Tag Archives: new puppy

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!

Meet Rescue and Therapy Dog Lucia

Dear readers and friends – I am sorry for the long silence,  my fibromyalgia got to me, then germs did, and I failed to write.

Thus far I have stuck to blogging about Callie and Charlie, but I would like to be talking more about the Cavalier rescue community in general. Such as the rescuers who go in and save the dogs, the owners who work so hard with their rescues, the health of our Cavalier’s, and, of course, the continued adventures of C & C.

Puppy Awareness Week in the UK just ended Saturday. Puppy Awareness Week, or PAW, is a campaign by the UK Kennel Club to ensure that puppies have long, healthy, happy lives with their owners. It is intended to raise awareness of puppy farms/mills and educate prospective owners as to how they might find a reputable breeder.

This coming Saturday, Sept. 16th, is Puppy Mill Awareness Day – #PuppyMillAwarenessDay. This is an initiative started by the National Mill Puppy Project to vigorously promote awareness of puppy mills and encourage the public to rescue rather than buy, or ensure they are buying from a reputable breeder.

I always emphasize rescuing because, well, until there aren’t any Cavaliers left to rescue I would rather spend the money a puppy costs on giving one a chance at a new healthy, happy life. And, although I hope it doesn’t, if that statement comes out judgmental, it isn’t meant to be. I have lots of friends with breeder-purchased puppies, and I would adore their dogs regardless.

In honor of all the puppy awareness and rescue awareness going on right now, this week I’m going to be highlighting a few dogs (erm, I mean people) who have rescued and, whether or not they intended to in the first place, wouldn’t change the experience for the world!

So today I want to highlight one impressive Cavalier rescue, Lucia and her mom Paula Stacey. In two years Lucia has gone from a puppy locked in a closet to a fully certified therapy dog.

Lucia as a puppy
When I was all alone

Lucia, or Lucy for short, was almost six months old before she found her forever home. Before that, she lived somewhere locked in a closet because she was “too much trouble.”

 

In August of 2015, Paula Stacey found out about Lucia and went to meet her. It was fate, as both fell in love with each other instantly.

Paula meeting Lucy
The day Lucy found her forever home.

Here’s what Paula Stacey had to say about the decision to train and the process of training Lucy to be a therapy dog.

“I had Lucy for about one month before I started training her. I originally started training her because I never had such a young puppy before and I wanted to be sure that I was raising her properly.
My previous dog Molly was over three years old when I got her, and she had a lot of issues such as freaking out when she had to be put in a Kennel at the vet or Groomers. She would actually make her paws bleed.

When I got Lucy, she still hadn’t been potty trained or didn’t know any commands. Most likely because she was barred up in a room all the time with nothing. That room was where she ate, drank & relieved herself.

So I signed Lucy up for beginners classes than we went on to intermediate classes than advanced. Lucy did so well, and I enjoyed taking classes with her. Many people had said she would be a good Therapy dog because she loved attention & people. So I thought to myself why not, let’s see what we need to do to become a Therapy dog.

We had to do more courses & pass the CGN Canadian Good Neighbour test before we could move on to more training. Lucy passed her CGN test & I was in tears when she did.
It took about 18 months of training before Lucia finally received her Therapy dog certificate.”

Lucia gets her diploma
Lucia and Paula Stacey with their new Therapy Dog diploma!

After many months of study, training and hard work they successfully achieved a Therapy Dog Certification, the certification for which requires: 1. CKC Canine Good Neighbour test 2. Full Medical Exam (complete health check, vaccinations, fecal test, parasite control) 3. Municipal Licensing 4. Handler Course (safety procedures, infection control, ethics, rules and regulations) 5. Dog Training Program (4-6 months) 6. Therapy Dog Testing  7. Exam Therapy Dog Manual – Vancouver ecoVillage Therapy Dog Certification.

“Lucia turned two years old March 6/17, so I think we have accomplished quite a bit in the two years.

