Category Archives: Charlie

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!

The Peeing Puppy and an Interview with Us

I have to apologize for the non-Holiday nature of this post. I should be doing one, but perhaps this will give you something to read and get a laugh out of amid any craziness. And, well, I’ve meant to catch up for a while!

Oh, Charlie…

Why is it that every post about Charlie begins with Oh, Charlie? Possibly because while you are incredibly adorable, you are also getting naughtier and naughtier.

Although this isn’t about you being naughty, this is about puberty😳!

Charlie was officially 10 months old on Friday and, being still intact, is right in the middle of major PUBERTY. He also weighs just over 11lbs, go Charlie!

First, though, I feel I must explain the reason he is still intact. After reading the various research, etc., I have come to believe it is much better for the dog to have their full set of hormones during their entire growth period. Given that Charlie has a luxating patella on each hind, the right being far worse, I was insistent about this when we adopted from the rescue, and they agreed with my reasoning.

But, about a month and a half ago, it started. Charlie’s always occasionally humped his toys, but this time it was a dog bed, and then, suddenly, he was peeing all over it.

I threw that bed away – it had seen a few puppy accidents and now a potential marking… it was done. He didn’t pee again in our house – that we saw. But, the occasional dark circle would appear on our upstairs rug.

Remember his bestie, the cat with whom he loves to play? Yeah, Pippin gets humped a lot, though he doesn’t seem to mind it. What?! I don’t know. Pip is a strange, strange cat, he’s a tri-color male, we are pretty sure he’s not all there.

But then he started humping Callie. She would let him but look terrified while doing so. I swear, she had PTSD moments, and I don’t use that lightly. We would catch him almost every time – not sure what happens when we aren’t here – and yell, to which he would immediately stop, thank goodness!

And the final straw was when I went to my ex-husband’s house to hang with our daughter out there as she had a school performance that evening and I brought the dogs. He has two dogs as well. One who is the most amazing Labrador in the world who we raised together in the early years, and one who is an aging pittie and does not like other dogs. She stays in another room most of the time.

I thought I watched him and kept him downstairs, but NOPE. He went and marked EVERYWHERE upstairs, and I’m fairly sure the Lab followed suit as he is want to do with just about any other dog.

I bought him a belly band diaper right before we brought our Christmas tree in, because, well, it’s a tree that suddenly appeared inside.

a belly band for the peeing puppy
The Belly Band

After watching him for a while he seemed fine with the tree, so we stopped having him wear the diaper except when we aren’t here.

But now it’s Christmas Eve, and we are headed to my parent’s for the night with the dogs, and then they are watching them Christmas night as we will be at my in-laws. The poor boy will be wearing his diaper for at least 36 hours (don’t worry, we will let him air out occasionally).

He hates it. It makes him act much more submissive and shy, and it’s apparently uncomfortable, in many ways he seems not to understand why he has it on.

Charlie looking sad
Why, Mom, WHY?!?

Oh, Charlie, your New Year’s present will be to visit the vet a little earlier than we planned and lose those walnuts – for a tiny dog I really do mean WALNUTS!

Ok enough about poor Charlie and his diaper/future vet visit.

I have to apologize for our radio silence again, this time it’s been because I have been working on our other Callie’s Wag blog in between Holiday preparations.

If you missed my mention about it before, it’s a new blog I write for a local news collective that has a broader focus – general animal topics, issues, and rescue, particularly local stories.

Anyway, recently, we were interviewed by our local public access TV station as part of a series to celebrate the Year of the Dog. It was wonderful! We got to talk about/show puppy mill rescues, dog love, and silly pup antics. Check out the full article.

Here is the interview, I hope you enjoy it!

Charlie, Acupuncture Update, Bunnies, OH MY!

Goodness gracious, we have some catching up to do!

First, “we” have been busy setting up a second blog on a local news collective, Callie’s Wag on the DailyUV, to share useful pet information, fun interviews, animal humor, and local animal stories and issues. The three cats, Solly, Leeloo Dallas, and Pippin, and two guinea pigs, Ziggy Stardust and Cuddles, all make appearances on the blog as well. So THAT has taken up a lot of time. I just finished a 3 part series on small animals as pets, which was great fun to write, despite having to cover a partially serious subject, but it also had me focused on the pigs for a few weeks.

Next, Charlie has GROWN!

End of October sunshine and Charlie
Charlie relaxing in the sun – end of Oct!

At 8.5 mos old now, he’s 10 lbs of wild ridiculousness, combined with sweet kisses. He is in complete adoration of his best friend, our cat Pippin, and you can catch a hilarious video of the two of them playing here. It also flurried a bit here yesterday, and the snow stuck – Charlie found the snow both exciting and freezing, yet he wonders why we put his coat on in the morning….

