Cavaliers as Companions
August/September/October 2022
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes


A CAVALIER SONG BY NANCY SIMMONDS

Nancy SimmondsNancy Simmonds

Nancy Simmonds

Nancy Simmonds is a brilliant singer/songwriter/actress from Canada who has recorded a great many songs since the early 70s and for many years lived and worked in California. She was an original member of the acclaimed band Prairie Oyster and briefly worked with Leonard Cohen in Nashville. She has appeared alongside a great many top names in music including Chris de Burgh and J.J. Cale. She has appeared in many TV programmes, and as an actress was in the film The Silent Partner starring Christopher Plummer. She is a prolific songwriter and has written songs for many artistes. She has also written over 120 songs about different breeds of dogs in a collection called Musical Tails. Here is her latest song about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and we are so honoured that she used photos of our Leogem dogs in the video.
Thank you so much Nancy. Here is the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRBFAIoj5vk


CAVALIERS AT THE PLATINUM JUBILEE CELEBRATION

Many of you might have seen the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration on TV and noticed the two Cavaliers being paraded behind the person on horseback who was playing the part of King Charles II. The two Blenheim Cavaliers were Erin and Arthur belonging to Melissa Evans, Secretary of the Southern Cavalier Club, who was handling the dogs while dressed in a costume of the time. I asked Melissa about the event and the days leading up to it. This is what she said:

"During the Cavalier Club Ch show on Saturday March 3rd Michael Levy, the Cavalier Club Chairman, approached me and asked whether I was into the Royals and whether I would be interested in being part of a pageant at Windsor. Michael mentioned that the Club had been contacted by an Alan Larsen who was after a couple of Cavaliers to parade behind King Charles II who would be on horseback. Having to spoken to Alan, Michael ascertained that this would involve six nights, but was unsure of the exact date. Needless to say, I was interested but also anxious as to how it would work out and also how any dog would be behind or near a horse. I got the contact details for Alan off Michael to follow it up.

The following Monday I rang Alan and expressed an interest but also needed more details to see if it was possible for me or even a few people to take part on different evenings. Alan explained what would happen re parading and having a costume and that it was part of the ‘Gallop through History’ celebration held at Windsor Horse Show. I just needed to know the exact dates and timings. After a few emails, Alan put me in contact with Harry Guthrie, one of the producers who gave me the finer details. These were 1 rehearsal day on Saturday 7th May, a full rehearsal on Tuesday 10th then a performance every evening afterwards through to the Sunday. The only stipulation was that I needed to be on site everyday by 6pm at the latest. Once I had established these times were doable, I decided that I could do it alone. Having more than one person would mean more passes, costumes and would make it more complicated re the actual event. Windsor for me is only 40 minutes maximum away and as long as the M25 was okay I could easily get there by 5pm or just after. I knew that I had two dogs, Erin and Arthur, that I could take who were calm and also easy to keep clean. I approached the school I work at to ask to leave a little earlier than normal. It was agreed and that was that. A little stumbling block was Erin, as she had come into season, but I had worked out that she would be finished just in time to take part. I had originally wanted to mate her but due to my mother having a fall and breaking her hip this was not possible. My mother’s recovery was far more important.

Alan remained my contact and needed my measurements to provide a costume and he also forwarded my details to the accreditation team so that I could get a pass for the event. This required having forms of identity, proof of address and so forth. I was told to pick up my pass at the accreditation office on the 7th May and to find Alan to get the costume.

Little did I know the enormity of it all. I had no idea that such a thing occurred, I knew the horse show, having Googled the event and I realised what it was and how BIG it was too. I still did not realise what this all meant until I went for the rehearsal day on the 7th May. The night before I bathed both dogs making them clean and tidy for the rehearsal.

Saturday 7th May

I left home at 10:30am as Alan had told me to be onsite by 12 noon. I arrived at the accreditation office and after a few checks I got my pass and my car park pass too. The lady in the office was very excited as I had ‘The Spaniels’ and wanted to check if they needed a pass too! A moment later and the call came through that they both needed a pass so the two ladies in the office allowed us both inside and photos were taken of the dogs and their passes made.

ogs Passes

Whilst we were waiting two ladies arrived outside to get their passes. Both got excited when they saw the dogs. One lady was Polly, she was part of the team setting the show and she found it hilarious that the dogs had a pass each! Once printed we got in the car and off we drove through the barrier to the delight of the man who scanned us in and smiled at the dog passes. We found Alan by the day stables and were introduced to Toby who was playing King Charles II and SJ who was playing Nell Gwyn. There were also Gary and Sarah there who were providing the horses in addition to Alan’s own horse. Alan gave me my costume and told me that our section was needed by 2pm to be in the main arena. I chose a stable as my home and set up the dogs in their trolley with all my bits and bobs.

