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, December 20, 2011

Embee Cavaliers: Beating the odds - Mitral Valve Disease

Embee Cavaliers: Beating the odds - Mitral Valve Disease: Mitral Valve Disase or MVD is the leading cause of death in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Almost all of our beloved dogs will eventua...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Seeing Elton Run Brings a Smile and Tears

Recently, I've been having a blast with Elton. We have discovered the parking garage at my apartment is the perfect backdrop to the city skyline and also is prime property for ball chasing.  He has quite the personality.

I have been sad today because I think of Ella. I think of how she loved chasing the ball and the day I threw the ball to have her just stare in the distance, frozen and unable or not willing to run. I am thinking of the dog stroller in my closet. Would she be in the stroller, in my arms? I think about how nice it has been to have Elton next to me snuggled up on the sofa or in the bed letting me touch him. How I longed for just a few minutes of Ella to be close to me but she didn't like to be touched anymore. I would be on the sofa and she on the top and I would just have my arm stretched just to touch her and be connected.

I will leave work and wipe my tears and take Elton to the top of the roof tonight. I will throw the tennis ball and watch him run but I will imagine Ella in the wind next to him running just as fast and smiling with me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

but mommy, i'm special too

When I was thinking of adopting elton, I was scared that no matter how perfect or special another cavalier was, they would never be as close to me as ella was. Would that be fair? Would I be able to give another cavalier enough love? I figured that there is always a special cavalier or dog that no dog or anyone will replace, but that should not mean that I will never have another.

Elton looks at me and his say, I need you too. I cry thinking about why have I not given up the fight for SM, when I have a little boy that gives me so much joy but he needs me in a different way.  I took him to the vet last Friday because it has concerned me about him chasing his tail. Yes, some think this is a cute quirk but I'm starting to feel sad. Is he still anxious with the adjustment? Have I not made the transition easy or have I not given him the classes and attention that he needs because he needs?

I decided to get a referal to a behavioralist. He is one of the best in the country. I think it would be good to talk to him to see if his behavior is related to OCD. I don't think I'm over reacting but I want to give him my all. I've been sad lately. He needs more activity than ella did but have I not gone on enough walks? I need to adjust things for him.

I have been talking about obedience training and getting involved with activites like agility and other things, but classes have just come out with a fall schedule.

I am sad because some family meet elton. They said that ella was just so special. I know she was but so is elton. He is different but he has his own special qualities.  I know I felt the same way but I started to get upset. Elton isn't ella but he is a ball of fire. Ella was extremely docile and inactive but a lot of that had to do with her SM. Elton needs more attention, stimulation and playtime. He can't sit at the front of the vet's office like ella but he can run, jump, dance and is a monkey.

My nephew saw his special quality when he stayed with them recently. He was so happy because he taught him a trick. He said he taught him to dance. He said he has to do it in the morning because he is "more wild". He could not say elton but called him "hellton". Yet he is just active and wants to play. He would run outside and go to the birdfeeder to make them all flock. He loves playing tug of war. He does all of these cute things but is never "bad". He just wants to play.

I am worried about his behavior a little bit because he growled and I don't know if something is going on. So my little munchkin is special too. He also has stolen my heart and I know we will learn together how to adjust to each other. He has made his place here and has his favorite toys and his own mark here. I couldn't imagine my home without him.

I miss my cavalier friends that I got to know because of ellas SM, but maybe I will meet others that can help me with learning how to train and what fun things we can do or I can to help stimulate his wild, active personality.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Days Again! Meet my new Munchkin Elton!

I don’t know why it has taking me so long to post the news but I have been wanting to make his introduction “paw”fect, but I just gave up because he has been wanting to make his debut! \

Elton lost his family and needed a home and someone to love him. I had Ella and needed to have someone to love. It was a match made in Heaven! Elton’s family had to move overseas due to being in the military. What a sad thing for him to come from a loving home and for his parents to have to give him to another home because he could not come with them  I hope that I can make him happy even though I am sure he misses the family he once had. However, from the way we bonded so fast and his constant smiles, I think he is okay!

Elton entered ACKCSC Rescue Trust and was staying with a friend of mine Sharon who was fostering him. She posted pictures on Facebook but I don’t know if something told me to e-mail her and ask about him, but I did. She told me he was very social which is a must for any Cavalier I would want because going to the Dog Bar and dog pawties are some of my favorite things. I am getting excited just thinking of planning a pawty or going on a dog social outing.

Elton is a very small package with tons of energy! He only weighs 11 lbs! This is smaller than the standard but it matches his frame so he is not underweight. He is definitely keeping me on my toes! He jumps from the chair to the coffee table down the hall and it is amazing to watch!

