Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE 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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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.


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.


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!


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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Home Again, Home Again

Oh, it feels so good to be home after all this travel and work. Jasmine agrees.

My husband brought her to the airport when he picked me up. He pulled up to the curb, and as I was walking towards the trunk, little Jasmine spotted me from her fluffy pillow in the back seat. Her ears perked up, and she started to cry. I got in the car, and she jumped up and down and cried again. When we got home, she was jumping around me and wagging her tail for joy. It was such a wonderful welcome home.

Yesterday, she followed me everywhere and did not let me out of her sight. Well, she generally does follow me wherever I go, but this was different. She also slept like she hadn’t slept in a week.  She went for a walk with me without a struggle, and she merrily ate all her food.  She even knocked on the shower door, itching for attention and a connection.  Today, she impatiently woke me at 6:30 a.m. and happily ate her breakfast with me.  How much joy a little doggie face can bring astounds me.

My husband says that she just tolerates him…that she’s MY dog.  I think she wants to be friends with him, but whatever happened to her in the past keeps getting in the way.  She goes near him because she knows he wants to give her love and treats, but the wariness she has for him (and all men) is daunting.  However, she had made progress with him.  She comes to him (when they are alone together) for pets and treats.  She allows him to take her out for walks and potty breaks.  Two months ago, that wasn’t the case.  While I see forward progress, my husband is a bit frustrated that she’s still skittish around him.  I’m not sure she will ever be 100% comfortable around any man, but I believe that their time alone together has strengthened their bond.

The next separation will be during our annual vacation.  Jasmine will be spending time with our friends again.  This time, she’ll be in a somewhat familiar home, cohabiting once again with another family–our friends, their two kids, the family dog and two cats.  Another chance for her to socialize and learn that love comes in many forms.  Once again, I’ll miss her terribly…

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Another Week Away

After a long weekend home, I’m back on the road, once again leaving Jasmine in my husband’s capable hands.

Jasmine is resisting again.  She didn’t eat dinner last night.  However, she did allow my husband to sit with her as she stared at her food.  🙂  She is a stubborn one, that cutie!

I think these trips will ultimately be good for her.  She needs to learn to accept my husband as a leader and as someone who will provide her with the love and comfort that I do.

At very least, she didn’t freak out like she did the first night I was gone.  She understands the “mom’s gone” routine already.  She’s just a bit…resistant to the idea.

The dog sitter will be by towards the end of the week to take her on walkies.  That will be another “new” experience for her.  It’s all good.

However, I miss her terribly.  No cute little face to greet me in the morning….I hate being away from them both.

On a totally unrelated note, during my outbound trip yesterday, my plane was evacuated due to a small girl claiming she was “bitten” by, of all things, a scorpion.  Was she rushed to a medical center for treatment?  No.  Were we delayed by hours due to her outlandish tale of a crazed insect?  Yes.  We had to get a whole new plane.  Thanks kid.  Boy, traveling is so fun..,

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Dog-Friendly Places, Part 2.

Given our search to find places to take our dog, what have we found? Here are a few places we like.

1. Bill’s Cafe, San Jose (on Willow near Lincoln). Lovely outdoor patio with about a dozen tables. Outrageously good Bread Pudding French Toast. Water bowls for the pups. They’ll also give you some cheese if you forgot your doggie treats. VERY busy on the weekends.

2. Willow Glen Frozen Yogurt, San Jose (corner of Willow & Lincoln). While their name says frozen yogurt, they are best known for an outrageously good French Silk Custard. Nice seating outside. Short on parking, though. I asked the counter guy what he serves dogs, and he gave me a little sample cup of French Silk Custard for Jasmine. This was Jasmine’s first taste of ice cream, and she went nuts for it. I, too, am nuts for the French Silk Custard. However, they have this Wow Cow stuff for those on diets. Lactose-free and sugar free. I don’t know what it’s made of, but it’s a great treat if you’re on a low-carb diet.

3. Cup N Saucer, San Jose (corner of Meridian and Blossom Hill in the Princeton Plaza shopping center). Outdoor dining with heated lanterns during the cold season. While not particularly “dog friendly,” they do allow dogs on the patio. Of course, they also look away from smokers on their patio. Their breakfasts are good. Good omelets, awesome potatoes, great scrambles (my favorite is the Veggie Pesto). Prices are a bit steep.

4. Lenny’s Deli, Carmel (Carmel Plaza, Lower Level). I hear that they even have a doggie lunch menu. Outdoor patio dining. VERY yummy, but a bit pricey.

5. Carmel, California. Carmel is a very pet-friendly town. Their tourist map even shows establishments that allow pets, and there’s a dedicated web page with those listings as well. Water bowls are found all around town, and dogs are welcome in most stores. More importantly, dogs ARE welcome on their beaches. We were in Half Moon Bay later in the week, and we found out that the State beaches in the area did not allow dogs–even on leashes. Bah. Well, I guess irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after their animals have spoiled it for all of us.

6. San Jose Dog Parks. San Jose has dog parks! Yay! I like a town that likes dogs. I’m glad I live here! I was on the road the other day, and I drove by the Los Gatos Creek Park. They have a dedicated dog park there. When I arrived, I found out that they have a $6 day use/parking fee. Ridiculous. I think I’ll stick to San Jose.

These are only a few of the places that we’ve been to thus far. I’ll continue to list new places as I find them.

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