Cavaliers as Companions
May / June / July 2024
Edited by Dennis & Tina Homes


A sympathetic friend
’A sympathetic friend’, by Jim Daly


MAYTIME IN THE GARDEN

We say hello to the 5th month of the year, and yet it only seems a few weeks ago when we were celebrating Christmas and all the festivities associated with the season. After a rather wet winter and spring here we are now hoping for some warm sultry summer days to look forward to. More time will be spent outside soaking up the sun and the gardeners amongst you will be either enjoying the extra chores or moaning the fact that the lawn yet again needs another cut! If any of you have a young puppy house training becomes just that little bit easier because the garden door is left open and the young charge can come and go more easily and mistakes are a little less. With all this and the lengthening days summer is indeed a grand time for everyone and especially our Cavaliers, who like nothing better than sunning themselves, and when they get a little too hot seek out the shade of a tree or shrub. Puppies can be so amusing; they seem to invent all sorts of new games whilst outside. I often think puppies are a little like human beings as children. Did you ever frighten yourself turning off the light and jumping into bed in the darkness, just in time before the crocodile hiding under the bed can catch you? That is often what we see with puppies. They run and hide from imaginary monsters!

Gardens are fantastic playgrounds, but for puppies can also be a hazardous place. They will chew and eat anything, and many of the plants grown in pots and around the average garden are quite toxic, so an inventory should be made and perhaps ways should be found to either move these plants out of reach or better still dug up and replaced with something more dog friendly.

Common but unsafe plants are:

Common Names: Latin Names:
   
Black Bryony Tamas Communis
Bluebell Hyancinthus Nonscripta
Box Buxus Sempervirens
Buttercup Ranucnculus
Cherry Laurel Prunus Laurocerasus
Daffodil Narcissus
Daphne Daphne Mezereum
Euphorbia Euphorbiaceae
Fools Parsley Aethusa Cynapium
Foxglove Digitallis Purpurea
Hyacinth Hyancinthus
Ivy Hedera Helix
Laburnham Laburnham Anagyroides
Lily of the Valley Convalleria Majalis
Monkshood Aconitum
Morning Glory Ipomoea
Poppy Papaver Somniferum
Yew Taxus Baccata

If you use a garden mulch, don’t use Cocoa Shell. It looks and smells fantastic but unfortunately is very toxic to dogs. There have been cases where dogs have ingested this some with fatal consequences, much safer to use Pine Bark Mulch. Puppies love to play with snails, don’t ever let them do this. Snails carry a parasite which in turn leads to heart and lung worm which sadly seems to be heard of more and more these days.

If you do use lawn feed and weed preparations, any insect killing sprays, and general weed killers do keep your dog inside until everything has dried. Don’t forget to wear a face mask to protect yourself too. Lastly, if you must use slug pellets do make sure that these are placed away from anywhere that your dog might find them. Better still don’t use them at all. Our bird, hedgehog, toad and frog populations have suffered because of these. If it kills one thing the chain doesn’t stop there.

Noel Coward penned an amusing song in his writing heyday. ’Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.’ If you choose to go for a midday walk when the sun is at its hottest, perhaps it just might be kinder to leave the dog at home. The average body temperature of an adult dog is 101.5°F the average adult human is 98.6°F. If you find the weather hot think of our furry little friend, who can only regulate his body temperature by panting. Far better to keep daily exercise regimes to early morning or late evening. Let your dog have access to the garden, but let them come and go as they please. Sunning them-selves then seeking somewhere to cool down. It goes without saying do make sure that your dog has plenty of clean fresh drinking water available at all times.

Summer will soon be here, enjoy it, but most of all enjoy your cavalier.


HAY FEVER IN DOGS

Can dogs suffer with hay fever? The answer is ‘Yes!’ Some of the symptoms are similar to those suffered by humans, but dogs also show some unique canine symptoms. Dogs with hay fever are often very itchy all over their bodies. The itching is sometimes followed by a rash on the dog’s face and feet. Over time, the hair over the dog’s eyes and on his feet may actually begin to thin because he’s scratched so much or chewed his feet so often. These symptoms indicate an atopic allergy, or one that is caused by an inhaled allergen that causes skin, rather than respiratory, problems.

