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.

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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.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Don’t let Emotions or Assumptions Get in the Way of Health

Before i get into this, understand this is my blog that i let my personal emotions out.  I am an emotional person and I feel for everyone. I mean I apologize to a chair when I run into it. I feel the pain people go through which it doesn’t matter what side, if they feel pain so do I. So if I see a Cavalier suffering in pain, I feel it. I feel for breeders I know that have been depressed for a year over a Cavalier with SM. I also am very trusting and believe in the good in people. I don’t think this is a bad thing and I actually like that about myself but it can also lead to disappointment.

To people buying a puppy or adopting, it is so important to not let emotions get in the way because you feel someone is nice or you think this is a rescue. Find out for yourself who the person is, what the breeder does, and make your decision on facts not heart. www.cavalierhealth.com has a list of questions to ask a breeder.

That being said, I think everyone has the right to be heard especially pet owners. Recently I have felt it was more about politics than about the actual people who are going through this. I will not be used as a case to show how Cavaliers can suffer in pain. I don’t believe in calling out breeders especially if they have a cavalier with SM because I feel for them. I feel the pain of each heart beat, each shake of the head, each time I think of Ella’s future.

When a good friend who is a Cavalier owner, told me that Ella was depressed and there is nothing wrong with her. I was the one making her that way. SM is not a problem, and then said after someone sent an email with puppies in time for christmas that they are so cute I want one, I just can't think about it. After everything Ella went through and even to have the nerve to say her neurologist was making this up because she is fine and he wants money.

Thank you Dr. Brofman at Carolina Vet Specialists for treating Ella, for giving her acupuncture when she was in pain, for speaking to a group of Cavalier owners about SM Awareness (one that this person who was my best friend) did not attend not for money at all. For support and education. I can not thank him enough.  In fact she wanted to be removed from a list because she didn't want to think about or hear anything about Cavaliers, or meet-ups, because let's face it, it is not a fun topic. If you don't have a Cavalier going through pain, do enjoy the health and life of your loved one but please don't shut others out. So people may lose friends and people even pet owners can make one feel bad.

The fact remains that Ella is in pain and has to be managed on medication and to hear that my one best friend who was with me at night and has seen her in pain, told me when she was left with someone who witnessed a time she just wasn’t herself, that now people know I am not making this up. 


I don’t need to justify that Ella is sick. I don’t want to show people here you go you see this? However, I do not want to be blamed for her so called “depression” or told by a friend that SM is not a problem.

When Ella got attacked, I was actually going to pick up her Cavalier, I have never seen so many tears. How can you be so strong I was asked, well try living with a Cavalier with SM for the past year.

So I wanted to rant because recently I have been letting my emotions get in the way.

*SM is a problem and a true condition.

*CM can also cause pain.

*I am not going to feel like I have to justify how I feel and what I believe.

*I feel that breeders need to be supported and not grouped into one category.

*I think it is vital that Clubs get involved and people get involved in Clubs

No matter what people will still not listen even when a very close friend who cried several tears when she feared Ella would LOSE AN EYE. This is not life threatening like her SM, but it is so hard to look at such a pretty cavalier that now has one eye.

So now the tears are flowing again. I need to remember this. Awareness is key. Cavaliers are not the only breed. I don’t want to fight, I do think the only way to progress is to talk openly and effectively. But I am tired of feeling sad not because I may lose Ella but because people don’t want to listen, want to talk about breeders in general as a terrible thing, want to not be open about what they feel in fear of being misunderstood or twisted.

This is not the time for that. So I am laying it out there. I have been back and forth on things and felt one way and then another. I don’t think being negative or simply focusing on the wrong is going to do anything but I don’t think ignoring the problem or telling me I am the reason my Cavalier acts that way is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never doubt yourself, ask for a second opinion

This past week has been full of information with the wonderfull sm awareness event www.twolittlecavaliers.com that i give so much thanks for.

I want to talk about a friend that found out yesterday that her beloved cavalier has sm. My prayers are with her and i hope if she reads this or anyone else, i may not have the answers but i have an ear and can be there for you during this hard time. I want to share this not only because she is a friend but because of what she did. She got a second opinion because her gut told her something was wrong.

This week has brought awareness and i seen people ask my dog scratches does he or she have cm or sm? I can not tell you that but i can tell you what i wish i did thinking back on ella. Every dog or puppy does things (scratch, rub faces etc.) But i had a strong feeling there was more. I have told her story but i trusted my vet when he said i shouldnt worry. I doubted myself because people didnt see what i did. I know ella more than anyone else. So i should have not doubted my questions and asked for another opinion, which i eventually did.

So when a friend emailed me because she was concerned that there was something more and did not want to wait and see which a neurologist told her, i gave her ellas neurologists information. I dont think someone saying she doesnt look like she is in pain is good enough. That is because ella looked normal and fine to others. If you are concerned and think something is wrong, get another opinion, (not mine but a specialist).

I think ellas neurologist dr. Brofman is the best, the best to ella, i know, and thats what matters. She saw him and her cavalier had an mri and confirmed what she thought. Now i am not saying anything about the other one, just that it is never wrong to question.

To have surgery or not. That is up to each owner and each dog is different. There are no right or wrong answers. You do what you can and hope it is the best for your loved one.

I did that when i debated having ellas eye removed. I put off the surgery and scheduled an appointment in the future. The optomistrist is one of the best in the country. When he saw ella, he told me i made the right decision. He said he thought it was going to be terrible but he was pleasantly proven wrong. Even experts may not know what the future brings.

Sometimes you got to question and trust yourself.