Lucia and therapy dog vest
Lucia rockin’ her therapy dog vest!

She is so good with other people & does so well with children with autism and special needs. Lucy has been to 6 schools so far, to help relieve stress for students before exams. We also visit senior citizens who totally adore Lucy.

It makes me feel good to be able to bring comfort and joy to the people who need it… Training Lucy to be a therapy dog helps me to get out and volunteer.”

You can find out more about Lucia or follow her adventures on Facebook at http://facebook.com/luciamollikins or on Twitter @PaulaStacey72.

Back to Reality

Let me begin by apologizing for the radio silence – we’ve spent the last week moving and the previous one packing. And now I have the longest post – mostly about our new house!

Oh moving, how I hate you. Thankfully, this should be our last move for a few years! Jess and I have moved four times in 3 years…But now we have bought a lovely townhouse/condo in a great community, right where we want to be.
Jess took this past week off from work for moving in and, what we hoped, would be some relaxing time. I love when Jess is home during the day. Working from home can be incredibly lonely but, between the dogs and my fibromyalgia, getting out to co-working spaces is often difficult.
This was even better than the rare days she also works from home because neither of us did any work of that kind, we solely focused on our house and getting our animals situated.

Even with the stress of moving, it was a wonderful week. We spent time together shopping for a few things we needed/wanted to make the place feel like home right away.
We *read Jess* set up G’s new loft bed so when she arrived, she could spend time decorating her room. We haven’t had our own rooms since we sold the house in January, and OMG were we all desperate for space!

We had a few visitors come by, mid-mess but who cares? We love this place more each day we are here.

View of patio
Callie watching over her new yard

The unit we purchased has one of the more private patios, it looks into the woods, and we have a perfect area to let the dogs out.

 

So far we have been going out with them, but only Charlie seems to need the tie-out that we bought for each of them.

The tie out in the back yard confuses
Hoomans, what is this nonsense?!
Charlie runs towards us
Run Charlie RUN!

We also have a loop drive around the complex that is approximately a quarter of a mile which makes for a great walk with the dogs. It’s just long enough that Callie gets good exercise for her but still enjoys herself, even if we go twice in one day, plus if we go one way around, we end with a hill-climb which is perfect for Charlie’s patellas.
There are many dogs in the neighborhood, most of whom are friendly. Two Border Collies, Julien and Vincent, live in the next building over and often visit if we are outside. We were suckers the first time the first time they came and threw a stick for them a bit, and now they LOVE to come try to get us to play. Charlie is terrified of them even though they are super sweet and tend to ignore him as they are hyper-focused.
There is a six-month-old Lab-mix two doors over who is still frightening to Charlie – although he is starting to relax a bit, she’s sweet and relatively mellow – and then another puppy-mill rescue two doors down from there. The only dogs who aren’t nice are our neighboring dogs (of course!🤣)

I’m not really surprised, they are two older chihuahuas who have never been super friendly, and now they have gotten rather mean in their old age. I do feel older dogs have the right to be tired of politely interacting all the time, especially on their turf, but it is funny because they were fine with the two-year-old Cavalier who was living here with the tenants last year!

Charlie introduced himself to our neighbor on the other side by tipping over her beautiful succulents… thank goodness she has owned dogs her whole life – albeit not at the moment – and loved meeting him so much, she didn’t care about her plants!

Knocking over plants
What plants? I didn’t knock those over earlier!

