PDA

View Full Version : Looking Back, knowing what we know now



murphy's mum
2nd March 2011, 11:06 AM
After reading Bets thread about having a list of Cavalier Breeders who health test, my OH and I started to think back to when we got Murphy. Looking back we so innocent and very unprepared for buy a puppy, any puppy, much less a Cavalier puppy.

I had always wanted animals growing up but wasn't allowed anything bigger than a Hammy, so I had no experience at all in shopping around for a puppy. When we bought our own place together we adopted two black and white cats, which was pretty easy. There wasn't any breeds to research, as we knew we wanted to go to the Cats Protection.

Six months later, I had my heart set on getting a puppy. My sister had had a cavalier pup when I was 10 (she's 12 years older than me). I loved Pip to death, and carried him about everywhere, and he never uttered a bit of complaint:luv: I was very sad when he died, he was just 7, his heart had given out in the middle of the night. Looking back now he probably had MVD:(

We talked it over and decided that we were both ready for a dog, and Stuart was quite taken with the Cavalier breed. Not that I gave him many other options, Pip had ruined me for any other dog breed. I never knew about all the health problems a Cavalier could have back then, except that "sometimes" they had bad hearts. Oh now naive we were, we never thought about researching the breed on-line at all :(

We were in our local PaH one Saturday buying something for the cats, when I stopped to look at the noticeboard. On the board was a card for Cavalier puppies, I can't remember if it was four or five, and there was both Tri's and Blenheim's. I immediately called the lady who said there was only one male left who hadn't been picked, and he was a Blenheim. We drove to see them on the Sunday, they were just 30 minutes up the road form us. We walked in and I was blown away. I fell head over heels within two seconds of seeing those little puppies crawling across the kitchen floor. All thought and reason went out the window right there:rolleyes:

We met Oscar, as he was called back then, they had named him as no-one had shown any interest in him, and thought they would keep him. He was adorable, as all puppies are. His mum and dad were both there. Mum looked very done in and looking back had lost a lot of condition. The lady said she had had two litters in quick succession, the first litter was planned and the pups went to families, but they had been caught out with the second litter. We met Dad, he was very, very nervous. We were told he was a rescue, but knowing what I know now, no rescue would have homed an entire male:confused:

I asked if their hearts were okay, and of course we were told "yes". I never knew to ask for any health certificates, and we decided to buy our puppy right there and then. We paid £350 for Murphy, and took him home straight away, he was two days shy of eight weeks.

I found Cavalier Talk within a week of bringing Murphy home. It's been a god send, the wealth of knowledge on this forum is amazing. If only I knew then, what I know now.

Not that I would swap my boy for anything. Sure he's not to breed standards. He is tall and lanky, and long and thin. However, we have been so, so lucky with him. He was five on Monday, and he is still heart clear. The only vet visits he's had has been for a couple of incidents of bloody poop when he was much younger. And he needs his anal glands done every two months. We count our blessings, as we have read so many horror stories about people losing pups at very young ages or indeed having them develop SM at a young age.

I'm sure we aren't they only people who made huge mistakes when buying our first puppy, but I thank god we have been so lucky. I'm very grateful to Karlin for running Cavalier Talk, as I hope it will stop others from doing everything wrong the way we did;)

Sorry for rambling on, I'm feeling a little nostalgic this morning :)

Kate H
2nd March 2011, 11:18 AM
Murphy's mum wrote: All thought and reason went out the window right there.

When people stop to fuss my two and ask where they can buy a puppy, apart from the usual health information, I always say to them 'Don't go anywhere near a litter until you have definitely decided that a Cavalier is the breed for you - if you see the puppy you'll be unable to resist buying it!' They are so cute - which is why the puppy farmers do so well, of course, catering to the impatient and the impulse buyer.

I think most of us made mistakes getting our first Cavalier - Oliver came from a line known for good hearts, but 9 years ago I knew nothing about SM, and in hindsight I suspect that both his parents were carriers rather than SM positive so MRI results wouldn't have helped much anyway. Thank goodness there's so much information out there now (though we still have an uphill job to get people to read it BEFORE they buy a Cavalier puppy!).

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Rubysmum
2nd March 2011, 11:51 AM
After reading Bets thread about having a list of Cavalier Breeders who health test, my OH and I started to think back to when we got Murphy. Looking back we so innocent and very unprepared for buy a puppy, any puppy, much less a Cavalier puppy.

