June 26th 2009 5:10 am
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She said for me to tell you that I am a very picky eater...Zoe eats anything. Mommy found the best foods. We like canned and dry mixed. These were so good I started to eat on my own.
Mommy did a comparison of all the top foods, dry and canned. She had trouble copying them to this blog so you have to look on our other one at
there are separate entries for canned, top dry and top 5 ingredients...check it out. WOOF!
June 26th 2009 4:31 am
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originally written May 26th as seen on my other blog
Little Cali was purchase at 13 weeks from a home not far from us. We were under the impression she was one of his puppies since he had 3 adult female cavaliers. It wasn’t until a few weeks afterwards while going through her paper work I discovered exactly where she came from. She was a mill dog from a breeder in Missouri. I researched the family name and address, I pulled up online ads for different breeds owned and puppies that were available for sale under the family name. I didn’t think much of it at the time though it sadden me to think she was born under not so ideal conditions. It wasn’t until I was looking for a second cavalier that I began to understand exactly where she came from and how knowing that enabled me to understand why she had some of the fear traits she does. I started researching and talking to rescue groups about the horrible start and lives these dogs face in mills.
Mill dogs are not treated well at all, they are handled roughly usually by the back of the neck, some wear chains. They are fed usually on big trays, dominate dogs/puppies eat first, submissive eat what is left if anything at all. The weaker ones are always fearful of dominate ones attacking them. They are usually kept in cages made of wire sometimes exposed to the harsh elements. Puppies are taken from the mom sometimes to early. Proper socialization with humans is little if any. The impressionable time for socialization of puppies with humans is between 5 to 10 weeks. If the puppy is in a cage with little human touch and love the puppy may grow up to be a dog with issues.
Cali in the beginning was a loving puppy, quiet, playful and adored our older dogs. She cuddled and slept next to us, ate on her own. She potty trained quickly and was a little shadow to me, went for car rides nicely. Very good little dog.
After Toby and Buddy passed so quickly within a month of each other when she was between 9 and 10 months old Cali changed, some of the traits and behavior of what a mills would exhibit started to come out. Some of this is and was due to the loss. Not eating out of her dish, scared of noises, we can’t reach down and pat her on the head. She has separation anxiety, after we leave she yelps, sometime so fast and loud I can hear her outside. She won’t go far on walks, if a dog barks or a loud noise occurs she wants to go home. We have had a trainer in as I explained in my very first entry. She has improve but not totally. Cali is extremely sensitive and we handle her differently than Zoe.
Cali is very sweet, gentle, a little lady. She sleeps with me at night. She will not get on the bed until I lay down, she gingerly comes over next to me almost as she if she is asking “do you mind if I sit here?” She gently curls into a little ball and sleeps quietly next to me all night. Once I take her and Zoe out in the morning I set about making their food only to find Cali has gone back to our bed. I pick her up, kiss her and bring her in to eat, meanwhile Zoe is dancing about my feet like a monkey, hungry.
The difference in their eating is outlined in my first entry. They could not be more different from each other in behavior and manners. Cali loves being talked to closely to her face and kissed, the side of her face rubbed and if done gently if you are close and talking quietly to her she will on rare occasion let you pet her head. If you pick her up she is rigid, almost fearful. If you pick her up and cradle her she relaxes a little. Zoe you can rough her up in play, you can hold her if she is not busy, she likes being held if tired. You can give her kisses but she is like a little kid saying “yuk mom did you have to do that?”
Cali is funny also, she like clean laundry, my husband’s sport socks, our daughter’s socks and underwear can be seen dangling from her lips when you catch her rooting through the clean clothes waiting to be folded. She sometimes takes a sock and lays on it if she sees you coming. If it is in front of her she puts her head done on it. Silly girl.
She also has a love for sirens and wails from a low pitch howl to a fast high pitch one which usually results in one of us correcting her or distracting her.
Cali is my love, she is comforting, sweet and dainty, though she can rough it up with Zoe and put that little monkey in her place. She is always so happy to see me even if I am gone 5 minutes or hours. Unconditional love and devotion.
When we purchased Cali we had no idea the home we went to was not where she was born, , the website we visited did not even hint as to the truth where the puppies with bright bows, sitting in little buckets or chairs really came from. We found out the sad truth later during our search for a second cavalier a year later. I had heard of mills but never really looked into them, even when I reviewed her paperwork days after we got her life was hectic and I was busy with every ones’ summer schedules, our 3 dogs which included little Cali. I kind of dismissed the out of state address of the “breeder”. I was in a quiet denial and settled in with the fact we had this sweet, loving puppy and she was ours now.
