Tag Archives: happy

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!

Sometimes Small Moments Make the Best Memories

Callie did something so adorable and Queen Callie-like yesterday, it deserves its own post.

As many of you know, I have fibromyalgia, and it is severe enough to keep me home just working as a writer. One of the benefits of working from home and choosing my assignments/frequency of blog posts is that I regularly am able to nap. Napping is imperative most days if I want to function past 3pm.

So the dogs are used to our nap routine. I won’t go into the why of it, but when they come upstairs and lay down on either side of me, they get treats. At naptime, Callie lays on my right and Charlie on my left… until he gets down to see if he can find trouble.

Yesterday, Jess was off of work again and came upstairs too, shortly after I gave out the treats. She lay down on the left side – her side.

Callie suddenly gave me a dirty look and got down from the bed. I asked her if she needed to go out, but no. So I laid down a fleece blanket as a potential dog bed and offered it to her, that got a “thank you, but no.” So I opened the bedroom door to let her go downstairs to the couch if she wanted and climbed back in bed.

She immediately followed me back up, racing up her stairs to get in between Jess and me. I looked at her and started to laugh. She was still down at the bottom of the bed and had lain down but was alternating between looking pleadingly at me and shooting daggers at Jess.

Apparently, Jess is no longer allowed to come upstairs for naptime. Or if she does, she better not try to cuddle with me.

Callie, to whom we cater in every way, was not happy until we pulled her up closer to us and started petting her, telling her how much we loved her. And woah, we do, with all our hearts.

Spoiled Cavalier.

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.

Cavalier Rescue of AL talks Puppy Mill Rescues

Today is Puppy Mill Awareness Day.

Today is the day dedicated to educating the public about the horrific conditions in which many dogs are being bred.

Today is a day devoted to dogs like Callie and Charlie. Callie who spent six years in a mill, being bred over and over and over again. Charlie, who was lucky to escape the cycle at 3 months and end up with people who understand and are willing to deal with his luxating patellas.

To dogs like Dewey, who was rescued by Cavalier Rescue of Alabama at a mill dog auction and is learning love with his foster mom, waiting for his forever home.

 

I had the chance to interview Brittney Wilk, Co-Founder & Rescue Coordinator at Cavalier Rescue of Alabama and foster mom of Dewey, among several other dogs at the house.

Brittney and her dogs
Brittney Wilk, left to right: Juliet, Dewey, Harley, Happy Go Lucky, Romeo

Me: How long have you been rescuing?

B: I have been rescuing for about nine years. I started doing it privately and then found Cavalier Rescue USA. There I was the coordinator for Alabama and Georgia for several years before my rescue partner, and I co-founded Cavalier Rescue of Alabama together in January 2015.

Me: What got you into it?

B: I got into Cavalier rescue after I purchased my first two Cavaliers – Like so many people, I felt I had done my research but at that point didn’t have a trained ‘eye’ to pick up on ‘red flags’ and ending up discovering that I had purchased from a substandard breeder.

My two puppies were very, very ill with pneumonia for months. Throughout their journey of getting them well and afterward, I heard of so many people with similar stories as mine and felt it was so important to help educate and advocate for the breed. Learning more and more about substandard breeding and Cavaliers being so prolific in that industry, I found rescue and felt that is where I could make a difference.

At that time I got involved in Cavalier Rescue USA, there was not an in-state coordinator there, and the role sort of fell into my lap. I had no idea what I was necessarily getting in for and certainly had no idea that it would be so life changing and lead me to where I am today.

Me: Do you work outside of rescue or has it become your full-time job?

B: We are an all-volunteer organization, so none of us collect any salaries or stipends for the rescue work we do. Therefore we do have to manage full-time jobs in addition to our rescue work which at times can be challenging and overwhelming as our rescue work is definitely a full-time job.

 

Dogs on bed
Even the dogs get tired with all that work!
L to R: Romeo, Happy Go Lucky, Harley, Dewey, Juliet

Me: How many hours a week do you think you put into rescue?

B: I have never kept track of my rescue work hours, but it is certainly around the clock from the moment I open my eyes until I fall asleep. If I had to make a best guess, I would say on average about 60 hours a week with there being times of heavy intake when we put forth much more than that.

Me: How many rescues do you personally have?

B: I have four rescues, and am currently fostering two. I have two rescue alums from Cavalier Rescue USA and two rescue alums from Cavalier Rescue of Alabama, and then two current Cavalier Rescue of Alabama fosters.

They are all puppy mill survivors as my expertise is in rehabbing abused, neglected, emotionally damaged and under-socialized dogs.

Me: Why did you rescue?

B: I rescue because I know I can provide a home, family, endless love, and wonderful care to Cavaliers in need. My favorite thing is seeing [my rescue dogs] relaxed and peaceful after enduring such suffering and stress.

Happy dogs
Happy dogs ❤️ In no particular order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the most important thing though – today may be Puppy Mill Awareness Day – but every day these dogs are stuck in mills, every day these dogs need you to fight to end puppy mills, to stop the breeders that are cruel, that breed without care, that shove their dogs into tiny cages. FIGHT BACK FOR THE DOGS.

Fight for the love that these dogs still have, somehow, inside them.

Who Rescues Cavaliers with Special Needs?