It seemed so unreal to be inside the gardens of Windsor Castle, with a massive arena, big screens, media tent and offices. It was just like being at a glorified dog show! At one point I saw Alan Titchmarsh walk by and loads of officers, Navy, Air Force, Coldstream and a large mobile ship. I could hear bagpipes playing and in the distance some parts of the pageant were already rehearsing. Alan Larsen pointed out that the Queen was over there watching and you could see her carriage with the Royal Standard flying. She had popped down for the afternoon.

I put my costume on and had a photo with the dogs taken. Toby, SJ and Alan also put their costumes on and Alan suggested that the dogs meet the horses. Erin and Arthur had a walk behind the horses on the grass area and were absolutely amazing. They did not bark or get flustered at all bearing in mind they had never met a horse before. It was time to head over to the arena and upon instructions I was to walk behind the horses following them as they paraded. We arrived at the collecting area and met with the other 5 horses and riders who were from the forces. We again practiced walking behind the horses as the riders were chatting through the process.

In the collecting area were the household cavalry and large group of horses that had just finished their rehearsal, they were from Oman. Lots of the lady riders wanted to take photos of the dogs.

The time had come to go into the BIG ARENA! Harry was there with Dewi, both producers and also Polly who I had met earlier. Alan Titchmarsh was at the lectern on the big stage and there was a big orchestra playing. The section we were taking part in was Act 2 point 1. Alan Titchmarsh and Omid Djalili were narrating and at the point of the new reign of King Charles II we paraded up the arena to the other end. We did this a couple of times but it was hard to walk in between horses as we had three in front and five behind. The dogs were fine but we felt very small. Dewi came up to me and told me that for my safety and the dog’s safety it was better that I come on at a different point. He took me to the ‘Gate E’ right by the Royal Box and explained that when the parade of horses with King Charles II is parallel with the gate to step out and walk along the arena in parallel to them up to the big gate at the end. Dewi did smile and said that I would be walking right in front of the Queen! We did a run through and the team felt this was much better. It felt very strange little old me walking in a big arena with my 2 dogs, right near the Royal Box and the household cavalry band behind me. Very surreal indeed.

With the rehearsal done it was time to get the dogs home for a rest and for me to contemplate the next week, as it was going to be full on. I also had a Southern Cavalier Club Committee meeting to do on the Monday evening as well.

Tuesday 10th

After a full day at school with my class I left work at 3:30pm, dashed home and got all the things I needed, grabbed the dogs and set off for Windsor. We arrived, the man on the gate remembered me and smiled again at the passes for the dogs! I settled the dogs in the stable and had a little snack. Tonight was the full run through with all participants except the King’s Troop as they had been busy with the State Opening of Parliament. Alan introduced me to Archie who was to be the chaperone for the week, making sure our section got the arena on time. As we were getting ready the bagpipes were playing in the distance, the Navy, Air Force and the Coldstream Guards were dressed ready for the occasion. The stable we were in were right by the main road where all participants walked to get to the ‘Participants Village’. It was also where all the golf buggies were driving up and down taking people to their positions by the arena. The two big ships for the Armada section were driven back and forth along it too. We saw everything and were also well position next to the VIP area too. I walked Erin and Arthur on the grass for a bit and we greeted the tri-service guard of honour as they walked past ready to start the show. Lots of them said ‘nice dogs’ as they walked past. Archie had informed me that I was needed with the dogs for the finale and to be back at Gate E at the end of the show.

We waited until our time to leave to head off for our part. I had to walk alone to the Arena as Archie escorted the horses to the other side of the arena. I got to Gate E ready to walk on and the gentleman on the gate was lovely and very helpful. The time came to do my bit and the dogs were ready. Omid Djalili was narrating and was we walked on to the arena I could hear him saying ‘sprinkling of spaniels’. I stayed by the arena with the dogs for a bit to watch some of the show as I was still a little uncertain as to all the elements of it. We returned for the finale as the production team wanted to place everyone so that they could all fit in and be seen. They wanted to have ‘the spaniels’ in the front row right opposite the Royal Box. It felt surreal, not only being part of the pageant but actually standing right in front, totally awesome. We got to see the Queens horses up close and we saw HRH Lady Louise riding in the carriage of her late Grandfather HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The rehearsal was a good one and everyone was pleased with how it went. The cameras were busy filming throughout and at the end fixed on Erin as the rehearsal finished. We left Windsor at 12:30 and were home by 1:30 as there was a weekly diversion in place between the 2 junctions I needed on the M25. I spent a little time with the other dogs and got to bed just after 2am.