When Cali was home with us for a month my daughter called from work at the vet office, the man had bought one of Cali’s little brothers in. The little boy was left in Missouri because he was very tiny and he was going to be bred to produce tinier cavaliers. The breeder decided to sell him and sent him down on a puppy run to Florida. I brought Cali over and the two puppies squealed when I came through the door. Cali wiggled and wiggled until I put her down. They were all over each other in a familiar kind of way. We let them play until the man had to leave. Cali got to see a little part of her family. I still didn’t think to much about Cali’s background.
There is a tri male the same age as Cali from the same breeder and broker, they recognized each other when they were younger. The meeting and greeting was different than with just any other dog. I started running into more people that knew and got puppies from the man we got Cali from. I started wondering how many more of these little gems from the same breeder are out there, how many have the same background as Cali.
When we started looking for a second cavalier after Cali turned one, I decided to look at her paperwork, really look at it. She came from a place in Missouri, I researched the names of the breeders, did property searches (they actually have property in 3 states.) I Goggled their names and the word puppies, they came up on NextDayPets.com where much to my surprise they sold not only cavalier puppies but several different breeds, a couple of pages of them. This I thought was a large number of puppies, to many to have been bred and raised in a house. Some of the cavalier puppies pictured looked thin and sad. I Googled Earth the property, it had large buildings on a very heavily treed large piece of land. My heart sank. My little, ruby girl was a mill puppy. The man we bought her from was a broker.
I decided to do a little “detective” work, I contacted the man and his wife we got Cali from and told them we were looking for another little cavalier girl, a tri. I sent an email and asked if they had any tri, female cavaliers at the time. This started a chain of correspondence and a few phone calls between us. I knew I had no intention of purchasing from them again but I needed to know how they ended up with so many different types of breeds including some larger breed puppies.
During one of the calls I asked the wife if she was getting anymore puppies from the breeder Cali came from. She said they no longer use that breeder, their puppies didn’t look as good as they used to, not as cute.
She assured me that they are using several different breeders that are very good and clean. She told me that a friend up there goes to different breeders and checks out puppies, sends her pictures and she picks the ones she wants. When the puppies are old enough the friend takes his van and goes to the different breeders and pick up the puppies, sometimes the whole litter or part of the litter. He drives from Missouri to Florida dropping off puppies to them and other families that help the breeders sell the puppies. They drive straight through. I asked if I could be there when he arrives to pick the pup I want. She said he arrives late, sometimes in the middle of the night. She told me I would have first pick of the cavaliers and she would call me and set up a time to come see them. She told me they are vet checked before leaving Missouri and vet checked the day after they arrive and vet checked again when they are bought.
What bothers me is this “broker” really does not know the true conditions of the breeder’s homes or kennels. They have the puppies brought down, bathe and groom them, tie bows on them and advertise them as theirs claiming that they are socialized, taken places as if this was done from day one. I was angry, I fell for it to. It was seeing the man’s 3 cavalier females (one was pregnant) that didn’t make me think twice if the puppies were from one his females.
I was fuming inside, now I knew. I was so saddened that this was Cali’s story. But what do I do besides not recommend them again. The mill business is so large, they sell to pet stores, brokers. They advertise all over the net and ship sight unseen little puppies taken sometimes to early from their mothers, they are usually sick or emotionally crippled from the lack of socialization with the outside world and human contact.
Something happened to Cali that I have tried to help her through and perhaps will never be able to understand. She seemed to be a well adjusted loving, playful, all around everything good you could ask from a puppy, then our older dogs died a month’s time of each other (I talk about this in my first posting). She withdrew, something triggered that “puppy mill experience” in her, she was fearful, withdrawn, won’t put her head down to eat, won’t eat out of a bowl or dish, nervous around Zoe as she eats. She curls up and sleeps when I leave to go out even if someone is here with her. If they leave and I am home with her, she is busy playing or doing her thing. As soon as I come home she comes to life. We have tried everything as I mentioned before. I just handle her differently than Zoe. Cali is very sensitive. This sad beginning of her life is what she was dealt, it is my responsibility to now assure her a safe, loving, full life. I have to do that for her based on everything she brings to my life, her unconditional, devoted love and companionship.