Last night, I was eating something but wasn’t quite done so I put it on top of my computer desk. I left the room and was told he had climbed from the sofa and was trying to get the food on top of the desk!!! I think he might be a good candidate to try agility.

His previous owners told Sharon that he loved going on walks. That is perfect since I live in an apartment without a yard so we have taken many walks around the neighborhood. Since he came from a military family, I was told that they said “last call!” right before bed and he would run to the door to do any last minute “business”.

I can’t quite understand but he loves to get completely under the covers at night. I am just so thankful to have a snuggle buddy. I feel like Elton brought energy back into my life. We are learning things together and might try our hand at rally or obedience classes. There are many things we can do together and this is looking like the start of a beautiful journey.

More about Rescue, pictures and adventures to come

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Dog’s in Pain, it’s in Pain. Know What’s Going on and Treat Symptoms

Ok, my post title is not the best but I think this is a very important topic.  A couple of things have been bothering me lately. You would think that when Ella passed away, I would forget about SM but it’s on my mind everyday like the awareness bracelette a kind friend gave me.  

 Sometimes we need to look at things from what your dog is saying.

There's nothing wrong with Ella, she's not like those videos! You and your neurologist are wrong....

Look at Ella's eyes in the picture above. It's not the best picture but maybe you can see something in her eyes? You can't make it out but I could look into her eyes and know how she felt.  Just because Ella did not scream in pain, scratch so much, or some other things, did not mean that she did not have this sad look on her face. I knew something was wrong deep down and that is why no matter what people said, I knew she needed help.  She was able to get treatment and things were adjusted to have days where she was so happy.

Does the picture above look like a dog in pain? She was being treated and that treatment had to be adjusted accordingly. First and foremost she needed to be treated. So why am I telling you all of this? Well when Ella was first diagnosed, I was hung up on the words "severe SM". I looked at books, tried to figure out her syrinx location, how wide it was, what her prognosis was etc. but take all of that away and what really mattered was this SMILE.

Now I know that Severe SM are just words. This may shock some but I never thought about her true diagnosis CM/SM. I just jumped to the SM. You see the word Syringomyelia talked about a lot and now little by little people are starting to talk more about CM (Chiari Malformation). Sometimes I don't know if it was her CM or her SM that was causing her pain. Why does it matter now? Well, I have friends that have Cavaliers with CM alone that act like Ella did.

I can not describe what it is like to have a dog with CM only and still exhibit signs of severe SM? I can tell you that I DO know what it was like when people thought I must be wrong and Ella is fine. Whether it was severe SM, the CM she was not fine and that is why you need to know what's going on.  Here is the best post and a must read so you can understand that SM awareness should be CM/SM awareness or just support for those that have dogs in pain. You know even if a MRI says it's mild, if the Cavalier or dog is not doing well, then well that's not good. Next time you hear someone say the MRI should no SM or mild, but they were describing a dog with severe symptoms, think of that and not just the diagnosis.

Please read Miss Kodee's Blog Post below and this wonderful post and also check out link for "How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain" 

Below is a picture of Ella and I on her last day on Earth. CM/SM did not take her life, but more on that later...I knew something was wrong but did I miss something?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

learn from ella; the 4th of july. take time to enjoy life

Enjoying the water and surfing (not quite)

This is a tough time for me because every year my family goes to pawleys island for the 4th of july. All my brothers and sisters (besides my half-brother on my fathers side) is there with their husbands or wives along with their children. I don't have a husband and children, I had ella. That why its hard but I want to tell this story because there is a lesson learned from last year.

Last year ella had a blast! She would spend part of the day at day care because mom didn't want her in the house, but I would pick her up and drop her off several times a day. Its very hot so she couldn't be outside all day. I was extremely protective of her with her SM, but I let that go when I saw how happy she was playing on the beach with everyone.

These memories are so valuable now but also was what I learned. She had several days of activity which can aggravate some and it had a toll on her.  All those fun times we had added up and when the 4th of july came, she had one of the worse days.

This is the post I wrote last year that explains exactly what I was feeling at the time. http://fightforella.blogspot.com/2010/07/4th-of-july-and-suddenly-dont-feel-like.html She would not move and she was rubbing her face. I could see the pain in her eyes and it killed me. She mostly slept but she went from this happy cavalier to one that was hurting. I felt so guilty, scared, upset and I wanted to take it back. How could I do that to her? Thinking back, its not that I *made* her run. I didn't make her do anything, she did it herself and loved being around everyone and playing. If she didn't, I would have taken her back to day care because I was at this time extremely limiting her activity and protective of her.