In addition dogs with hay fever may also have watery eyes, runny noses and they may sneeze, but these symptoms are less common in dogs although they are probably more familiar to human hay fever sufferers than the skin problems. Hay fever is a seasonal allergy in both dogs and people, causing the greatest problems during the summer and early autumn. Although symptoms of canine hay fever can develop at any point in a dog’s life, they are most likely to begin when your pet is between one and three years old.

There are several simple steps that you can take at home to help alleviate the effect hay fever has on your pet, from grooming to limiting what they come into contact with. Firstly, if you have a dog that likes to run through flowerbeds or roll in the grass, consider keeping them on a lead as pollen can cling to their fur and cause irritation. Each time your dog has been outside it’s advisable to wipe their paws and face to help remove any pollen that is clinging to their fur. This can be done with ordinary baby wipes or specialist ones that can be bought at a variety of pet shops. It is also common practice to groom your pets with a specialist brush that helps to strip not only the top coat but also the under layers of fur that may hold pollen which could irritate them. You could also soak their feet in Epsom salt and water to relieve any itchy skin.

It is also important that pets are kept well-groomed throughout the pollen season and giving them a weekly bath to help get rid of any lingering pollen. Lastly, it is important that any bedding or surfaces that your pets come into regular contact with are cleaned to prevent the hard work spent ridding your pet of pollen going to waste. This can be done with sprays or simply a spin in the washing machine. If your pets suffer from severe hay fever there are medications designed specifically for pets. Before giving these to your pets however it is advisable to consult your vet.

Any chance of going on your lap?
Any chance of going on your lap?


THE POET ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

We moved to the Ledbury area of Herefordshire six and a half years ago. Ledbury is known for its annual Poetry Festival, which is the largest in the UK. It was also home to two great English poets, John Masefield and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She was born in 1806 lived as a child in Ledbury before moving to London and here in Ledbury there is the Barret Browning Institute with a large clock tower in honour of her and is the home to the Ledbury Poetry Society. She was educated at the home of her strict father, who was a merchant and a millionaire. She was a rather sickly child and her over-protective parents would never allow her to venture out alone. In fact, for a period of five years she never left the house and garden of her grand home in Wimpole Street, London. Elizabeth spent much of her time in her room and began to write poetry. Her close companion was her pet spaniel Flush whom she absolutely adored. She admired the writings of the English poet Robert Browning to whom she started to correspond and they would send each other poems. Eventually they met and fell in love. When they decided to marry her father was furious and forbid the marriage but they did marry and then fled away to Italy. They both became very prominent poets, Robert Browning was most famed for his poem ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad’ which starts with the immortal lines "Oh to be in England now that April’s there". Elizabeth is widely renowned for the sonnet "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Many experts consider this to be one of the greatest love poems of the English language. Flush was a gift from Mary Russell Mitford to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, given at a time when she needed to be distracted from grief over her closest brother’s death by drowning in the summer of 1840. Flush accompanied the couple when they headed off to Italy after their marriage. Life in Italy for this beloved dog, as for everyone else, was far less cloistered than before — he even was allowed to be outside by himself, "whenever he likes, to run in the piazza (never farther) & enjoy the best society of the Florentine dogs."He died in Florence in June 1854 so he had quite a long life.

