Tag Archives: puppies

Doggie Dates

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 on the pation
Smiling, sweet Gibby

 

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, our other new Cavalier friend
Cider the Beautiful Blenheim

 

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!

Nothing but WAGGY TAILS here!

 

 

FUR! Yes, We Have FUR!

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.

Charlie has a sweet face
Sweet Face

 

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:

  1. Try a round of Ivermectin – a powerful anti-parasite medication that could wreak havoc on his little system.
  2. Make an appointment with a canine dermatologist an hour and a half away.
  3. 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:

Itchy, hair loss skin spray
And Incredible Skin Spray it is! http://bit.ly/2tBS8aF

Within a week he looked like this (apologies for the blurry photo, trying to hold a puppy still is not easy):

Charlie with some fur
Charlie with some fur

 

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.

 

Callie looks annoyed
Yay! I made it to the Big Bed!

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!

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!!!

Cavalier hearts: the difference between what breeders say and what they do

Although this research is about UK breeders, the same problem exists in the US. Between poor breeding practices by “good” breeders and puppy mills, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are going to be, if they aren’t already, a dying breed.

Losing our Cavaliers would be devastating, but it would also be stupid when there are ways to mitigate the potential health issues. This research makes me so sad.

Cavaliers Are Special

Crufts, the dog world’s annual extravaganza, took place in March. On the Friday of the show health campaigners Margaret Carter and Charlotte Mackaness, along with television vet and author Emma Milne, presented the comments from the then 30,000 signature-strong Cavalier health petition to the Kennel Club asking for compulsory testing for Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Syringomyelia (SM). The KC repeated its refusal to make testing mandatory.

petition hand over The Cavaliers Are Special team handing the petition to the KC’s Bill Lambert at Crufts

Under the bright lights a few hours later the Cavalier best of breed was crowned. For the dog’s owners it was a time of great celebration. For health campaigners, it was a sober reminder of just how badly enforcement of breeding guidelines and is needed.

The winning dog turned 2.5 years old just before Crufts. To help reduce the incidence and age of onset of heart disease, cardiologists…

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Tucker – Our Other Puppy

Before we adopted Callie, we had another puppy named Tucker.

I’m about to admit a lot of stuff that I am not proud of, but I think this is a post that is important to share. We talk about getting the right dog, we talk about the dogs that end up in rescues, we write about the dogs we have and the ones we have rescued. But it is difficult for a dog owner, one that cares so deeply about animals, one that rescued her own puppy mill mama and is working hard to introduce her to everything, to retrain her, to admit that they once out-dogged themselves. But it happens. And in our instance, we got lucky.

I should back up to the beginning.

We decided to get a dog, and I had lived with several different bully breeds/mixes and loved them dearly. I previously had a lab too. I was watching Petfinder all the time, but I also did something stupid, I went on Craiglist pets and found an adorable “pit/lab” mix who was 12 wks old. The owners were getting rid of him because he was already too much for them.

It was instant love, and off we went to meet him/get him. img_0142 img_0144 img_0166

 

 

 

 

He’s pretty darn adorable, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Life with Tucker started out fantastic. He was fun, sweet, easy to train. He loved to play in the most entertaining ways. He stole the bottom of the cat tower…

img_0184

As Tuck grew, he began to get wild. Puppy wild of course, but intensely so. I became friends with a woman named Erin who has a southern rescue boxer mix named Eos, a tiny chihuahua, and a huge field with a river running alongside it.

We met about 3 days a week and walked in that area where Tucker could run off leash baby-tuck-and-eosand swim in the warmer months. Even after an hour or so of that, he was still wound up.

 

There were several factors my wife and I didn’t consider when we chose a dog. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, she works full-time and is more of a cat person than a dog one, although she loves dogs. My fibro began to get worse as the added stress of having Tucker grew, and I kept trying to convince myself that everything was all right. Nobody was really happy. The cats hated him, Tuck wasn’t happy, we were stressed, it was hard.

We began to notice something else, too. When we got Tuck, he had these adorable speckles on his nose. One day my wife looked down at him and said to me, “Where did his speckles go? His nose is just black!” img_0384

I took one long look at his face and said, “No, his speckles have just moved back as he has grown.” Along with his snout. He still had a bully head, but not a lab face, and I realized he had to be part Border Collie. That explained the obnoxious herding behavior. It also helped explain the strong reactivity combined with this anxious need to not react badly. Particularly in a dog that was probably an accidental mix.

Erin – the owner of Eos – and I became very close friends, and she began to fall in love with Tucker. Her whole family did, really.

Jess and I struggled with the reality of life with Tucker, but also what it might do to our daughter if we couldn’t keep him. We also agreed that we were committed to Tucker, no matter what he would never end up in a rescue.

Slowly, over the course of a month or so, Erin and her husband, along with Jess and I began to seriously talk about giving Tucker to them. It started as a joke one day. Erin loves animals and always talks about wanting to run a sanctuary, or perhaps doggie daycare. We joked that Tuck should stay with them half the week and with us the other. Not really that funny, but it was our reality at the time.

Finally, we all agreed that it really would be best if Tucker went to live with them. He would be 5 minutes away from us, we would see him all the time, and he would get to run in the field with another big dog several times a day.

It hurt to admit that I couldn’t do it. That I had out-dogged myself. I failed.

Tucker, however, ended up where he needed to be. His dad is his favorite person on earth, his best friend, he still has two kids to play with, and when I come over, and someone says, “Mommy,” if I’m sitting down, he will still climb in my lap. Tuck loves all three mommies. Like any good bully breed – he has a neverending supply of heart.

Photo credit- Erin Yunger
Photo credit- Erin Yunger
Smiley Boy - Photo credit - Erin Yunger
Smiley Boy – Photo credit – Erin Yunger

 

Biggest stick EVER! - Photo credit - Erin Yunger
Biggest stick EVER! – Photo credit – Erin Yunger

 

 

He’s a much happier dog now.

We would have kept trying, but it would not have been great for anyone. As much as it hurts to admit, I out-dogged myself, and the best thing I ever did for Tucker was give him away.

It took our family almost a year to be ready to even talk about another dog.

 

 

So, one very long post later, I have admitted some things I am definitely not proud of, but are part of a discussion that needs to happen. Even those of us who know a lot about dogs, who have a lot of experience and think they know what they are doing, can get way in over their heads. At least I did.