Sunday, September 12, 2021

Bella the Dachshund Describes Her New Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

 I Live in a Condo Now!

     My people and I moved to Puerto Vallarta in July. I wasn’t too happy about leaving my big yard in Sayulita, but it turned out to be a good place for me in my senior years. I’m 11 ½ people years old now, so that’s 80 dog years. Whew, I’m not an energetic pup any longer!
     I love to retrieve the football in the evening while my people drink wine at home. A few months ago, I hurt my back running up and down one step from our patio in Sayulita. For two weeks, my back legs were paralyzed. My Sayulita vet told me I’m not supposed to do stairs anymore.
We have Elevators Now, No Stairs for Me!
I'm a Little Afraid in the Elevator
     My mom and dad shopped for months to find a pet-friendly condo just for me. Our new home has elevators and ramps for me to walk on. I’m a little afraid of the elevator, especially crossing that crack to get in or out, but it’s better than going up and down the stairs.
I Want to Go in that Garden!
      The garden outside our condo is beautiful. I wonder why they put it up so high with a wall around it so I can’t go in there to go potty. The gardeners prune everything once a week so Mom and Dad don’t have to work so hard anymore. I walk my mom and dad out to the cobblestone streets to find places to go potty now.
I Walk Down this Ramp to the Cobblestone
     I go on short walks in the neighborhood with my people. Once a month we walk to our corner OXXO convenience store where Dad pays the CFE electricity bill and their Telcel cell phone bills. Mom and I stay outside so I can smell everything and wait to see other dogs. Mom and Dad always wear those funny-looking masks—maybe they don't like the smells outside.
We Pay Our Bills at the OXXO Store
     That's enough exercise for me in the summer heat and humidity! I have to go home and rest after that. I rest a lot now that I'm old. My condo is a nice, air-conditioned place for a nap with my babies.
I Like Resting in the Air Conditioning Now
     Can you believe my mom and dad ordered
 a vacuum cleaner from Amazon for our condo? They know I have a love-hate relationship with those noisy things. While Mom was putting the vacuum together, I kept poking it because I wanted to hear it roar so I could bark at it. Then I had to grab my moose-elk and bark to protect it. When Mom started using the vacuum cleaner, it just puffed out steam but never made a sound. So disappointing—it was just a steam cleaner for the tile floors.
I had to Protect My Moose-Elk from the "Vacuum"
I Bark, Secretly Wanting the "Vacuum Cleaner" to Roar
     I still track geckos and keep the Chachalacas away. Those crazy birds come right onto our balcony and look in our kitchen window! They're bigger than me, but I'm not afraid of them. It’s great to have something to bark at, though I get in trouble because condo dogs aren’t supposed to bark or they get kicked out.
A Chachalaca Looks in Our Window
     I’m still looking for iguanas, land crabs, or Téjones, but I haven’t found any of those critters the way I did in Sayulita. The land crabs don't come to our balcony, probably because the only dirt is in pots where they can't climb up and bury themselves. I guess the iguanas don't like to live in a big city because I can’t smell any, even in the trees around our condo. Oh, well… Dad and Mom would just yell, “Bella, Don’t Chase the Iguana!” You might remember that story from my mom's blog when I was younger.
I Loved Barking at Critters in Our Sayulita Garden

A couple of weeks ago, I was really sick, so Mom and Dad took me to a new vet in Puerto Vallarta. I got to ride down the hill from our condo in the funicular—that saved me from hobbling down ninety steps. I wasn’t scared in it and I could see clear to the ocean from up there at the top of the hill.

Here Comes the Funicular to Give Us a Ride!
Here We Go Down the Funicular Tracks!
     My new vet, Dr. Julian at Hospital Veterinario Del Sol, was so gentle I didn’t even shake when he examined me. He said I have heart failure because I’m old for a dachshund. He gave me medicine and special food. Dr. Julian told Mom and Dad that it was too hot outside for me to walk or run right now, so they carried me home in my pet carrier.

We Stopped At Andale's Restaurant for Lunch

After we left the vet, Mom and Dad took me with them to lunch. The hamburgers they ate at Andale’srestaurant smelled so good, but they said I couldn’t have any people-food. Not even one bite of meat! Not fair…

I Sneak My Bone and Moose-Elk onto Mom's Yoga Mat
     During the summer, we love doing yoga in our air-conditioned condo. As soon as Dad rolls out the yoga mats, I sneak my bone and moose-elk toy onto Mom’s purple mat. I get scolded, but only playfully, then I get a belly rub. It works every time!
I Check the Groceries, then Ask "Where's the Meat?"
     We get our groceries delivered from La Comer supermarket. It’s very handy because Mom and Dad don’t have to leave for hours to get food. A man brings it right to our door which gives me a reason to bark, telling him to stay out of our house. Then I check the grocery box and it’s full of fruit. I loudly demand to know where the meat is, so Mom shows me a bag of turkey lunch meat. I’m feeling better these days so she gives me a bite even though my new vet said no people-food. I know Mom won’t tell him that we cheated on my diet.
Our Beach and Pier in Puerto Vallarta
We live just three blocks from the Los Muertos beach and Muelle (pier) in Puerto Vallarta. Mom says there aren’t any sand crabs to dig for on this beach so I stay home when they go there. Do you remember how much I loved digging in the sand when I was a youngster? I miss that—and sitting in the sand under the table during lunch on the beach.
I Loved Digging When I was a Youngster!
     These days, Mom and Dad leave me at home where it’s cool when they go to the beach. Mom always brings me some yummy people-food when they come back, so I know they’ve been to one of the ocean-front restaurants without me. I'm okay with that.
I Bring the Ball to Mom and Beg to Play Fetch

I still like playing football and can persuade my people to throw it for me on our new balcony. When Mom throws the football, it only goes about ten feet, but that’s enough for me these days. I don’t have any stairs to jump up or down, so that’s good. I still get tired, though, after ten retrievals and have to rest. I settle into my bed and gaze out at the neighborhood. Looking at the Puerto Vallarta Old Town in the evening is very enjoyable.