I cried and cried all day. The night of the 4th, my sisters family and I go to my dads house. There is a dinner with tons of people, jump castles and games for the children, music, drinks and dancing for the adults. The night ends with one of the most beautiful display of fireworks that I can her the oohs and ahhs as I write this.

I don't even think I could eat. I told everyone I had to go back to the house to be with ella. Ella was asleep and was fine but I needed to be with her. I felt so bad and I just couldn't enjoy anything without her. We snuggled together and then when I started to hear the fireworks in the distance, we went outside to look. I walked a little up the street, standing on my toes and trying to see it through the trees.

The next morning ella was back to herself. I wrote to a group about this and how terrible I felt. I remember one guy said something that I will remember forever. He asked me if I ever have done something that I really enjoyed but felt bad the next day but would still do it again if you could? I thought of dinner and wine with my girlfriends staying up late chatting and having fun. The next day, I would be tired but it was worth it. We have all had those times. Maybe snow skiing and waking up sore but it was so much fun.

Granted this week was a little too much but the moral of the story is something that I valued. I started to take time to let ella enjoy things in life. She loved going to the park, playing with other dogs, chasing birds, and holding her back for fear that it would be too much wouldn't be a life for her. I was well tuned in to how she was doing and when enough was enough. I am glad I made myself not keep her from doing things and actually take time to actually do things each day.

Pawley's Island Parade

Nana (mom) and Ella

Looking for sea shells in the surf- One of her favorite things!

Look at that smile! How much fun she was having!

Looking for birds and enjoying the scene

Maybe I see a fish

Watching Bobby ride a wave in

Got to be where the action is and make sure that everyone is ok. I'm a good watch dog!

Can you spot Ella? 

Some of my family enjoying the parade

Learn from ella; its ok to have fun and take a break to enjoy life.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Angel Oak

The day I met Ella for the first time was also the first time I saw “The Angel Oak.” The Angel Oak is an oak tree that is thought to be over 1500 years old. It has survived hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and is said to be one of the oldest things living or man made east of the Rockies.

My mom and I went to meet Ella’s breeder and see the puppies she had available. The trip took us on a detour to John’s Island, SC. My mom had spent her summers on John’s Island at her Grandmother’s house. She talked of those days with a light in her eyes and a youthfulness I had not seen before. Mom never talked about her past because her mom and dad had both passed away when she was young. I think the pain is still there so it hurts her to remember or maybe she doesn’t. She never really talked about things no matter how much I asked or wanted to know. However, this day was different and I could see the good memories flood through my mom’s head.

Ella gave me that. She gave me the time with mom and the memories she had that she told me as we passed over a bridge or by a market that was once there.

Our day ended at the church where her Grandparents graves were. She asked me if I had ever seen “the Tree”. I went to College of Charleston and I had heard of the Angel Oak, but I never saw it. It was right around the corner from the church so we went to see it.

The sight was breathtaking. This massive tree has limbs the size of trees that reach back to the ground. This is something that has stood the test of time and has made it despite the odds. Why is it that this one tree has made it this long? I can’t remember if we went to see the Angel Oak and then mom told me to stop at the church later? What if we never went that day together? Would I have known about this little church where my Great Grandparents graves were? Would I have learned about those summers my mom had with her grandmother who loved to play cards? Would we both travel back in time to a place filled with good childhood memories and a time that I can only imagine?

Thank you Ella for giving me that day and those moments with mom to visit the Angel Oak that was there as it has been for the past 1500 years.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Buying a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Be Part of Solution, Not Part of Problem

How can one not fall in love once they see a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy? Those big puppy eyes looking at you, then you give in because they are too hard to resist.   Check out this email that was sent to a Charlotte Meet-Up Group along with puppy pictures attached.

"Just wanted to let everyone know that we have 6 gorgeous babies, soon to be available, from 2 litters.

3 Ruby boys, parents are 12 and 10lbs each.

2 Blenheim boys, parents are 12 and 11lbs each.

Boys are $750 each, and will be up to date on shots and deworming before going to their new homes.

Both fathers are AKC registered and one is champion sired, but mothers are both CKC registered, as will be the pups.

I have one female, she is a rare little thing. She is white, tan and SABLE instead of black. Some also call this chocolate. This is a very rare, and has happened once before with one of this mother's previous litters. As the others online that I have researched report, the pup from the previous litter was the same: her sable coat grew out with puppy hair and it was replaced with a VERY deep dark red. She is gorgeous, and extremely unique. I am asking $895 for her.

