Ella was diagnosed with Syringomyelia and taught me more in her short life about how to live life to the fullest, love with all your heart, and learn from each other.

About Me

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The moment I first held Ella, my world changed. She has touched so many people giving love as a therapy dog but now it is time to give back. No matter how hard she tries to give, her eyes show sadness and pain.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is it the right time for a puppy- learn from my aunt and uncle

My last post was about my aunt and uncle and how they fell in love with Ella but due to her medical situations made them reconsider if they would ever get a Cavalier.  I need to clarify this just a bit because there are also some things to learn from them too. 

  • Is a puppy a good present for someone?
Several years ago after they lost their dog Snoodle to old age, my cousins thought it was a great idea to get them a puppy for Christmas.  I still hear about this one because although they became to love the puppy (Buck) more than anything, they were shocked and did not want this then. They were not ready to train a puppy and were not even looking for one at the time. So here they were with a little puppy to take care of, go through all the training and they were still mourning Snoodle.  They had a trip planned, so what to do with the puppy?  The moral of the story is a puppy is a responsibility and not just something that is cute with a bow.

  • Puppies are so cute and you may fall in love with a dog (Ella) but it is not something to buy on impulse without asking yourself is it the right time for a puppy.
My uncle would not let me bring Ella around because his wife would keep talking about getting a Cavalier puppy.  Is that mean? No, simply because he was being rational and knew that the time was not right.  So his children and I saw also how this Thanksgiving a dog was missing and could see that they kept talking about Buck and my uncle was talking about how great Ella was. That is when he said the comment.  People have said comments and I saw a perfect rescue on Cavalier Rescue USA named Robyn in Kingston NC. They would be perfect because they are not wanting the puppy stage, they are retired, they do not have another dog, and believe me they pay special attention to their dogs. 

I called and talked to my Uncle about Robyn because I think that Rescues are awesome and need great homes like theirs would be.  One thing about Cavalier Rescue USA and other great breeders are they would want to meet the potential owners and make sure it was a fit. They would never let me get a rescue or a puppy for someone else because they would want to know the dog would be taken care of and in a great family. 

My uncle said that if the dog was anything like Ella then I bet she is special but now is not the right time for a dog.  They are building a house in Florida and driving down there a lot to do things and would want to get into the home and make sure it would suit a dog and with traveling it would be okay.  This is one question people should ask themselves. Think about these things because a dog is a huge responsibility and to be a responsible pet owner and buyer, you need to take several things under consideration.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club USA have several things about finding a breeder and some helpful tips including questions to ask yourself. When I read some of these points it made perfect sense why he would want to wait. Here are the questions they have on their website. I put in bold some things that stood out that were especially why my aunt and uncle want to wait until they are settled.


You should be able to answer all of the questions below affirmatively before you begin your search for a Cavalier.

Are you prepared to ………

Take full responsibility for this dog and all its needs for the next 10 – 15 years? This is not a task that can be left to children!

Invest the considerable time, money and patience it takes to train the dog to be a good companion? This does not happen by itself.

Always keep the dog safe -- no running loose, riding in the back of an open pickup truck or being chained or penned outside.

Make sure the dog gets enough attention and exercise?

Live with shedding for the next 10 – 15 years?

Spend the money it takes to provide proper veterinary care including, but certainly not limited to, puppy vaccinations, heartworm testing and preventative, spaying or neutering, dentistry, and annual checkups?

Become educated about the proper care of the breed; correct training methods, and how to groom?

Take your questions to the breeder or other appropriate professional before they become problems out of hand?

Have the patience to accept (and enjoy) the trials of Cavalier puppyhood and each stage afterwards?

Continue to accept responsibility for the dog despite your inevitable life changes such as new babies, children going off to school, moving, or returning to work?

Accept responsibility for the dog’s inevitable changes due to old age and/or ill health?

Resist impulse buying and instead have the patience to make a responsible choice?

Install fencing, even if you live outside of an urban area? Cavaliers are notorious for being hit by cars. If you allow a Cavalier to run in any area where a moving vehicle may pass by, there is a huge chance that your Cavalier will be killed. Many are killed by their owners in their own driveway. Cavaliers are perpetual adolescents and require constant vigilance in unsecured and unfamiliar areas.