Playa Los Muertos Pier and Pirate Ship

     We're glad we retired and moved to México. You can read more about our adventures in Mom’s books, available worldwide. You might like the book below, Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico. It makes Mom happy when people leave reviews on Amazon, so I hope you will do that. Have a great summer!
     You can sign up for Mom's newsletter HERE. She sends them out every month or so. She'll probably let you know how I'm doing. 
     P.S. After two weeks of eating canned food for old dogs, I'm on strike against all dog food. I only eat people food now. Don't tell my vet!
Bella Turrell, Begging for People Food


  1. Loved reading about your new PV life and condo through Bella's eyes! Are you able to find any grass to walk her on? We had a real problem in Playa del Carmen, as we lived in Centro and were surrounded by 99% concrete. There were a couple of TINY strips of grass I could walk Paisley to, but most of the time she couldn't make it that far and ended up doing her business on the sidewalk. That is one reason we couldn't stay there; it was just not a great place for a doggo.

    I am so glad that Bella is doing better. I found an article last night from a study that indicated that Vetmedin (pimobendan), added to a traditional protocol of Benazepril resulted in a significantly longer life in dogs with CHF, so I hope your vet is able to prescribe it for your Bella. I will see if I can find the article for you -- I thought I saved it, but somehow cannot locate it today.

    1. Thank you, Emily, for reading Bella's story and for your great comment. Bella is due for her follow-up visit to the vet this week to evaluate her dose of enalapril, so I will ask him about pimobendan.

      It isn't ideal for dogs to live in centro, but it gets us and lots of other people out to walk our dogs, providing fresh air and exercise. Yes, Bella wants to potty as soon as she hits the cobblestone, so I pick her up and carry her from the sidewalk to the small areas of dirt around palm trees or patches of grass growing between cobblestones. She learned to potty on cobblestone when she was a young dog 9 years ago. We were staying in a bungalow in San Pancho, Nayarit for 3 weeks to see if we wanted to live there. She never forgot that requirement when there's no grass and didn't seem to mind. The biggest challenge is finding cobblestone with decomposed granite as the gap-filler so the urine will soak in--ha-ha.😃

      Bella has been eating much better this week. She turns her nose up at all dog foood, including the Dr. Hill's kibble she's been eating for year. So, now it's people food or nothing. I'm preparing small meals of cooked rice, chicken, finely chopped steak, scrambled eggs, and bits of leftovers five times a day. I'm afraid she has more health issues than her heart failure--she has a large tumor on her side, and painful arthritis. So we don't want to cause her too much stress with treatments, just help make her quality of life be as good as possible.

      Giving her pills has become almost impossible--she's onto to me sneaking into bites of food, finds the pill and spits it out. I dissolve her enalapril in 1/2 ml of water and give it with a syringe. Bella hates it! I feel terrible each time and would hate to have to give more pills this way. What do you do to give medication to your dog?

      Have a great day.

    2. Hi Terry, Sounds like a similar doggie business situation as we had in Playa. I still remember a couple of places I took her to do her business on a narrow strip of grass on a busy road with taxis whizzing by on either side of us. I had to keep her leash very tight and secure, lest she jump into the road, and it was scary. There were just so few places to go with her in Playa Centro.

      Oh yes, the pill-giving conundrum! We have tried many things over the years. Wrapping it in cheese or peanut butter were our usual mainstays for years, but she's supposed to be on a very low-sodium diet for her heart, so we've changed to boiled chicken (no salt in the water, of course). We cut it into small nuggets, and I'm able to pull a nugget apart in the center and poke in the enalapril and Salix, which are both very small, and Paisley chows it right down. Vetmedin (brand name for pimobendan) is a chewable and apparently pretty tasty, because she'll usually take it unadorned, but if she balks, I rub it on the chicken to give it even more flavor, and then she'll take it. Bella may be too smart for my tricks, though. That makes it much more difficult!

      She will still eat regular dog food (kibble and canned mixed and heated slightly in the microwave), but I have to take one of the little chicken nuggets and tear it up on top of the chicken to get her going on it. I've thought about doing a homemade diet, but there are certain nutrients that I'm afraid she won't get without supplements.

      Like Bella, Paisley has lots of different medical conditions (blind, deaf, incontinent, weak legs, tremors, dental problems, and doggie dementia), so our goal is just to keep her comfortable for every day she has. I know she is nearing the end, but I consider it a miracle that she's lived for 3.5 years after being diagnosed with CHF, so I really have to be so thankful for that. It's never long enough, though.

      I hope Bella's visit at the vet will go well and that you'll be able to try her on Vetmedin. Although it has been a real pain to get it at times with the shortages, it is truly a miracle medication for dogs with heart failure. Best wishes!

    3. Thanks for the tips, Emily. Yes, Bella is onto the pill in cheese, peanut butter, soft bread, etc. Now she chews every bite I hand her to find the pill and spit it out. Too clever!

      The vet gave her Nutri-plus gel, a vitamin, etc. an oral supplement she can take twice a day. She likes that so I call it her treat after she takes her medicine. It's like caring for a small child, but worth it. Our pets are so important to us!