I have learned so much both on my own and through my association with Cavalier Rescue. I want to do more to help stop this puppy/dog exploitation. Dogs have proven time and time again they have feelings, are smart, capable of giving love that lasts a lifetime. To expect these living creatures to live in deplorable conditions, churning puppies out one litter after another, crowded wire, dirty cages, no human contact, out in the weather, puppies taken away from their mothers to be shipped all over the country…all of this is inexcusable.
Maybe through this blog I can help get the word out how to educate the consumer as to what to do if you want a puppy, what to expect and what to avoid. I will write more about this soon based on what I have learned.
Update June 4th, 2009
I decided to be brave today even though I knew in my heart where Cali came from. I started researching Cali’s stiffness in walking, what I call a shuffle and how it relates to the conditions she was born in. One of the sites that came up was the Missouri Humane Society. On the site it talked about the 22 different mill busts that were made and how some of the dogs have suffered. I began to wonder what if one of the places busted was were she came from. They had a number to call with questions and concerns in regards to known mills.
I called and told them of Cali and asked if any complaints were made against Cali’s breeders. They referred me over to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Animal Care Division. I decided to call.
A very nice inspector answered and pulled the name and records up for me. He readily told me about details of the complaints. The “breeder” had been in business since 2005. They had one complaint about a microchip number not matching the paperwork and that was resolved. They had 22 minor infractions involving the grounds and roof. The following month the infractions were corrected. They have many different breeds and are following the “standards” set. There were no complaints that the dogs were dirty, malnourished or that they did not have access to water.
He told me that USDA breeders are subjected to 3 different inspections a year, one from their department, one from the Federal (Agriculture inspectors based out of Colorado) and the Humane Society. He told me that the breeder is trying to comply and readily fixes anything that is noted.
The thing he did confirm is she was born and brought up in a kennel environment, either wire cage or cement run. Breaks my heart. Regardless if the “breeder” is complying to the laws and rules truth is a mill is mill. Something nationwide, worldwide must be done to stop the way these animals are treated, raised and neglected.
Cali’s check up is next month, our vet is going to check her over thoroughly. Her shoulder blades almost touch whereas Zoe’s does not. Her front legs are stiff on hard surfaces. I have read and was told by our vet’s office that the some dogs raised on wire learn as soon as the start to walk that they need to walk softly and slowly because the wire hurts and the nerve endings in the pads are delicate. Once off the wire the mind still thinks the dog is on wire especially on harder surfaces, it is like the dog is subconsciously patterned to this behavior, imprinted. We are concerned for her joints and back. At one point she had slight inflammation between her shoulder blades, to the point you could feel it.
The specialist office that we took her to for her kidneys at 6 months has an orthopedic specialist if we need to have her looked at further. It is the same office that took care of Zoe’s dental needs. She may end up with arthritis as she ages, she is only 2 now. This could explain her reluctance to move off the bed or couch at times.
One other thing I did was check the site of the broker that sold us Cali. They wanted to get a larger piece of property 2 yrs ago so they could spread out and even breed their dogs. The land deal fell through. On the site now is a posting that the y got a piece of land so they can “let the puppies run”. Reading between the lines he will not only be a broker but a back yard breeder with kennels, this was his intentions earlier.
Makes me angry, he allowed the mills to do this to our dog by selling the puppies for them. Right now he is selling all designer dogs, no cavaliers at this time. He breeds his cavaliers with poodles and brings cavaliers in from Missouri.
He originally had a tri male cavalier the same age as Cali, he wanted me to breed her with him (I did not want to breed Cali). When the property deal fell through when Cali was 3 months old he sold the male to a lady that is a client at our vet’s office. The dog now has some of the same issues that Cali does, he also came from the same breeder in Missouri. Our daughter told me that the owner talked to her during the vet visit and asked if Cali was the same way. It is sad, both dogs are as loving as can be but to have the baggage they carry is a shame.
This unseen baggage is imprinted as puppies and carries through with them for life. I see it when we go for walks, if a dog inside a fence or house barks, Cali freezes and is frightened refusing to go forward. I see it when I go to pet her neck or head, she backs up or lowers her shoulders. I see it twice a day when she eats, afraid to look down and put her face in the bowl. Mill dogs are feed in trays or group bowls, strongest eat first, attacking weaker dogs/puppies, pushing them out of the way. This I have outlined about her in previous postings, how after the loss of our two older dogs within a months time, when she was about 7 months old must have triggered something from her past that I haven’t been able to help her through.
All we can do is love and care for them.