Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I had big plans today. Plans to go visit some good friends of mine in London and ring in the New Year with black cherry rum, thai food, an owed combined Birthday and Christmas present and a lot of fun and laughs. As we all know sometimes even the best of plans don't work out. Her gifts will have to wait, and our black cherry rum will keep until the next time.

I have a horrible, rotten, disgusting, cold. I've had it for six days now and yesterday, and today have been the worst so far. My normal remedies of living on cough and cold medication and dristan just isn't cutting it. I plain feel awful. It has to get better sooner rather than later right?

So instead of being in London I am at home tonight. I'm at home in comfy pajamas, surrounded in quilts, the humidifier running full steam, and spending New Years with my dogs on the couch. A wonderful second option in this case.

We will watch the cheesy New Years specials, maybe a girly movie or two, and probably be sleeping long before midnight.

Zo is thrilled with this change of events as it means I will be home to play with her, taken earlier this evening;

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and Mylee.. well Mylee already has the right idea
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Sleeping this well just doesn't happen with a horrible cold, I am jealous.
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Have a happy, safe, and healthy New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from Embee Cavaliers!

My smelly Christmas candles are burning, my table is completely covered in wrapping paper, tape, and the gifts in which the paper should be on. My little last minute details are *mostly* done, and Christmas officially starts for us tomorrow with family. Life is good. :)

If I get ambitious later tonight I think I am going to attempt to make some vanilla fudge. My good friend inspired me. I'm betting on a disaster but I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised.. we will see.

The card I sent out this year. I normally try and do a little Christmas photo shoot but I think this worked out just as well. By the time I was in the "mood" to even start thinking about Christmas cards they should have been in the mail!

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Zoey's idea of helping with cleaning and getting ready for Christmas this afternoon. Does anyone else have this problem? Vacuum's are apparently evil intruders from space, who suck up cavaliers...no matter how many times a week they visit your home. It's always the same, like she has never seen a vacuum in her life!


I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The importance of a yearly Cardiologist visit for a CKCS

So often this topic is posted about and discussed. What breeders are doing, what are they not doing, who are they using for breeding, who is doing their MVD testing, who isn't, who is following protocol, who isn't... etc etc.

The sad reality of it all is that regardless of who is doing what and who isn't almost all Cavaliers at some point or another will develop Mitral Valve Disease. It can also be said that many dogs regardless of breed will develop MVD as it is the most common form of heart disease found in dogs. The issue in our breed is how soon they can develop it and how fast it may progress even if it is developed late.

Like other problems in our breed there are more unanswered questions than there are absolute certainties regarding MVD. Making good breeding decisions, buying from a reputable responsible breeder, and completing yearly breed screening are really our only plans of action.

One thing remains constant and it is the single best thing you can do for your Cavalier in regards to MVD is to book them a yearly appointment with a *Cardiologist* for at minimum an auscultation. Yes a Cardiologist. Not your normal Veterinarian.

Your Vet may be the best Vet ever, extremely knowledgeable. and treat you and your Cavalier wonderfully, however the bottom line is that they are not skilled in regards to picking up early and lower grade murmurs. They may be able to detect a murmur if it becomes quite serious, however with our Cavaliers early detection and careful monitoring gives them the best defense for MVD. The extra cost and or trip is worth it for peace of mind.

Monday was that day for us. Miss Zo and a good friends visiting Cavalier made the journey down to see Dr. Minors at Mississauga/Oakville Veterinary Emergency Centre. Dr. Minors is very familiar with Cavaliers after working with our CKCSCC Heart Study for soooo many years. She is excellent with our Cavaliers and has listened to thousands of CKCS hearts.

I put Zo up on the table where she happily wiggled her hellos and then I started the agonizing wait as Dr. Minors carefully listened to her heart. After what seemed hours I finally heard what every cavalier owner and breeder wants to hear, Zoey's heart sounds good, no murmur detected. Relief and peace of mind... until next year that is, when we get to do it all over again.

Taken with my Iphone earlier today.. Not the best quality but great for snapping those shots when you don't have your camera in reach.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Want to buy a snood? Update on our Snoods!

