View Full Version : Marley girl

22nd May 2006, 06:42 PM
Hi all,
My fiancé and I recently purchased a little girl cavalier, Marley, she is about 12 weeks old now and a little thing, about 4 lbs. First, a short, long, story. We have already started off on a bad foot with Marley girl-before we got her we did all the research and felt very well educated and confident about our upcoming purchase. We knew what to look for and what to avoid, unfortunately we couldn't wait and the very first time we got to see her, we feel in love. The man that we got her from is from Ireland and he goes back frequently to visit his family-one of cousins has been breeding his cavaliers for a long time and when he goes back and there are puppies, he brings them back with him to the states. The puppies are all IKC certified and micro chipped but only have their Parvo shots because the Irish feel that Americans and their animals are all over medicated...The man was EXTREMELY nice and informative and we did receive a 1 year guarantee on her health. WELLLL...The first trip to the vet was a sad one, Marley had 2 types of worms and 2 ear infections (all very common and very treatable) but she also has a bad knee and a heart murmur (grade 2) and lazy eyes.....!!!!!!!!!! We called the man back and told him everything, needless to say we were devastated, but we love her and we had grown so attached in just the couple days we had her, we felt sick about returning her. Luckily we were able to get the majority of our money back, but that really wasn't the point, we paid lots of money for a happy healthy dog, but we love her so much!! In addition to the refund we also got another written contract that states if her heart gets worse he will replace her...The man was very understanding and apologetic. So now, what’s done, is done. We did our research but we managed to forget about everything, when we met her. Now she is apart of our family and we are moving on to the next step....Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I am sure you all are rolling your eyes in disgust, how can we be so ignorant, we know, but we are trying to make lemonade out of lemons, nothing is perfect and everything happens for a reason. We have Marley for a reason and we are going to give her tons of love! We are considering pet insurance and we read the recent posting and that was helpful, but we also know that it won’t cover pre-existing ailments-is there a way to avoid this? Also which plan would be the best for her considering her knee and eye problems? The vet was very optimistic and said that she could easily grow out of all of these problems… Currently we are kind of worried about her eyes, because she doesn’t look straight ahead like most dogs do, or if she does it just doesn’t look like it. The vet said she has lazy eyes...the muscles in her eyes aren't that strong, which makes her pupils go towards the side...does anyone have any feedback? Is there a surgery or will they get better with age? I don't have a picture of her with me but I will post one. I need to finish this off with a positive note, aside from all this bad news-she has a great personality and she is a breeze to train!!
Thanks so much. Hannah

22nd May 2006, 07:57 PM
Hi Hannah:

Welcome to the site! I am glad you have a little cavalier you love so much and sorry she has turned out to have these problems.

First of all, I am afraid you have ended up *probably* being duped by this man, nice as he may seem. Almost none of these people claiming to have a cousin/friend/uncle etc breeding 'just a few puppies in Ireland' actually have any such thing. Nearly all of them are actually brokers -- they buy up puppies from puppy farms or backyard breeders -- who nonetheless can very often get IKC certification, but will have done none of the health testing -- and sell them on pretending that they come from a caring breeder and a single litter. Registration alone is no sign of a good breeder -- it just means at least they have some minimal certification. The reason he won't mind refunding money is almost certainly that they buy puppies for only about $50-$100 and sell them to you for considerably more so he can refund a LOT of money before it makes any difference to him.

I am a journalist based in Ireland and have written on just this situation for the Irish Times here:


You will probably be surprised at how much of this story is going to match your own experience, I'm afraid.

More info here:


You should double check that the pup is actually microchipped and if so, contact the IKC to check whether the microchip actually matches the dog's pedigree number. If it does not, then you should report this man to the IKC. The IKC is here: www.ikc.ie

In addition I'd appreciated a private message (you can send me a PM by clicking the button indicated) just to get his name and contact details. Some of us over here can then possibly keep an eye on who he is. At the very least I can tell you if he is already known over here as a puppy broker. There are four or five who are very well known brokers in the US and they always tell the tale you have heard.

In general any story like his that sounds like a great deal on a puppy is too good to be true. You really must go to a breeder that you can meet, whose health clearances you can see for yourself. I feel you may have trouble collecting from these people if ever you do need the dog's heart condition covered. I am sorry to be so blunt but if you read my story you will see that you've been given all the standard lines. I canalmost guarantee you there have never been any health testing done on any of the parent dogs, and this is a puppy whose eye condition and knees at the very least should have been caught if it was vet inspected. That is one reason I'd like to get info on who he is and if there's any indication in the pup's documentation on what vet gave clearance for these puppies to be shipped. I can report that vet to the IKC as well. That is appalling that such things were not caught.

