can give her the life she so deserves.

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Making Demands

Jasmine has been staying home with Hubby–he now works from home.  I was hoping that the two of them would strengthen their bond because of all the time they have been spending together.  It hasn’t happened yet.

What HAS happened is when I am home, Jasmine is demanding my undivided attention.  The sound of her running back and forth from the family room to the basement door signals that she’s excitedly waiting for me to close the garage door and get upstairs.  Hubby says that she has started to whine and bark (yes, bark!) when she hears the garage door open because that’s the sound of my return.  When I open the door and walk into the kitchen, she furiously wags her tail and runs circles around me.  Oh so cute!  I greet her, give her love and pets.  I then fix her dinner (and ours) and go on with the evening’s activities.

I have been working a lot lately including working at home in the evenings.  Last night, I had to finish some work on my computer.  After dinner, I sat in the recliner and started working on the laptop.  Jasmine was having an energy spurt (yeah, one of those–so much fun to watch), and she bounded around the coffee table with one of her favorite toys in her mouth.  When she noticed that I wasn’t looking, she stopped, dropped the toy and came running over to my chair.  She sat in front of me and did a cute little hop.  I laughed and praised her and went back to my work.

All of a sudden, she barked a couple of times.  Then she…well…how do I describe it…complained.  Roooowrrrr…yawmmm…yawmmm…yawmmm.  That was the noise.  I tried not to pay attention to her.  I didn’t want to reward her barking and complaining and jumping on the chair.  She kept it up for a minute or two, and when I didn’t react, she walked around to the other side of the coffee table.  I then put down the computer and called her over for some serious lap time.

I realize that this transition has been a bit difficult on her.  She had me 24 x 7 for almost two years, and now she has me for a few hours each day.  I need to temper her demands for my attention by putting them on my terms (be the pack leader…), but I also need to give her some time every day for the comfort and love she desires and deserves.

I do have to say that I’m thrilled that she IS vocalizing and communicating more.  It’s another big step forward for her.

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Jasmine took a step back when Hubby arrived here.  Jasmine and I had been together, alone, for over a month.  During that month, I rarely had a visitor.  She had lots of time with me while I got the new house set up, and when I started working, she quickly adjusted to the new routine.  However, Hubby’s arrival at the house marked a step back for her.

While Jasmine blossomed during that month alone, her behavior immediately changed in Hubby’s presence.  Her normally bouncy, bunny-like hoppity hoppity happiness was replaced with hunched shoulders, raised ears and suspicion.  She would show happiness to me, but as soon as he would enter a room, she would become subdued and wary.

I was really worried that this would be her demeanor going forward.  I was wrong.  I needed to give her time to adjust to her new reality, and as of today, she has once again found her equillibrium.  Hubby has been home with her all day while I have been at work.  While she has been ignoring him for the most part, she had to go outside this afternoon.  She did something that she hasn’t done with him since he got here–she approached him and sat calmly behind him, waiting for him to notice her.  When he did, he asked Jasmine whether she wanted to go outside.  She jumped up and he walked to the back door and opened it.  She watched him for a minute, and then ran outside to do her “business.”

When I got home, she greeted me with the bouncy joy that she showed me when I was alone with her–this time, with Hubby in the room.  I suppose Jasmine has accepted that he’s here to stay.  And with that, she’s now free to bounce around like a bunny when she’s happy.  Her joy is mine.  It’s nice that we’re all finally home.

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A Tale of Two Dachshunds

Hubby’s sister and brother-in-law stopped by for a visit yesterday afternoon on their way back home from their cabin in Maine.  They have two dogs–a Welsh Corgi, Cubby, and a miniature Dachshund, Josie.  Cubby stayed in the truck (in the shade with the windows down), while Josie came in to meet Jasmine.

Josie is a wiry little girl.  As a puppy, she was a ball of nervous energy.  At almost four years old, she’s mellowed a bit, but in new situations with new dogs, well, she’s not a picutre of calm.  She came in the house and strained at the leash to get to Jasmine.  I was sitting on the couch in the sun room, and Jasmine was sitting at my feet.  Josie came at us, whining all the time.  She strained to reach Jasmine, and when she did, they sniffed at each other.  Jasmine shrank back behind my legs and shut down.  She didn’t like the intrusion, but then again, she didn’t run away and hide.  When she’s stressed, Jasmine tends to just shut down.  If I’m holding her and someone she doesn’t know comes up, she doesn’t make eye contact, her body goes rigid and she just becomes robot dog.

Josie continued to whine and go nuts while Jasmine sat there in a calm but rigid state.  Josie was wriggling and whining, her tail flapping so hard that it was like a doggie whip.  My brother-in-law couldn’t calm her down, and she was getting hyper-excited so he took he outside.

Looking at the two dogs, I’m grateful for Jasmine.  No, she’s not very social.  No, she doesn’t play much.  But she’s sweet, gentle, quiet, funny and just a joy to have around.  She rarely barks, and her favorite thing to do is sleep on my lap.  I know she’s happy and content with life, and since she has been in this new house, she seems to have relaxed even more.  While I wish more for her, I’m glad that she’s with us and I’m grateful for her calm and quiet demeanor.  It’s very un-dachshund-like, but just perfect for us.

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Three Big Dogs

Friday, I took Jasmine up to Durham, Maine to go visit some friends.  It’s great that we have friends out here from our “old” life in Silicon Valley who have (successfully) made the transition to this very different state of being.  Well, in reality, hubby is still not here yet, and I have been craving some good old fashioned company.  2-1/4 hours is a short drive for being with some good friends.

We made good time up to Durham.  Jasmine is pretty good in a car.  We have a doggy rear seat hammock that I got from Drs. Foster and Smith that I love, and it keeps her safe and very comfy.  She curled up in a ball and snoozed most of the way with an occasional look of disdain if I took a turn too fast.

When we got to Durham, Jasmine was not a happy camper.  My friends have two big dogs on their own (Katie, a husky mix, and Lucy, a black lab mix) and were dog-sitting a third (Max, a huge beautiful brown and black brindle…don’t know what kind of dog).  The dogs were very curious about Jasmine, but Jasmine’s lack of doggie manners made it hard for her to know what to do.  She sat on my lap in the living room as the dogs came by to sniff her.  They were all friendly, but Jasmine was scared stiff. After a while, the dogs settled down and ignored Jasmine.  I put Jasmine down on the floor to see if she’d allow the dogs near her (they perked up when I did), but she scampered away and hid under the end table.  *sigh*

I tried several more times to get her to interact with the dogs, but she wouldn’t have it.  I finally put her upstairs in a bedroom to feed her and to give her a little peace.  I actually let her sleep with me that night as well…what a softie I am.

Saturday morning, I tried a different tactic with Jasmine.  I let her decide on her own if she wanted to come down and join the fun.  She sat at the top of the stairs and watched me and the other dogs, but she never ventured down.  However, she did watch for a time.  She kept retreating to the safety of the bedroom and coming back to see where I was.  I think that given a day or so, she’d be able to co-exist with these dogs.  When she was in foster care, she was living with about 14 other dogs and puppies…and holding her own with the big black lab (she didn’t like him even though he was as gentle and sweet as they come).

We’ll have other opportunities to see our friends in Durham, and each time, Jasmine will come with us.  It’s another opportunity for us to move her forward.  It just takes baby steps with a dog like her.

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