Still having a blast making these! This is the fabric I have currently. If you don't see anything you like and are interested in purchasing please just ask when you contact me. I make these loose enough to be comfortable for the dog wearing them, but tight enough to stay on and keep the ears clean.

Two Elastic Kind - $8.00
Three Elastic Kind - $12.00
Shipping Included! (had to up a dollar for shipping)

Almost all of my fabric choices have a sparkle or shine to them and do not tend to photograph well. These are fairly close representations.

Black and Silver and Black and Gold *Bling*!
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Cream, Forest Green, and Olive Green Gold *Bling*
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Purple with Gold Sparkle Dragonflies, and Cream Multicoloured no sparkle
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Turquoise with Multicoloured Shimmery Stars, and Blue Clouds outlined in silver shine
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Green Aliens and Red Bandana, no shine.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our 10 Favourite "Must Have's" for a Doggy Christmas!

Christmas shopping is not one of my favourite things to do. In fact I dread it and typically put it off to the very last minute and then immediately regret not making the effort to do it sooner. The hustle and bustle combined with an over commercialization on gifts is a bit much for me. I love seeing and spending time with my family, and we have always kept Christmas relatively small in terms of gifts. That is just perfect for me.

My one exception for my shopping rule in general is for my dogs. They are very spoiled and I know it, however it is one of my small pleasures in life. I don’t tend to go overboard on them either but we do have a list of favourite things that no dog owner should be without that we wanted to share. If you want to buy your doggy any of them for Christmas we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Smoochy Poochy Harness – I strongly feel that all dogs should be on a harness and not a collar. Collars are the number one cause of injuries to the throat and neck in dogs. Cavaliers especially should never be on a collar for long periods of time. Due to their pre breed disposition to having CM and SM the head and neck of most Cavaliers is more sensitive than most. Smoochy poochy is a local Canadian company who makes wonderful harnesses. Their fit is perfect, and they are so durable. They are a bit plain so getting a funky leash is a must. My girls never go anywhere without having their harness on. We love the “step-in” design as Mylee especially is very sensitive to anything near her head.

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Chilly Dog Sweater– These are a relatively new purchase for me but I absolutely love them. Their construction and fit is completely awesome. Not to mention they look adorable in them! They have only worn them a few times but they are easily the best and warmest sweaters that I have ever purchased for my dogs. My lazy little Mylee was kept toasty warm at the park the other day while Zo happily played ball in hers.

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Chuck it Flying Squirrel – If Zo would talk she would say that this is the best thing in the world ever. One only has to say the word “Frisbee” and all mayhem breaks loose. OCD she is about this Frisbee. My only complaint with it is that we are unable to take it to the park to play with as it is automatically stolen by the first dog that sees it. It comes in a small size and a full size. For some reason Zoey very much prefers the full size she can barely carry. I have no idea, my dog is strange.

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Puppia Winter coat – If you live in Canada and have a small dog that you walk in the winter this is our favourite coat. They are very expensive however they are well made and keep my dogs warm. Especially Mylee - who if she is cold at all, sits down on her little bum and refuses to move. We haven’t had too many all out walking refusals since our good friend Sara introduced us to Puppia.

You can also see the Muttluks which I will mention later in this picture.
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Chris Christensen Wooden Pin Brush – I have to credit Sara for this find as well. She originally told us about this brush and at the time I didn’t really need a brush so put it in the back of my mind in case I ever saw it. Well while I was at the Cavalier National a wonderful Bernese Mt. Dog Breeder was there selling IOD shampoo and Chris Christensen grooming products. She was selling this brush at a really good price for a show special and was almost sold out by the time I got to her. I’ve been nothing but thrilled by the way this brush works on Cavalier coats. It may not work well for all breeds but for any breed with long, silky, fine coats this brush is great!