I am attaching pictures of all, please pass this along to anyone you know who may be looking for the perfect family pet this summer! They are 5 weeks today, so there is still a couple of weeks before they can go to their new homes, but I am accepting deposits to hold a puppy of your choice"

Then my friend replied to me:
So she sent to a friend of hers and sure enough, it worked and a puppy had a new home.
There are several things that immediately stand out to me. I will get into more details on choosing a puppy later, but want to point out some basics.

1). CKC registered. Stay away from breeders that advertise puppies from any registry other than CKCSC USA or AKC. Actually, you would want to make sure that the breeder is a member of one or both Cavalier breed clubs in the USA: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA. (CKCSC, USA) and The American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (ACKCSC).

2) Advertised weight. This weight is actually BELOW the breed standard. http://www.ckcsc.org/ states:

"Height 12 to 13 inches at the withers; weight, proportionate to height, between 13 and 18 pounds. These are ideal heights and weights; slight variations are permissible, and a dog should be penalized only in comparison with one of equal general appearance, type and quality. The weedy specimen is as much to be penalized as the oversized one."

Many potential Cavalier buyers want a SMALL Cavalier. This is why they advertise weight. Not only is it below what they should be so I would either think its false or worse, they have poor living conditions.

3) "one is Champion sired". Even if this is true (which I doubt), this was added to make them seem more attractive.  Many will put pictures of other Champions on websites to attract buyers. This should not be any consideration when buying a puppy.

4) "I have one female, she is a rare little thing. She is white, tan and SABLE instead of black. Some also call this chocolate. This is a very rare," I have never heard of this at all. There are 4 colors of Cavaliers: Blenheim, Tri-Color, Black and Tan, and Ruby. Even if this is true which she "researched", a reputable breeder would know about the breed. But since this is "rare" she is charging more.

5) "I am attaching pictures of all, please pass this along to anyone you know who may be looking for the perfect family pet this summer!" This is one thing I see, "perfect Christmas present"...etc. Reputable breeders would not advertise as being a present, good for the summer, etc. They would want to make sure that their puppies are going to a good home and actually want to make sure that you are right for them. They would not consider (even in rescue) it a good idea to get one as a present.

Last weekend, another "breeder" that was on the email list sent out email about having puppies. I heard she came to the meet-up at the park with puppies and was trying to sell them.

All the emails and information I sent about Cavalier Health, went to the same people but did this matter? They wanted to make money. She even advertised she had an older boy just turned 2 that has been a perfect stud dog. So let me sell a cavalier that was bred too young to another to use to "make money". No reputable breeder would do this. I would not even call this person a breeder.  They are a damage to the breed. They may have one litter a year to make money, but know nothing about the breed or health. Even if they do, they choose to ignore it.

You don't know the history, if the breeder did any health testing, how they were raised, if they are registered, but you do know that the puppy is just too cute and all that does not matter. Then reality hits and the puppy may develop a health problem, has temperment issues, etc. but can you call the breeder for health? You didn't care about all that information, all you looked at was the adorable puppy.

In Mary Beth Squirells post Embee Cavaliers: Buying a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy: she sums up what I have been thinking:

"People buying cavalier puppies are just as responsible for this breeds welfare as those breeding them. If you are not purchasing Cavaliers from responsible breeders you are not doing your part to protect and help this breed."

I highly suggest reading her blog because it has several good health links, information, with some fun pictures and posts mixed in.  She is a breeder that is doing what she can to help the health of the breed. She has organized scan days for help with CM/SM research and had MRI scans for her Cavaliers. Check out her post about Breeding and MRI's in Canada.  Did you know that she also SHOWS her Cavaliers. Reputable breeders show Cavaliers in some aspect, confirmation, agility, obedience, etc. so they can compare to others. They are involved.  Roycroft Cavalier Information Center has a lot of information on selecting a reputable breeder.

If you love the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed, then do your research and make sure that you are part of the SOLUTION and not adding to the PROBLEM.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How Can I Profit From the Example of Ella

“Here lies DASH, the Favourite Spaniel of Queen Victoria
By whose command this Memorial was erected.
He died on the 20 December, 1840 in his 9th year.
His attachment was without selfishness,
His playfulness without malice,
His fidelity without deceit.
READER, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of DASH.”

My life will never be the same since after My Angel Ella came into my life. I have learned so much from her.

"Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, Filling an emptiness we don't even know we have."

