All posts by Molly O'Hara

Molly is a freelance writer living in the wilds of Vermont with her wife, daughter, three cats, two guinea pigs, and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, both puppy mill rescues. Callie is a 6-year-old former breeding female, and Charlie is a quickly growing puppy, both of whom she blogs about at callieswag.com. She also has begun a second version of Callie's Wag's blog on a local news collective. This blog has a broader focus than the original Callie's Wag, looking instead at local and regional animal issues and events, pet humor, and general education on a wide variety of animals. Molly has a regular column in two local newspapers focusing on awesome animals in the area. She has also worked in education, substance abuse prevention, other mental health areas, and with LGBTQ+ youth. Molly is eternally trying to finish her novel which, surprisingly, has nothing to do with animals.

Will Crufts, the Kennel Club and breed clubs ever take Cavalier health to heart?

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in a while – will catch up this week – but this is FAR too important not to share. Consider this when supporting a show that does not care about the health of the dogs being shown.

Cavaliers Are Special

35k news.jpgAnyone who truly loves Cavaliers will be hoping that this year’s Crufts doesn’t result in yet another “Best Of Breed” winner who, when it comes to responsible breeding, turns out to be the worst of examples. All too often, the winners have been bred at a ridiculously tender age, making a mockery of health protocols put in place to reduce the burden of inherited disease that these gorgeous little dogs carry. On the eve of Crufts, the Cavalier health petition passed the 35,000-signature mark: making clear that a large number of dog lovers do feel strongly that much more must be done to help this breed.

We’ve done an analysis of some of the top-winning and most prolific-siring Cavaliers of 2016 and 2017. While this threw up a lot of areas of great concern, there were some positives. For example, the number of top show dogs, many of which are…

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Lucy’s Law – The Story and Why the Proposed Legislation is so Significant

Lucy’s Law, or more commonly seen as #LucysLaw, is named for Lucy the Rescue Cavalier. Lucy was rescued from the life of a UK puppy farm breeder at the age of 5, in March 2013. According to her website (written in Lucy’s voice),

“As a result of years of neglect I had discoloured fur on my legs from the urine and faeces I had been kept in. My fur and skin had a burnt odour to them which was a result of the ammonia in the urine burning my skin.

Lucy immediately after rescue
Lucy the Rescue Cavalier when she was first rescued.

“In addition, I suffered with bald patches to my fur, fused hips, and an extremely arched back, to the extent my back feet nearly touched my front!.  I was very underweight, weighing in at a tiny 3.5 kg when I was rescued, less than half of what most Cavaliers generally weigh.

“For a long time I was scared of doorways and even to this day, don’t like to be locked in a room or left on my own.  I eat every meal like it might be my last and when someone goes to pick me up sometimes I still cower, I have to remind myself that not every human is going to treat me badly.”

However, Lucy also adapted quickly surrounded by love in her forever home, and became “the happiest dog you’ll ever meet.” Lucy’s mom, Lisa Garner wrote.

A smiley Lucy.
Lucy after her body healed and she learned to love and trust.

Lisa began fighting for the rights of puppy mill dogs in the UK, and Lucy fast became the poster child for the fight. Sadly Lucy passed away in December of 2016 but not before she made a considerable impression on animal welfare campaigns, stars, and government officials.Lucy stop puppy farming t-shirt

In 2014, Lucy the Rescue Cavalier was awarded a ‘Heroic Hound’ award at The National Pet Show for overcoming adversity & raising awareness. Dogs Today magazine awarded her a Hero award at Dogfest 2016, also for her work in raising awareness about puppy farming. In 2016, Lucy and her mom, Lisa Garner, were floored and thrilled when she won Daily Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards – ‘Rescue Animal Of The Year’ 2016.

Plum Pudding holding sign
Plum Pudding carrying on the fight for #LucysLaw

 

Shortly after Lucy passed, Lisa rescued another dog, Plum Pudding, who now carries on the fight for her sister Lucy.

 

 

 

According to the C.A.R.I.A.D (Care and Respect Includes All Dogs) Campaign, “Lucy’s Law was launched in December 2017 at a reception hosted by vet and campaigner, Marc Abraham, of Pup Aid, and supported by APDAWG, the All Party Parliamentary Group for dog welfare, chaired by Dr. Lisa Cameron MP.

Lucy’s Law has been championed by the Daily Mirror, and has
received significant attention and support, from MPs across all
parties, from the press, and in social media.”