As for the various conditions you are describing:

Any puppy should have been wormed and it is BS to claim irish breeders don't do full puppy shots and worm!! Every decent breeder knows puppies almost always have a load of worms from birth, passed along from the mother, and also know a puppy can easily die from a bad worm infestation. I have never heard such a thing as claiming Irish breeders think Americans 'over-medicate'.

There is a standard 3 in one vax that puppies are given here. The fact that this pup had only parvo indicates the broker or breeder vaccinated them themselves and not to even the most basic vet standards. :x

The eye probably cannot be operated on as far as I know. This might improve but I don't know much about lazy eye. The knee may or may not need surgery. Many experienced vets and breeders suggest waiting to see how bad it is at age 18 months. Often the knees tighten and the grade imporves thus avoiding surgery. In the Health and diet section you can see some posts from people whose dogs have undergone patellar surgery.

The murmur may be a flow murmur and these go away by 6 months. You would need a cardiologist to certify if it is anything serious (a vet can;t tell by just listening and also they tend to get grades wrong anyway). MVD is progressive so a puppy cannot have MVD but can have other causes of murmurs. These almost always are flow murmurs however and disappear. Nonetheless 50% of cavaliers will have a murmur by age 5 and the likelihood of this is higher in dogs from lines where breeders do not heart test and follow heart breeding protocols.

There's lots of info on all this in the Health section of the Library (bottom section of the site).

Hope that isn't all too overwhelming and sorry to be the bearer of what is almost surely further bad news. Please do contact me privately if you can give me further information. In Ireland right now we are fighting hard to get puppy farms and brokers shut down and to make it more difficult for them to ship dogs.

Finally: there is no way to get insurance to cover any of the things your vet has already diagnosed. A pre-check must be done by a vet when a dog is signed up for insurance, anyway, so all these things would be picked up again even if you went to another vet.

22nd May 2006, 11:39 PM
Welcome to the boards! While it might suck getting duped by these guys, you arent alone. That's why they are in business! It's a huge scam.

Nevertheless, some of the health concerns your pup has are not a death sentence. The parasites are probably already gone. The knees may firm up still, and the heart issue is probably a flow murmur that will go away as your pup grows.

The good thing is that this lovely animal is now in the care of someone who loves it and will give it the medical treatment it needs. So while it may not be situation you had desired, you have the chance to help a dog that needs you. And as you already know, despite the animal's beginnings, it's a loving, adorable little puppy fresh to the world. It doesnt understand it isnt perfect, but it sure thinks you are! Puppy cuddles feel the same from a dog breed through a show line as they do from a pup from a mill.

More good news is that you have found your way here. There is a lot of helpful information and people here. This board will help you move on from the rocky start and make the best of your little pup and situation.

As far as insurance goes, I'd still look into it. While pre-existing conditions might not be covered, it still could be useful in the future. You may have to work with the insurance company to clear your dog's heart if it does indeed have a flow murmur that goes away in the future, but your dog will likely have MVD at some point, and having insurance then might be useful. I know some people take the monthly payments they would generally send to the insurance company and put it aside in a separate account, so you could consider that type of saving if an insurance company wont cover what you're interested in. We've had some good threads on pet insurance, so a search will give you more information.

Anyway, while a bumpy start, you're on your way to improving the situation. Welcome aboard, and I cant wait to see pics of your little one!

22nd May 2006, 11:53 PM
Agree with all Moviedust says! :thmbsup: I've sent you a PM as well. :)

Cathy T
23rd May 2006, 01:20 AM
What are you gonna do? Nothing you can do ... this little one has stolen your heart. I always laugh when I hear a breeder will give another if this one doesn't work out....your heart is gone in the first hour!! Lesson learned...maybe in the future you can use your experience to educate others.

The good thing is definitely that you found this board. Everything you are dealing with someone on here has dealt with at some time or another. The knee may tighten up (that's one issue I've been dealing with). What are the consequences of the eyes? If they aren't going to be a physical problem...oh well, no biggie. Hopefully the heart murmur is a flow murmur. If not....that certainly is an issue lots of people on this board have experience with.

As far as anyone rolling their eyes at you...not gonna happen!!! As far as you being ignorant...these people wouldn't be in business if they weren't successful at what they do. They know how to get you...that's what they do! That's why it's important that you use your experience to educate others.

Welcome and share your stories with us!!

