Tag Archives: rescue

A Cavalier Vacation and a Chicken Bone

Ok, so you already know I have a bunch of Twitter friends called the #Cavpack, but I am also a member of several Cavalier-focused groups on Facebook. Who has two thumbs and is a dog nerd? This girl right here 😂.

In January, I first heard about the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT on Cavaliers of the Northeast. The Wilburton is owned by the Levis family; Melissa Levis has a Cav named Jetson who is the official Inn welcoming committee, as well as the inspiration for their various Cavalier-themed events throughout the year.

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The Mansion
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Melissa, Jetson, and b&t Cav at a slumber party

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wilburton Inn held a special Mother’s Day weekend event from which we just got back. I was so excited, I booked our stay back in March. There don’t seem to be any other Cavalier’s around here and I thought, what a fun way to spend Mother’s Day Weekend! My wife and I went down on Friday with Callie to have a night to ourselves and then my wonderful ex-husband drove our daughter down to meet us on Saturday to stay over the second night.

Callie got to meet other Cavaliers for the first time since we got her. Besides Jetson, there were two other Cavs there, Eloise and Clifford, and a lovely chocolate Lab named Fred. Callie has always been ok with other dogs, some she likes more than others, she tends to shy away from the overly excitable. When she met Jetson, it was love at first sight. She was immediately involved in cleaning his ears, giving kisses, following him around. Callie barely noticed the tiny poodle who was also there.

It was like that when she met Eloise and Clifford too. She recognized some kind of friend in them.We didn’t manage to get any pictures of Clifford, he arrived the second day. Callie was happy to greet Fred, the Labrador, as well, but not like she was to meet more Cavaliers.

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A faceful of Cavaliers! Eloise, Callie, Jetson.

Melissa led us on a lovely pack walk through historic areas of Manchester, VT. I watched as some cars slowed down to look at the cuteness, or heard people say, “aww.”

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Jess and I with Callie, Laurie with Eloise and Fred and Melissa with Jetson.

 

We tried, sometimes successfully, to get the dogs to pose for pictures.

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Tom with Fred and Eloise, Laurie with Jetson, Jess and me with Callie

 

The grounds of the Inn are amazing, huge sculpture pieces are scattered throughout, and, of course, your dog is welcome almost anywhere 😍.

Callie found the accommodations quite satisfying. She even prepped a #TongueOutTuesday photo while there. IMG_3121

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Callie’s big sister had a BLAST, too 

 

Brunch was fantastic, with complimentary “mom”mosas and amazing food. Plus a bacon mustache and goatee.

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It got a little exciting though, and not in a fun way, when another Cavalier mom behind me saw Jetson grab a chicken bone off the floor. She stood up and ran after him one way, I heard her and went the other way to corner him. Jetson had bitten and swallowed part of the bone and was choking on the joint.

Without thinking, because who wouldn’t immediately try to save a dog, I shoved him between my knees and felt down in his throat. I was able to pull the splintered bone out, so then I pushed both forefingers down either side of his throat, forcing him to gag up the rest of the joint. He was thoroughly unamused when I continued to push my fingers down to feel for any smaller splinters and to make sure he had gagged up the whole bone. Like any dog would, he left a few good bruises on my fingers from his teeth, but as soon as I stopped, he, like almost any Cavalier would, turned and started licking me.

In the midst of all the chaos, while someone found Melissa, I sat on the floor between the omelet station and the stack of plates and cuddled quietly with Jetson, a dog no one could stand to lose.

Thank goodness Eloise’s mom, Laurie (forgive me if I spell your name wrong) happened to see him grab the bone. Not only would it have been a horrible, tragic day, but Jetson is a huge part of what makes the Inn the experience it is. Every employee I met is as attached to him as Melissa – ok, maybe not AS much, but pretty darn close.

 

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She NEVER sleeps this hard in the car!

 

Callie slept the whole ride home and even woke up later than me yesterday – a first! It was obvious that it was a happy exhaustion though, she had so much fun, I don’t think her tail stopped wagging all weekend. Nothing could be better for me than seeing Callie enjoy herself like that, it was beautiful.

Melissa herself received a Mother’s Day treat, as she, Jetson, and the Inn were featured by the Boston Globe.

Thank you, Melissa, for the exceptional weekend, we will be back! For those of you nearby – the Howl-oween Weekend slumber party and costume contest is supposed to be OUTRAGEOUS fun. What are you doing in October?

Healing and Heeling

I’m so proud of Callie. She taught me a valuable lesson last week, and together we informed our obedience instructor of a new piece of information to add to her large knowledge base.

After the dragging required by our instructor last week (when Callie would stop walking… read more here) Callie was totally afraid of the word heel and would pull back immediately if she hit the end of the leash, as if in preparation for being dragged. She was also a little more fearful of me.

So, I started over. First, I rid the word heel from my vocabulary. Then I refused to drag her along as I walked. For the first couple of days, I would stop when she did, give her leash a quick tug, saying, “come on,” or “let’s walk” show her a treat and call her along. Then I moved to pulling her along for two steps, stopping, calling to her and usually she would start walking so she would get a treat.

I did go get a martingale collar and a much lighter leash to which she responded very well.

Finally, on the day before class, I began reintroducing the word “heel” on occasion, interspersed with the other commands I had been giving. She would stop at first but grew more comfortable as we went along.

Tuesday came, and it was time for class. I spoke to the instructor ahead of time. I tried to explain about puppy mill dogs and how they are only ever grabbed by their scruffs, why that might make Callie react the way she does when pulled on the leash. The instructor listened to me, although I am not sure she fully paid attention to what I was trying to tell her until class began.

Beforehand, I had been smart and stopped for some smoked cheese. I broke it up into little bits in my treat bag and mixed it with her regular Zukes treats so those would be coated with cheese too.

