Cavaliers as Companions
April / May 2020
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes


With the Coronavirus pandemic we find ourselves in unchartered waters with official guidance constantly being modified. Self-isolation and keeping a safe distance between people is the best advice during these difficult times. How should dog owners exercise their pets is a question that is constantly being asked. Dog walking is permitted as one part of exercise people can take each day. How long a walk should be has not been stated, but walkers should ensure that they keep a wide distance from other people. There is absolutely no evidence that dogs can transmit corvid19 but it has been confirmed that the virus can live on certain surfaces for quite some time. They can survive on cardboard for a short while but can stay on plastic surfaces for a considerable time. Whether or not it can stay on a dog’s coat has not been established so it is imperative that you do not let other people stroke your dog. If you do go out for a walk with your dog do not allow people to come up and pet your dog in case droplets from their breath get onto your dog’s coat. If you are in a vulnerable group and have to remain indoors but allow a dog walker to exercise your pet it would be best if they used their own collar and lead and to sanitize it after use.


Obreedience is a group competition introduced by the Kennel Club to encourage more breeds to have a go at competitive obedience exercises in a less formal setting. It is a team event of four handlers and their dogs of the same breed. It showcases both the breed and its trainability to the wider public. The competition is made-up of two rounds of exercises including a round of heelwork performed together as a team, and then a round of four individual set exercises including a retrieve, a ‘send to bed’, commanding the dog to stop on recall, and a scent exercise. At the end of the year the top 10 teams on points are invited to the final at Crufts. The final must include 10 different breeds and only 3 breeds from the same group. This year Cavaliers did extremely well with the Wagtails Obreedience team. After competing in twelve out of the possible sixteen Obreedience heats held up and down the country in 2019, they not only qualified for the final at Crufts but came third.

In 2019, twenty two teams competed in the heats and the Wagtails came seventh on points. The ten breeds in the final at Crufts 2020 were: Shetland Sheepdog (1st), Papillon (2nd), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (3rd), Poodle (Standard) (4th), Manchester Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Bernese Mountain Dog and Cairn Terrier. The judge was Kate McCartney. The camaraderie between the teams is fabulous which enables them all to celebrate each other’s success.

I asked Sue Pinkham, the Team Captain, about the group and this is what she said:
"The name ‘The Wagtails’ perfectly describes our team. Whenever you see them in the ring their tails are always wagging. We also have the tag line ‘Keeep Wagging’. All four colours are represented and our dogs demonstrate the characteristics and temperament of the breed. They are gay, friendly, sporting and affectionate. They move freely when on the move with elegance and plenty of drive with their tails carried happily.

The Wagtails became a team in late 2017 and we went to our first heat in April 2018. During that year we picked up a few points and we learned a lot, coming 16th out of 25 teams. With lots of practice, teamwork and fun 2019 saw us improve heat by heat and this was borne out in our last heat of the year (13 entries) at LKA where we came 4th after a heelwork run-off with the Poodle Training Club (Standard). The judge was Heidi Lawrence. What a tense and exciting way to end the year!

We also had the honour of being one of eight teams representing ‘Obreedience’ at the Camping, Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC in February 2020. This is the first time the discipline has been showcased at this event. With all the noise and the audience it helped the team prepare for Crufts and even resulted in us making some changes on which dog did which individual exercise.

Our team is: Sue Pinkham (Team Captain) and Baylee (Estrid Baylee at Pinkadees RL2). Baylee is a seven year old Blenheim. She came into my life at nine weeks destined to be my next show girl. When that did not happen I looked at other activities I could do with her. With the help of some excellent trainers she achieved her Gold KCGC and is working at Level 3 in Rally. Baylee’s exercises in Obreedience are ‘stop on recall’ and ‘send to bed’. At Crufts she did the ‘send to bed’ exercise.

Diane Weston and Meggie (Skybluecavs Amber Heart). Meggie is a Ruby and is four years old and loves learning new things. She is Diane’s home bred first-born and lives with her mum and little sister in a happy pack of 8 Cavaliers. She has achieved her KCGC gold award and reached level 5 at scent work which she just loves. The exercises she excels in are ‘go to bed’ and ‘stop on recall’. At Crufts she did the ‘stop on recall’.

Janette Ross and Buddy (McKenzie Cepheus RL2). Buddy is a Ruby and he joined Janette’s family at eight weeks old. It was love at first sight. He is their first ever dog and Janette never imagined they would be involved in so many activities, never mind getting to compete at Crufts. He has achieved his KCGC Bronze award and is working at level 3 in Rally. He has recently gained his Level 2 qualification in scent work. They also have lots of fun being part of the Nuneaton DTC Demonstration Team, showcasing their skills at fetes and country fairs throughout the summer. In Obreedience Buddy’s individual exercise is the ‘retrieve’; he can also cover for the scent exercise if needed. At Crufts he did the ‘retrieve’ exercise.

Maggie Dawson with Rufus (Black Knight Rufus RL3 Ex). Rufus is a Black and Tan and has been with Maggie for less than two years. He had a very poor start in his life coming from a Welsh rescue in February 2018, aged about two years old. He had been rescued from a puppy farm. Tiny, thin, suffering from demodectic mange and covered in lice they had their work cut out! To give Rufus more confidence Maggie did some basic training at home which he took to pretty quickly. So she decided to give Rally a go and at his first show he won his first of many rosettes! Fast forward to September 2019 and he got his first level 5 excellent score making Maggie very proud! Rufus lives with two older sisters (also Cavaliers) in the countryside. Rufus is the scent dog for the Wagtails.