I had always wanted animals growing up but wasn't allowed anything bigger than a Hammy, so I had no experience at all in shopping around for a puppy. When we bought our own place together we adopted two black and white cats, which was pretty easy. There wasn't any breeds to research, as we knew we wanted to go to the Cats Protection.

Six months later, I had my heart set on getting a puppy. My sister had had a cavalier pup when I was 10 (she's 12 years older than me). I loved Pip to death, and carried him about everywhere, and he never uttered a bit of complaint:luv: I was very sad when he died, he was just 7, his heart had given out in the middle of the night. Looking back now he probably had MVD:(

We talked it over and decided that we were both ready for a dog, and Stuart was quite taken with the Cavalier breed. Not that I gave him many other options, Pip had ruined me for any other dog breed. I never knew about all the health problems a Cavalier could have back then, except that "sometimes" they had bad hearts. Oh now naive we were, we never thought about researching the breed on-line at all :(

We were in our local PaH one Saturday buying something for the cats, when I stopped to look at the noticeboard. On the board was a card for Cavalier puppies, I can't remember if it was four or five, and there was both Tri's and Blenheim's. I immediately called the lady who said there was only one male left who hadn't been picked, and he was a Blenheim. We drove to see them on the Sunday, they were just 30 minutes up the road form us. We walked in and I was blown away. I fell head over heels within two seconds of seeing those little puppies crawling across the kitchen floor. All thought and reason went out the window right there:rolleyes:

We met Oscar, as he was called back then, they had named him as no-one had shown any interest in him, and thought they would keep him. He was adorable, as all puppies are. His mum and dad were both there. Mum looked very done in and looking back had lost a lot of condition. The lady said she had had two litters in quick succession, the first litter was planned and the pups went to families, but they had been caught out with the second litter. We met Dad, he was very, very nervous. We were told he was a rescue, but knowing what I know now, no rescue would have homed an entire male:confused:

I asked if their hearts were okay, and of course we were told "yes". I never knew to ask for any health certificates, and we decided to buy our puppy right there and then. We paid £350 for Murphy, and took him home straight away, he was two days shy of eight weeks.

I found Cavalier Talk within a week of bringing Murphy home. It's been a god send, the wealth of knowledge on this forum is amazing. If only I knew then, what I know now.

Not that I would swap my boy for anything. Sure he's not to breed standards. He is tall and lanky, and long and thin. However, we have been so, so lucky with him. He was five on Monday, and he is still heart clear. The only vet visits he's had has been for a couple of incidents of bloody poop when he was much younger. And he needs his anal glands done every two months. We count our blessings, as we have read so many horror stories about people losing pups at very young ages or indeed having them develop SM at a young age.

I'm sure we aren't they only people who made huge mistakes when buying our first puppy, but I thank god we have been so lucky. I'm very grateful to Karlin for running Cavalier Talk, as I hope it will stop others from doing everything wrong the way we did;)

Sorry for rambling on, I'm feeling a little nostalgic this morning :)

thuis could be my story ,the only thing different is i saw the ad in our local paper one night ,called asked if they had a ruby and went first thing in the morning and brought her home. id called lots of breeders far and wide and been put on waiting lists. she was in a family home and her mum was 8 . she was put in my arms and has hardly left them since . i pray shes healthy . shes 18 months old and in lots of ways i wont go into, has changed my life . i will always believe she was sent to me for a reason .. So many people love her and ask where they can get one, i tell them about this site so they can make an informed decision before they go ahead . if i ever get another one im pretty sure it will be a rescue one knowing what i know now ..

Fifer
2nd March 2011, 01:13 PM
What an excellent thread! It puts the subject into perspective from a novice buyer/owner's point of view.

meljoy
2nd March 2011, 02:16 PM
We did loads of research before buying Leo. I even phoned the chairman of the South East Cavalier club for advice, he was very helpful by the way.
When I went to see Leo I was given certificates for both heart and eyes, of his parents, grandparents and great grandparents:p
However MRI scanning wasnt mentioned and even though I thought I'd researched enough I obviously hadn't:(

What I also didnt realise was that Leo's Dad was under 2 years old!

