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.
I had many other topics in mind for my next blog post, I wanted to introduce the newest members of the pack, our two guinea pigs. I wanted to talk about, oh gee, a month ago when we went to New Jersey and had to have a friend dog-sit for the very first time. Maybe I was even thinking about just giving an update on Charlie, but none of my potential topics included a very frightening health experience with Callie.
Callie just experienced and is still recovering from, a bout of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
You can read a general description here, but basically, it is an awful illness that can be caused by – ready for this list? – Stress, anxiety, eating something either non-food or drastically different food, immune-related disease, parasites, bacteria, toxins, pancreatitis, or possibly an allergic reaction to something either ingested or inhaled. The primary symptoms are vomiting and very bloody diarrhea. AND it’s a common problem in small dogs – FYI.
Wednesday Callie had diarrhea twice, both times inside the house, so it was clearly sudden and began throwing up in the afternoon. She only threw up once, so I wasn’t too worried. I was also exhausted and went to bed, so Jess was left to deal with everything. I didn’t want Callie to have dinner for obvious reasons, but I wasn’t as worried yet.
Then she continued to throw up throughout the night and went outside a few times. I called the vet first thing in the morning on Thursday for an emergency vet appointment. While I was waiting, and panicking – the only time I have ever seen a dog throw up everything including water immediately after drinking has been when they have something lodged in their stomach and require surgery – I tweeted to the cavpack. I couldn’t imagine Callie had ingested something large so I was desperate to hear that she would be ok.
The cavpack rules, and someone I can’t remember who although I think it was Holly, suggested gastroenteritis. After researching basic gastroenteritis, I wasn’t as worried until I was driving her to the vet. Just looking at Callie put my heart in my throat. She was so lethargic and sad. The night before she slept by my face, all night. She never does that, she’s a foot of the bed dog. I don’t remember the last time I was so terrified for one of my animals. That drive to the vet was horrible, she kept readjusting in the seat, trying to get comfortable, and looking at me with “help me” written across her face.
When we arrived, we discovered Callie has gained 2 lbs… now that’s a different topic for discussion, but interesting because she looks thinner.
Callie didn’t have a fever. The vet also thought it was likely gastroenteritis but was surprised when Callie let her palpate everywhere in her stomach and intestinal region without tensing. I tried to explain that Callie is the opposite of Charlie, she is the most stoic dog unless something is in her paw.
Of course, we had just cleaned up her diarrhea originally, not thinking twice about it, so we didn’t have a fecal sample for the vet. She attempted to obtain one from poor Callie, but there was nothing but blood on her glove when she removed her finger. She did notice Callie’s anal glands were full (but not impacted or infected so not the cause) and expressed those for us. Always nice when someone else ends up doing that!
We decided the best course of action was to give Callie fluids there, put her on both an antibiotic as well as an anti-nausea/anti-diarrheal, and, of course, put her on a bland diet.
Callie came home and seemed a little perkier so later that afternoon I went out to run a quick errand, leaving Jess and our daughter at home.
While our daughter ran upstairs to ask a question, Jess heard Callie get off the couch and move around. G ran back downstairs and then came running back up to tell her that something red was all over the new rug.
Jess came downstairs and found what looked like a crime scene, blood in a trail leading to the living room where it was sprayed in a giant poop-like circle and smelled horrific. This was still Thursday.
I am going to post a picture of the rug at the bottom of the post so those who don’t want to see it don’t have to.
Jess called me in a panic, and thankfully I was on my way home, so I was there in a few minutes. We immediately called the vet even more terrified this time. The vet then told me that they had prepared for the possibility that the gastroenteritis would turn into hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and that the best move now was to add a second antibiotic to see if we could end it there. So Callie added penicillin to her list of medications.
It was hard to get her to eat that night. But the vet I spoke with gave me so much information including a list of various things I could try that would be bland enough, among them was hard boiled eggs. I love our two vets, they treat us like intelligent humans to work with, not like idiots and they talk to each other, so both know what’s going on.
Callie LOVES eggs. So for the first day and a half, she got eggs with her pills mushed in – and YAY she eats her pills in her food! Then we switched to cottage cheese, now boiled hamburger.
Callie rallied so fast. On Friday she was still very lethargic (funny to say about a dog who spends most of her time laying around and sleeping anyway, but this was different) and had a sick face.
My heart dog, right here:
By Saturday morning she was starting to look and act like her old self. We even saw froggy stretches and big wags when we first got up in the morning. Plus enthusiasm about food. But she lacked energy and slept in the way the sick do.
By Sunday, she was really rounding the corner into a healthy dog. She was starting to wrestle a little bit with Charlie, she definitely wanted treats – we are sticking with small Zukes treats that we know (are pretty sure) her stomach can handle – and food was very exciting. In fact, she was mad at me by 4 pm that dinner wasn’t ready and they don’t eat until 6ish!
Today, she woke up a happy dog. Still a little tired and very glad to lay in my lap rather than near me or across the sofa, something she doesn’t often do anymore. But she came downstairs, and after they went out, she stole one of the bones.
I say stole because Callie doesn’t play with the toys or chew on the bones actually. This was Charlie’s favorite thing in the world that she took; however, because she doesn’t ever grab toys, we defended her for a long while until distracted so she could have a turn. We were both stunned and thrilled to see her chewing on a bone.
She still hasn’t pooped since the bloody scene. I think she is a bit scared to do so and understandably! I would be. Any time we say the word when she is out in the yard she comes running to jump up on the deck. But my stomach is un-knotting, I feel like she’s on the safe side now. My baby, my love.
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!
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.
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:
Try a round of Ivermectin – a powerful anti-parasite medication that could wreak havoc on his little system.
Make an appointment with a canine dermatologist an hour and a half away.
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:
Within a week he looked like this (apologies for the blurry photo, trying to hold a puppy still is not easy):
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.
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!
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.
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.