Jen Dearlove and May (Bionic May). May is a tricolour Cavalier and joined Jen at ten weeks old. Jen was very lucky to be able to take her to work every day in the Main Guardroom at her husband’s RAF station. She loved her walks around the Camp, watching the Central Band of the RAF marching on the parade square and the Queen’s Colour Squadron practising their drills. May is a happy dog with a great temperament and enjoys being a Pets as Therapy dog for dementia patients. Her exercises in Obreedience are ‘stop on recall’ and ‘send to bed’ and she was the team’s reserve dog at Crufts. She was also on the breed stand in Discover Dogs for two days."

Wagtails are always on the lookout for new team members, so if any Cavalier owner reading this feels inspired and would like to have a go they would be most welcome to contact Sue Pinkham by email at or by phone at 07803 517045.

The Wagtails Team
The Wagtails Team
Team Heelwork
The Wagtails Team celebrating. Cartoon by Maggie Dawson.
The Wagtails Team celebrating. Cartoon by Maggie Dawson.


Roxanne Van Der Vliet and her Black & Tan Rambo also did very well in the Agility competition at Crufts. He came third overall in the Agility Novice Cup Finals. Rambo is three years old and is the only Cavalier to this date to ever qualify for the Novice Cup Final at Crufts. Initially to qualify he ran at the Kennel Club International Festival and came sixth overall out of about 70 dogs which qualified him for the final at Crufts. Novice Cup is open to dogs between agility grades 2 – 5. Rambo was one of eight that qualified and he came 3rd in jumping, 4th in agility and 3rd overall in the Novice Cup Final. Then shortly after Crufts Rambo then went and won into grade 5 and gained his Agility Warrant. As well as Rambo Roxanne also has a Blenheim Cavalier, a Cocker Spaniel and a Standard Poodle.

Rambo on walkRambo coming off walk

Rambo over hurdleRambo on seesaw

Rambo going through his paces at Crufts


Citizen CanineCitizen Canine: Dogs in the Movies
By Wendy Mitchell
Laurence King Publishing

This charming and adorable collection of the best cinematic dogs is sure to delight dog lovers and moviegoers alike. The Citizen Canine pack includes sixty of the bravest, cutest dogs ever to grace the silver screen. From top-billed hounds like Lassie and Benji to comedic scene-stealers like Asta from Bringing Up Baby and Puffy from There’s Something About Mary.

The book also gives details about the tricks trainers used to train these canine actors. Among the many other dogs featured are Scraps (A Dog’s Life), Toto (The Wizard of Oz), Matisse (Down and Out in Beverly Hills), Sandy (Annie), Cujo (Cujo), Hooch (Turner & Hooch), Beethoven (Beethoven), Chance (Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey), Fly (Babe), The puppies (101 Dalmations), Buddy (Air Bud), Lou (Cats & Dogs), Shaggy (The Shaggy Dog), Sam (I Am Legend), Marley (Marley & Me), Rocco (The Drop), Bailey ( A Dog’s Purpose).

All your favourite doggy stars are here and this book is your perfect guide to dogs, movies and the magical moments when they come together.

Lucy's LawLucy’s Law: The story of a little dog who changed the world
By Marc Abraham
Mirror Books

Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was born into a Welsh puppy farm in 2008. She was repeatedly bred to produce litters of cute puppies, who were taken from her shortly after birth to be sold online and transported many miles across the UK. Life on a puppy farm is grim, and the dogs aren’t vaccinated, loved or looked after.

Rescued in 2013, Lucy’s life turned around when she was chosen for adoption and rehabilitated by Lisa Garner, dog-lover extraordinaire. Lisa had shared her life with many dogs beforehand, but she recognised something extra special about little Lucy, and so their unique journey together began which would eventually change the world.

Kika and MeKika & Me
By Amit Patel
Macmillan Publishing

Amit Patel is working as a trauma doctor when a rare condition causes him to lose his sight within thirty-six hours. Totally dependent on others and terrified of stepping outside with a white cane after he’s assaulted, he hits rock bottom. He refuses to leave home on his own for three months. With the support of his wife Seema he slowly adapts to his new situation, but how could life ever be the way it was? Then his guide dog Kika comes along. But Kika’s stubbornness almost puts her guide dog training in jeopardy – could her quirky personality be a perfect match for someone? Meanwhile Amit has reservations – can he trust a dog with his safety? Paired together in 2015, they start on a journey, learning to trust each other before taking to the streets of London and beyond. The partnership not only gives Amit a renewed lease of life but a new best friend. Then, after a video of an irate commuter rudely asking Amit to step aside on an escalator goes viral, he sets out with Kika by his side to spread a message of positivity and inclusivity, showing that nothing will hold them back.

From the challenges of travelling when blind to becoming a parent for the first time, Kika & Me is the moving, heart-warming and inspirational story of Amit’s sight-loss journey and how one guide dog changed his world.


Stocking up!!!

Stocking up!!!


"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the centre of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made"
Roger A. Caras

For further online Cavalier news and stories don’t forget to read some truly inspirational articles by logging on to the Pawz and Pray page at


If you have any questions about owning a Cavalier then click on the envelope to email Dennis and Tina who will only be too pleased to try and help you.

However please remember that we are not Vets or Lawyers so questions on these topics should be addressed to the professionals for advice.

Questions and answers that are of interest to other owners may be published on this page.

The Cavalier Club is not responsible for external website content.
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