Having said that we have been "Very" lucky with Leo's health and Im thankful for that.

murphy's mum
2nd March 2011, 03:55 PM
When people stop to fuss my two and ask where they can buy a puppy, apart from the usual health information, I always say to them 'Don't go anywhere near a litter until you have definitely decided that a Cavalier is the breed for you - if you see the puppy you'll be unable to resist buying it!' They are so cute - which is why the puppy farmers do so well, of course, catering to the impatient and the impulse buyer.

This is very sound advice Kate!:D After seeing him there was no way I could walk away.

murphy's mum
2nd March 2011, 03:58 PM
if i ever get another one im pretty sure it will be a rescue one knowing what i know now ..

Funnily enough, our second Cav is a rescue, she was from a bad breeding situation. I can highly recommend taking in a rescue, watching them "bloom" so to speak is so rewarding.

Karlin
2nd March 2011, 04:03 PM
My own story with my first two, Leo and Jaspar (back in the pre CavalierTalk days... :lol:):

I actually did a lot of research before deciding this was the right breed. Even doing really basic online research immediately brought up the problem with mitral valve disease, so I knew I really needed to be looking for dogs from heart tested lines. The problem was, I could not find a single breeder in Ireland who actually cardiologist tested their dogs rather than (sometimes... :( ) vet tested them. :x I also was beginning to come across mentions of SM, and this was way back in 2003, but there was very little you could do in advance of buying a puppy. The two health issues really made me nervous about the breed, but I also really liked the breed and so I went ahead and got Jaspar. Several months later, I got his half-brother Leo. They share the same father and would have fairly similar pedigrees on the dam's side.

These dogs are a perfect example of why you cannot just go on the reputation of a line. The single best way to raise the stakes that you will have a healthier puppy is to make sure the parents have been recently tested for the health conditions in the breed, and that the breeder follows the breeding protocol and isn't breeding dogs when they are so young that the health protocol is virtually meaningless.

Of my closely related half-brothers from a line that generally has good hearts, one, Jaspar, is heart clear at age 7 and had an excellent scan for SM, first at age 1 and then again at age 5. He does have PSOM but aside from that he is, as the vet said this week, extremely fit, has never had any joint problems, never gets sick, and is always full of life.

His brother Leo, who is only five weeks older than him, was also MRId at the same age and diagnosed with SM at one. He also has PSOM, and during the summer, the cardiologist said he has a grade three heart murmur. It was not picked up in the previous year :( Setting those serious issues aside, he like Jasper has rarely been inside the vets for any other serious illness. He sometimes gets an upset stomach and has had a ruptured anal gland, but that's about it. Neither has ever been prone to ear infections or allergies or some of the things people routinely bring their dogs in for.

One other minor curiosity perhaps is that even though they are so closely related and have since puppyhood been fed exactly the same diet by me, Jaspar has fantastic teeth and has never even needed a teeth cleaning, whereas Leo has always had bad teeth and gums even from when he was under a year old. Perhaps that is why he also has heart problems, as there is a known connection between gum disease and heart problems.

I am glad that more of these health issues are out in the open and being discussed by breeders because it enables puppy buyers to more openly ask questions and expect answers and to ask for certificates although a lot of self-education has to be done. If people truly care about the breed, then asking for those health clearances and supporting the breeders who actually breed for health, follow the protocols, cardiologist test and MRI (and who support research!) Is absolutely essential. No one has more power to change things than the puppy buyer with knowledge. No one has more ability to let this breed die out then the puppy buyer who thinks all these things are important in the absract, but doesn't apply them when they make a purchase themselves.

I am glad people find the board is a useful place to get information and talk about these issues. Those are key reasons, along with breed rescue and breed welfare, that I set up the board six years ago this Saturday.

Brian M
2nd March 2011, 04:18 PM
Hi

Very good interesting thread ,Thanks.:)

Daisy's Mom
2nd March 2011, 05:05 PM
Daisy will be 5 at the end of April. I did do tons of research online when I was deciding to get a puppy and talked to lots of breeders, asked about heart and eye testing, etc. The breeder I ended up buying from did do the heart and eye testing, but at that time, I didn't think there were many breeders doing MRIs for SM, so I really didn't expect that. When I brought up SM to Daisy's breeder, she was well aware of it and said that yes, it could sometimes be a problem in the breed. So although she wasn't MRIing her dogs back then, it made me feel better that the issue wasn't met with ignorance or denial.

