Dog gone it I love dogs!

I have had a dog in my life in one shape or form for a long time. When I was a kid we had at least four that I can remember, a Collie named Lassie (how apropos), a French Poodle named Gigi, Puff the Old English Sheepdog and Spot the Dalmatian. Even though we had these dogs when I was kid they were never my responsibility and I never remember being too attached to any of them because my mother wouldn’t let any of them in the house!  I loved my mother dearly but looking back on it all I wonder why she bought them if she didn’t really want them as pets.

Lassie was my dad’s dog and he built a huge dog house and run for her in the backyard. He took care of her and ran her around the outside of the house every evening after supper. That I remember clearly, but the other three dogs are kind of a blur and to be honest I don’t really know, or remember, what ever happened to them.  That sounds awful saying that, especially being the dog lover I am, but like I said I never felt like they were part of the family.

I changed all that when I had a house and a family of my own, thanks to a VERY understanding husband! I got Tulip and Holly at a spectacular no-kill animal shelter in Texas called Adopt-a-Pet, and I was so impressed with the work they were doing that I ended up volunteering there for several years, as did my kids and hubby. Both Tulip and Holly were mixed breeds and were puppies when we got them. They moved houses (and states) twice with us and ended up living very long lives. Tulip lived to be 15, Holly until 17. I guess Texas dogs are long livers!!

Then when Holly and Tulip were in their golden years we brought a silly little puppy named Jasmine into our family as a gift for my daughter’s 16th birthday. My daughter (and I) both wanted a smaller dog, so this time around we actually went to a breeder to guarantee what kind of dog our pup would turn out to be. Jasmine is half Shitzu and half Havanese, and I like to say she’s a HavaShitz 🙂

Tulip and Holly were rejuvenated with the addition to our family, and began to enjoy walking the neighborhood again, even though it was quite a feat for me trying to walk two oldsters and a sprightly puppy but we managed, and I like to think that Jasmine added a few more years to their lives.

Holly & Jasmine

Holly & Jasmine 2011

And now we just have Jasmine. Having a little dog obviously has worked out for us, she’s portable, for lack of a better word, and we have been able to fly and travel numerous times with her. Luckily she isn’t a fragile little thing. She loves to walk, fetch, climb and play, and she especially loves the snowy, cold weather, which is a good thing since we spend a bit of time in Alaska! But she is far cry from the lap dog that my daughter and I were hoping for, she prefers her independence and hates being picked up and carried around. That’s not to say that she isn’t underfoot all the time, or making sure she knows where all her people are at any given moment, she just would never be caught dead being carried around in a purse!

Before I had these three wonderful furry friends in my life I never truly understood it when someone said that a dog was like a member of their family, but I get it now, I really get it.


Alaska (re)Bound

My faithful companion and I are heading back to the land of moose, mountains and musk ox this week. Up until today, when Jasmine had to go to the vet and get another health certificate (airline requirement), I’ve done little to prepare.  I think that’s because I know all the pitfalls that are heading our way and there is no sense in fretting about them until the morning of our journey.

The biggest bump in the road is that dog carriers fit the best under the middle seat or window seat. This is not good for me since I have booked an aisle seat. You may ask why I would do such a silly thing.

Very smushy aisle seat…poor pooch 😦

Well, here’s my answer….it’s a very long flight (7 hours) and I really, really, really want to sit on the aisle! Our first trip to Alaska I discovered the fact that the aisle seat is horrible for jamming (carefully placing) Jasmine under the seat. But, I was extremely fortunate that no one sat in the middle seat so I was able to put her under there and remain in my aisle seat!

Jasmine comfy cozy under the middle seat

I’m hoping this will happen again! (major denial)
But I am not holding out much hope since on our return flight last May, the plane was packed, I had to switch to a middle seat, and the two people on either side of me NEVER moved the entire journey! Can you believe that??  Granted the plane leaves at 11 PM at night so a lot of people sleep, but these two yahoos hardly twitched a muscle for 6 and a half hours! But they did manage to steal both of my arm rests early on. Horrible, horrible flight!

There are other non-fun things to think about as well….early flight, long drive to the airport, parking the car, shuttle to the airport, $100 pet fee, TSA….all this with a suitcase, pet carrier, large purse and only a small, black dog as a traveling companion.

Is it any wonder I’m in DENIAL!? ….because if you really think about it who wants to think about traveling 7 hours in a tin can, squished between two strangers with a dog between their feet!

Okay now I’m depressed… it too early for a glass of wine??

Jaunts with Jasmine?

My co-writer Jasmine and I will soon be traveling to the great white north and our second home, Alaska. While I have been there several times this will be Jazzie’s first trip to Anchorage and also her first airplane flight. Ay Yi Yi , what was I thinking  when I decided to do this!

Jazzie's first (and only) adventure~~to Washington, DC

My time lately has been spent agonizing, fretting and freaking out about how I will accomplish this almost 7 hour flight by myself. I’ve been researching airplane seat dimensions, carrier sizes and styles ad nauseam. I am driving myself CRAZY and everyone else within ear shot!

I went back and forth about bringing her with me on the plane or putting her in cargo. This means I had to decide on a soft sided carrier or a hard sided carrier and then the size of the carrier has to conform to the airlines specifications. The Catch-22 being that not one carrier I’d found matched my Alaska Airlines requirements!!  This is when I sighed and lamented, “why o why, woe is me”~~ I’ve been doing this a lot lately!

I finally broke down and ordered a soft sided, Sturdibag pet carrier. They even had a picture on their website showing the bag easily fitting under the airline seat. It arrived at my door and I opened it up and the thing is ginormous! Not only that Jasmine despises it! She went easily into the smaller, cheapy bag I already owned but this one, no way Jose! I put a very fancy treat in there for her (not her normal fare) and she circled the bag, like she was sizing it up for a rumble in the jungle, then she barked at it and whacked it with her paw. “Take that evil bag”!

Believe me the burgundy bag is bigger than the green one...really!

I finally managed to shove her in the “thing” and drove around in the car to do my errands. She whimpered the WHOLE time. My dog spoiled much?, nah…

Well, after calming down yesterday and trying to be a little more logical than emotional about this terrifying flight with my pooch, I figured out that I had a chair in my house that mimicked the under seat height on the airplane. Voila! the carrier actually goes under there and then I finally convinced Jasmine, with a bit of a shove from behind (ok, more than a bit of a shove), to go in and get her treat.

Jasmine making friends with the enemy

We still have several more practice runs in the car, but I’m feeling a tad more confident about our journey. Now, do you think I can get an Alaskan Amber beer when I get on the plane that early in the morning…..?

~~Possible (slightly tweaked) titles for our journey ~~

Jasmine does Alaska

Jasmine’s big Adventure

What happens in Alaska stays in Alaska

Hi-Ho Jasmine (Silver), away!

To Alaska (infinity)…. and beyond!

I love Alaska (Paris) in the springtime

Tracy & Jazzie’s Excellent Adventure