23rd May 2006, 09:13 AM
The good thing is that this lovely animal is now in the care of someone who loves it and will give it the medical treatment it needs. So while it may not be situation you had desired, you have the chance to help a dog that needs you. And as you already know, despite the animal's beginnings, it's a loving, adorable little puppy fresh to the world. It doesnt understand it isnt perfect, but it sure thinks you are! Puppy cuddles feel the same from a dog breed through a show line as they do from a pup from a mill...

this is beautifully said.

hi hannah. i relate to some of the things you've experienced. after doing lots of research and being determined to get a dog from a reputable breeder, i ended up getting him from a broker. :? i searched for a dog for over 2 months and wasn't able to find one from a reputable breeder, and no possibilities in sight. it looked like it might take a year or two to get a puppy. that wasn't acceptable. i met the broker before i knew what a broker was, at the very beginning of my search. She was a young mother with three small kids, looking to supplement her family's income while still being at home with her kids. She had a website and she was within driving distance for me, and that's how i found her and why i contacted her, i only wanted to get a dog from someone where i could meet the dog before getting it. so that limited me. The woman got the puppies from a breeder in Oklahoma. She gave me the contact info and i called the breeder, and could easily see this was not a reputable breeder, for the reason that the heart checks weren't done on the mother dog. At least the breeder was honest about it, she said the father had heart checks but the mother dog was either pregnant or nursing all the time for the past couple of years so there was no chance to get her tested. :( There was a puppy i was interested in, a female blenheim, which was what i was looking for, but after talking to the breeder, i knew that was a type of puppy farm, or a backyard breeder who didn't have the best interests of the breed, or the individual dogs, at heart. So after that, i kept looking for a puppy from a reputable breeder but didn't have any success. I stayed in touch with the broker about the puppy i was interested in, she was an older puppy 4-5 months, which is what i wanted, but i kept looking, i felt really torn, and kept calling breeders who didn't return my calls, or just didn't have any puppies, or had waiting lists, or had application processes which screened out people like me who work outside the home during part of the day. On the positive side of the broker, her puppies were well socialized, happy, friendly, and it was a pleasant dog friendly environment, they had the run of the house and the spacious yard, they played and got lots of hugs from adults and kids. She had all their health records, they had their shots and deworming. Her home was open to me, i visited several times, on short notice. Something about the puppy wasn't quite right for me. Lots of positives about the puppy, yet there was something that just wasn't the dog for me, so i was holding off, for two months. Then when i visited her one time, there was another puppy there that hadn't been there before, about 4 months old, a tri color male, and i fell for him immediately, that chemistry was just right, he was the right dog. STILL, i hesitated because i wanted so much to get a dog from a reputable breeder, i took seriously all the problems of getting a dog from someone who was doign it mainly as a business, and i felt so torn, i wanted the puppy, the little boy, but still i was holding back, and then, i finally got in touch with one of the reputable breeders who hadn't returned my calls before and she said she had a 6 month old blenheim male, he sounded great, i thought i'd found the perfect dog, she quoted me a really high price for him, but i would deal with that, they owned the parents and knew the grandparents and great grandparents, all of who were healthy at an old age, heart clear, i was so happy, i wanted to meet the dog and buy him, i went to see him and of all the cavaliers i met, he was the only one who was unfriendly to me :( he was running around, he was nervous and skittish about me, he wouldn't even let me pet him much less cuddle him. The other cavaliers i met all loved to be picked up and held. ...

That was quite an experience, coming at the tail end of my search. After that, i decided for sure to get the sweet little boy at the broker's house. I got him the next day.

I brought him home and immediately he had major diarrhea. :shock:
bloody diarrhea. :yikes In retrospect, the broker gave me the right advice on what to do about it and mailed me the right medication to cure it, but instead i took him to my vet and got different advice, and within a month, he got sicker and sicker, and i spent $1100 in vet bills. finally i found a vet that gave me the same kind of medication the broker had sent me (de-worming) and he got cured (his stool samples had been negative). but it was all very traumatic.

I got health insurance for the puppy the day i got him. Of course, the illness wasn't covered, but that didn't matter when it turned out to be something simple and not chronic. For me personally, the insurance is important for my peace of mind. My impression is, though i could sure be wrong, that if you get exclusions for those conditions noted by your vet,which you will, if later the murmurs clear up, or the knee tightens up, you can document that, have a doctor document it, and they will probably remove the exclusion after year passes with no recurrance. The kind i have is Petcare and they cover all heriditary illnesses. VPI is probably the biggest one and they don't cover hereditary conditions at all. The one that the AKC offers when you complete your dog's registration covers hereditary stuff. So, with a cavalier, that's crucial. Even if Marley is not covered for heart or her leg, there is still SM to be concerned about, and ear things, and possible accidents, foreign body ingestion, etc. So for me, insurance is important. I have minimal savings and assets.