Daisy's been very healthy (heart is good, teeth are good, only a couple of ear infections which were really yeast infections) except for allergies and yeast, which started cropping up last year and are maddening. When she's on anti-fungal, she's good, but once we stop it, she gets yeast again in various places and starts scratching, which ends up in bacterial infections on her skin which ends us up back at the vet. He said that the next step if she has another bout with it is to do thyroid testing, then maybe allergy testing to try to figure out exactly what's bothering her. But I know the answer is likely to be a long list of things that can't really be avoided anyway. (At least that's my experience with a foster dog with allergies and with my allergic son.)

She's too big (long and tall) for a show dog, and she has a really weird thing with the hair on her sides being strawberry blonde instead of the beautiful dark chestnut of her other blenheim patches, but she's absolutely beautiful, smart, and so sweet-natured. I love her to pieces!! And like all Cavaliers, she turns heads wherever we go and everyone oohs and ahhs about how pretty she is and how friendly.

Not sure if I would get a Cavalier next time or not, to be perfectly honest. What with the health issues and the extremely profuse shedding I deal with 12 months a year, I may not. (Don't shoot me! I know that's not a popular opinion on here.) That may be because I grew up with toy poodles and they were all very sweet and healthy (and non-shedding). One of them in particular was the absolute sweetest natured dog that ever existed (although I know lots of people would make a similar claim for their dogs!). She was my best friend and loved everyone. So I know that that wonderful Cavalier personality and bond is not ONLY possible with a Cavalier.

murphy's mum
2nd March 2011, 06:34 PM
Not sure if I would get a Cavalier next time or not, to be perfectly honest. What with the health issues and the extremely profuse shedding I deal with 12 months a year, I may not. (Don't shoot me! I know that's not a popular opinion on here.) That may be because I grew up with toy poodles and they were all very sweet and healthy (and non-shedding). One of them in particular was the absolute sweetest natured dog that ever existed (although I know lots of people would make a similar claim for their dogs!). She was my best friend and loved everyone. So I know that that wonderful Cavalier personality and bond is not ONLY possible with a Cavalier.

I don't think anyone would shoot you down for saying that Daisy's Mom. I love my Cavalier to pieces, but the health problems are truly a worry. Misty our little rescue has been into the vet quite often with various problems, although nothing that's linked. She's had teeth out, both eyes operated on for rolled eyelids, she had really flaky skin when we got her, which took a lot of work to clear up and she's prone to ear infections. She also has a regular, irregular heartbeat, which is in time with her breathing. She also managed to eat a peach stone and had to get it surgically removes, but I think she's just unlucky poor soul.

I love reading other peoples stories about buying their Cavaliers, if you feel you can share your story please do :)

Bet
2nd March 2011, 07:05 PM
Daisy will be 5 at the end of April. I did do tons of research online when I was deciding to get a puppy and talked to lots of breeders, asked about heart and eye testing, etc. The breeder I ended up buying from did do the heart and eye testing, but at that time, I didn't think there were many breeders doing MRIs for SM, so I really didn't expect that. When I brought up SM to Daisy's breeder, she was well aware of it and said that yes, it could sometimes be a problem in the breed. So although she wasn't MRIing her dogs back then, it made me feel better that the issue wasn't met with ignorance or denial.

Daisy's been very healthy (heart is good, teeth are good, only a couple of ear infections which were really yeast infections) except for allergies and yeast, which started cropping up last year and are maddening. When she's on anti-fungal, she's good, but once we stop it, she gets yeast again in various places and starts scratching, which ends up in bacterial infections on her skin which ends us up back at the vet. He said that the next step if she has another bout with it is to do thyroid testing, then maybe allergy testing to try to figure out exactly what's bothering her. But I know the answer is likely to be a long list of things that can't really be avoided anyway. (At least that's my experience with a foster dog with allergies and with my allergic son.)

She's too big (long and tall) for a show dog, and she has a really weird thing with the hair on her sides being strawberry blonde instead of the beautiful dark chestnut of her other blenheim patches, but she's absolutely beautiful, smart, and so sweet-natured. I love her to pieces!! And like all Cavaliers, she turns heads wherever we go and everyone oohs and ahhs about how pretty she is and how friendly.

