Four years ago this month, we found Bella, a miniature long-haired dachshund, abandoned on a street in Bellevue, WA. We tried to find her owner to no avail–no chip and no tag means whoever dumped her didn’t want to be found. Once my husband laid eyes on the seven pound, starving, shivering waif, it was indeed love at first sight.
Our first problem upon taking her in was learning to communicate. The commands we customarily used with our dogs, grand-dogs, and occasionally even husbands were a foreign language to her. In order to get us all on the same page, we took her to the Academy for Canine Behavior in Woodinville for two weeks of live-in board and train. Here’s a hat tip about the Academy. Over the years nine of our family’s dogs have gone there. That way we ALL use the same commands. And when one traumatized rescue dog named Snowflake came along, they kept her for two weeks to evaluate whether she could become a “family” dog. (She did!) But that’s something I want to mention. Rescuing a dog is complicated, and the Academy offer’s free evaluations to help make that assessment. The Academy’s trainers are professional. They are not MEAN. This isn’t your basic drill sergeant style of dog training.
That was an aside–a commercial, if you will. Since I don’t have any advertising on my blog, I guess I’m entitled. Now, back to the blog itself.
Bella went into the Academy for two weeks. In the course of that time, she leaned to respond to her new name. (We didn’t know her old one.) Her trainer let us know that her astonishingly bad breath as well as her reluctance to eat were both a result of very bad teeth. So while she was at the Academy, they took her to a doggie dentist in Woodinville. If you’re into addition here, let me say that two weeks of board and train were one thing. Having the dentist pull 14 teeth was another expense. Within the first two weeks, license and shipping not included, we were in for the better part of three thousand bucks. Free to good home indeed!
Bella is not a dog that will hold still for tooth brushing, so her teeth have continued to go south. A trip to the dentist last year had to be postponed due to a liver enzyme being out of alignment. Now, with that under control, Bella went in to the dentist this week and so did I. I had a crown replaced. Bella lost several more teeth. Guess who Bill lay awake worrying about the night before? It wasn’t yours truly. And when the two separate bills came, Bella’s came to $500 more than mine. To his credit, Bill paid both without a murmur of objection.
Am I jealous about that? No. In the past several years I’ve learned my place in the universe. When Bella’s with me on tour, you can bet there are a lot more people taking photos than when I’m there on my own. So no, I don’t mind playing second fiddle to the little imp–not at all.
The second or third night after she came to live with us, Bill and I were sitting here watching TV and heard a strange noise. When we looked over at the kitchen table, we found that Bella had made her way up onto the table top, removed the lid to the butter dish, and was helping herself. (We learned not to leave the butter on the table after that, and yes, you can teach a pair of old dogs new tricks!)
Bella’s face is still swollen, and she’s supposed to be taking pain meds. As you can imagine, getting her to take pills is a job for both of us together. Pill pockets? Not on your life! Hide the pill in her food? Nope, that’s not gonna happen. Wrap it in peanut butter? No, thank you. Not for her.
And so, for the time being, we’re taking a break from the liver enzyme until she’s feeling less stressed and is in less pain. And the only way to get her to take the pain meds?
Slather them in butter, of course.
Bella’s probably ten or so by now. Her muzzle has turned white. We asked about dental implants for puppies. Those are done only in San Diego to the tune of $8000 a tooth. I’m sure Bill would be willing, but Bella doesn’t have enough bone left for the implants to take, so that option is off the table.
As for the question at the beginning of this blog–How Much is that Doggie in the Window? The answer is lots, but worth every penny.