Wednesday 11th

The same routine after school occurred, getting the dogs and off to Windsor. Upon arrival and after settling the dogs I went for a walk with them. So many ground crew, stewards, actors and servicemen and women alike, stopped to stroke them. I also met one of the media ladies who took a picture of Erin and Arthur to put on the Instagram page. Today was the full run through of the performance with HRH Princess Beatrice in attendance with her husband. I also got to know some of the Queens players, who were also standing in the front row during the finale. They loved the dogs and all took time to stroke and cuddle them. Both Erin an Arthur were loving the attention. They took me under their wing as we waited for the finale. Little did I realise that the King’s Troop were going to let off their cannons! Just as they did it Alistair (who played Nelson) grabbed Arthur and I hugged Erin. The blasts were huge and we were right by the arena, you could feel them through the ground. Erin was a little shaken but was okay. We went on to do the finale and standing in front of the Royal Box at the end of the show was amazing. Both Erin and Arthur were outstanding as they had to stay a long time as the show closed. We watched as the guard of honour arrived to take HRH Princess Beatrice away right in front of us. Standing a couple of metres away was extremely surreal indeed.

Thursday 12th

Today was similar to yesterday but both Erin and Arthur were gaining in popularity. The Horse Show started today so upon arrival at Windsor it was busier than previously. As usual we settled in our stable and went for a walk only to be stopped constantly for cuddles with ‘the Spaniels’. Much to my amazement, everyone that greeted us kept saying the dogs were the stars of the show! How could two little dogs mean so much to so many? It’s wonderful to see the power that a little fluff and big eyes can behold. Many servicemen and women stopped to see them; the dogs were beginning to provide some sanctuary in a busy week.

Tonight, the performance was to HRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Apparently since doing the show Michael Levy tells me that they have or once owned a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. At the end of the performance I could see many in the Royal Box taking photos, pointing and smiling, I can only assume at the dogs.

Again, a great performance by all, the dogs were totally awesome and were taking this whole event in their stride.

Friday 13th

Again, a similar pattern of events. We went for a walk after arriving at Windsor, with the daily hello and cuddle from all sorts of people involved in the event. Tiredness was kicking in on my part but the dogs were okay as they had been resting all day. Keeping the dogs clean each day was tricky but with a snood and a quick brush each day they were fine.

Tonight’s performance was to HRH The Duke and Duchess of Wessex. It was again a very surreal and amazing experience. You could see the delight in their faces as we stood in the finale. The whole show was gaining in strength and momentum ready for the big weekend with the potential for the Queen to come on Sunday. It was debatable but the man on Gate E said that the lift had been installed and that her Majesty had tried it as she had come to watch some of the horse show so it was anticipated that she my actually make the performance on the Sunday.

Saturday 14th

As it was the weekend I could have a relaxing day and arrived at Windsor a little earlier than normal. The same routine applied as with the other days. Erin and Arthur took their daily walk up to the participants village and had lots of strokes and cuddles. Today the performance was attended by HRH The Princess Royal and her husband. It was again a lovely show with everyone giving their all. Both Erin and Arthur were their normal happy, calm selves; taking it all in and not being phased by anything. At the end of the show you could see again the delight in HRH The Princess Royal’s face as she surveyed and applauded the whole cast.

Sunday 15th Today was the day, the BIG performance with Her Majesty the Queen hopefully coming to watch. I spent the morning bathing and making sure the dogs were squeaky clean and looking their best. Not only was the Queen coming but the performance being broadcast on primetime television!

With the dogs ready, we set off early to Windsor to take in more of the event and to enjoy the last day wandering around the trade stands.

Both Erin and Arthur were calm as usual but with the threat of rain I was a little unsure as to how to keep them clean between the actual performance and then being ready for the finale. This was because Gate E was around one side of the Arena and where we walked out was the other end. I decided to take two trolleys with me, (good job I had two to use). I left one at the Gate I exit at so I could pop them in there afterwards. The grounds had got very muddy around the show area and I did not want them to get dirty. I had also decided that I could wheel the dogs over to Gate E in another trolley should it be raining before we did our bit. Fortunately, the rain held off! Rumours were that the Queen was coming as it had been heard that Alan Titchmarsh had spoken to HRH Princess Anne, who had gone home on the Saturday evening and told her mum that she would love it and that she needed to see the show.

