To the girl who started it all, the one who fit the missing space in our family, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love you.
You are magic. Your presence has changed our family for the better since the day we saw you; first on Petfinder, with your terrified eyes and ridiculous looking picture – you still make yourself look like a fat turtle in some photos – and then, in person, at the rescue. Again you looked scared beyond belief but you rose above your fear to protect your fellow adult rescue, cutting her off to keep her from pacing too close to the wires where she would jump up and cut her feet. That’s who you are. A lover, a protector of other animals from whatever possible abuses you had experienced at the puppy mill where you had been churning babies out for years.
Even in your eyes on the car ride home, I could see the love blooming, despite your understandable myriad of fears.
I can’t fully put into words just how special you are, Callie, instead I have a photo tribute. Happy First Gotcha-Day baby girl!
Callie did amazing in her first obedience class.
And then she got to learn what a real vacation was on our Cavalier & Mother’s Day vacation at Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT.
So much so, he taught you to play –
Dinner cake (boiled beef and pumpkin… YUM!)
Less Scary to eat on the chair
Mom made her dinner gotcha-day cake, although sitting at the table was a little scary!
I love you forever Callie Wag. I hope we will be so lucky as to be celebrating your gotcha-day next year when you turn 8.
If you want to see another small tribute to Callie, check out this post from the mini version of Callie’s Wag, a new blog on a local website called the DailyUV.
It’s been a little difficult to find playmates for Charlie. Callie isn’t big on puppy play although within the last week or two she has started to wrestle a little and play back when he gets obnoxious.
Due to his health issues, we were delayed in signing up for a puppy class with an obedience instructor I like and trust, so we’ve now missed out on that chance for socialization as he will be too old to be in a puppy class during the next session.
All of the other young and/or playful dogs Charlie has met are larger than him, usually by quite a bit. These bigger, bouncy, playful dogs tend to intimidate Charlie although there are a couple, like my ex-h’s excellent Lab, Cyrus, with whom Charlie has learned he is safe.
I was beginning to get frustrated, not even running into other people with small playful dogs, so I wrote to our local listserv. Yes, that’s right, here in the boonies we still work with listservs and they are GREAT! The basic idea is – every town around us has their own listserv where people can send in messages which get delivered in a daily digest to subscribers emails. There is also one for, what’s called, the Upper Valley, which is the region we are in. I sent a message to the main listserv for the whole Upper Valley as well as for my local town asking if anyone else had younger, smaller puppies they were looking to exercise/socialize and if so, to contact me to set up a play date.
The next morning I had two responses!
The most exciting, for me anyway, was an email from a woman who lives in our town and owns two Cavaliers, Gibby and Cider, 3 & 2.5 years (L, feel free to correct me if I got their ages wrong.) While the two dogs weren’t as young as I had hoped, one of the things I have been really missing is a little local “cavpack” of my own that can hang out together. Many of those on Twitter live near each other in the UK and can have meetups with the dogs, to which I am endlessly jealous.
L (Gibby and Cider’s mom) described the dogs, and they sounded like a great match, so we met for a walk.
Gibby is a big goof who loves other small dogs, although he, like Charlie, has had some chance encounters, and unlike Charlie, remembers one particularly not nice one that involved a larger dog. They are working on that.
Cider is a sweet, petite beauty who loves to play but, like many female dogs, is also happy to be independent among other dogs.
The walk went GREAT! We went down to a boat launch area, and Callie even thought about swimming! Callie, out of the two, was not the one I would have guessed to be the water dog, but we have to get her out swimming as it is such great exercise and easy on her stiff joints.
After the test walk, we decided to have a play date at L’s house as she has a fenced in yard. Her daughter, A, is 12 and fantastic at helping handle the dogs. She really made the playdate happen! I think L and I were too busy talking. 🤣
The doggie date was awesome. All the dogs had nothing but waggy tails and big grins the whole time. And when no one else would play puppy games with Charlie, A stepped up and was psyched to have a puppy to run around with again!
Callie, of course, found herself a new boyfriend.
And the best part is, we get to do it again today!
If you read my previous post 6 Months In and Twitter Rocks, you know about the #cavpack and the two members who brought everyone together to help create memorials for a fellow dog mom.
For those who haven’t – a short recap of the relevant parts. There is a large contingent of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners on Twitter who now go by the “#cavpack.” This group of people – and “dogs” – is fantastic, extremely interactive, and has the feel of a group of close friends.
The two members of the #cavpack who started the memorial project for Harry go by @Holly46671665 and @BellaMCavalier. When Harry, a very special Cavalier, passed earlier this year, his mom was having a particularly hard time, and so Holly and Bella decided to collect donations for a memorial paw print, to sponsor a kennel for a year in his name, and to donate to a rescue. They also began collecting photographs of the #cavpack for a book.
Harry’s mom received everything a few weeks ago and was overwhelmed by all the love. I am sure it is still hard for her to come on to Twitter but, since receiving everything, she has been on a little bit more, able to talk to her friends and see their dogs in action on occasion.