i also related to what you said about being attached to your puppy so that just getting a refund or a new puppy wasn't the answer. when zack was apparentlly incurable, one vet said the next step was exploratory surgery, and the other vet said the next step was $600 barium studies, and no guarantee, or even likelihod, that they'd even find the answer after all that expense and trauma, i was facing the worry of whether i could afford to keep him, and i was looking into the puppy lemon laws--but how could i give him back?? what if i gave him back and they had him put down because of his illness? He was/is the sweetest little guy. what a nightmare that was.

i'm glad you at least got some money refunded. the reason i didn't pursue doing that was because the broker did send me the medicine that couldve cured him in a matter of days and gave me the right advice, and i chose not to follow it, understandably--it's reasonable to go with a vet's advice rather than a young woman who happens to be a dog broker. but i can't complain about how she handled his illness. She also was willing to take him back and give me a full refund in the beginning. She said i could make sure he was the right dog for me. He was, and it isn't that i felt that way about all the cavaliers i met. like you say, things seem to happen for a reason and what's right doesn't always follow the most rational course.

23rd May 2006, 05:09 PM
Karlin, Judy, Moviedust, and Cathy T thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. Thank you for being understanding and thank you for helping to relieve some of our concerns. We are absolutely in love with our new companion! I'm so glad I found this site and will read and contribute as much as possible. I've attached some pictures of Marley!


Thank you again!

23rd May 2006, 05:21 PM
s far as anyone rolling their eyes at you...not gonna happen!!! As far as you being ignorant...these people wouldn't be in business if they weren't successful at what they do. They know how to get you...that's what they do! That's why it's important that you use your experience to educate others.


So many of us have been there. Mainly because we 1) trust people 2) try to do our best. But there are people good at taking advantage of that. That doesn't make your Marley any less wonderful and adorable.

I think some of the issues will go away -- eg the murmur. The knee may tighten. I don't think the eye is a big issue. So lots to look forward to.

23rd May 2006, 05:24 PM
PS The pics are too big to be added to the forum. You can go to the edit option on Photobucket and reduce them -- probably by about 75%. Then they should appear as if by magic in the place where you posted them! Do it quick, we all want to see her! :rah:

It can be easier to edit them down first on your PC then upload to Photobucket -- faster too.

23rd May 2006, 05:30 PM
I have to echo what everyone else has said. You're always going to hear criticism from people, but what's important is this little girl has found a home that is going to offer her the best possible care. Enjoy her as much as she's enjoying you! I'm a big believer in animals finding us, rather than us finding them. She's with you for a reason, take that and run with it! Have fun and learn all you can!! :D

23rd May 2006, 07:07 PM
Oh my goodness!! No wonder you fell head over heals for this little one. Adorable!!

23rd May 2006, 07:08 PM

I'd take her! :lol:

23rd May 2006, 07:13 PM
She's adorable!!! :l*v:

23rd May 2006, 07:16 PM
oh my goodness! no wonder you couldn't help yourself when you met her. what a sweet baby! what a great match for you and her. I love that photo by the blue jeans leg. Congratulations! what a great dog!

23rd May 2006, 08:40 PM
Thank you! She is a dollface, what do you think about her eyes? Look especially at the first picture....

23rd May 2006, 09:05 PM
I think her eyes are fine. A lot of cavaliers have eyes that show the whites. Its not uncommon, either, to have the eyes slightly different. Look through some of the pics on the board; you'll see that Marley isnt as unusual as you think! It doesnt seem to effect their eyesight; it just looks asymetrical.

23rd May 2006, 10:42 PM
She is gorgeous and her eyes look just fine.

24th May 2006, 12:27 AM
Her eyes are my favorite part about her--her eyes look beautiful--and normal to me, at least in the photos.

Zack's eyes seem to go wall eyed sometimes a little, maybe more in the past than recently. There were times when i wondered if there was something off centere about his eye, but i would look closer and couldn't really see it, it would look symmetrical.

Cathy T
24th May 2006, 02:38 AM
Hi Hannah - just a quick something I wanted to add. I got both of mine from a reputable breeder. Jake had squamous cell carcinoma at 2 years old and had his upper left jaw bone removed and until he was about 1 1/2 years old had consistent diahrrea problems. Shelby at 1 year old was diagnosed with luxating patellas at both knees and Sept of last year was diagnosed with a minor prolapsed valve.

So.....purchasing from a reputable breeder doesn't guarantee you health! I still very much support it and wouldn't buy any other way...but you never know what you'll get!!

Marley girl is adorable. I don't see anything wrong with the eyes. Maybe I just can't see the picture real clear but she looks just precious to me!!

When I commented to my vet about our health woes she said these guys were meant for me because I am able and willing to care for them. That made me feel better.