No pressure! Already dab hands at performing Erin, Arthur and I did our bit. My heart was beating fast beforehand but as the moment arrived on we went. Erin and Arthur were outstanding and again paraded like stars. During the finale, we once again stood in front of the Royal Box and watched as the Queen was escorted from the box to the awaiting car. To be so close to Her Majesty was just lovely. One funny thing is that as the car arrived into the arena, I could feel a tug on the leads of Erin and Arthur. I think they thought it was our car ready for them to jump into. Fortunately, I held on to them tightly. Can you imagine if they had got lose and jumped into the Queen’s car?

The whole experience will stay with me forever. Yes, it was tiring and I got to bed most nights at 2 or 2:30am and was up for work the next day by 6am. You never get to do these things very often and to be part of an historical event was amazing. Credit goes to both Erin and Arthur because without them this would not have been possible. They have played their part in warming people’s hearts during the week and I have made some new friends too. I received a complimentary programme plus a copy of the photo with the Queen and her 2 ponies which was released by Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark her 96th Birthday.

I purchased a photo taken of me with Erin and Arthur parading I also got a rosette too just to remind me we took part."

The Platinum Jubilee


THE PERILS OF HOT WEATHER

The normal temperature for a human is 98.6°F but for a dog it can be in the range of 100.5 – 102.5&d, an average of three degrees higher. Therefore, a dog can suffer the effects of overheating far quicker than us.

Dogs do not sweat as such; the only place that they can sweat is from their feet pads, but this is only minor. The usual way for a dog to keep its body temperature down is to pant. That’s fine in normal climates and during weather that isn’t too warm, but when the temperature really starts rising it’s time to start taking measures to keep the dog cool because all the panting in the world is not going to make him comfortable in the intense heat.

If your dog goes into the garden do make sure that there are shady areas where he or she can sit. Make sure that there is always plenty of water available. Do not walk your dog during the hottest part of the day; it is far better to take them for a walk either first thing of a morning or in the evening. If you do need to take them out during the day keep the walk short and try to keep to the shade. Also avoid walking them on hot pavements or asphalt surfaces which can get extremely hot. It’s best to keep to the grass.

Dogs should never be left unattended in a car in hot weather, it can prove fatal. The temperature inside a car increases rapidly and air supply is limited. When driving, do ensure your dog is sat in the shade and near a partially open window or air conditioning vent. On a lengthy journey you should make regular rest stops. If you have a traveling cage or crate cover the top with light material to shield from the sun. There are also battery-operated dog cage fans available that can be quite useful.


POSTCARDS FROM YESTERYEAR

PostcardPostcard

We’ve been collecting postcards that portray Cavaliers and King Charles Spaniels for about thirty-five years and now have a collection of almost three hundred. The vast majority are from the years 1900 to 1920. These were the days when very few people had access to telephones and communication was largely done by letter. It was cheaper to send a postcard than a sealed letter and, depending where you lived, there were often up to four postal deliveries a day. If you sent a letter to an address within your home town before 9 am it would often arrive by lunchtime. The postal system was extremely busy and the Edwardian era was the golden age of postcards. The two postcards above were sent in 1907 and the two below are from 1912.


PostcardPostcard


HARVEST MITES

Late summer and autumn is the time when harvest mites can become a problem. This six-legged harvest mite larva feeds on tissue fluid and may cause considerable skin itch and discomfort to dogs. It’s at the larval stage when it attacks warm blooded animals – and humans. In other stages of their lives they are not parasitic. The larvae congregate on small clods of earth or on vegetation. They are active during the day and particularly in dry sunny weather. When a warm-blooded animal comes into contact with the larvae they swarm onto it and attach onto skin particularly in sparsely haired thin skinned areas. The larvae feed for 2 to 3 days and they drop off onto the ground to complete the life cycle. The larval mite is orange and only just visible to the naked eye.

Harvest mite larvae feed by thrusting their small hooked fangs into the skin surface. The larvae do not burrow into the skin or suck blood. They inject a fluid containing powerful digestive enzymes which break down the skin cells. The resulting liquefied skin tissues are then sucked back into the digestive system of the larva. The larvae will inject and suck for two to three days at the same site until it is full and has increased in size three to four times before dropping off the host, leaving a red swelling on the skin that can itch severely.