On Tuesday I wrote about the importance of last week’s focus on Puppy Awareness Week in the UK and this coming Saturday’s Puppy Mill Awareness Day. If you’d like to read that post, you can here.

My way of bringing awareness is through my writing and my blog. So, today I would like to highlight a couple who built their lives around rescuing older and special needs Cavaliers. I am overwhelmed by their story, not many people can take on the workload and the heartache that they do daily.

Peabody and Jason Johanson didn’t initially start out with the intention of rescuing special needs and elderly dogs, but, as Peabody said, “We just bought a one level house (for the older dogs) with 1/3 of an acre all because of the dogs. We concluded that this is how we were spending the rest of our lives, adopting senior and special needs Spaniels.”

Many people that get into rescue adjust or renovate their homes to fit the dogs’ needs, but it’s not often one gets a chance to purchase a home that happens to fit exactly what is required for their rescues.

Skoshi

It all started with Peabody’s first dog, Skoshi, a Cocker Spaniel rescue. Peabody said, “Her last year with us she developed an allergy to the yeast on her own skin and got MRSP (like MRSA but for dogs) several times because of it. We had to give her daily baths and wrap her in bandages three times a day.

My husband and I both realized that we had the patience to deal with dogs with special needs. When she got cancer, we traded sleeping on the floor with her for months.
We knew she was nearing the end and we started talking about what kind of dog we would want next since we knew we would want a dog right away.”

Peabody and Jason were active fundraisers for Old Dog Haven, an organization that has over 300 senior dogs in their care,

“They are all in final refuge foster homes and pay all medical bills. They find the un-adoptable seniors in the shelters and give them loving homes no matter if that is a year, a month, a week, or a day.”

The couple decided that they would rescue a younger Cavalier from Cavalier Rescue USA and then get an Old Dog Haven foster. But, life had other plans in store for them.

First came Mickey.

Mickey

“The day after our cocker died, Mickey popped up on the website. I just looked at him and knew he was my dog. He was 8 and deaf with two spinal conditions (SM/CM and altano-axil malformation where his C1 overrides his C2) as well as behavior issues. He was fostered by a mutual friend, and we set up to meet him right away.

We were smitten the first time we met and had another meetup and decided to adopt him. We were told he was not a typical Cavalier in that he did not love everyone. His owner, a single female, had passed and his spinal condition was never diagnosed until rescue, so he was in pain his whole life. While he is not the typical Cavalier he does love me, his mama, something fierce and is very much the typical Cavalier to me. Mickey is now 10 1/2 and has MVD as well and is in stage B1 with a grade 2 murmur. ”

Mickey was not comfortable around men, and Jason felt that lack of connection, so the couple contacted Cavalier Rescue USA again.

Then came Holly.

“Four months after getting Mickey, Holly came into our life. She was just turning 8 and was a breeder release, and sadly was in Congestive Heart Failure. They warned us that it would be hard to watch her decline, but we chose to take her anyway. We only had a year with Holly, but she brought such joy to our life. Because of Holly my husband and I decided to focus on taking in Cavaliers with heart issues and Syringomyelia which both she and Mickey suffer from. Holly passed just a month after her 9th birthday of complications from pneumonia due to her heart being too large.”

Next, Daisy.

Daisy

“She came from a woman who bought her from a breeder (breeder release) but couldn’t keep her as she did not have a fenced yard and Daisy was a runner. We didn’t expect to take her as she was only six with no real health issues but we fell in love with her right away. Daisy loves any and all people that she meets, in true Cavalier form. Daisy just turned 8 and knock on wood continues to be healthy.”

And the sweet Crissy.

Crissy

“Crissy was also from Cavalier Rescue USA. She was 10 with MVD. Her owner was going into hospice. She is a total love and the perfect mix of sweet and sass. She is now 11 1/2 and has sadly progressed to a B2 stage with a 4/5 murmur and has started medication. We focus on enjoying each day with her that we have left.”

An English Toy Spaniel Rescue, Georgia.

Georgia

“Georgia came to us from a place called Panda Paws Rescue they are out of southern Washington state. They specialize in special needs breeds of all types. A friend who followed them had tagged me in a post about a couple of English Toy Spaniels they had. One of them had Syringomyelia, and they were looking for someone familiar with the condition. I talked to a friend that also had English Toys’s, and we decided to go for it. Georgia was a breeder release (once they knew she had SM they decided to let her go) and was very well socialized; she fit in immediately.”

And the most recent addition, Tulip.

“This last March the same rescue, Panda Paws raised money and went to a puppy mill auction in Missouri to rescue as many as they could. They had a few English Toy’s, and so I just said that if no one showed interested in the extremely shy ET that we would take her. Tulip had no inquiries and so after she had a month in foster care, where she was spayed, had a dental check, and had stenotic nares surgery, she came to us.
She was beyond shy when we got her. Typical puppy mill dog where she was fine with the other dogs but petrified of the humans.

Tulip

We have had her five months now, and she is making a lot of progress. She will sit on your lap and likes pets but will still run from you when go to pick her up. She does come to us but then runs away, but each day she gets a little more brave. Tulip is our youngest at age 2, and so we hope we have lots of time with her to watch her flourish into a trusting dog.”

Peabody couldn’t be happier with her pack of special needs dogs, and neither could Jason. “Both my husband and I are bleeding hearts, and so we just seem to keep collecting spaniels.”

But that’s ok, Peabody, because we need people like you!