Callie did not react as well to the first herbal plan as the acupuncturist, and I had hoped, as she continued to have the occasional vomiting spell and what seemed like acid reflux. When I removed them from her diet, it helped. So we changed herbs when Callie had her second acupuncture treatment.

arial view of needles
Top View of Needles

This time around the Vet put nine needles in various spots and there were a few which clearly bothered Callie at first, but it was visible as the tension receded. It was interesting this time as, approximately ten minutes into the treatment when it was just Callie and me, some points contracted again and she reacted quickly, but they eased. IMG_5609

She’s been on the new herbs for two weeks or so now. Those seem to be helping much more than the others did. We’ve also seen her grow more flexible and need to stretch out more. She seems to take up more space, whether it’s an increased willingness to claim it, or a stronger need to be stretched out, she’s so lovely, particularly when she looks comfortable and happy.

WE GOT A POSTCARD FROM OUR FRIENDS IN THE BALTIC SEA! Thank you Nanuk and Mom for making us feel extra special!

postcard from baltic sea vacation
Postcard from friend Nanuk at the Baltic Sea!

A rescue dog and family featured in September will be making a reappearance in the next few weeks as they have added a former puppy mill girl to their family….. shh, not giving anything else away yet.

The dogs did not dress up for Halloween this year. It always seems complicated enough to pull it all together just for trick-or-treating with a kiddo, the idea of trying to get the dogs in on it is just too much. Plus, I have the feeling Callie would be horrified and miserable, and Charlie would just shred his! But we got some killer pumpkins (Jess is the pumpkin master!)


Charlotte and Bun-bun

Finally, the family of Charlotte, a rescue whose story I shared recently, lost their house bunny at 12.5 yrs old, just as I put out my series on small animals. Her house bunny was one of Charlotte’s dear friends.

Rabbits often get the worst care as they so frequently are given as gifts to children and then are abandoned or rehomed. Thus, in honor of Charlotte’s Bun-bun, I want to share the most essential parts of that blog series.

“Here’s the biggest deal as a parent whenever your child gets a pet – as the adult(s), it’s our responsibility to research that animal, know what we are getting in to, and be ready to take on the care of that pet as well. Adding any pet to the family is a commitment for the life of that animal, and guinea pigs themselves can live for 5-8 years. You might have the most responsible kid in the in the world, but even they are still going to require both help and reminders.

I scrolled through NH Craigslist, this time counting bunnies listed for rehoming or adoption in the past month – 82, and VT Craigslist – 28. I thought I would share a few comments from some of the craigslist posts.

“…discovered I’m just not a rabbit person.”
“8-month-old bunny, outdoors, no spot to put him for the winter”
“She’s so sweet and only five months old, but I don’t have the time or the space I want to give her…”
“4-year-old house bunny – rehoming because the daughter’s gone off to school for next several years…”
“Unexpected litter due to buck escaping…”

Neglecting the care of any small animal, no matter how tiny, is going to reflect in the interactions you do choose to have with that animal when you feel like giving them attention. Letting your child neglect the care of a small animal just because it’s a hamster in a cage or another creature you don’t see regularly, teaches your child disrespect for animals. It’s showing your child that animals don’t deserve respect and love, or, at the very least, those small animals are throwaways, maybe just dogs and cats are the only ones that deserve our unconditional love.”

Respect the rabbit

 

 

 

 

Round and round and round we go!

I can’t remember if I have said anything about it on here but, I have fibromyalgia (along with chronic pain and chronic fatigue – aren’t those part of fibro?) I was diagnosed when I was 29, 3 years ago, but I likely had it for a couple of years before.

What does this have to do with Callie or Charlie, you might be asking yourself. Nothing and everything. 

Fibromyalgia is not really understood yet by doctors or the public, heck, it’s not really understood by the patient who is experiencing it; it’s what’s often called an “invisible illness.” See the great spoon (energy) theory. Technically that was developed by a woman with Lupus, but she has spread it intending to be for all invisible illnesses.

Fibro affects those who suffer from it differently. It’s a nerve disorder of sorts. Some people get numb or tingling or sharp sensations in their faces, some get brutal muscle pain that spreads to their joints. I often suffer from “fibro fog” in which I struggle to think super clearly or say what I am thinking. The words are there, the images are there, but I can’t say them.

And then there is the worst, the flares. Sometimes when it flares up it’s just a bad neck/back/arms for me, but between the moving and all the activity this past month, my body shut down. I have spent the last three days in bed, getting up for food or to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom. I’m recovering, but that’s one of the things fibro does, it will slam you to the ground like a big wave if you don’t plan for rest times.

The dogs have been great, mostly happy to lie in the bedroom with me, especially now that they like to wrestle, but Charlie, as a 5-month-old puppy will do, is starting to go a little crazy. Yesterday, he purposefully antagonized our next door neighbor’s grumpy little Chihuahua TWICE, just so he could outrun her and fly back (I don’t even know how he got away from me the second time.) Thank goodness she’s a friend of ours!

I rescued this breed purposefully, not only out of my love for Cavaliers but because they can also either go or be mellow. I also knew that taking Charlie on meant a few years of craziness before the easy, mellow part – although he’s surprisingly good about that!

I feel like a failure when I hit this cycle again where my flares are so bad they prevent me from doing stuff with my dogs.

Charlie needs a regular training schedule. I can’t promise that. Callie needs to go on daily walks to stay a healthy weight and Charlie too, for weight as he grows, for exercise, and for energy. I can’t promise that either. I was able to when we got them, I was so good with Callie all winter and with Charlie this spring and early summer. And now… guilt

But then, right before we had to move, so many other things suddenly happened – mostly good, but energy-sucking none the less, and I’m back on the old carousel ride. 