Not sure if I would get a Cavalier next time or not, to be perfectly honest. What with the health issues and the extremely profuse shedding I deal with 12 months a year, I may not. (Don't shoot me! I know that's not a popular opinion on here.) That may be because I grew up with toy poodles and they were all very sweet and healthy (and non-shedding). One of them in particular was the absolute sweetest natured dog that ever existed (although I know lots of people would make a similar claim for their dogs!). She was my best friend and loved everyone. So I know that that wonderful Cavalier personality and bond is not ONLY possible with a Cavalier.


LOOKING BACK ,KNOWING WHAT WE KNOW NOW.


If I could chime in with our Experience.

Fleek enjoys a Flutter with Horse racing.

He'd a Win in 1973 ,and wondered what I would like with his Winnings, our last Cat had just died ,and I suggested a Cavalier .

We got SWEEP ,who changed my Life completely, he died at 4 from Heart Trouble, I'd never heard of Cavaliers having a Heart Problem.

Then we lost 3 others at early ages to this Disease afflicting Cavaliers , that is why for the Past 20 years I have been involved in trying to help all I can to give the Cavaliers the Chance of Healthier, Longer Lives.

Now it is SM, sorry to say I made a fool of my-self when it first became known about, I helped Dr C. Rusbridge and Penny Knowler, with the Cavalier Pedigrees of Cavaliers suffering from SM, but could not make sense of what I was being told about this Horrendous Condition, argued with them , including Karlin, Margaret, and Carol,I will always be so ashamed about what I said at that time.

Then I saw the wee Cavalier Screaming in pain on the Pedigree Dogs Exposed TV Program, and yes Jemima Harrison also got the weight of my Tongue ,as we say here in Scotland,but when I saw the wee Cavalier Suffering from this Terrible SM Disease, I sure realized what a Fool I had been in saying what I did about this Insideous Health Problem.

Science is Helping our Cavalier Breed , but the Researchers have to be being helped from the Cavalier Breeders who are still in Denial about those Two Serious problems, thankfully though there are now some Breeders who are doing all they can to give our Cavaliers a Future.

What is so sad to read still ,that the Cavalier Writer in DOG WORLD claim publicly ,that she will not be told by any-body at what age she should be Breeding from her Cavaliers and other like-minded Cavalier Breeders agreeing with her .

The whole purpose of the Breeding Guidelines is to try and Delay the Early On-Set of both SM and MVD.

Bet

merello
2nd March 2011, 07:10 PM
We decided to get a dog in 2002. We were inexperienced as we had never had a dog before but we set our hearts on taking a rescue. About 4 days in a row we went to our local SSPCA, we filled in a rehoming questionnaire , but as Elise was only 3 we just wanted something small with a good nature. I think after day 4 they could see we were quite keen so the manager took us to the puppy room . Paul explained we were a bit too inexperienced to cope with a puppy :-) but Anna explained the wee dog she was going to show us had been so badly starved he was being cared for in the puppy room. That was when we first met Sonny this beautiful wee Blenheim. Needless to say our hearts melted. We had to wait three weeks until his strength was built up ( the longest three weeks of our life!!) before we got him home.
To be honest we knew nothing of MVD at this point, it was only a couple of years after when the murmur started and our vet explained about Cavaliers and MVD. We did our best for Sonny but sadly we lost him last year.
I couldn't face another dog but we were all getting depressed. Paul and Elise would come in every night and after tea and homework we would go out as the house was so empty without him. Unknown to me Paul put a post on dog pages offering a home to a rescue dog. Chris from TLDR got in touch with a picture of Kaley a gorgeous 7 year old Tri. My heart melted at the photo but Paul was worried that given her age and MVD in Cavs it might not be wise to consider her as we could not face the loss of another dog through MVD soon but I knew when I saw her picture we could give her a good home and pestered Paul to contact Chris. Within a week we drove up to Lochearnhead to pick her up from her foster mum Eileen ( Fifer)
In time I would have been happy to help out and give another rescue dog a home but Elise was convinced we should help out another wee Cavalier like Sonny so I suppose things just happened at the right time. I'm one of those people who believes certain things happen for a reason and it felt like that with Kaley. From day 1 she settled here and we all just feel some things are meant to be.
i am realistic to know Kaley may end up the same as Sonny and if it does we'll do the best for her like we did Sonny but i have to admit I've a real soft spot for Cavs. They have such a gentle loving nature which I think is important if you have a young family. Elise and Sonny were best buddies from the day he arrived and now it's the same with Kaley.