Thom Jones

Ella was not just a dog. She was angel that was sent to me. She has taught me about loving one more than yourself and that I could ever imagine. She taught me about forgiveness. She taught me how to make someone’s day just by showing you care. We will forever be connected because she will remain in my heart forever. I believe that even though she is not physically here, she is an angel looking down on me and everyone. So I will ask myself:

What Would Ella Want

She would want to run after the birds.

She would want to sniff each flower.

She would want to great each person and dog with a smile and waiting for them to pet her.

She would want to run around in the park with her fur friends.

She would want to run on the sand in the beach.

She would want to run after a tennis ball and wait for me to come to her to throw it again 

She would want to spread across the whole bed like a princess.

I could say so many things but she never asked for them. I just knew these are things she enjoyed. The only time she would get the “please mom, I don’t want to” action was when we were at the beach. We slept in a bedroom that was by itself. The upstairs was where all the action was including *cough* kitchen. She wanted to be around everyone and even if they were going to sleep, she wanted to make sure she was there and not missing anything. She would sit by the door impatiently wanting to go back. She even scratched to door with her paw, looking up at me with those sad eyes.

We left the beach at 5am the Monday after Easter to return back to work in Charlotte. She immediately got sick in the car. She was running on the beach Sunday but that would be her last run on the sandy beach. The last time she would chase shells in the breaking waves. I had no idea that would be the last time she smiled at all.

That Monday she did not get better and she did not hog the bed that night, nor did she end up on top of my head and pillows. I woke up to her on the bathroom floor. I took her to the Vet Tuesday morning. She came home because they thought it was a bug. She still did not eat and again even though she always is close by, she was on the floor again. The next day when I took her back to the vet, I did not know that when she would return home, it would be her spirit.

I think Ella got what she wanted, a weekend at her favorite place before it would be her time to say goodbye.

I never thought about it that way until now. I feel like Ella was sent to me as an Angel to help me through some hard times. She saved my life and that is why I wanted to do everything I could to save hers. It seems like it was before her time, but maybe there was a reason she felt it was her time to go back to Heaven and help me and others from there.

Maybe she did not want me to see her struggle. Sometimes I feel like I was losing strength and I get so upset with myself. It can weigh on you emotionally to not know what the future holds. I loved and still love her so much that I wanted to be the one to have the pain instead of her.

Would Ella want that? Would she want me to be scared of losing her? Would she want to see the sadness in my eyes that she came to me to change?

No. She would not want that because that was her whole reason she found me. It does still hurt and the pain is still raw but I have to think of everything she taught me.

What did I learn from her?

More to come…

This is a picture of Ella at the Beach the Weekend before she got sick

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Poem from a Loving Person to Comfort Me

I have met some people on Facebook. In particular, some people in the Cavalier Army that have been a true blessing to hold my hand, let me cry. laugh and I am forever grateful.  The army started when her beloved Cavalier Mickey was sick and needed prayers. More about the army later, but wanted to share the poem she wrote for me.

To Comfort My Mum.

The days have passed since Ive been gone
But you my sweet mummy Anne will forever mourn
It seemed so sad that I had to go, why you ask
But that you will never know.
I just want to send some comfort your way
And tell you that I wished I could stay
I wanted to forever run with you and play

But I am only lent by God,
But while I was with you we were like peas in a pod
Our time together was special indeed
You fulfilled so many of my needs
I am still with you of that you can be sure
Just look at the clouds and you will see me once more
At night my little eyes will glisten up above
And I will wink at you as I float free like a dove

Please dont worry about me at all
For I have so much love and lots more
The love you gave me was so intense
Sometimes life just doesnt make sense
But be assured that the time we had
Wasnt meant to end by making you sad

Look on me a sample from God;
he displays his love through a loving dog
The way in which I would lick your nose and snuggle close and wrap myself around your toes,
for you smelt like a beautiful rose.
You see its love that makes me do those things, and now up here that love echoes like a constant ring.

For when I watch you each day I feel the
sadness that you display
Mummy I want you to miss me but let me go I am waiting here with God and one day you yourself will come to the show.
Until that time be assured I are fine.
Gods taking care of me all the time.
I have lots of things to do and see,
but most of all I watch over thee.

So just to comfort you right now, I take a bow, and salute you with my little paw, for you my mummy could have done no more.
As I run of now to play with God, I want you to be at peace and smile for us each, for you and your love covered me like sand on a beach.

Farewell my mum until that day, when I will see you again and we can once more cuddle and play.love....

Your sweet cavalier  girl Ella.

Julie Schofield

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good Night Ella

My sister would sing a lullaby to her son every night before he went to sleep. To me Ella was my “fur” baby so every night I sang the same song my sister did to Ella.

