Ellie’s Story: How a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rescued from a puppy mill became a family member.
My Aunt Jeanne shared this story of rescue, fostering, adoption and hope for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. This story could be told of any breed. Puppy mills are sometimes hard to identify if you choose to purchase a pure bred dog. Here is a resource to help you identify a puppy mill.
Please spay and neuter your pet no matter where you get them from.
Being involved with Cavalier Rescue since 2008 has been for me, challenging, rewarding and heartbreaking. Though I’ve fostered less than ten Cavaliers during this time, and have fallen in love with each, I’m always happy to see a rescued Cavalier go to a forever loving home. I just didn’t realize that on this particular day in September of 2010, when I agreed to foster the little tri-color that she would eventually run her way into my heart as my third adopted Cavalier!
It all started with a phone call to one of our leading volunteers of Cavalier Rescue, USA in September 2010. A lady in Missouri who works with an all-breed volunteer group informed Cavalier Rescue that 5 female cavaliers had just come in, and would we be willing to take them?
Two volunteers drove to Hannibal, Missouri and picked up the dogs. Not only were they met with the 5 females, but also 4 puppies. Now Cavalier Rescue had 9 dogs to place! So there began the task of hoping to find foster homes for all those little Cavaliers.
None of the dogs had names, so the two volunteers spent the long drive home giving names to each little dog. One of the frightened little Cavaliers, a tri-color, was given the name “Ellie”.
Ellie, along with the others, was flea-infested, had ear mites and whip worm, but in pretty good health otherwise. All of the adult females had horrible teeth, and most of them lost several teeth during their dentals, including little Ellie. Ellie was determined to be about 4 years old, had given birth to several litters of puppies, and also a possible grade one heart murmur.
With the heart murmur my biggest concern, I agreed to foster her. The evening my husband Barry and I picked up little Ellie, we could see she was nervous, and frightened. After all, she had already been through so much in her young life, and here she was, in another new environment with no idea what was to happen next.
Once home, we introduced her to her new “brother and sisters” outside in the fenced yard. She stood still while everyone suspiciously checked her out, but all tails wagging. It didn’t take long for Ellie to fit in with her foster family, adopted Ruby Cavalier Ruby, and her Blenheim Cavalier brother Artie, as well as the loving big mutt Jack.
We noticed right away during our daily walks outside that Ellie didn’t have the normal gait when she walked. Having spent so long in a cage, she couldn’t walk or run normally, but “hopped” like a rabbit. Both back legs hopped in unison. It was a funny sight to see, but also sad, knowing that until now she didn’t have the opportunity to go for long walks, to get the exercise, to be carefree and enjoy the outdoors.
Within a week or two, I knew that Ellie would be my third adopted Cavalier. It was no use; I was once again a “foster failure,” a term given to foster volunteers when we can’t give up our foster dogs. We have fallen in love with them, and choose to adopt. Having given up a tri-color I was fostering a few years back, I was always sorry, was determined not to let it happen again. So, Ellie’s photo never appeared on the Cavalier Rescue website along with her “bio.” Ellie had become a part of our family, joining adopted fosters Ruby and Artie.
In time, Ellie’s back legs gained strength, and now during outings, she can get to running pretty fast! Her flexi-lead leash is fully extended with me running behind, trying to keep up with her, Ruby and Artie! Our big dog Jack runs freely alongside the little ones, and we all enjoy the time together.
Volunteering for Cavalier Rescue USA, as I said has its challenges and heartbreaks. But the reward is in watching the dog blossom into a happy, tail wagging bouncing pooch, and knowing that even if for a short time, you’ve been a part of its life. You’ve cared for, loved and nurtured the dog, and have helped erase those hurtful memories of a sad life before.
Knowing the once mistreated or homeless dog will go into a loving and forever home, is quite the reward. Or as in my case three times over, adopting one is the greatest reward of all…
By Jeanne DeFelice Aydt, 2012