postheadericon January 31, 2005

We love to breed and show dogs, but are just as proud of our dogs that are great family members, obedience or performance dogs, or therapy dogs. The following is a note I received from Jackie Kurlich who has two of our dogs. I am so proud of what Jackie and Candle are dong to cheer up hospital patients!!! From Jackie Kurlich: “I wanted to share a story about one of your girls. Just to refresh your memory, Candle came from Lucy and Freddie and is turning 2 this March. I know a lot of emphasis is put on the show dogs but I think the true hero’s are the working dogs like Candle that are touching lives. She visits our local hospital each Thursday and we will soon be going into the school system and alternative schools to help at-risk kids. She wins “Best of Breed” in my eyes! I have to tell you about our Therapy Dog visit to the hospital today. Let me start by saying that lately I have been wondering about the “quality”, I guess you could say, of our visits lately. It just seemed like there wasn’t any substance to them. Yeah, everyone was thrilled to see and pet Candle. The nurses adored her. Everyone wanted to take her home with them and she gave all the patients a change from their boring hospital stay. I can’t say that there was anyone that didn’t want to see her, but I just kept thinking there must be more to this therapy dog stuff. It just didn’t seem like we were helping anyone Then I visited the 4th floor of the hospital today where patients were recovering from major surgery. As we entered the floor we got the usual reception from the nurses on the floor wanting to pet her. Then a lady came up and asked if we could visit her dad. I followed her to room 409 and there was this very ill, very weak man in the bed turned on his side with his eyes closed. She told her dad that he had a visitor and I picked Candle up and put her beside him on the bed and he got this complete look of joy in his eyes, wrapped his arms around her and kept saying “She’s such a baby”, “She’s such a baby” over and over. Whenever I put Candle on a hospital bed she just seems to know to be calm. With this gentleman she put her head on his chest and lay down and the only thing you could hear was him whispering to her and her tail thumping away on the bedJ. Normally we only stay in each room a couple of minutes. We stayed with this gentleman for about a half hour. As we were leaving the room his daughter told me that this was the first time in a long time she had seen her dad smile and that she had had a dream about a Therapy Dog coming to visit the night before. I’ll never think of our visits in the same way again. There’s always that one person we are meant to visit. If anyone is thinking about going into a Therapy Dog program, I strongly encourage it. Your cavalier could make a big difference in someone’s day…quite possibly at the end of their life…..” Thank you, Jackie and Candle. I will try harder to get to the local nursing homes for visits with our dogs. It is one of the things I keep putting off. We used to do it before life got so busy and I began to deal with my aging orthopedics!!! On another note, I am very involved in the local Humane Society as the vice president and public relations director. We live in a very poor county with lots of animal neglect and/or abuse. The Humane Society does our best to help save animals. Last week we were told that someone had moved out of their house leaving behind dogs, chickens, and of all things–emus. Yes, emus! The birds and dogs were starving; some of the chickens were frozen to the ground. We rescued all we could. Rattlebridge Farm is now the home to a flock of chickens and two rather tall big birds who do not share one brain cell between them. My husband has named the emus Imogene and Emil. I do so hope that naming does not mean that they will be staying!!!!

postheadericon January 5, 2005

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! I cannot believe that it has been almost two months since I have posted any news. Thank you to all who have sent Christmas greetings and pictures of our Cavaliers. We will soon update our family gallery section. OHIO STATE RECEIVES SYRINGOMYELIA GRANT! The Ohio State Universtiy Veterinary College has received a grant of over $50,000 for a study of Syringomyelia centering around our extended family of dogs. SM is a problem in our breed and is very widespread genetically. We are very grateful to the American Kennel Club Health Foundation and the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club Charitable Trust for giving matching funds for this grant. Dr. Carley Abramson and Dr. Phil March, neurologists at Ohio State, Clare Rusbridge in England, and I will be working to find ways to eradicate or stop progression of this disease. Thank you to my friends who gave so generously (over $20,000) to begin the study before we received the grant: Mr. Gilbert Kahn, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Tschetter, Mrs Tami Byroads, Mrs. Betsy Skae, and Mrs. Jeanie Geiger We have had a good Christmas. My husband is recovering from surgery on both of his knees, but we are grateful he did not need total knee replacement at this point. Because of my own back problems, I have taken time off from traveling and judging to seek treatment for my back, but will begin judging again in April and look forward to judging the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club National in May. I have been very involved with the local Humane Society which with a skeletal crew trys to meet the needs of the animals of our county. If you can do anything to support your local humane society, please do. The need is great. We have not shown much these past few months. Our little girl, Rattlebridge Hit the Spot “Pepsi” has done very well for herself in the puppy classes and is just a couple of points away from finishing her championship. Her picture will soon be featured on our website. Rattlebridge Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rattlebridge Saranade are just a few points from finishing their championship. We wil soon be introducing our new show puppies: Rattlebridge Sienna Shimmer, a lovely ruby girl; Rattlebridge Nite ‘n’ Gale, a black and tan called Florence, and our older girl, Rattlebridge Jeannette. We will also be introducing our wonderful imports from the famous Harana kennel in England: Harana Spencer Tracy, black and tan, and Harana Star Appeal, a lovely ruby girl. Despite the fact that it looks like we are becoming a wholecolor kennel, we do have blenheim and tricolor breedings planned!!!!!! Once agin–Happy New Year!!!!