Sabby
2nd March 2011, 07:28 PM
As we always had Rescue Cross Breeds we didnít have a clue about health problems. When my next door neighbour (and also a very good friend to me) got her first Cavalier we didnít have any dogs as our last dog passed away and we were working full time. We fell in love with her Lucy and we looked after her as much as we could when they went on holidays or whenever we wanted a cuddle. I also got to know the breeder and itís the breeder that informed us about all the health problems and testing. When she had another litter the following year i was not convinced that we were ready for another dog. But as soon as I saw the litter I said if I would have a puppy it would be that lovely Tri. The breeder was still next door with the litter when my husband came from work and he said I know you would pick this one and he pointed to the same pup. The following week the breeder was next door again and was telling us that she done a home visit and that she wasnít happy with the child there so that the pup I wanted was still free. And thatís how we got Rosie and then Ebony and Harley. My friend also has three.

Just to say I was ignorant about health problems, and if the breeder wouldnít have told us I would only have found out when I found this forum. Unfortunately even with my breeder doing the health testing my Ebony at 3 years of age was diagnosed with a very mild murmur and luxating patellar. She is the only one out of the litter that has anything wrong with her. Ebonyís mum is 8 years old and was diagnosed with asymptomatic SM last year.

I never have loved another breed like the Cavalier. But the amount of times I have been to the vets with them and every time they scratch, I just feel I am sitting on a time bomb always looking out for things ready to have my heart broken, I must honestly say I am not too sure I would have another Cavalier.

ByFloSin
2nd March 2011, 08:21 PM
I'm sure I've written this up on here before but here goes anyway:

It was in 1983. We had an 8 years or so old Poodle who had been diagnosed with mvd and put on medication. In our ignorance we were afraid of getting up one morning and finding her dead, so when our friends told us they had just mated their Cavalier, we arranged to have one of the pups. We knew nothing either about Cavaliers or their health. The only way I knew of to select a puppy was to have them all sent towards us with the first to reach us being the one we would have.

That was 8 weeks old Bl. Sandy and we were besotted with her in less than the first day.

The Poodle lived a very happy life to 17 1/2, having to be euthenaised because of old age - nothing whatsoever to do with mvd. I'm not sure how long Sandy lived, because she stayed with my husband after we divorced and he did not tell me that she had died, but I do know that she was still around in 1997.:luv:

susandavis1
2nd March 2011, 10:11 PM
Our story is very similar to so many already here, we were very inexperienced and naive when it came to getting a puppy and I must admit I was not very aware of health issues only that cavaliers were 'prone' to heart murmurs. I lived with and cared for my granny during my late teens and as we were vulnerable on our own at night, we got a guard dog :roll:, a cav cross (who is incidentally still alive at age 14 although I never get to see him now :(). Sebby was given to us for free by a neighbour and he was the sweetest, laziest dog ever but was wonderful company for us. As I was so young, I really didn't know how to care for a dog properly but I did my best for him often going hungry myself so I could buy food for him. When my granny died, I had no home so my family rehomed Sebby (but incidentally would not home me).
A few years later, after I got married, I became very ill with depression. Despite a supportive doctor, medication and counselling, I was really struggling to cope with each day and this continued for many months. My husband was desperate to do anything that might help and when my doctor suggested a pet, my husband instantly searched for a cavalier as he remembered the joy that Sebby had brought to me. He found an ad in the local newspaper and we visited the following week. The breeders were a local family with young children and in no way were they mass producing puppies. Darcy's mother was 5 years old and this was her second litter that had 5 puppies. Darcy's father did not live with them and the mammy was obviosuly a family pet that was well cared for and lived inside. In that sense, at least I know that Darcy did not come from a puppy farm and the dogs were not abused or mistreated. But the obvious downside was that there were no health checks at all done on Darcy or her mother and our inexperience and lack of research meant that we did not even know to ask these questions. CT was set up shortly after we got Darcy and it was only then that I realised the extent of the health issues for the breed. The more information I read, the more I realised how irreponsible we had been.
We have been lucky so far with Darcy's health, she is now 5.5 years old and up until last summer she really only needed to see the vet for urine and ear infections and had a few problems with her anal glands. She had a single seizure last August that the vet could not fully explain but so far she has not had a recurrence. Following a skin biopsy, we know she has allergies (which I am aware could be masking sm) so I am anxious to try and sort her allergy problem asap. I am also hoping to bring her to a cardiologost soon so her heart can be checked out. By nature I am a worrier anyway but I do find myself feeling very anxious and concerned for Darcy's health. I am very sensitive to any changes in her at all and find myself worrying about her so much. I often have to remind myself to enjoy the here and now with Darcy and to stop worrying about what may or may not happen in the future.
She truly is such a joy in our lives. I know that without her in my life, I would have continued to suffer with my illness for a much longer time. Everyday she brought fun and laughter into our lives as only a puppy could and in time I began to enjoy my life again and can now thankfully say that life is good. Darcy is such a sweet natured, cuddly furbaby and we love her to bits. As she grew up, I continued to read and learn more information on the health issues for cavaliers and made efforts to improve her life and I continue to try and do my best for her. CT and the community is fantastic for information and support.
As Maya Angelou said 'when you know better, you do better'.