The itching will usually develop within 3 to 6 hours of exposure, but can continue for several weeks afterwards. This can lead to rubbing, biting and scratching, and can lead to scurf and hair loss in a few cases. If the skin is damaged due to scratching, these areas can also become infected with bacteria. The fluid injected by the mite is very irritant. Irritation causes the dog to scratch, bite and lick which may result in extensive self-inflicted injury.

You may need to wash any clothes that you were wearing when the mites started to cause a problem. Going through long grassy fields is likely to result in a harvest mite problem, so whenever you do go into one, always wash everything straight afterwards.

Harvest mite larvae are only active during the day, therefore in areas where they are abundant it is best to exercise your dog pet early in the morning before they become too active, particularly in warm weather. The worst infestations are when sitting in the sun in middle of the day!

There are insecticidal sprays available from your vet that can be of help, but it is more important to thoroughly wash your dog with a good insecticidal shampoo. Thornit is said to be effective against mites. It is a remedy that we generally use for ear mites, but it also seems to be very effective for a variety of mites. Thornit is a powder that is based on Iodoform. The powder can be lightly dusted on to the itchy areas, or in to itchy ears. Relief usually comes within 2–5 days. If your pet has been in contact with harvest mite larvae, and is now itching and scratching, Yumega Plus for dogs can help to relieve the itch as it has a combination of Omega 3 EPA from fresh salmon oil and Omega 6 GLA help to calm the skin, relieving itching and scratching, whilst the Omega 6 Linoleic Acid helps to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier, supporting the skin’s health. The addition of natural Vitamin E supports the skin’s defenses.


DEWCLAWS

Dewclaws are rudimentary thumbs and rear dewclaws are residual fixtures from the past. They have no function and are situated high on the inside of the leg above the foot. In most breeds they do not make contact with the ground but are said to brush the dew from the grass and it is thought that this is where they get their name. Although dogs have dewclaws on the inside of the front legs they do occasionally have them on the hind legs. Hind dewclaws are quite rare in Cavaliers. Unlike front dewclaws, rear dewclaws tend to have little bone or muscle structure in most breeds. Occasionally a dog may even have more than one dewclaw on the same foot and this is known as being double dewclawed. Usually one of these dewclaws will be poorly connected to the leg and may have to be surgically removed. In some dog breeds the dewclaw makes contact when they are running and the nail on the dewclaw often wears down in the same way that the nails on their other toes do, from contact with the ground. However, with most dogs the dewclaws never make contact with the ground and therefore the dewclaws nail never wears down and needs to be trimmed to keep it to a safe length.

With wolves and wild dogs the dewclaws are used to help rip open the flesh of animals brought down as prey, but with the domesticated dog it is highly debatable as to whether they are needed. They are not dead appendages, they can be used to lightly grip bones and other items that dogs hold with the paws. However, in some dogs these claws may not appear to be connected to the leg at all except by a flap of skin; in such dogs the claws do not have a use for gripping as the claw can easily fold or turn.

There has been a strong debate as to whether dewclaws should be surgically removed. It can be argued that dewclaws are a weak digit that can easy rip apart or easily catch on something and break, becoming extremely painful and prone to infection. Although the removal of dewclaws is permitted in the UK, it is illegal in some other countries. As with tail docking, an exception is made for hunting dogs who can sometimes tear the dewclaw while running in overgrown vegetation. If a dewclaw is to be removed, this should be done when the dog is a very young puppy, maybe as young as 3 days old.

As they do not wear down naturally through walking you should regularly check them and make sure that they do not grow too long. On short coated breeds they be seen quite clearly, but on breeds such as the Cavalier where there is a lot of coat feathering on the legs they are virtually invisible and many pet owners forget that their dog has them. We have encountered quite a number of pet Cavaliers that have had dewclaws grow so long that they have turned full circle and started to pierce the skin which is very painful for the poor dog. So please do check your dog’s dewclaws on a regular basis and trim the nails when necessary.


PHOTOS OF THE MONTH

High Flyer
I am a High Flyer
This is Dash, owned by Helen Binns and Lorraine Long, on his way to becoming an agility superstar!
(Ginger & Black Photography) https://gingerandblackphotography.co.uk

Being Watched
Ever get the feeling you’re being watched!
These three inquisitive little munchkins are, (from top to bottom),
Eric, Ernie and Nancy and are owned and loved by Nikki Cox.


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH

"You can trust your dog to guard your house but never trust your dog to guard your sandwich."



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 pawzandpray.com


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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.

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