Good Night Ella

Good Night Ella

Good Night Ella

It’s time to go to sleep

Just a simple melody but I sang this to her since she was a puppy and it was our bonding time. If I started to sing this she would come from the other room if there were others around, and come to my bed. People would say no! Not fair I want her out here, but she was my little girl. Her eyes would become heavy as she would snuggle up to me (usually taking up all the bed) and we would go to sleep.

On May 2nd, I sang this the last time to her as I held her paw to join others in Rainbows Bridge. I can barely talk about it because tears are flowing now, but my bed is now empty. I actually can’t sleep in my bed still because it feels so empty. It’s like a hole where Ella was so I have only slept in my bed a couple of times since that day. I usually will sleep on the sofa. I try to close my eyes and feel her. One night my face felt on fire from all the tears I cried that I started to think was it her licking them away? Was that what I was feeling? I don’t know but it made me feel better and eventually I was able to go to sleep. Maybe now she is the one singing to me or comforting me because I know deep down inside she is with me still.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Only Wanted You

They say memories are golden, well maybe that is true.

I never wanted memories, I only wanted you.

A million times I needed you, a million times I cried.

If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly, in death I love you still.

In my heart you hold a place no one could ever fill.

If tears could build a stairway and heartache make a lane,

I'd walk the path to heaven and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same.

But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Embee Cavaliers: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeding dogs, and M...

Did you know that Molly won Best in Show last weekend! Some say breeders are more concerned with winning than health. Well I can tell you Mary Beth done so much for Cavaliers for education and promoting health, she definately is someone who disproves this statement. Way to go Molly for winning Best in Show and thank you Mary Beth for your continued dedication to this beloved breed.

Embee Cavaliers: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeding dogs, and M...: "Did you know? Approximately every other month, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeding dogs are MRI'd in Southern Ontario, at Matheson Blvd...."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Seeing Ella Smile

I am going through some things I have written in the past but did not post. I think it's important for me to post these things even though they are from the past. So this is what I wrote about how Ella made everything go away. Nothing else mattered in my life but her. I learned from her that the things that others felt were important just were not the same. I am saddened that I do not have her to make the pain go away now, but l close my eyes and think of her smiling down from Heaven.

Seeing Ella smile made nothing else matter. Seeing her face light up made all the wrong go away for an instant. Watching her in complete bliss was all I could focus on and in that moment I tuned everything else out.

I took Ella to see her “boyfriend” Kennedy who is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel a few months older than her. They have a unique bond and it is apparent when they are together. Someone said I needed to meet Kat, the new girl downstairs. Not only was she fun but she had a picture of a Cavalier on her desk that looked exactly like Ella. Kat was outgoing and fun but she was just as crazy about her dog as I was. I knew I needed to meet her and Ella and I were invited to Kennedy’s birthday party. That was 3 years ago. We became great friends and had a lot of fun nights out and great times together. Kennedy and Ella became closer too. However, fun times were not always going to be in Ella’s cards.

Kat was there when Ella was diagnosed and went through surgery. Ella could not come over and play with Kennedy when she was recovering and I did not feel like leaving her. We grew apart for several reasons. I took her over about 6 or 8 weeks after her surgery and there were several people at Kat’s house. It was a huge party and Ella was excited to see everyone at first. I was careful and noticed her hiding under the table and said it was time for us to go. “No” “Ella’s fine” “Did you see how happy she was” “look at how much she was playing” etc. I knew for Ella’s safety she needed to go home. I cried as I had to carry her up the stairs because she could not move from all the activity.

I could not do the things I used to because any money I had went to Ella. That is all that mattered to me. Once Ella’s neurologist and I felt she was okay to not be restricted, I let Kat keep Ella. She had so much fun but I could not get over some things that were said. I kept thinking of where was she when I had to carry her up the stairs, the nights I spent crying, the days I spent searching for answers. The person it hurt was Ella. For another reason, our friendship changed and I could not talk to her anymore. When she told me that Ella’s neurologist was making all of this up, I could no longer take it. Ella was not sick but just depressed. I tried to be friends and not get into SM etc. but it had become such a part of me.

That was me and not Ella. When I found out Ella’s results from her second MRI, I let Kat know and she felt terrible. What she thought I made up, is very real. I told her that it would make Ella feel better to be around Kennedy so we put our feelings aside for her.

So seeing Ella smile, I tuned out her words “It’s just not fair”. “I can’t believe you paid that much for her” “You should turn her breeder in”. I just simply said it is much more complicated than that. Her breeder did not do this on purpose. I just said, “Look at how happy she is”.