 

The new condo has stairs, and both bedrooms are up there. I don’t think I’ve talked about it in a long time, but at the old place we lived on the second floor, and Callie was scared of stairs at first, so we started a terrible habit – we carried her down. For six months we ended up carrying Callie down those damn stairs every time we needed to take her out. Jess and I made the decision, having seen Callie learn to go down shorter sets of steps just fine, that we were not going to pick her up to carry her downstairs at all. Callie was SO mad.
The very first morning, I laid down treats, shut all the upstairs doors, and took Charlie out. I came back in, and she was still at the top of the stairs. So I made breakfast. Callie is a food driven dog, but she was still at the top of the stairs. So I went up and helped *perhaps read forced* her to walk down them. She wouldn’t eat many of the treats as she went and I felt it was only fair she still get them for all the work, so she was greeted at the bottom of the stairs with breakfast AND a rather large pile of training treats. That made her forgive me a bit.
Slowly, using this method but “helping” less and less, over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday she got better.
Regardless of whether I helped her with any stairs, she did want me a few steps down at all times. Her left side seems to slip a bit, so it goes faster than her right. Anyway, Friday came, and the kiddo showed up. Callie went wild, almost everything was ok again in her world except she hadn’t seen G here yet.

The kiddo and Big C cuddle on the couch
Besties Furever!

I mean, look, the girl is Callie’s BESTIE! Well, once G went down the stairs Callie forgot all her fear in her need to be with her girl, and now the stairs are no problem for this lady.

 

 

Now, it’s back to life, back to reality. Monday morning went back to the same old routine, and Jess left for work at 7. Then I sat in what is my usual silence. Except it was so much lonelier. It always is when Jess has been home for a day or two, but this silence has made everyone mopey.

Callie just discovered something magical! She can get away from Charlie and keep him from stealing her bones by taking them out on the patio. 😁 Smart girl!

Callie and goat horn
Look, mom, I CAN get away from the little turd!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you if you have read this far 😆! And the next post should be coming soon! I have many updates on Charlie and his health!!!

Problem Child

“He’s your problem child,” said both the vet tech and the vet separately, each smiling. The second time, when our vet said it, we all laughed, and I held Charlie up saying, “we can’t afford you!”

We were supposed to be going in for a mere second distemper round, but, in the week before we were to go, he developed itchy, flaky, scaly skin everywhere and started losing/chewing off his hair.

 

Waiting for the vet
#NationalSelfieDay pic at the Vet

 

It began with his knees and looked like dry/hot spots, so I found some good moisturizing hot spot treatment and used that, his knee/thigh hair started to grow back. But then, like *that* it was EVERYWHERE, and he wasn’t just chewing off his hair, it was falling out.

coconut oil and hair loss
Charlie – Greasy with Coconut Oil and Losing Hair

I didn’t call the vet because he didn’t seem to be in pain and I knew I had an appt this week. I decided to try helping the dry skin. I coated my 5.5 lb puppy in coconut oil two nights in a row. Even though we put it on at night, it didn’t soak into the fur, so it was kind of funny to have a greased up puppy running around.

That didn’t help so I went and got medicated shampoo and he got a bath. He was going to get one anyway – I certainly wasn’t going to take a greasy puppy to the vet – so I chose between oatmeal style shampoo and medicated.

The next day we went to the vet. She was stumped by the particular look of his skin and the way it was thinning. She decided to take a skin scraping to check for a particular kind of mite but found nothing as she suspected. She took him to her co-worker, a woman who has been practicing for 30+ years, she too was stumped.

So, with a combined 45+ years of vet practice, nobody knew what Charlie could have. My vet came back and said, “This is the only time I think I will ever say this, but I hope maybe it is just allergies? Environmental even?”

She knows how hard we have worked on getting Callie’s food right given her allergies, but we may have to consider the possibility of him having them too. Unless this skin stuff goes away with Benadryl and applications of flea/tick stuff every two weeks just in case it is a different kind of mite, the next step is an animal dermatologist an hour and a half away. He can’t even wear sunblock, with all the thin fur he’s getting sunburns, he has to wear shirts to protect his skin. The vet doesn’t want anything else possibly irritating him.

Charlie wears shirts
Charlie has to wear shirts for now, not happy about it! ❤️

He was SUCH a crybaby after getting his one vaccine that he literally climbed up my shirt and under my neck. He was so loud it startled both the vet tech and the vet. If it wasn’t that our wonderful vet already knew Charlie, I don’t know what she would have thought happened. She had to put a note in Charlie’s chart for any of the other vets, just in case, “Very Sensitive Boy.”

