Tag Archives: health

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!

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

 

 

 

 

Rescuing Puppy Mill Girls – Charlotte and Felicity

Charlotte was three months old when her mom adopted her. She had gone to the pet store for rabbit food, but,

“[There was an] adoption drive all set up and boy did they have puppies that day – tons. Most were in one big pen, jumping all over each other and yapping.

‘She was sitting by herself in her own crate. I swear she stared me down. When I walked over, she cautiously wagged her tail a little bit and sniffed my fingers. I asked if I could hold her and when I did, she put one paw on each of my shoulders and buried her head in my neck. So I got a puppy that day.”

Charlotte's first day
Charlotte, the day she was adopted

Charlotte was from a puppy mill but was rescued when she was still a young pup. She was with a rescue called Coalition for Animal Rescue and Education (C.A.R.E.) out of Hillsboro Missouri.

She had already been bounced around between homes at only three months old. The first adopters gave Charlotte back and then she had two foster homes before her forever home came along. Her mom noted that it was a while before Charlotte realized she was going to stay.

Charlotte and mom on bench
Charlotte and her mom

As with many puppy mill puppies, Charlotte was often sick. Her mom said “I don’t believe she came from a very healthy mother. Most of a puppy’s immune system comes from their mother’s milk, and she didn’t have much of one at all. We went through a few upper respiratory infections when she was younger, lots of tummy troubles, and then it turned into a slew of eye infections, UTIs, and eventually diabetes when she was five.”

But even diabetes didn’t stop this pair from their exploits. Like many Cavaliers, Charlotte is her mom’s best friend. She’s 9 years old now.

“Charlotte is my nonstop adventure buddy. We have taken road trips all the way from our home in St. Louis to Galveston, TX, Key West Florida, Savannah, GA, northern WI, even NY, and everywhere in between. Most of the time, it’s just her and me on the road trips. Those are my favorite trips. Just me and my dog on an island, or a mountain, or lakeside, and in the car for hours. She loves fancy hotels and acts like a total diva when we stay in one. When we are home, we go to all the local parks, the drive-in movies or movies in the park events, food truck festivals, run in charity 5ks (her in the stroller) for local rescues, she rides on my paddle board while I paddle around local lakes, and we brunch out on dog friendly patios. Things got tricky when she was diagnosed diabetic, but learning to home test has meant that not only are her sugars very well controlled, but I have the freedom for her to live a normal dog life. I just take that meter and some snacks everywhere so that if there is ever a problem, I can detect it and treat it on the spot. 3.5 years diabetic and you would never guess it, she lives a totally normal, dog life, she just gets poked several times a day, which she doesn’t mind. She’s been the best friend I didn’t know I was missing. She is my absolute heart and soul.”

Charlotte on the beach
Charlotte the Beach Dog

Recently, Charlotte and her mom decided that it was time to add to their rescue Cavalier family and they brought home Felicity. Felicity is a 6 yr old former puppy mill breeder who was saved from the auction block by Gateway 4 Paws, in O’Fallom IL.

Felicity on the couch
Felicity arrives home and discovers the couch!

Gateway for Paws attends puppy mill auctions where they sell off various breeder dogs and puppies, and they buy as many as they can to rehabilitate them and get them out of the cycle. And, as is often true for rescues, they spent four times what her adoption fee was to get Felicity out of that auction and fix her up. She got spayed, cleaned up, and had 11 painfully rotten teeth pulled.

Felicity’s new mom said, “9\16\17 is the day she was thrown up on the auction block, listed as a breeder, covered in matted fur, a mouth full of rotten teeth, and her eyes swollen shut from infection. She was only with them for a week. I adopted her on 9\24. She was still recovering from surgery at the time and required meds, and we are still treating the eyes (I’m betting that will be lifelong), but the foster knew what I go through every day with Charlotte’s diabetes, so she knew I was responsible enough to handle it. Special needs pups are right up my alley.

‘When I applied to Gateway 4 Paws, it was actually because they had posted some cavalier puppies for adoption. When the foster called, she told me about Felicity. I knew that this mill mama needed me and deserved to have a happy, spoiled life. I also knew the puppies would have no trouble finding homes, while not too many people want older rescue dogs, especially when she wasn’t exactly a beautiful cavalier in her current state, but I saw it and knew she was gorgeous under years of neglect.”

And she’s right. It can be hard to see the love and beauty under the horrible condition the mills have left the mamas in. But, if you look closely, there is a glimmer in these mamas, a force of light, because they have already spent so much of their lives fighting to live, they are going to fight to love.

I asked Felicity and Charlotte’s mom how much Felicity has changed already, and her emotional response belies the feelings that most of us have, especially when rescuing puppy mill dogs.

“I have never cried so much in my entire life! Every time she learns something new, that it seems all dogs should know all along, like what a treat is, or a warm bed, you can see the utter joy in her eyes. The fact that she is so willing to trust me and wants to make me happy (that cavalier need to please), even after all the crap she has been through just amazes and inspires me. It was slow going at first. She was just terrified and confused. I patiently taught her all I could. I made a point to hold her and cuddle her, even though it made her uncomfortable at first, so she could see that I wasn’t anything to be afraid of. I had to hand feed her the first night, but now she eats like a champ.

‘My friend who has two mill rescues told me to take her everywhere, make people pet her and hold her, so that’s what I’ve done. She’s been to the pet store a couple times, my parents came over, I introduced her to the neighbors (who work in rescue and have three rescue beagles), and then I mustered the courage to take her to the Canine Carnival this weekend, which I was afraid would scare her, but instead she was so happy. She was totally loving it, letting strangers pet her without flinching, sniffing other dogs, she was all about it!

Stroller dogs in pumpkin patch
Charlotte and Felicity in the Pumpkin Patch

‘She still panics and runs from me sometimes, hasn’t slept through the night a few times, and gets a little freaked out in the back yard if the air conditioner kicks on or a noisy car goes by. She’ll learn. I don’t believe she sees well, which probably contributes to her anxiety. My vet said there is significant damage to her eyes from years of neglect, which may or may not reverse. She greets me at the door now when I get home from work, Cavalier tail wag in full effect, so we’re getting there.”

It sounds like it! And what amazing rescue stories 😍

Gotcha day and welcome home
Gotcha Day and Welcome Home all in one!
Snuggling with mom
Charlotte taught Felicity all about snuggling with mom on the couch.