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Vellus – I’ve talked before about my love of all Vellus products. They need another mention here. I just love their grooming products. Any dog I’ve bathed in Vellus comes out so soft, shiny and smelling good. It is a pricier shampoo option however it is meant to be diluted and truly works better diluted. It leaves a heavy buildup on the coat if not diluted properly. For a cavalier our “vellus” guy told us to dilute even further than the instructions as their coats are different than most. I’ve been even more thrilled if that is possible since diluting this even further than what I was before LESS is truly better in this case. Start with a sample kit if you want to try before spending a ton of money on shampoo.

All ready for show after being bathed and groomed in Vellus.
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Tartar buster bones – There is nothing better for teeth cleaning than a good knuckle or marrow bone. Safe, effective cleaning, and pure utter chewing bliss. They are guaranteed to keep your dog busy and active for a few hours. Like with anything being chewed keep a close watch that nothing is coming off in large chunks, and that they are safe while chewing these. I have never had any problems with either type but I would never leave them unsupervised with them. If you have a cavalier or a breed with long ears I’d highly recommend introducing them to a snood and a bone at the same time. I love making snoods so if you need one please let me know! :)

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Muttluks – Another must have if you walk your dog in any City or Town where they lay salt on the sidewalks. Salt is very damaging to doggy feet. It is quite painful for them to walk on, and very dangerous if ingested when they come back inside and lick their paws to clean them. Muttluks have been wonderful for us. They are also Canadian made. (I love supporting local and Canadian products!) They can be a bit tricky to get on Cavalier feet; however once on they tend to actually stay on. People think I’m nuts to dress my dogs in coats and boots. But for small dogs in Canadian winter, if you are not doing coats and boots you are the one who is nuts. They do truly need the extra protection.

Hide a Squirrel - Also known as Chippy’s in this house. They really do look like chipmunk and not squirrel’s. Aside from Zo’s Frisbee this is the favourite toy here and has been for years. We have been through 3 sets of replacement chipmunks and probably are due for another set this Christmas. The house is still in great shape. This is a puzzle toy where the dog is required to get the squirrel out of the house. My two are very fast at getting the Chippy’s out of their house. The chipmunks without the house would be equally as entertaining if not more.



CFSO Calendar – Last but not least - supporting a favourite doggy organization. There are so many organizations and Clubs out there working hard for various breeds and causes. As a member of the Cavalier Fanciers of Southern Ontario I’d encourage you to buy a calendar for any Cavalier lover. Our Club uses the money to put towards research, health, education, and initiatives in the breed.

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Another I will be donating to this year is the Foetal Tissue Research Project. A very important research initiative happening in our breed right now. They need support and funding and as Cavalier lovers regardless of breeder, or pet owner - if you have any extra to give this season this would be where I would send it.

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We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and happy doggy shopping!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Woofstock 2010 - Toronto Ontario

Sunday November 28th, Mylee and I ventured down to Winter "Woofstock" being held at the Direct Energy Centre right at Exhibition Place in Toronto. I was full of anticipation at the opportunity to spend time with some good friends, our dogs, in a dog loving environment. We had planned to take in some of the events, do a little shopping, take some pictures, and enjoy coming back to post a blog report on it. What could be better? Woofstock seemed like it would be a wonderful Event and we were all so excited.

Mylee and I arrived at Woofstock early Sunday afternoon. It was a complete mad house zoo and there were people and dogs absolutely everywhere. We paid our parking of $13.00 and then went in and paid our $10.00 entrance fee. Fairly high for an event of this type however I was still excited and figured I would be getting my money's worth. I met up with Debbie, her wonderful human daughters, and her beautiful Cavalier Becky and we headed into the commotion. It soon became quickly apparent that this was going to be a crazy afternoon. There were *so* many people, and *so* many dogs that you barely could navigate the aisles without having people bumping into you, getting pushed, and the worst part - almost having your little dog repeatedly getting stepped on.