 

Fibro, how I hate you.

 

 

 

 

And how grateful I am to have such a wonderful family who loves and supports me, and my fabulous dogs who may get cheated out of some things but are certainly spoiled in other respects! I just hope it’s good enough.

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FUR! Yes, We Have FUR!

Oh, Charlie, Charles, Chuck, Charleston Chew, Charles V. Charlington (?), Prince Charles, Charles Wellington (again ?) and I throw out my latest addition here – Johnnie B. Goode (Chuck Berry), how we adore you.

Charlie has a sweet face
Sweet Face

 

That’s what I tell myself every night before bed when you curl up between our chins, such soft, deep brown eyes. A melted chocolate that never ends. And ridiculously long lashes to boot.

 

Every day lately I have to remind myself that I adore you, as you tear into one thing or another, especially during this move. Even, at a few points, my hair and yes, puppies are known to bite and pull on hair, it’s just that mine is short enough it’s pretty hard to get.

The biggest news is that Charlie HAS FUR AGAIN!!

I asked the Twitter #cavpack for some ideas regarding potential skin issues as it stumped the vet and one of our dear friends, @sunneesummer, noted that Sunnee, as well as a few other dogs, had responded in various similar ways to the medicine in topical flea/tick solutions – selamectin. It’s very rare to have a dog react to this. Oh, problem child.😆

Our vet had asked us to try applying Revolution every two weeks instead of every month with Charlie in case (only test for) it was an extremely unlikely mite. Upon finding this new info out, I called our vet and told her we weren’t going to go ahead with the Revolution test. She understood and agreed, especially as none of our other animals were scratching like him and losing hair. So, our next choices were:

  1. Try a round of Ivermectin – a powerful anti-parasite medication that could wreak havoc on his little system.
  2. Make an appointment with a canine dermatologist an hour and a half away.
  3. Keep going with the Benadryl and see what happened

At first, Jess and I agreed that we had to take our miserable puppy to the dermatologist. Then, the next morning Jess noticed I had been using the little dropper (as the vet had emphasized “such a tiny amount” I didn’t even think) and had been giving him .25cc instead of 2.5cc of Benadryl.

Now there’s a good way to feel bad about yourself, especially when you are a person who tends to be confident in your animal,  particularly dog, knowledge and care. Not that we don’t all make mistakes, but medicine mistakes are the worst! Anyway, based on that alone, we decided to wait a few more days and see if the Benadryl helped more. During that time I found this magical stuff:

Itchy, hair loss skin spray
And Incredible Skin Spray it is! http://bit.ly/2tBS8aF

Within a week he looked like this (apologies for the blurry photo, trying to hold a puppy still is not easy):

Charlie with some fur
Charlie with some fur

 

If you look closely, you can see that his back is once again covered in fur but the side isn’t as much. His whole body used to look like that, with just long wiry hairs left.

 

 

 

Now he has fur everywhere again!!!

It’s still pretty short and very puppy-soft, so he does have to wear clothes, or he gets cold in the morning with the dew. Especially lately as we have had several rainy days.

 

Callie looks annoyed
Yay! I made it to the Big Bed!

Charlie graduated to sleeping in the big bed, even for my naps. He loves it so much. He curls tight, stays close all night and is surprisingly well behaved on the bed. He has not graduated to life without his crate though – couldn’t trust this kid for a second if we were gone!

 

He handled the move surprisingly well. We never separated him from Callie, so they both had the comfort of the other which certainly helped. Also, they only spent one day away from us. Nana puppy-sat during the big moving day (THANK YOU NANA ❤️) and that was awesome,  Nana’s dog Angie taught Charlie how to play tug with another dog!

Charlie also loves the new house. At first, he got extra excited about being able to run out the sliding doors and off the back patio. That enthusiasm has subsided a little bit. He still loves it, although he does seem to find the tie-out lead mildly insulting.

The biggest Charlie issue at the moment is that he won’t stop attacking Callie by biting and pulling on her ears. Once or twice this has resulted in minor play, so he thinks it’s a good idea. We have mostly left them alone on this, waiting for Callie to put him in his place, but despite her few snaps in his direction or yelps when it hurts, he doesn’t stop, and she won’t go further.

So now we are struggling to find ideas that fit in with positive training methods – or at least not too negative. I did resort to yelling, that didn’t work of course, so I had the idea to get out our kitty training squirt bottles. Although he doesn’t seem to mind the water, it does get his attention sometimes, for a second, just long enough to distract him.

I have found that occasionally hitting something behind him with the spray can get his attention better, but it’s still not totally successful. I feel like I want to put No-Chew on her ears except it tastes awful and what if she gets it somewhere and licks it and has to deal with that through no fault of her own?!

Any ideas doggie friends? Help!

My daughter and I ran an errand to Home Depot the other day and randomly parked behind this car. We both decided that, clearly, this car was meant to be ours: 

As G pointed out, it even has a big and a little tricolor sticker, just like we would have!