If you answered YES to ALL of the above, you are ready to start contacting breeders. Remember, the right puppy IS worth waiting for! "

Now with Christmas coming think about how my aunt and uncle reacted to that Christmas morning. It is a huge responsibility and something that only the person taking care of the dog could answer. They are going to be the ones walking the dog in the middle of the night, puppy training, etc.

 Although my aunt and uncle are well settled and it ended up okay, I know that many children want a cute puppy for Christmas. I did. When I was in 4th grade my mom and dad got me a Cocker Spaniel. I liked to dress Flip up, hug and kiss him, but it was my parents that lived with the vet bills, walks, training etc.  They unfortunately did not take the time to find a great breeder. Even though we went to the persons house and saw the puppies, they did not ask any questions to the breeder.  My Christmas present ended up getting countless surgeries becoming blind and deaf and lived with many health problems. That one Christmas present could have paid for my college tuition, a new car, because I can not even count up the money they spent on his health problems.

So I guess you can learn from both of us. Don't feel like you need to have a puppy under the Christmas tree. Take time to find a good breeder, know if the time is right, and it will pay off in the long run!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Learn From Ella

This Thanksgiving I was with my family and I have a lot to be thankful for especially having Ella with me this year. One thing that did upset me was how my aunt and uncle had fallen in love with Ella and decided that if they ever got another dog it would be a Cavalier. They told me that because of her health condition, they are now reconsidering this.

When someone sees a person they care about go through the heartache of having a dog with SM or another health condition, it can have an impression on them too. I don’t want Ella to suffer but if she is, then it should show people how important it is to find a breeder who will breed for health. I think Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the best breed and I will always want one and suggest the breed to others, however, it is important that if you get a puppy to make sure the breeder is doing health tests to help prevent this heartache.

I am especially thankful to have met someone on an SM forum that has shown me the side of a breeder, showing Cavaliers, health issues, training etc. and also has been a shoulder to cry on. She showed me that there are great breeders out there and that are especially concerned with this. I emailed her because I was upset and asked if she knew anyone that is following the SM breeding protocol. She said there are and gave me some names. I want my uncle and aunt to have the joy I have had of bringing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel into my life.

I would like to point out a couple of things I think are important.

• Even great breeders will have a puppy that will develop a health condition and it is upsetting to them also. There are no guarantees but the good ones are doing everything possible to keep the number limited.

• Not all breeders are the same

• Ella did not come from a puppy mill or Back yard breeder (BYB). Her parents had several health tests done but at the time did not do any scanning for SM. This is why I feel that all tests are important.

• The CKCSC-USA and the ACKCSC are not just for shows. They have valuable information and they want to help the breed. The breeders that are members of these clubs and regional clubs are a good place to start. The clubs have ethical guidelines and recommendations but it is still important to make sure to still ask the questions to see if the breeder is following things.

• Get involved. It’s up to the pet buying public to push for breeders that do more health tests.

• The price of a Cavalier does not mean that it is better. If you want to save money and get a Cavalier from someone not doing tests, you probably will be spending more in the long run if your puppy has inherited health problems. If money is an issue, think of adopting. There are many Cavaliers that need a good home and sometimes good breeders will have older Cavaliers that they were going to show but did not end up being show quality.

• Buying a puppy is not something to do on impulse. Take the time to learn about the breed, research what questions to ask breeders and what to look for, it will be well worth it in the long run. You may have to wait if you find someone that does not have available puppies, but the wait is worth it especially if it means you may have a dog that is with you longer in the long run.

I am going to get a checklist together for my aunt and uncle because I do want them to get a Cavalier because I see how their eyes light up when they see Ella. (I gave my uncle a baby Rupert to love on). Don’t give up because now is the time to promote the people who are breeding for health. What we have gone through is painful, but it does not have to touch more and more people. Please learn from Ella and thank the breeders who are following SM breeding protocol and pushing for a healthier breed for the future.

