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!

What If I Do Want to Find A Good Breeder?

It’s evident that I am a rescue oriented person, and so is this blog. However, I will admit that my bucket list includes purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy from a breeder. At some point. Way down the road. Still, I want to, and I never want individuals to come read this blog and wonder why it seems like rescue people will not talk about purchasing a dog, ever.

So, you want to buy a puppy, but you want to do it right. That’s cool. Support good breeders all the way! Without good breeders, the Cavalier breed would die out.

Cavalier king charles spaniel puppies
Adorable Cavalier puppies in all four colors.

First, a question. Is the puppy a gift? If so, remember, pets should NEVER be given as gifts, and decent breeders will not sell a dog for someone to give as a gift.

USDA approved puppy mill
USDA approved puppy mill

How do you find a puppy without supporting a puppy mill?

Sometimes that’s harder than it seems. Aside from avoiding those pet store pups and any that can be purchased over the internet, how do you know? Not all puppy mills look like this one.

Some mills are smaller, harder to see, but are still putting profit above the welfare of their animals. On top of that, finding a good breeder with a litter of puppies can take more than a year.

Not all breeders are great. Even some of those listed on sites like the AKC breeder recommendation list don’t fall into the category of a “good breeder.” The AKC doesn’t have the capacity to inspect every breeder they certify and have acknowledged such.

Puppy mill in a house
Puppy Mill run out of a house

 

Some breeders might look good from the outside but be running small puppy mill operations out of their home or another location.

 

Some breeders may not have that many dogs, but if they don’t care for the health of their females, and breed them repeatedly for several litters, the breeder still fits in the category of using the animal for profit.

Some breeders think they are doing everything right but don’t health test. These breeders aren’t contributing to the future health of the breed, which is currently tenuous, and therefore do not care about the welfare of the dogs. Find out more about health testing at Cavalier Health.

Some breeders don’t want you to visit, or don’t want you to see any of their other dogs aside from the mother. This is a big red flag. It may well look like the house above if they are unwilling to show you where the dogs live.

Some breeders don’t want you to offer you any guidance after you purchase the dog. This is not necessarily a sign of a puppy mill but just a sign of a breeder worth avoiding.

Ok, all these no’s probably aren’t helping you figure out how to tell what a GOOD breeder looks like and how to find one. 

A breeder you found online is neither a good or a bad one although their website may or may not give you some information about them.

The first sign that you have found a good breeder is if you feel a little interrogated, politely of course. Questions you should be asked include:

  • Why do you want a dog and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in particular?
  • Who in your family will be responsible for the pup’s daily care and training?
  • Where the dog will spend most of his or her time?
  • How often will the dog be left alone?
  • Can you provide both veterinarian and personal references?
  • Will you sign a contract to spay/neuter the dog?
  • Are you willing to sign a contract agreeing to return the dog should anything change in your situation?

A breeder is going to want to know all these answers in depth. They are also going to want to hear you ask questions. Some things you need to ask are,

  • How old are the mother, father, and their parents? The mother and father should be 2 or older and the parents preferably 5+.
  • Do you health test? Will you provide me with the results of these parents/grandparents? (You are looking for MVD and SM in particular.)
  • Can I come visit?
  • When is your next litter of puppies planned?
  • Do you have a waiting list?
  • Can you provide me with references?
  • Do you breed any other dogs? Breeders with multiple kinds of dogs are not likely to be good breeders.
  • Are you willing to answer my questions after a puppy comes home with me?
  • Do you have a contract?
One website you can start with for a list of breeders, as well as more information on purchasing a puppy, is spanielking.

 

Good luck!

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

 

 

 

 

Happy Gotcha-Day Callie-Wag

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!

The ride home from the rescue
Is that love hidden behind the fear? The car ride home.

 

Callie snuggling on couch
Callie learned that kids make the best friends, and cuddle buddies.
Callie running
Callie learned to go for walks, even if it meant she had to run to catch up
Callie walking
She got a little better at walks 😉
That first time you fell asleep on me. ❤️
Callie watching us in the snow
Callie learned what snow was, but questioned why we played in it.

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.

Our Twitter CavPack book with our dear friends’ faces and silly pictures throughout.
That time we brought home a puppy. You don’t look very happy in this photo, Callie.
Rescue Cavalier's Callie and Charlie snuggle
Serious little brother love happened anyway.

So much so, he taught you to play –

We started having doggie play dates and you found a new best friend.
Although you’ve been a bit sick lately and we’ve even started acupuncture to help, that hasn’t changed everything about you.
Callie's smile
You’re still one of the smiliest girls around 😊
We were bad, we couldn’t resist getting her some kind of treat for her gotcha-day 😉😁
Because this girl gets to experience freedom forever, even the freedom to go past the yard limit and get in trouble (recognize that facial expression anyone 😂)

Mom made her dinner gotcha-day cake, although sitting at the table was a little scary!

Charlie's bowtie
Charlie looked dapper with his first bow-tie

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.

pic of Callie snuggling
My heart and soul. This dog is magic.

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.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month!

It is adopt a Shelter Dog Month! Remember those loving dogs who are waiting for their forever homes ❤️. Ray is one of the best examples of a magical, loving shelter dog. While his owner started out never having had a dog before, he and Ray learned together, eventually supplying enough education and anecdotes for Colin to write a book.

A Dog's Life? (Stories of me and him)

Thank you USA for providing the greater percentage of my Blog Followers and, probably not surprisingly therefore, the greater percentage of my book sales. I thought it would be an appropriate reciprocal gesture to promote your (ASPCA) Adopt-a Shelter-Dog month!

The ASPCA have designated October as Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month which compliments the “Adopt don’t shop” movement very nicely, and no doubt explains the increase in dog adoption related Posts here in the Blogiverse.

Whereas many will argue in favor of buying a dog from a breeder, there are so many benefits to at least checking out your local shelter before making any decision.  One must always consider that a dog in a shelter  is not there by choice, and would no doubt really love all the comforts of a real home just as you and I do.

Adopting from a shelter serves a double benefit because it is not only giving…

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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.

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