Pat
3rd March 2011, 02:26 AM
It was 1989 and my last American cocker had died. Because of their health AND temperament problems, I started researching breeds because I did not want another cocker, and my mother mentioned Rex Reagan and said I should research Cavaliers. No internet then; all we had were dog magazines and breed books so I started reading. Very, very few breeders in the U.S. at the time, but I phoned one in a nearby state and didn't like what that person had to say at all. I also was sure that I wanted an adult (all 12 of mine were adults when they came to me), so the second person I spoke with was Babs Murdock who at the time was the ONLY person handling Cavalier rescue in the entire United States! The third person I spoke with was Liz Spalding of Kilspindie Cavaliers, who was President of CKCSC USA at that time. I made two very dear friends and started my relationship with Cavaliers. So I had a relatively easy time of it.

Pat (so funny - I remember just about having a stroke when I learned that the price for a Cavalier was about $500!!)

Nicki and Elvis
3rd March 2011, 10:07 AM
It's so nice to read all the stories of how everyone got their cavs x lovely thread!

My story is similar to some of yours! I always wanted a dog and my parents particularly my dad wasn't keen at all so when I got married decided I had to get one! My sister who was also getting married and had also bought a house was not as keen as me but her Hubby and I set about to change that! My aunt had a cav years and years ago who was grumpy, had his own chair and didn't like anyone to sit on it but was absolutely gorgeous and I knew I wanted one!

So I didn't do any research on the breed (Silly I know) and bought from an online ad :( we went to see the pups after work one evening saw the mother too but didn't get to spend any time with her the pups were in the house and we fell in love straight away with them!

My sister wanted the quiet one who was hiding at the back of the crate!! And of course me being a qualified hair dresser I fell head over heels in love with the crazy blenheim sporting an actual Mohican! And elvis was quickly named.

We collected them a few days later and although my Hubby was hesitant at first he is the biggest softie with him.

Elvis has his health problems has sm and has already had decompression surgery as it was quite severe and he was so young (although the advice from my vet was far inferior to the advice I got here and looking back would not have done surgery at all) he has a grade 1 heart murmer also.

He is my baby I love him to bits would not change him for the world :) couldn't imagine the house without him now either. We have no excuse for not researching the breed before we purchased we have everything at our fingertips to do so but saying that it wouldn't change my choice in breed I would still get another cav next time x

Bet
3rd March 2011, 06:45 PM
It's so nice to read all the stories of how everyone got their cavs x lovely thread!

My story is similar to some of yours! I always wanted a dog and my parents particularly my dad wasn't keen at all so when I got married decided I had to get one! My sister who was also getting married and had also bought a house was not as keen as me but her Hubby and I set about to change that! My aunt had a cav years and years ago who was grumpy, had his own chair and didn't like anyone to sit on it but was absolutely gorgeous and I knew I wanted one!

So I didn't do any research on the breed (Silly I know) and bought from an online ad :( we went to see the pups after work one evening saw the mother too but didn't get to spend any time with her the pups were in the house and we fell in love straight away with them!

My sister wanted the quiet one who was hiding at the back of the crate!! And of course me being a qualified hair dresser I fell head over heels in love with the crazy blenheim sporting an actual Mohican! And elvis was quickly named.

We collected them a few days later and although my Hubby was hesitant at first he is the biggest softie with him.