Lucy’s Law calls for the ban on third-party sales of puppies and to make it illegal to sell puppies without the mother present. The ban will make it incredibly difficult for the puppy mill industry to continue as most farms rely on these third-party sales to hide the atrocious conditions in which these dogs are born and live.

The launch of Lucy's Law
At the launch of Lucy’s Law in Westminster with Marc Abraham (Vet and Founder of PupAid),  Rebecca Weller (PupAid), Lisa Garner (Lucy the Rescue Cavalier), Dr. Lisa Cameron MP, Peter Egan.

According to the Daily Mirror, “The call for a ban on third-party puppy sales has the backing of the RSPCA, while the Kennel Club recently stated: ‘Third-party selling is effectively puppy dealing. We believe that legitimising third-party sales contributes to the increasing problem of puppy farming and buyers not knowing where to get a well-bred puppy.'”

However, the UK government is considering more lenient restrictions despite acknowledging both the research and the problem.

The C.A.R.I.A.D. Campaign site states, “The Government rejected the recommendation, referring to lack of clarity over enforcement and stating it supported “robust licensing” as an alternative solution. However, the Government also reiterated the importance of prospective buyers seeing puppies interacting with their mother which seems to conflict with continuing permission for commercial third-party dealers to sell puppies, where the mother is not present.

“Instead of a ban on these third-party sales, the Government, at the moment, prefers the idea of continuing to license them. This means that anyone in the business of selling pet dogs would require a license, as is currently the case. Licensing is based upon the assumption that animal welfare needs can be met, and that the regime will be able to prevent harm from occurring.”

In reality, a licensing regulation would put most of the responsibility of detection on the public and would likely create stretched resources unable to investigate every case of potential unlicensed puppy sales.

We have seen the impacts of licensing regulations in various states and counties throughout the United States, very few of these have had much effect if any.

Support for Lucy’s Law has been rushing in from across the world. Between the tweets of photos of pets holding signs that say I Support #LucysLaw, to the number of people who have written the Daily Mirror with pictures of their pets, stories, comments, and support. (Callie is in this list of supporters!)

Goya the Setter on Twitter
Goya the Setter Supports Lucy’s Law on Twitter

Lucy’s Law could be the first step in breaking apart the commercial dog breeding industry in the United Kingdom. The legislation could also be the building block for other countries to enact similar laws, protecting their dogs as well.

Please, if you haven’t, take the time to write the Daily Mirror (using their form at the bottom of the page) in support of Lucy’s Law. Tweet if you have Twitter. If you are in the UK, write your local MP. If you are elsewhere, write your representatives, over and over and over!

The more people fighting for it, the louder we get!

In South Australia, there have been recent changes to their dog and cat welfare policies. The government has put new stringent licensing systems in place which also give officials the ability to take photographs, seize evidence, and require people to provide their name and information without jumping through so many hoops. Perhaps this will be an example of whether or not licensing policies help puppy mill dogs.

2018 Pet Blogger Challenge – A Look Back and a Glance Forward

Well, we may be a few days late (but never a dollar short) and have missed the actual blog hop for the 2018 Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Amy at Go Pet Friendly. However, we heard about it from our good friends at Wag ‘n Woof Pets when we read their post and decided that it would be good for us to answer these questions too.