What I do not think is fair (I did not say this to her), is that Ella’s breeder followed the MVD breeding protocol. She is a breeder that is a member of the CKCSC-USA and the ACKCSC and was heartbroken to learn about Ella. I am not sure but she said she is working on trying to get scanning done. I just like to think she is even though I probably know she isn’t. I do know she is not breeding any of that line anymore. She knows about SM. When I got Ella, I looked at the health records and thought I did the best and I am sure so did she at the time. Yes it could have been better and she did not tell me about SM. I will say that even if Ella came from a breeder that had her dogs scanned and everything done possible health test wise, there is still a chance for something to happen.

What is not fair is that two of her friends bought Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the past 3 years. I did not find the breeders for them but I know that they are not following the MVD breeding protocol, they are not members of either Cavalier Club, I am not sure what health testing was done. All I know is that I heard they were a good price and had cute pictures.

Letter to Ella from Blondie and Lynn

I received this sweet letter from Lynn and her cavalier Blondie (who also has SM). I really wanted to share it with everyone!

Sweet Ella,

I've gotten to know you a little bit through your mommy,

and even though I never met you, you were my best Cavalier

buddy on the forum. I shared your story and your name often with my friends

and enjoyed reading all the stories about you.

Your mom loved you very much, she was on the forum all the time learning and reading

about you and your breed, finding ways to make your life better and more comfortable.

We all learned so much from your story. You lived with this horrible disease called

SM, which my puppy has too.. yet you were so strong and brave and loved going

to the doggie bar and hanging out with your mommy, still enjoying days in the park.

When I read the horrible news on the Cavalier forum about your illness, I checked the forum ten times a day for updates, until I saw the last news that Anne had decided it was time to set you free. I was in the car from upstate NY with my boyfriend, and read him your Mom's message.

In the middle of the message the tears were flowing and I don't think he understood much else of what I said. We stopped the car, and even my boyfriend shed a tear for you coz he

felt how unsettling it was for me. You are a symbol for all cavaliers with SM and I could feel your mommy's worries and pain as if they were mine. Blondie was in the car with us too and I know se must've felt something cause she was very quiet the whole drive home.

I then quietly read all the other messages that were left for you and I can tell you: you must've touched so many hearts and souls. Never before have I seen such sadness and so many messages there. And though I know that for us, this is all so so sad:

I know, for you, sweet Ella, it is not. I know you understand the flow of life and death better than us humans do. And I know that you do not see it as something frightening or horrible.

You are now running at the bridge with Charly and all the other cavaliers that recently passed as well as Anne's family who is waiting for you at the bridge and will love you and hug you while your mommy is still hanging around with us for a little while.

Run free little angel, and keep an eye on my Blondiemonster while you are up there too.


Lynn and Blondie

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Loving wings

 Watch "DMB Benaroya Loving Wings 10.24.02" on YouTube 

This song is so special to me. At a time in my life ella came to me. She showed me light and opened my heart. I owe everything to her. She was so special.

"My heart is made of broken bones

My soul a bag of stick and stone

But you along this dusty road

Come my love to take me home

I give to you my everything

Youve given me these loving wings

And angels have all gathered 'round

To hear me sing my love out load

You lightly lifted me away

Above the darkness cold and grey

Worked beneath the mid-day sun

Cool blue water you have come

I give to you my everything

Youve given me these loving wings

And angels have all gathered 'round

To hear me sing my love out loud

So take your place here next to me

Ill take my place next to thee

No matter how far we may roam

It's by your side i make my home"

Dave matthews band

She will always be with me. Its been a very tough year. I gave her all i could and i owe everything to her coming into my life. Although i have no regrets to dedicating this past year to her, being with her, learning about this condition, and fighting for her, i got to a low point. i just couldnt be without her and anything else didnt matter. It was all i thought about and cared about.

My family is amazing and i know ella touched them too. So in the end i had to give her wings to be released from pain but the bond we shared will be with me always. Its hard but i feel her with me and shes telling me she is with me and its ok. She lifted me out of darkness when i met her and even though i feel pain from losing her that i may never get over, she is guiding me back to where i need to be.  I need to let that love open me up to others.

Which leads me to my next post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Little Angel

This has been a very difficult time for me, but I think about Ella and her strength. How brave she was and no matter what she always had a wag in her tail, she made people fall in love with her all over the world. I never thought I would survive this moment but I need to live like her. No matter what pain or even being attacked by a dog, she would not change her spirit.