As we continued on we quickly came across the "VIP room" where you could pick up your "swag" bags if you had registered your dog prior to the event. Debbie and I have been twittering with @woofstock on twitter for several months and we both registered our dogs at the same time for the VIP list. The girl running the gate quickly told us that we were incorrect in our registrations and that none of our dogs were on her list. At this point I was already annoyed and said forget about it. Debbie however made her check three times before finding Becky on the list. No idea where Zo, Mylee, and Kodee ended up being.. for all we know they probably were on the list just like Becky was. Why advertise a VIP swag bag and make it that difficult? Definitely very unhappy already at this point and we had only been there approx 10-15minutes.

We ventured on in our travels and the day just went downhill from there. The facility was a disgusting mess. Who puts down purple carpets for a ton of dogs to poop on and then not be cleaned up properly? It stunk, it was not being maintained and quite honestly was a health hazard. There didn't seem to be any well thought out planning on the setup as the aisles were tight together and not nearly enough room to maneuver with lots of people and dogs. There certainly was not many shopping bargains to be had, and absolutely no demonstrations going on. Overall I left Woofstock feeling completely ripped off, frustrated and annoyed that I had wasted a Sunday afternoon there.

I might be being a bit harsh however the Event was awful. As a former Special Event planner a lot of this stuff should just not happen. I will be sending Woofstock a letter as well. If they do this again next year I really hope that some very big improvements are put into place. As it stands now it will take me a lot to venture back to a Winter Woofstock and I will certainly not be encouraging anyone to go take in the "festivities".

Mylee had a wonderful time and enjoyed all the attention she received. She helped me do a very minor amount of shopping as we picked out new Smoochy Poochy Harnesses for Zoey and Molly, some dehydrated sweet potato treats, and two tartar buster bones for Zo's birthday present. The harnesses were not on any discount however we needed them as I love their construction and fit. The bones were slightly discounted, and the sweet potato treats were a not bad deal. Everything else was regular to overpriced. Here are some pictures I managed to take in the commotion.

Zo and I are off tonight to Waterloo to get her eyes CERF'd by an Ophthalmologist. 'll breath a sigh of relief as always when that is completed again for the year.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

My Boo Bear is Four

Princess Zo Zo turned four years old - two days ago. I feel like an absolute horrible dog owner because I didn't even remember. Then I feel even more guilty as Mylee had an entire post dedicated to her Birthday! Life sometimes just gets busy. Either way I'm feeling very guilty. I will make sure my Zoey dog is very spoiled today and make it up to her.

A look back at my crazy, hyper, very athletic girl. She never fails to make life interesting and constantly keeps me on my toes. She has been a wonderful introduction to the cavalier breed, and has yet to meet anyone, or any food she doesn't like....unless you are a cat. When she was very small my sisters big black and white cat was very mean to my Zo. He cornered her and bit her tail so that it was bleeding. She has *never* forgotten or forgiven. She is a challenge of the best kind, and I love my girl to pieces.

First Day home.. I should have guessed I'd be in for a challenge by looking at that face!
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Meeting her Charlie, she loved him from the start.
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Always game for anything anytime!
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All leggy and long at 8 months old.
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We did venture into the show ring a few times to learn the ropes. Zo wasn't a fan of showing. Debbie's Husband David took this picture for me a long time ago of us in the ring.
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She even went to PEI without me to show at the National. Peggy Wallace I believe took this beautiful picture of her on the beach.
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She has loved and adored her sister from the first day I brought her home.


One of my favourite pictures that shows off her sweet face
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This Summer - Zo just loves life everyday.
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A Happy Girl in Belfountain
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We are off to Woofstock this weekend. I think my enthusiastic Birthday Princess will be staying home much to her dismay. I will make sure to bring her home something, and take lots of pictures at the show. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cavaliers in Canada have lost a Supporter, Protector, and Friend of our Breed

We will miss his commitment to research, education, and his dedication to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Our thanks and hearts go out to Dr. Roberto Poma, and his family.

Reposted from the Ontario Veterinary College

OVC community mourns loss of colleague

Published
November 15, 2010

Pet Trust, Clinical Studies, College News

The OVC community is mourning the loss of a beloved colleague and gifted clinician, scientist and teacher.

Dr. Roberto Poma, a faculty member and neurology specialist in the Department of Clinical Studies, died on Nov. 15 of an acute brain hemorrhage at the age of 41.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Becky Valentine, their children and extended family.

