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!
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.
So much so, he taught you to play –
Dinner cake (boiled beef and pumpkin… YUM!)
Less Scary to eat on the chair
Mom made her dinner gotcha-day cake, although sitting at the table was a little scary!
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.
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.
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 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 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!
If you read my previous post 6 Months In and Twitter Rocks, you know about the #cavpack and the two members who brought everyone together to help create memorials for a fellow dog mom.
For those who haven’t – a short recap of the relevant parts. There is a large contingent of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owners on Twitter who now go by the “#cavpack.” This group of people – and “dogs” – is fantastic, extremely interactive, and has the feel of a group of close friends.
The two members of the #cavpack who started the memorial project for Harry go by @Holly46671665 and @BellaMCavalier. When Harry, a very special Cavalier, passed earlier this year, his mom was having a particularly hard time, and so Holly and Bella decided to collect donations for a memorial paw print, to sponsor a kennel for a year in his name, and to donate to a rescue. They also began collecting photographs of the #cavpack for a book.
Harry’s mom received everything a few weeks ago and was overwhelmed by all the love. I am sure it is still hard for her to come on to Twitter but, since receiving everything, she has been on a little bit more, able to talk to her friends and see their dogs in action on occasion.
The #cavpack also all got their chance to order a copy of the photo book, too. Callie’s arrived yesterday.
Here’s the thing, I knew I would love and appreciate the #cavpack book, but I had no idea how much. As I sat on the sofa turning the pages and explaining to my wife about each dog, their personalities, my connection to them and their owner, I realized that this book meant the world to me too. And I really mean the world. Many of the Cavaliers are in the UK, at least one lives in Germany, some throughout Asia and plenty are spread across the US.
When I look through the book, I feel tangibly connected to these online friends whom I otherwise do not know. I couldn’t stop smiling after we finished the first time. I was transported to a place where we were all together. It was as though my Twitter pack came alive in my hands for a moment and for that, I am beyond grateful.
This is also the same group of people who responded with 30+ answers for me in under 10 minutes when I asked an important question about Callie. And they helped me figure out the solution.
I know, Holly, that you initially collected the photos for Harry’s mom, but you need to know just how much your work means to me and, quite likely, the rest of the #cavpack.
And just for good measure, a #TongueOutTuesday for Harry. Always remembered.
I was going to come on here and apologize for how lazy I’ve been. I haven’t posted recently and last week, April 20th to be exact, was Callie’s 6th month “gotcha-versary.” Kind of a big deal in a rescue dogs’ first year, especially a puppy mill survivor, but it was overshadowed by some other big things. I was going to come on here and post all about her and how much she has grown. So I guess I should still apologize. SORRY!
Her day came right before we put an offer in on a new house. So, man, were (are) we busy and stressed! And three days later, her human sister turned 8! There was another big event.
Then, I was absorbed by the actions of some of my Twitter friends called the #cavpack (Spanielking’s list is not exhaustive, he can’t keep up with the growing number of members, though he does a wonderful job!) The #cavpack was called upon to donate both photos and money to help memorialize a beloved Cavalier who has recently passed.
Harry’s owner is having a very difficult time without him, and two members who knew her and Harry well began organizing the whole tribute. It’s wonderful. He has a pawprint stone, a #cavpack photo album, a kennel supported in his name and more. Participating in memorializing Harry felt, in many ways, as though we weren’t across oceans from each other but perhaps in the same room, with our Cavs, swapping stories as we worked. Of course, WE didn’t work – two members of the #cavpack did, but still, the image stands.
That’s not the only time the #cavpack has come together to support one another. There is so much love among these dog owners. Often these friends are sending each other gifts for dog birthdays or human ones, discussing matters related to the health of our dogs with each other, and laughing together at the antics of our silly Cavaliers.
My friends – while perhaps distracting on occasion – really are there for each other,for me. Watching the internet become real is beautiful. If something happened to Callie, I know these other Cavalier owners would be doing everything they could virtually and in real life to help. That feels nice.
SHOUT OUT: #cavpack I LOVE YOU!
By the way, we did celebrate her 6 months a bit – she got a duck neck and a few new toys to ignore, and if you can tune out my voice, here’s a video of her with the tasty treat:
Stories from the life of a rescued puppy mill mama and the second rescue, a puppy Charlie, who arrived seven months later. Dedicated to other stories about rescues as well, particularly those from puppy mills.