Do you have a problem child? Tell me about them!

The kiddo and the puppy
Who is cuter? The kiddo or the puppy? 😍

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Mama B helping Charlie with his hill climbs 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget the Queen

It’s the start of the latest Callie’s Wag post and who do I have the most to talk about again? Charlie.

Callie looks serious
Beautiful girl 💕

Yes, he’s a puppy and definitely has the most going on in his day-to-day life but, as I opened my screen to write, I looked at Callie, next to me always, and she raised her head as though to say,

“Remember mom, this blog started because of me.”

That’s my own guilt giving her a voice on a subject to which she cares nothing about.

Her upset wasn’t made up, though, when I had to take Charlie with me to a work meeting last week.

I couldn’t leave him here for the four hours I was going to be gone (over-coddler here!) and so I felt worse and worse as Callie grew more excited at the sight of me packing my work bag. She LOVES going to the office. I don’t know why… that’s a lie, I do. She gets at least one duck wing as soon as we get there, so she’ll settle down while we meet.

Sometimes she doesn’t get to go “with” my work bag, and that’s sad but ok, but this time, I took Charlie of all things! I committed a grave crime in Callie’s book. She snubbed me for hours after we got home.

Callie’s been trying harder to claim us. She’s apter to snuggle up tight or to ask for pets now than she ever was before. We have to make a conscious effort to pay as much attention to her as to Charlie. She second guesses things that used to be solid, like when we release her for dinner. We had to work to get her to sit and wait again when he first got here, so now she hesitates every meal and has to be told at least twice that she can get up and eat.

As so often happens when a new “baby” of any kind arrives in the house, not only is the routine is forgotten but, often, others are pushed aside for a while. I started this blog for her, and, while it’s now about both of them, today it is reminding me that I haven’t given enough of my time or of myself to Callie lately. It’s time for Charlie to take some daily breaks just for Callie and me to get back to our adventures.

No worries though, I’m sure every post is going to include updates on him too. How could they not? For Charlie is quite the puppy.

Cute Charlie on his bed
I’m SO cute – How could I be any trouble?

Speaking of the little devil, Charlie’s had a big week. After we finally got rid of those lovely parasites that came here too and started to put a little weight on the boy, he suffered a sports injury.

It was a 4 lb puppy vs. an 8 y/o girl. They were running around the tennis courts where we live and Charlie, being the underfoot dog he is, ran right in front of her. She tried so hard to stop and then to jump over him, but ended up stepping on his side. Thank goodness, he showed no signs of any serious internal injury or major broken bones although he kept crying out when we would hold him in certain ways. Charlie and I went to the vet the next day to find out his first rib was broken.

Accidents happen. They do. There are so many stories like Charlie’s where everything went fine, but MAN, it was scary as anything!

The worst part was that when he would go to the bathroom, he would compensate for the weakness in his front arm by stepping his back leg out to the side. We are doing everything we can to prevent issues from his luxating patellas, and weird stances compound it.

It does seem like his right hind knee is already bothering him some even as the rib heals. Last night I think he tweaked it while eating and now he thinks the food bowl did it to him. I had to hand feed the silly puppy dinner, and he only ate half his breakfast. I suppose he needs an elevated bowl, but how are you expected to elevate one for an animal which stands about 8 inches tall?!?!? 😆 I tried a cardboard box. Fail.

fullsizeoutput_101b

Getting back to the beautiful girl, yesterday evening Callie reminded me that I needed to take care of her too. Although I wanted to do the easy – go out, pee, poop, go inside – deal as I was tired, she wanted to go around the smallish grass circle in the middle of our current condo space, one of her favorite things to do. So I indulged her, stopping at every smell, letting her lead the way, and, as we came back around to our door, she bounded like a puppy, a huge grin on her face.

Just in case you haven’t seen in yet – here’s crazy puppy in action this week, choosing his favorite classifieds.