A plea to choose a shelter dog before other sources!
Of the six dogs that we have here at home only one, Cleo, came to us from a breeder. That was because we specifically wanted a GSD puppy to be a playmate for Pharaoh as he was getting into his final years.
Pharaoh demonstrating his benevolent status with puppy Cleo. April 2012.
The other five are all dogs that we took from rescue shelters or, in the case of Brandy, from a couple that couldn’t handle such a big dog despite him being the most placid and loving dog one could ever come across.
The Care2 blogsite recently published an article that hammered home the reasons why everyone should (nay, must!) consider a shelter dog first.
Please read and share this. For the sake of those thousands of dogs that never have the joy of loving owners in their lives.
Last week I introduced everyone to Charlie, our newly adopted (surprise) puppy. Charlie comes from the same rescue as Callie and likely the same puppy mill. It’s not just my guess that they might; the women in charge were pretty certain, the other male, a five-year-old stud, had the same look as Charlie and Callie, as well as another dog rescued three years ago by a woman I met recently on FB. Here’s last week’s post if you need to catch up.
It’s interesting because this mill breeds for certain positive breed aspects, like the slightly longer nose which helps to avoid bronchial issues and a size that fits close to the breed standard. No, they are not good breeders. It is a farm. I just found that piece of the puzzle curious.
Charlie rode the puppy roller coaster. He was sent out to a broker to be sold to a pet store, but the pet stores didn’t want him, and he was sent back. Lucky Charlie, just before the next auction, the rescue took a trip out to Ohio and brought him back.
Charlie is a puppy mill mascot. Unlike Callie who managed to make it out at six years old and in perfect health, he came to us with some things we knew about and some we didn’t.
Before they headed out, all the dogs visited the vet in Ohio where they noted that Charlie has “grade 1” luxating patellas and an umbilical hernia.
Luxating patellas are when a dog has a very flat patella ridge. This means the kneecap doesn’t seat snugly in the groove and it can pop out either medially, to the inside, or laterally, to the outside.
There are four levels of severity of a luxating patella. Grade 1 is the mildest; Grade 4 is the most severe.
• A Grade 1 luxating patella describes a kneecap that pops out (or can be manually popped out of place) but pops right back in on its own.
• Grade 2 describes a kneecap that pops out of place and doesn’t always pop back in automatically, sometimes requiring manual manipulation to re-seat it.
• A Grade 3 condition is when the kneecap sits outside its groove most of the time but can be manually positioned back in the groove, where it stays temporarily.
• Grade 4 luxating patella describes the worst-case scenario, in which the kneecap sits outside the groove all the time, and won’t stay seated in the groove when it is manually popped into place.
The morning after the caravan arrived back in VT, we got a call about the availability of an 11-week old puppy or a five-year-old male stud – to be neutered, but if we wanted one, especially the puppy, we had to come that day. Sherry did tell us about his knees before we made the trip. We quickly discussed the pros and cons and made the call to go “meet” (i.e. get, lol) the puppy.
Charlie came home without having visited the groomers yet and with diarrhea and a little cough. First, if you haven’t ever smelled a puppy mill or a dog from one, it is horrendous. Little Charlie was so sweet and snuggly, but he reeked! The first chance we got on the trip home we stopped for doggie bath wipes to get as much of the green and brown stains and nasty smell off him.
I made an appointment with our vet, however, due to one vet being on vacation, we had to wait a few days for a time. Charlie’s cough went away within a day or so, he just needed to be consistently warm. His diarrhea didn’t though. I was fairly sure he had some parasite that wasn’t treated by regular de-worming, but it wasn’t until I saw some blood in his stool that I called the vet and made an emergency appointment.
Charlie had giardia, coccidia, and whipworms, poor baby. That was a lot of medication! Even Callie had to be treated again. The vet also confirmed his luxating patellas although she said she doesn’t grade them when the puppy is this young and also informed us that Charlie has a minor heart murmur.
Because he is so young, we are lucky, and there are some things we can do to counteract his physical issues. Regarding the murmur, the two most important are diet and exercise – keeping him at the correct weight when he is grown, and daily exercise may keep his heart working a bit better. Regarding the kneecaps, again exercise and weight, but certain exercises are particularly beneficial.
As our vet recommended, we do a lot of hill climbs, up and down, both straight and in zig zags, and anything else we can think of that will strengthen his quads as those are the muscles that will be the most beneficial. Also helps tire the rambunctious puppy out! It’s been excellent for Callie too.
Hey – got any good game or exercise ideas that are low-impact on the knees but work the quads on our pup?
Don’t worry all – Charlie is doing GREAT! These are just things we have to keep in mind as he grows. And these are some issues that puppy mills cause. FIGHT TO END PUPPY FARMING!
So we got a ridiculously big surprise this weekend.
Jess and I had been talking about getting another Cavalier after we move at the beginning of July but I felt like we were going to be in a bit of a predicament. We wanted to both rescue again and be able to get a younger male, preferably still puppy aged, this time. That’s often difficult to find with Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescues.
The Cavalier Rescue USA does an excellent job. However, most of their Northeast rescues are too far away from us for them to consider our application. The rescues are rarely within 3-4 hours of us.
I’ve kept in touch with the rescue Callie came from, Champlain Valley Canine Rescue, since we got her and they were aware that we were looking for a young male. Well,
Sherry called us Sunday morning – they had an 11-week old male Cavalier puppy – did we want him and if so, we had to go get him that day. AHHH!!!!!!
We had a quick debate, knowing the risks of adopting a puppy mill puppy, but we decided to go for it, I mean, fate, right?
And OMD did we fall in love.
I mean, just look at that face! Sweetness and LOVE!
Callie was unamused when we first arrived home. I think she was a good bit jealous and worried about her position in the family but, of course, we make sure to greet her first, give her extra treats “hmm… I get treats when Charlie goes potty outside… 😋” etc. And Callie has become a slightly more snuggly dog, at least asking for affection more.
Callie came around to the idea of Charlie by Monday afternoon, at which point she decided he was her puppy.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this on here before, but Callie’s never been one for making any noise, let alone the amount of yelping and harping we got when we took him out of the room on Monday evening or Tuesday. That was until he reminded her how annoying puppies can be. Wednesday morning we heard Callie BARK, a sound we didn’t know she could even make! I think she got a little tired of the rambunctious monster hanging from her ears.
I was a little worried how things would go once G got here and Callie had to share her precious child – we prepped G about how important it was to make Callie feel special, Charlie thinks he is special enough 😂, etc.
Well, I think it went ok.
She did some car multi-tasking, holding Charlie while petting Callie, and also discovered that as cute as he is, it’s not fun to try to snuggle on the couch with a wild puppy. Callie earned her lap back in under 5 minutes!
I think it will all work out.
Here’s the car ride home from dropping G off at school yesterday:
And, while I couldn’t ever get a picture where they were both still, G and Charlie have some serious puppy love going on too ❤️.
I’ll update more on Charlie soon. He’s going to be our mascot against puppy mills and bad breeders as he already has luxating patellas and a minor heart murmur. But for now, I leave you with this – a happy, silly puppy video❤️ ❤️ ❤️! Makes everyone smile 😊
p.s. please excuse the lack of full puppy-proofing in the room when we took this video.
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.