  • For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?
    • Technically, I have been blogging for a few years, but in regards to Callie’s Wag, I have been blogging for a little over a year. My main topic is stories about my two puppy mill rescues, Callie and Charlie, their health, their life now, and our adventures. Callie is the inspiration for the blog and was the sole focus for six months before Charlie entered our lives.
  • What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?
    • Oh, that’s hard. I suppose I have two, the first time someone got very excited about being interviewed for my blog and a recent contact about my first potential product review.
  • Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)
    • I have two that I can’t choose between, they are both so different yet significant. In Healing and Heeling, I wrote about a hard lesson I had about learning to listen to Callie while training. But, in having this experience, Callie and I became a stronger team. Recognizing, accepting, and finding a way to move on from mistakes are some of the most important skills a person can have in working with rescue dogs.
    • In Twitter Becomes Tangible, I got to talk about our important Twitter Cavalier King Charles Spaniel community and how much this group of people, dubbed the #cavpack, has meant to me personally, and to my successes with Callie (and later with Charlie, too).
  • In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?
    • I measure success both by the number of views and much more importantly, by the interactions I have with my readers. I care less about the number of blog followers I have than that they are interested in what I am writing and that they are responding to the material.
  • In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?
    • Well, one of the biggest changes was the arrival of Charlie, our second rescue, and a puppy nonetheless! Trying to balance blogging about both dogs, specifically as each has had a lot going on, has been a little tricky.
    • The other significant change came this fall as I decided to start including interviews and highlights with and of other rescue dogs. The inspiration for this came during Puppy Mill Awareness Month, but I intend to keep on doing it.
  • What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?
    • One of my biggest challenges is the balancing act. I now run two Callie’s Wags’ blogs, this one and a new one on a local news collective website, the DailyUV.com. The second one earns a little money, so I have been concentrating on building that up. I also am a freelance writer. I find that this blog falls by the wayside when I have other work to do.
    • I’ve learned now that I must keep a content schedule, something I have never done before! I also try to keep my voice recorder with me at all times so no matter what I am doing I can make a note or even start writing a post.
  • When things get hard, what keeps you blogging? (Question submitted by Pamela Douglas Webster of Something Wagging This Way Comes)
    • Love of my dogs. One of the reasons I started Callie’s Wag was because I had a hard time finding stories written by others who had explicitly rescued puppy mill dogs and so I decided to start filling that need. When I want to stop, I look at my two, and I remember how necessary it is to document their stories.
  • Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog this year?
    • I would like to blog more often, and I plan to bring more health-related information as well as interviews and hopefully some product reviews to the blog. I also plan to bring more videos to the blog.
  • In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is here one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year? (Question submitted by Jodi Chick of Kol’s Notes)
    • I want to take better photos. I love my iPhone 7plus – it’s great, but something is going on with the camera now, and my photos aren’t as high-quality as I’d like.
  • Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?
    • Well, for those of you who are reading this, I’d like to know what you use for taking photos on the fly and what editing software you use. I am not ready to dive into Photoshop as I am juggling a lot, but a slightly more user-friendly editing software suggestion would be great!

Primal Dog Food Recall

BEFORE YOU WORRY TOO MUCH – this is a voluntary recall and does not involve anything that has made dogs sick. Still, I would like to share, particularly as a frequent user of Primal products.

Learning from Dogs

This was sent to me back on the 22nd December.

December 21, 2017 — Primal Pet Foods of Fairfield, California, is voluntarily recalling specific lots of 5 of its freeze-dried poultry products because their grind size exceeds the ideal size of ground bone to be fed to dogs and cats.

What’s Recalled?

Affected products include Primal Canine and Feline Freeze-Dried Poultry Formulas.

Click here for a more readable copy of the following list of recalled products.

Company Comments

Primal has posted the following comments about this recall on its website:

  • This is a Primal production specification issue – it poses absolutely no risk to human health.
  • We have very precise requirements as to how our foods are to be produced so they preform optimally.
  • We require our meat and bones be ground down to a coarseness of 1/8″
  • Over a single production run, the wrong grind plate was used…

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Sometimes Small Moments Make the Best Memories

Callie did something so adorable and Queen Callie-like yesterday, it deserves its own post.

As many of you know, I have fibromyalgia, and it is severe enough to keep me home just working as a writer. One of the benefits of working from home and choosing my assignments/frequency of blog posts is that I regularly am able to nap. Napping is imperative most days if I want to function past 3pm.

So the dogs are used to our nap routine. I won’t go into the why of it, but when they come upstairs and lay down on either side of me, they get treats. At naptime, Callie lays on my right and Charlie on my left… until he gets down to see if he can find trouble.

Yesterday, Jess was off of work again and came upstairs too, shortly after I gave out the treats. She lay down on the left side – her side.

Callie suddenly gave me a dirty look and got down from the bed. I asked her if she needed to go out, but no. So I laid down a fleece blanket as a potential dog bed and offered it to her, that got a “thank you, but no.” So I opened the bedroom door to let her go downstairs to the couch if she wanted and climbed back in bed.

She immediately followed me back up, racing up her stairs to get in between Jess and me. I looked at her and started to laugh. She was still down at the bottom of the bed and had lain down but was alternating between looking pleadingly at me and shooting daggers at Jess.

Apparently, Jess is no longer allowed to come upstairs for naptime. Or if she does, she better not try to cuddle with me.

Callie, to whom we cater in every way, was not happy until we pulled her up closer to us and started petting her, telling her how much we loved her. And woah, we do, with all our hearts.

Spoiled Cavalier.