The #cavpack also all got their chance to order a copy of the photo book, too. Callie’s arrived yesterday.
Here’s the thing, I knew I would love and appreciate the #cavpack book, but I had no idea how much. As I sat on the sofa turning the pages and explaining to my wife about each dog, their personalities, my connection to them and their owner, I realized that this book meant the world to me too. And I really mean the world. Many of the Cavaliers are in the UK, at least one lives in Germany, some throughout Asia and plenty are spread across the US.
When I look through the book, I feel tangibly connected to these online friends whom I otherwise do not know. I couldn’t stop smiling after we finished the first time. I was transported to a place where we were all together. It was as though my Twitter pack came alive in my hands for a moment and for that, I am beyond grateful.
This is also the same group of people who responded with 30+ answers for me in under 10 minutes when I asked an important question about Callie. And they helped me figure out the solution.
I know, Holly, that you initially collected the photos for Harry’s mom, but you need to know just how much your work means to me and, quite likely, the rest of the #cavpack.
And just for good measure, a #TongueOutTuesday for Harry. Always remembered.
Ok, so you already know I have a bunch of Twitter friends called the #Cavpack, but I am also a member of several Cavalier-focused groups on Facebook. Who has two thumbs and is a dog nerd? This girl right here 😂.
In January, I first heard about the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT on Cavaliers of the Northeast. The Wilburton is owned by the Levis family; Melissa Levis has a Cav named Jetson who is the official Inn welcoming committee, as well as the inspiration for their various Cavalier-themed events throughout the year.
The Wilburton Inn held a special Mother’s Day weekend event from which we just got back. I was so excited, I booked our stay back in March. There don’t seem to be any other Cavalier’s around here and I thought, what a fun way to spend Mother’s Day Weekend! My wife and I went down on Friday with Callie to have a night to ourselves and then my wonderful ex-husband drove our daughter down to meet us on Saturday to stay over the second night.
Callie got to meet other Cavaliers for the first time since we got her. Besides Jetson, there were two other Cavs there, Eloise and Clifford, and a lovely chocolate Lab named Fred. Callie has always been ok with other dogs, some she likes more than others, she tends to shy away from the overly excitable. When she met Jetson, it was love at first sight. She was immediately involved in cleaning his ears, giving kisses, following him around. Callie barely noticed the tiny poodle who was also there.
It was like that when she met Eloise and Clifford too. She recognized some kind of friend in them.We didn’t manage to get any pictures of Clifford, he arrived the second day. Callie was happy to greet Fred, the Labrador, as well, but not like she was to meet more Cavaliers.
Melissa led us on a lovely pack walk through historic areas of Manchester, VT. I watched as some cars slowed down to look at the cuteness, or heard people say, “aww.”
We tried, sometimes successfully, to get the dogs to pose for pictures.
The grounds of the Inn are amazing, huge sculpture pieces are scattered throughout, and, of course, your dog is welcome almost anywhere 😍.
Callie found the accommodations quite satisfying. She even prepped a #TongueOutTuesday photo while there.
Brunch was fantastic, with complimentary “mom”mosas and amazing food. Plus a bacon mustache and goatee.
It got a little exciting though, and not in a fun way, when another Cavalier mom behind me saw Jetson grab a chicken bone off the floor. She stood up and ran after him one way, I heard her and went the other way to corner him. Jetson had bitten and swallowed part of the bone and was choking on the joint.
Without thinking, because who wouldn’t immediately try to save a dog, I shoved him between my knees and felt down in his throat. I was able to pull the splintered bone out, so then I pushed both forefingers down either side of his throat, forcing him to gag up the rest of the joint. He was thoroughly unamused when I continued to push my fingers down to feel for any smaller splinters and to make sure he had gagged up the whole bone. Like any dog would, he left a few good bruises on my fingers from his teeth, but as soon as I stopped, he, like almost any Cavalier would, turned and started licking me.
In the midst of all the chaos, while someone found Melissa, I sat on the floor between the omelet station and the stack of plates and cuddled quietly with Jetson, a dog no one could stand to lose.
Thank goodness Eloise’s mom, Laurie (forgive me if I spell your name wrong) happened to see him grab the bone. Not only would it have been a horrible, tragic day, but Jetson is a huge part of what makes the Inn the experience it is. Every employee I met is as attached to him as Melissa – ok, maybe not AS much, but pretty darn close.
Callie slept the whole ride home and even woke up later than me yesterday – a first! It was obvious that it was a happy exhaustion though, she had so much fun, I don’t think her tail stopped wagging all weekend. Nothing could be better for me than seeing Callie enjoy herself like that, it was beautiful.
Melissa herself received a Mother’s Day treat, as she, Jetson, and the Inn were featured by the Boston Globe.
Thank you, Melissa, for the exceptional weekend, we will be back! For those of you nearby – the Howl-oween Weekend slumber party and costume contest is supposed to be OUTRAGEOUS fun. What are you doing in October?
Stories from the life of a rescued puppy mill mama and the second rescue, a puppy Charlie, who arrived seven months later. Dedicated to other stories about rescues as well, particularly those from puppy mills.