Please check the OVC website for updates. As a gesture of respect and condolence, the University of Guelph will lower its flags to half-mast on the day of his funeral.

A graduate of the veterinary school at the University of Turin, Italy, Poma came to OVC for a DVSc in neurology in 1998. After successfully completing his residency, he spent three years as a staff veterinarian in the OVC Teaching Hospital before joining the faculty in 2004.

Poma's research was focused on finding better ways to diagnose and treat canine epilepsy, and improve understanding of the disease in companion animals and humans.

He also worked closely with groups such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club to reduce the incidence of syringomyelia, a very serious neurological disorder that is rare in most breeds but increasingly afflicts King Charles Spaniels.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Royal Winter Fair 2010 and 2 Little Monkeys

Every fall the Royal Winter Fair happens in Toronto. Dubbed as "Country Coming to the City" it is always the final Country Fair of the season and the biggest with the most prestige, and prize money attached. If you made it to the Royal with your calf, pony, sheep, goat, etc, you have done really well for the show season and have a ton to be proud of! Before I became involved with dogs, it was horses, and cattle that I showed competitively.

My biggest win at the Royal was in the Robert Graham Memorial Judging competition for horses. I was 16 or so at the time. It was a judging competition for horses where you were required to judge a class of heavy horses and a class of light horses and place them accordingly. Then you were required to give proper judging reasons regarding structure, type etc and why they were placed the way you decided to the officials judging your judging abilities. There was over 100 people under the age of 29 years of age taking part in that competition. I went with my 4-h horse club just for fun. It is one of my favourite memories of the Royal. Having my name being called out that day as the winner of that huge judging class.

Looking back I suppose things haven't changed that much. Horses and cattle have changed into Cavaliers. Structure, type and movement are still what my eye immediately goes to, and it is not hard for me to "see" the complete picture. Although relearning conformation terms in dogs is still a work in progress. "Elastic" "Floaty" "Flat" movement, with a "large bascule" "scopey jump" and "refined dishy head" are not terms that are used in the dog world. Some day I hope horses and cattle will once again be in the picture. For now Cavaliers are a bit more portable and less expensive!

Since the dates always fall on my Birthday it is a long standing tradition that I make it down for at least one day during the fair. That day almost always includes tickets to the Horse show during the evening to take in International jumping competitions with all the world's top riders.

Wednesday happened to be that day last week. It was also a very special day as I was accepting a big award that my family's farm had won for Champion Seed Potato. My Father was unable to attend due to being at a meeting. I went to the fancy awards ceremony, picked up his Championship ribbon, and very nice silver plate on the Farm's behalf. My Dad works incredibly hard to produce the best product he can for Potato Growers and to get some awesome well deserved recognition at the Royal is incredible for our Farm. He had beautfiul Yukon Gold seed potatoes entered. It was a wonderful luncheon and I was very fortunate to make some great contacts that I hope to use at a later date. It is my career goal to mix my post graduate program in public relations with my agricultural background. Maybe someday it will be me helping to organize the fair! I also did some shopping, and attended the horse show. It was a great day and I look forward to next years Royal!

My best find of the day for shopping was handmade Chilly Dog Sweaters in "Monkey" that I have been looking for. They are made by Quechua Indian Artisans and follow fair trade guidelines. My girls will now be toasty warm for the winter and look adorable in their sock monkey sweaters.

I tested out the camera on my new Iphone. Not the best but not bad either!

Champion Seed Potatoes!
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Itty Bitty Apple Pie for desert at the Awards Ceremony
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Sculptures Carved out of Butter - A Royal Winter Fair Tradition
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Semex Dairy Cattle
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A Peeved Puffed out Turkey
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An RCMP Officer and his gorgeous Hanoverian Mare
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Sock Monkey Chilly Dog Sweater - Love them!
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My 2 Little Monkeys
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"Down and Stay" Very intent on getting their treat!
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Zo Zo Monkey
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and the Chunky Monkey
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