Many of people have had Cavaliers for 30 or so years. Know the breed more than anyone and have gone through this loss, but she made me fall in love. This breed is one that is like no other. I think the biggest compliment is how everyone that met her, then wants one. My mom and step-father who lost their lab and have said they would never get another since they are getting older. My aunt and uncle who lost their Springer Spaniel and also retired and said they would not have another because of traveling between their house in Florida and in Myrtle Beach. They all have said before she passed, that she made them fall in love again.

I know that she gave me something and hopefully others in knowing there is much more to breeding dogs and in the end there is one thing that we all have in common. A love for this breed, each other, and no matter what I am so glad that Ella has brought me to everyone. There are many things that can happen in life. You do what you think is best and pray to God that one day I will be reunited with her again.

I remember the day when I went to meet Ella's breeder. I was so scared that I would not pass her interview You see a lot of great breeders and even people in rescue, don't just want money and send a puppy off. They care too and want to make sure that they will have a home and a life that will be good for them. I was dead set on a girl but I heard that both girls were not being kept.

So I went and saw all the boys playing and there was one that was not as rowdy and she came to me. I had no idea it was the girl, but there was something special about her. She laid in my arms and fell asleep. Her breeder could see the connection. I don't know, but I heard that some breeders can tell when there is a connection. She saw that and I felt it. My heart filled with love. She came to me when I needed her like a gift and I truly believe in my heart there is a reason.

People keep saying you need to get another one to help ease the pain. As much as I long to have her or someone in my bed, I will wait for the right one to come. I will get another Cavalier in my life, and no Cavalier will ever be like her. At the right time, the right breeder, and the right moment, I think God will send another angel to me. For now, I just want to thank everyone who has been touched by her and know that this breed is unlike another and Ella is no exception.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reflections- Why Ella’s Birthday Means More than Just a Number of Candles on a Cake

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I had Ella resting on top of my pillow and heard the familiar sound of her breathing. I wanted to grab her, kiss her to death, and make that feeling and sound remain in time. I started to think of what it would feel like without that lump on my pillow, sound in my ear, heartbeat, and even the smell of her breathe. That’s when I started to cry and my pillow became wet.

Shouldn’t I be excited to think that she has made it to her birthday, a day I did not think she would reach? Yes we made this milestone but deep inside, I would love to prove my fears wrong that this will definitely be her last. I am so scared. Sometimes it’s easier to get consumed in other things then for me to think what does the development of scar tissue mean for Ella? So let’s go back to birthdays because that is when I first realized something was wrong with her.

It was Ella’s 3rd birthday and I invited people to her birthday party when I noticed she wasn’t playing like herself.

Did I even celebrate Ella’s 4th birthday? I remember her recovering and I had wrote a post about being excited about meeting someone in my area on a support group. That night quickly turned to tears when I noticed something was wrong and I went to the dog bar and broke down in tears.


I read back and I see the numbers. The size of the syrinx I thought increased from .3 to .5 in a span of 6 months and with surgery. Dr. Brofman sent more images and said he did not see that much of a difference. I don’t know but I do know that scar tissue is not a good thing. I do know that surgery gave me time to figure out medication. I don’t know what her future holds. I don’t know if I can manage my future without her.

Friday, April 1, 2011

3 Little Cavaliers… How one puppy led to three

3 Little Cavaliers… How one puppy led to three

I met Shannon back in August through Cavalier Talk when she posted about her puppy Flash and being concerned about Flash showing signs of SM.  Since then so many things have led up to the devastating news this week that Blitz has heartworm disease, severe CM and SM, and the list goes on. Who is Blitz you might ask since the story started with Flash.  Blitz is Flash’s father who Shannon rescued after learning about Flash.

Shannon started a blog and I hope she will tell the story herself http://3littlecavaliers.blogspot.com.  Here are some things that I found interesting and important through her story.

·          Talking to the Breeder

I hope Shannon will write a post for me but from talking to the breeder she was concerned for Flashes parents since the breeder has several breeds and knew nothing about health issues. What if this breeder continues to breed them? Should she buy the parents which will support the breeder? How do you save them from puppy mills without supporting the person doing this?

After fighting the breeder gave Flashes parents to her.  Now she was faced with two Cavaliers in very poor health. Matts, teeth being lost from chewing on cages to get out and not to mention heartworms.  She took these scared, extremely thin Cavaliers and made them family.

·          That bring us to today

Blitz is so much happier to be recovered from those conditions but he doesn't know that his condition is not good and will need surgery.

So please say a prayer for Shannon and her 3 Cavaliers.  I will be praying for them.