How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

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.

14 thoughts on “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

  1. Yes, we have an ancient (17 or so) doxie we rescued when her former owner died. She pretty much owns my husband. And, yes the vet bills are something, but as the saying goes, she is priceless. Hope Bella is feeling better soon.

  2. Thumbs Up to you & Bill for providing such extraordinary care for Bella! I had to have 5-6 puppy teeth removed from one of my dogs and was shocked at that tab!
    While I always enjoy hearing about your little snippets of your life on the blog, I must admit, I love hearing the updates on Bella & Snowflake the most!
    take care and have a safe Halloween!

  3. ad always, a very well written and funny piece. I have 6 doxies. They are a wonderful breed. And yes, they ALWAYS steal the show. I breed miniature (pet quality ) Dachshunds. I only have a couple of litters per year. But I love doing it. Thank you for you writing. I love all of it.

  4. Good morning, your Bloggs this morning should be FREE TO A GOOD HOME. . Most if our dogs have been given to us for free of course. I seem to have a big sucker written on my face when it comes to dogs. Our dogs are very spoiled. How can you not spoil them they give so much unconditional LOVE. Is it possible to live anything more? We got a rescue puppy this time around. Only time Will tell if we made the right decision. First there was the minimal cost fir the rescue org. Then the puppy package from the Veterinary. Now of course since its been 40 years since our last Puppy we got a trainer who came into our house and kindly explained we were doing EVERYTHING wrong.Yes free to a good home is the most expensive phase in history.

  5. Has it been 4 years already? I told you that girl would take over your life! I’m ROFL about her getting into the butter episode. We have her “brother from a different mother AND father” living here with us. Biggles loves butter! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve lost part of a stick of butter while cooking, when I turned my back to stir something. He eyes the (covered) butter dish on the table longingly and sighs with deep heartfelt sighs. Doggie dentals are a necessary fact of life with dachshunds – they are prone to having bad teeth. Thanks for the smile today. Hugs to Bella, Bill and you!

  6. You and Bill are good people. I don’t know too many people that would be that caring.
    At least I know I’m not alone in paying the Vet Bills for my beloved pets. Hope Bella is feeling better soon and you too. Dental work is never fun.

  7. We learned to not leave unattended food on the table around our dachshund one Thanksgiving when she enjoyed most of a pecan pie. We had made sure all the chairs were in close to the table before we left. No problem, she simply nudged one of them until it was far enough out to jump onto and then leap to the table.

  8. Lived in Issaquah for 20 years. I’m glad snowflake is doing better. Dogs add so much to our lives. I have read all your books, waiting for the new one.

  9. There are a variety of dogs in our family,1 long hairs dachshund, two Australian shepherds, a shy Rottweiler, and a labrador. Several years ago, we rescued a chocolate lab. She was sacred to death at being moved, yet again to a new place where she did not know the rules. The next day, my husband had to go out of town, so the chocolate and my self were getting acquainted. My family was coming for dinner and I baked a pumpkin pie. I left it on the stove top to cool. I left the room to fold clothes. When I came back, the dog was lying down where I left her, but she had a dot of orange on her nose. Hmmm. Yup. Not a lick of pumpkin filling left. Pie place and crust perfectly in place.

  10. We found a 2 week old kitten abandoned in a Walmart gardening shop barely hanging on. We brought her home, nursed her back to health and she has been my cat ever since. I have never been a cat person and I still wouldn’t say I was but i loved her enough to pay $800 to keep her alive when she lost a fight with another cat for the first time. I would do it again in a heartbeat. She has a part of my heart even though she is not the friendliest of animals.

  11. When we were stationed on Guam we took in a stray dog named pumpkin. We loved her a lot even when she attacked the roast we had just cooked and left of the table to cool. She had a feast that day. I t has been 43 years but we still think of her . She loved our son and us in a real small apartment and helped with the day to day living.

  12. Hi JA,
    Loved your blog about dear Bella, and in response, as someone who’s also spent thousands on various dogs (and a cat), I have to say I know your pain (or Bill’s). But as with all of us, there is no choice; they are beloved family members who give far more than they ever take.
    Years ago, a dental specialist wired the upper jaw of one of our Siberian Husky’s when one of his incisors (fangs) cracked during a freak fall against a deck railing. It worked, too! Fortunately, I am really hopeless at remembering the cost of things.
    Keep on keeping on!

  13. So glad to hear Bella is doing OK and taking her butter covered pain meds. I worry about her and am sorry she’s in so much pain, but hope it will soon abate.

  14. Your efforts to get your dog to swallow a pill brought back memories froM when I had to give our cat a pill. I thought the cat was going blind and took lt to the vet. He saw something going on it the eyes but didn’t know what it was. He referred me to a animal eye specialist. The specialist advised that the cat was indeed going blind because of a blood disorder that was a cancerous condition which would lead to total blindness and later on, death. The good news was there was a prescription that could cure the condition. All we had to do was to get the cat to take one pill a day for a month or so.

    We thought tis would be a piece of cake. We put the pill in the middle of a can of cat food. The cat always gobbled down his food so fast we questioned whether he even chewed his food. We were sure he wouldn’t even notice thd pill, but when the cat was finished eating, all the food was gone and in the bottom of the bowl was a pristine little pill. On to plan B, we put the pill in a ball of hzmburger and watched the cat eat it and as we congratulated ourselves, we heard pttttt and the sound of the pill hitting the floor. I was flabbergasted, I had never heard or seen a cat spit out a pill. We tried to trick the cat into eating the pill a number of other ways and he always spit it out. Our last resort was to wrap it tightly in a towel, force it’s mouth open, and then drop the pill down it’s throat, when he got up he spit it out. We only had success if jammed the pill down its throat using a finger.

    This was a big cat, whom was the king of the neighborhood. None of the cats or dogs in the neighborhood dared mess with him. He had all his teeth and claws and knew how to use them. Jamming a finger down his throat was done wirh a high degree of risk. The cat didn’t like it and he fought hard, but it had to be done, and we succeeded in our efforts. It wasn’t easy but we got th job done and the cat was cured. His eyesight was restored and he lived a long, happy life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *