Photobucket Photobucket Therapy dogs spread happiness, love, and cheer to people who otherwise might be lonely, sad or slow to heal. This is the journey of Cayman, a longhair miniature dachshund and his journey and experiences visiting becoming a therapy dog.

Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.



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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The One That Started It All

Dachshunds are my absolute favorite breed ever and I really, really want another one. So let me tell you were it all began…

Ciji. It all started with Ciji. She was born in April 13th, 1990 to a friend of my dad, Carl. Carl owned the sire, Rex and his ex-wife owned the dam, Cookie. They produced a litter and my parents could not resist the tiny squirming babies and felt it was a good time to get a family pet since I was eight and my brother was two. My parents purchased her for only $75. They choose the biggest puppy, a red smooth female and we named her Ciji after some woman from a soap opera my mom watched. It sounded like the perfect name for a tiny little weenie dog. We ended up getting the puppy at only four weeks old since Cookie was paralyed from a calcium deficiency. It was love at first sight and definitely the beginning of a love for the breed.

Ciji was my baby. She slept with me. She followed me everywhere. She was my dog, my best friend. Ciji had some characteristics that will remain with me forever like how she would press her head into my chest and gently dig, like she was trying to burrow herself into my heart. How as a puppy , she would stand on the tile and shake, afraid to move but would tear ass through the carpeted living room like she had a rocket strapped to her butt. How she would chase my brother, Anthony, who was two when we got her, around and around the house- him on his tricycle, her on stubby little dachshund legs. How she used to be snippy when she was reprimanded for misbehavior, as if she was the princess and how dare we spank her for having an accident in the house. How she would snuggle in my arms like a stuffed animal each and every night and the only way I could sleep was to rub her soft ears. How we affectionately called her “Ciji Luigi”. How I literally went into depression when I moved out of my parents home to New York, missing her so much but her being too old to come with me. Damn, I loved that dog!

Ciji was sent to heaven in October of 2005. At the age of 15 and a half, she was missing all but three of her teeth, had rapidly been losing weight, was covered in noncancerous tumors and was losing her hearing. On the day we finally decided to put her down, she laid listless on her pillow with labored breathing. My mom had been dreading this day, she knew it was time though. I received the call from my mom and I hurried over. The whole way to the vet I stayed strong, telling Ciji I loved her even though she probably could not hear me. Her coat was greasy from not being bathed in a while since she threw such a stink at the thought of a bath, my parents thought it was stress her out too much, but I petted and cuddled her stinky butt anyways. As the vet administered the euthanasia, I cried. I knew this day would come but I hated the fact that we were deciding when it was her time to go instead of letting her go on her own. But she was my baby and I had to put her out of the pain she was feeling. I knew her systems were shutting down and she was having difficulties breathing. She needed help getting over the Rainbow Bridge peacefully. With all she gave to me, helping her pass peacefully was the last gift I could give to her.

Ciji was cremated and her ashes sit on my bookshelf, a constant reminder of the love I felt from a little dog and the love I gave back to the first dog that was truly mine.

While living in New York with my boyfriend-at-the-time, I had acquired another dachshund, a black and tan longhaired male which we named Raider after the boyfriend-at-the-time’s favorite football team. Raider was a dog that was surrendered to the animal hospital I worked at to be put down because he snapped or bit the previous owner’s daughter. He was too cute, too young (only about four years old) and a major love bug and being my favorite breed, there was no way I could let this animal be put down. Raider was a lover and cuddly most of the time but did show that the rumors were true. He had major food aggression. He would attack you if you were within biting range of his food bowl, bone, or treat. He loved his food. Food is what killed him only three short months after adopting him. While out in our yard, Raider got into the garbage cans that were shared with the other tenents in the house we rented. God only knows what he might have gotten into. When he died, the vet I worked closely with, did an autopsy free of charge. What he found was that rotting, decaying meat of some sort is what killed him. I knew he had thrown up a couple times but that was typical of him since he woofed down his food so fast so I thought nothing of it. What upset me most, after he was cremated was that I did not have a single photo of him. Noone expects to lose something they just received so I didn’t think there was any rush to get a photo taken of him until it was too late. My boyfriend-at-that-time has Raider’s remains.

So now having two dachshunds in my life and knowing how much I love the breed, its time to get one! Enough talk, now for action. Nils, my husband and I have been discussing the possibility of getting a miniature dachshund for a while now and have finally found a breeder in Duette, Florida, about 2 hours from where we live and have been placed on a waiting list for a litter due May 14th for a black and tan longhaired male. I can’t wait! I haven’t been this impatient since my waiting for the birth of my daughter!