Their love story made into a play in 1930 written by Rudolph Besier and then hit the big screen in 1934 with an MGM film ‘The Barretts of Wimpole Street’ starring Norma Shearer and Frederick March. A remake was made in 1957 with Jennifer Jones and Bill Travers. In both films her dog Flush was portrayed as a cocker spaniel. This was probably due to a book called "Flush" that was published in 1933 by Virginia Woolf. She greatly admired the work of these two poets and was fascinated by their love story. As a light hearted break from some of her more demanding work of this book, which was one of her more minor works, she tells the story of their life through the eyes of the dog. However, she refers to Flush as a Cocker Spaniel. By all other documented accounts Flush is indeed described as a brown and white toy spaniel and is no doubt of the early Blenheim Cavalier type. In several stage productions of recent years they have used a Cavalier on stage to portray Flush. Also, in a lavish BBC television version of the story back in 1982 they also used a Blenheim Cavalier to play Flush. The leads in this TV production were Jane Lapotaire and Joss Ackland.. The story had also been transformed into a musical and opened in the West End in 1964 under the name of "Robert and Elizabeth"

Barrets of Wimploe StreetThe Barretts of Wimpole Street
Posters for both the 1934 and 1957 films of The Barratts of Wimpole Street

Elizabeth truly was a dog lover as can be seen by the words of her poem ‘To Flush, My Dog’. The words demonstrate the poet’s empathy with dogs. Flush provided great comfort to her when her sickness confined her to the house for many years! We are sure that every dog lover will take enormous pleasure from the words of the poem.

To Flush, My Dog
Loving friend, the gift of one,
Who, her own true faith, hath run,
Through thy lower nature;
Be my benediction said
With my hand upon thy head,
Gentle fellow-creature!

Like a lady’s ringlets brown,
Flow thy silken ears adown
Either side demurely,
Of thy silver-suited breast
Shining out from all the rest
Of thy body purely.

Darkly brown thy body is,
Till the sunshine, striking this,
Alchemize its dullness, —
When the sleek curls manifold
Flash all over into gold,
With a burnished fulness.

Underneath my stroking hand,
Startled eyes of hazel bland
Kindling, growing larger, —
Up thou leapest with a spring,
Full of prank and curvetting,
Leaping like a charger.

Leap! thy broad tail waves a light;
Leap! thy slender feet are bright,
Canopied in fringes.
Leap — those tasselled ears of thine
Flicker strangely, fair and fine,
Down their golden inches

Yet, my pretty sportive friend,
Little is’t to such an end
That I praise thy rareness!
Other dogs may be thy peers
Haply in these drooping ears,
And this glossy fairness.

But of thee it shall be said,
This dog watched beside a bed
Day and night un-weary, –
Watched within a curtained room,
Where no sunbeam brake the gloom
Round the sick and dreary.

Roses, gathered for a vase,
In that chamber died apace,
Beam and breeze resigning —
This dog only, waited on,
Knowing that when light is gone,
Love remains for shining.

Other dogs in thymy dew
Tracked the hares and followed through
Sunny moor or meadow —
This dog only, crept and crept
Next a languid cheek that slept,
Sharing in the shadow.

Other dogs of loyal cheer
Bounded at the whistle clear,
Up the woodside hieing —
This dog only, watched in reach
Of a faintly uttered speech,
Or a louder sighing.

Dropped upon his glossy ears,
Or a sigh came double, —
Up he sprang in eager haste,
Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
In a tender trouble.

And this dog was satisfied,
If a pale thin hand would glide,
Down his dewlaps sloping, —
Which he pushed his nose within,
After, — platforming his chin
On the palm left open.

This dog, if a friendly voice
Call him now to blyther choice
Than such chamber-keeping,
"Come out!" praying from the door, —
Presseth backward as before,
Up against me leaping.

Therefore to this dog will I,
Tenderly not scornfully,
Render praise and favour!
With my hand upon his head,
Is my benediction said
Therefore, and for ever.

And because he loves me so,
Better than his kind will do
Often, man or woman,
Give I back more love again
Than dogs often take of men,
- Leaning from my Human.

Blessings on thee, dog of mine,
Pretty collars make thee fine,
Sugared milk make fat thee!
Pleasures wag on in thy tail —
Hands of gentle motion fail
Nevermore, to pat thee!