We began class with heeling around the room, Callie started with a pause, a little nervous and reactionary after the week before. Who could blame her? But I got out a little cheese. Suddenly, I had a dog who was heeling perfectly around the room. A few pieces of cheese kept her going, but she was passing other dogs who weren’t behaving quite as well. The instructor’s jaw was nearly on the floor.

We worked on heeling turns next. Callie seems to get really frustrated when she doesn’t know what I want from her, so I had to help her a lot with this, keeping her in place while trying to turn, LOL.

We heeled around the room again, stopping to do heeling turns. Callie did great, especially with the cheese as an incentive, but finally, she hit her limit and sat, refusing to move. I recognized that she needed a break, so I just sat in the middle of the floor with her while all the other dogs went around us.

The last thing we did in class was begin work on recall with the instructor holding the leash and us across the room. Not only did Callie do a beautiful sit-stay while I walked across the room from her, but she ran to me with excellent speed and intent.

Callie was the star student last week. Now let’s see if we can keep it up tomorrow. All I know is that learning with Callie is often following along blindly and stumbling our way through each moment.

Jess and I took Callie to the park this weekend. She made a new best friend, the flying turtle! Plus she practiced her obedience work outside with kids around. My brilliant dog 😊.

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Flying turtle!
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Happy Dog!

Guess what else! This morning I got my first semblance of a doggie smile while giving Callie some scratchies 💖 fullsizeoutput_d7f

Nothing Like Normal

I came across a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel listed for adoption the other day. He’s not in a Cavalier specific rescue, but a good one nonetheless. I don’t want to point out too many details.

I could have this all wrong. I don’t know this dog at all, I haven’t spoken with his foster mother or the rescue, all I know is what I read, and it broke my heart. Not only for the dog but also because the lengthy description kept describing this adult puppy mill rescue as nothing like a “normal” Cavalier.

I guess I don’t know “normal” then because my puppy mill rescue has a lot of the same behaviors.

She’s not a big cuddler. She likes to be near you but, for instance, right now she is at the far end of the couch, away from me.

She hates to be picked up, carried, or held in a restraining way. The best thing we ever did for her was getting dog stairs for the couch and the bed. She loves the stairs so much that when my wife tripped over them and broke a piece, Callie had to wait a day for us to fix them and she was depressed all day long. She wasn’t even that excited about treats. That’s right, a Cavalier so depressed she didn’t care about food. Freedom is better.

She shakes and runs if touched from behind, even just brushed accidently. Nobody can reach for her head to pet her at first, always her sides so she can see your hands at all times.

She grumbles all the time, licks her lips, wiggles her nose, and makes this sound that I will do my best to spell phonetically – bhuumph – when she is annoyed or wants something or unknown reasons. She makes the sound so frequently that my daughter started calling her “Bhuuphy” which, of course, turned into “Bhuuphy” the Vampire Slayer.

I am being somewhat facetious here.

These points are all equivalent to ones in the adoption ad. Callie was terrified of everything (working on it), she is still “nothing like a normal Cavalier” apparently, but it’s hard to see that because she’s my Cavalier.

I know she’s not ever going to be the type of dog who runs to the door to greet me, who climbs into my lap or feels totally safe all the time, but she’s here, and I am doing the best I can with my normal.

My point is that most puppy mill rescues exhibit a lot of these same behaviors. A lot of puppy mill rescues are “not normal” for their breed. When I went to meet Callie, there were a couple of Bichon/Poodle mixes from a puppy mill, and they were wholly different than dogs of that breed mix I have met before.

The puppy mill is what makes the dog “not normal,” but to repeatedly point that out is detrimental to the adoption of puppy mill dogs everywhere. I didn’t rescue a Cavalier to get “normal,” I rescued a Cavalier because it mattered to me.

I don’t want individuals adopting puppy mill rescues without understanding the specific issues that come with the dogs, but I also don’t want people walking away just because that rescue dog came from a puppy mill.

I don’t accept the distinction of “normal” and “not normal.” I don’t accept the idea that just because a puppy mill rescue might act differently than dogs of their breed raised from puppies in a home, they are NOT like their breed at all. And, you know what, half the description of the dog sounded just like a Cavalier to me.

Shaking Those Rescue Dog Doubts

I don’t usually respond to the daily prompts, but I was inspired by today’s, “doubt.”

Rescuing a dog isn’t easy. Rescuing a dog who is middle-aged and doesn’t have a clue about the outside world has presented its own set of difficulties.

And the doubt that comes with the experience can be painful.

  • Doubt that you understand their needs at the moment
  • Doubt that you are giving them enough attention or enough space
  • Doubt that they will ever communicate with you
  • Doubt that they will ever play with a toy
  • Doubt that they will show affection towards you
  • Doubt that they might ever come running to the door to greet you
  • Doubt that they may ever fully be house-trained
  • Doubt that you are feeding the right food
  • Doubt that you are doing everything right
  • Doubt that you will be able to guide them past things that cause the dog fear and help them grow.

In those moments of doubt, I try and remember how far we have come.

Callie's ride home from the rescue.
Callie’s ride home from the rescue.
Callie's first day at home
Callie’s first day at home
Callie met her new best friend!
Callie met her new best friend!
Callie started having adventures :)
Callie started having adventures 🙂
Callie learned to use pet steps!
Callie learned to use pet steps!
Callie played Santa
Callie played Santa
She learned what snow was, but questioned why we played in it.
She learned what snow was, but questioned why we played in it.

 

 

 

 

She's started to love walks.
She’s started to love walks.

AND – she’s learning to be silly 🙂

I still have plenty of doubts. All the time. But if I remember the good moments during the frustrating ones, it helps to know we are still moving forward.

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