We applied to Cavalier Rescue in 2000 and in April that year we were offered two boys who were desperate for a home. We said yes with no hesitation and after a successful nail-biting home check, we set off to collect our new boys. They had been in rescue before (not cavalier rescue) and had only been in their current home for about a year. We had been made fully aware of their health problems, but the sight of them was still a shock. George the eldest was grossly fat, he weighed 40 lbs and had bald patches all around his eyes and on his body.
Sam had a very bad ear infection and was also somewhat overweight. He was thought to have been abused at some time, was hand shy and didn't like men. Despite this fact he immediately bonded with his new dad, a bond which continued to grow over time. They came from their previous home with nothing, so on the way home we stopped off for low cal food and two new collars.
They settled in very well and next day it was off to the vet to start vaccinations etc. George had to have skin scrapes and biopsies of his poor skin and Sam had swabs taken from his ears. George turned out to have long standing dermatitis which required antibiotics and twice weekly baths. Sam had an awful pseudomonas infection which took six months of twice daily treatment to clear up.
George was a very territorial up for it sort of chap, and after only a couple of weeks in our home charged across the garden when someone passed the gate. He overshot a raised flower bed, crashing to the concrete below and with all the weight he was carrying, broke his front leg. Three times the vet splinted it, and despite wearing a collar, three times George got the splint off. By this time we were getting desperate and hit the how can we cope stage, but we weren't about to give up on the boys and of course we did cope and eventually the leg healed.
Sam soon reached his target weight and George was also winning the inch war. His fur had re-grown and he eventually reached 24 lbs just right for a dog of his frame. They were now a handsome pair. Their fitness level was very poor to start with and they were shattered after 10 minutes of walking, but after about six months they were up to 90 minutes per day.
They were still a bit manic, but George in particular was extremely affectionate, he was one of those dogs of a lifetime and his terrific personality had now emerged.
Sam too came out of himself more each day, he fed off George's confidence and learned to trust and love us. They were now dogs in their own right, good friends yet not afraid to stand alone.
In April, 2009 just 9 years after they came to us George sadly left us to hellraise in the heartlands. We were privileged to spend those 9 wonderful years with a very special boy, the like of which I'm sure we will never have again. Sam adjusted to life without his friend. and despite the remnants of some of his phobias, enjoyed life to the full.
In September 2009 Jamie, a 1 year old ex show dog came into our lives, a dog who wanted nothing more than to love and be loved. He and Sam became the best of friends, and Jamie taught Sam what real love was all about. In turn Sam gave Jamie security, and once the protected - Sam now became the protector of his new brother. Those last few months were such golden ones for Sam, but sadly in August 2010 at the great age of around 14 years, Sam too left us to rejoin George at the Rainbow Bridge.
I get the impression that some people think to rescue a cavalier is a cheaper and easier option than buying a puppy. It is neither, nor did we expect it to be. It can be hard work, sometimes soul destroying, but we'd do it all again tomorrow.