Elvis has his health problems has sm and has already had decompression surgery as it was quite severe and he was so young (although the advice from my vet was far inferior to the advice I got here and looking back would not have done surgery at all) he has a grade 1 heart murmer also.

He is my baby I love him to bits would not change him for the world :) couldn't imagine the house without him now either. We have no excuse for not researching the breed before we purchased we have everything at our fingertips to do so but saying that it wouldn't change my choice in breed I would still get another cav next time x


LOOKING BACK ,KNOWING WHAT WE KNOW NOW

This has been a Lovely Thread ,going down Memory Lane, but isn't it curious how we all have one thing in Common ,we never knew about the Health Problems in our Cavalier Breed.

Thank-fully all that has now changed, that any-one wanting to buy a Cavalier is now so aware about SM and MVD and the Questions that should be asked from Cavalier Breeders.

Bet

Wagtails
3rd March 2011, 08:51 PM
When I first decided to get a dog for companionship as I was working from home in 1991, my OH was very doubtful as he had never had one before. One day we were taking a group of birdwatchers on a trip to the Exe Estuary in Devon and one of the participants asked if they could bring their dog along. This was "Spencer", the tiniest Cavalier I have ever seen in my life, but also one of the most lively, curious and endearing. OH said "Well, if we could have one like that......" I didn't need any more encouragement (though realised that a very young puppy would probably not be a good idea).

Several weeks later I found an advert in our local paper for an older Tri-colour, rang up, was told that the dog had already gone, but "a friend" had another B/T which needed a good home after having puppies. This was my beloved Louie, who came into our lives at the age of almost 3, bonded completely with me on the way home in the car, and lived an adventurous life with us and my 2 step-children until we finally lost her at the age of 10 (from the dreaded heart failure).

When she was 8 years old, we decided to get another Cavalier, partly as companion for her and partly so as not to have a "gap" once we knew she had MVD. By some amazing coincidence, the person whose advert I originally answered was advertising again - this time, a 5 month old ruby (my precious Megan, now 12 years old). In spite of my vet's dire warnings that he had "rarely seen a Cavalier without heart trouble", Megan did not have (and still does not have) any sign of a murmur. She joined us in 1998, got me through a serious illness in 1999, and has continued to be my soulmate and "senior companion" ever since. Sadly, she went totally deaf and was subsequently diagnosed with SM in 2007, but we have all learned to live with it and she seems stable on her medication.

And only at THIS point, whilst researching SM on the internet, did I stumble across this amazing Forum and all its helpful denizens!

Meanwhile, in 2000, I had acquired an ex-breeding Tri from a local breeder who I had got to know through a friend who had a Blenheim from him when she contacted the breed rescue group. This was my treasured Joss, also deaf, who was only destined to stay with us for 6 more years, after which she also succumbed to heart failure. At this point I counted myself "honoured" to be offered her daughter, an ex-show champion and ex-breeding bitch, who is my heart-pal Victoria, now aged 10, but beginning to suffer as her MVD turns to CHF, with all its attendant medications and daily worries.

And then when I decided to get a third Cavalier and couldn't find one at any of my "usual sources", I actually went onto the dreaded free ads on the Internet and found my wonderful Poppy, a little Blenheim, who, at the age of 5 months, found herself in need of a good home because a family with 3 children suddenly found they were going to be a family with 5 children when the mother discovered she was pregnant with twins!!!

So you see, I have done it "all wrong" all along the line! My only excuse is that this ALL happened before I joined CT in 2008. But I don't regret a single moment with any of my beautiful Cavaliers. They have all brought us love, devotion and companionship through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, come rain or shine. I wouldn't have changed any of them, even if I had known about all the health problems they would bring with them. I know that I am very fortunate in being able to afford to pay for their treatments, and I whole-heartedly support any effort to overcome these terrible maladies that afflict the breed.

Through joining CT and learning about Karlin's Irish rescue, I have discovered the "whole new (to me anyway) world of dog rescue" and the rehoming of elderly dogs is now my particular passion. When my current golden oldies are no more I am hoping to be able to become a foster carer for as many Cavaliers as I can possibly look after in my own older age.

I can't think of ANY better way to spend my retirement :thmbsup:

murphy's mum
3rd March 2011, 09:33 PM
There are some very heartwarming stories in this thread, thanks to all who have shared them with us :)