I read somewhere that doctors would prescribe the Toy Spaniel (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) for people with an illness. Now its time to return the favor.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We may be worlds apart…You can stand under my UmbrELLA, Ella, Ella

Rihanna’s song “Umbrella” is a great song (not only because it says Ella) but it expresses how I feel about the Cavalier world and the people I have met.

When the sun shines, we'll shine together

Told you I'll be here forever

Said I'll always be a friend

Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end

Now that it's raining more than ever

Know that we'll still have each other

You can stand under my umbrella

You can stand under my umbrella

(Ella ella eh eh eh)

I give anything for her because of how she has been there for me through everything lending support, comfort, joy and now that she is sick, I will be there for her throughout. However, Ella is not alone and when I wrote this blog it was to help others understand things, express my heartache, and maybe someone else would read this and could identify some things. I never imagined how many people I have been introduced to through this, supported me and I supported them and learned so much more each day.

Going through this, I looked on the Internet for answers, advice, prognosis, anything to help me determine what to do and what to expect. With SM you don’t have those answers. Some people are told by Doctors their Cavaliers would never live as long as they have and still are. What makes me get through each day is the support I have received from people I have met on the Internet, which are as close as my same city, to Australia. We all share the same thing, love of our little ones. The people that have gone through having a dog with SM will never forget how hard it is, but even going through any dog you love with an illness is tough.

These beautiful Cavaliers are Miki and Miki’s brother Morris who live in Rome, Italy. They posted a picture of Ella on their Facebook page and sent me an e-mail saying how touched they were by Ella’s story. Immediately, I received comments from people all over the world who gave prayers, comments, support and I was overcome by emotion. I knew Ella was a special girl, but to know that all of these people read about her was truly amazing. In this great big world we live in, the love of our Cavaliers (or other animals) brings us together to pray and support each other which I know has kept Ella and me strong through this fight.

With this I have met someone that lives close to me and also saw a comment from another person who lives near me who let Ella borrow her stroller. It is amazing how small this world is and how we all come together and support each other for our Cavaliers.

Please let me know if you want your name added to the prayer list.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

buying a puppy is and should be like buying a car part 1

When I was little, I wanted a puppy. Several surgeries and years later, that puppy could have paid for my college tuition and a new car.

The puppy I wanted to dress up, kiss and hold, became a dog my parents took out, fed and ended up spending a lot of money on due to all the health conditions resulting from a poorly breed dog.

A new puppy will be with you as long as a new car if not longer, yet more people do research before buying a car that is not a life and does not hurt when a part breaks.

Before buying a puppy, think about what you might do before buying a car.

Does the dog (car's) characteristics (features) fit your lifestyle.

Sure that pretty convertable may look nice next to a minivan, but ask my sister after a long car trip what she feels about the DVD player for the restless kids.

Think about 3 hyperactive kids crammed in a car for several hours with no stimulation or breaks. I think havic. Now picture an active dog needing lots of exercise in a small space for several hours. I can see some scratched doors, broken items, maybe even holes in the walls.

You might not be the right fit for a particular dog (car) needs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

a howl of a good time... halloween was special this year

i have been long overdue for a post but there is so much to say. First, pictures say it all and yesterday felt like a fashion show. We were so excited to have dogtopia of charlotte to let us have a halloween party. About a month ago, ella got bitten by a dog and we are having her eye removed.

Ella has had a really tough year so not only is she perfect as a pirate from having a battle wound, she is as tough as one. So i tried to get people together and have a reason for some fun. Thanks to the people who came (it was small but better for her) because she got partied out!

bobbing for howl-o-weenies, treats, anything with food, she jumps on it. Ella is the sweetest dog, except when food is related. She wants it all and does not like to share. She may not even want the bone but she will guard it with her life.

If you look closely you can see two stuffed cavaliers in a crate. Ella was in there some to get away from the excitement. They are baby rupert's. I have mentioned rupert but of the 4 people there everyone wanted one. Again, ella loves her ruperts.

Ella won the costume contest, but i think she had a little bit of an advantage with being hurt. Her costume was the best of the 4 dogs there anyway.

Halloween can be so much fun for dogs and children. It gave me a reason to celebrate for everything she is going through.

Overall, she had a good time and was nice to do.