Downy pillow take thy head,
Silken coverlid bestead,
Sunshine help thy sleeping!
No fly’s buzzing wake thee up —
No man break thy purple cup,
Set for drinking deep in.

Whiskered cats arointed flee —
Sturdy stoppers keep from thee
Cologne distillations;
Nuts lie in thy path for stones,
And thy feast-day macaroons
Turn to daily rations!

Mock I thee, in wishing weal? —
Tears are in my eyes to feel
Thou art made so straightly,
Blessing needs must straighten too, —
Little canst thou joy or do,
Thou who lovest greatly.

Yet be blessed to the height
Of all good and all delight
Pervious to thy nature, —
Only loved beyond that line,
With a love that answers thine,
Loving fellow-creature!

She also wrote another short poem to her beloved Flush.

Flush or Faunus?
You see this dog. It was but yesterday
I mused forgetful of his presence here
Till thought on thought drew downward tear on tear,
When from the pillow, were wet-cheeked I lay,
A head as hairy as Faunus, thrust its way
Right sudden against my face, — two golden-clear
Great eyes astonished mine, — a drooping ear
Did flap me on either cheek to dry the spray!
I started first, as some Arcadian,
Amazed by goatly god in twilight grove;
But, as the bearded vision closelier ran
My tears off, I knew Flush, and rose above
Surprise and sadness — thanking the true,
Who, by low creatures, leads to heights of love.

The poet Carol Ann Duffy who was Poet Laureate between 2009 until 2019 also owned a Cavalier, but hers was a Ruby.


BOOK REVIEWS

Dog Friendly WeekendsDog Friendly Weekends
By Lottie Gross
Publisher: Bradt

Dog-friendly Weekends is the first all-encompassing, practical and inspirational guidebook to dog-friendly holidays in Britain. Not only does it cover dog-friendly accommodation and pubs, but most importantly, each chapter offers a well-rounded weekend away, with recommendations on attractions where the dog is allowed and great walks for all abilities. Travel journalist and dog-travel expert Lottie Gross has spent several years travelling thousands of miles around Britain with her canine companions sifting out places which are truly dog-friendly from those which are simply dog-tolerant. Drawing on her experiences, and on her research as the Times Expert Traveler dog-friendly writer, she has come up with a unique guidebook that pinpoints all the best places to go and things to do when travelling around Britain with your dog. Going on holiday without your dog is never the ideal solution, which is why this book offers inspiration for 50 dog-friendly weekends away in Britain, including museums where you can take the dog inside on a rainy day, heritage railways where the dog rides free, and countless excellent walks the whole family can enjoy. Island-hopping, city breaks, and coast and countryside romps are all included, from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands. This is also a useful, practical guide that addresses the questions all dog-owners have to consider when travelling with their pets. Is there space by the table for my dog? Can the dog come down to breakfast? Can the dog be left in the room? Each place included has been vetted (no pun intended) by the author, whose first-hand experience is supplemented with contributions from experts on safe and responsible travel with your dog, ensuring every owner is well equipped to give the whole family a memorable break away.



Isle Of DogsIsle Of Dogs
By Clare Balding
Publisher: Ebury Publishing

There’s nothing the British love quite as much as their dogs. From hunting to our hearths, and from herding sheep to guiding humans, our dogs have accompanied us through centuries of change, and that special relationship is still evolving today. So, just what is it that makes our bond so special?

In this fascinating adventure across Britain, Clare Balding explores our unique heritage of canine tradition and meets just some of the many people who live, work and innovate with their dogs. From the mysteries of extinct breeds to the ancient dogs still thriving today, and adventuring from Battersea Dogs Home to Shetland via Buckingham Palace, we journey through the beloved canine story of our nation.

A tale of hard work, companionship and a great many long dog walks, Isle of Dogs is an unmissable read for anyone whose life has been transformed by a faithful hound.


PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Let’s hold back the sea!
"Let’s hold back the sea!"


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH

"In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him."
Derek Bruce



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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