First of all, I'd like to start today by thanking my new readers for inspiring me to do this series of posts. I am having a lot of fun revisiting the people, and creatures, that make up my life and why they are so special to me. So, thank you. :)
Second of all, I have a question for those of you who may be more technologically advanced than me; is it true that Blogger is forcing everyone to adopt the same template in the future? Apparently, this template change is inaccessible with screen readers, which means, blind folk like me will have to move blog sites. I've stuck with Blogger for so long because it's been one of the most accessible blogging websites I could find. I will be very sad if "At A Glacial Pace" will have to find a new home. Anyway, on to today's family member.
Let's get back to the dogs.
We've met Jetta, our oldest family member, so why don't we meet our newest?
Hermione is a 12 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She will be three months this upcoming weekend and she is growing only as a puppy can grow. She is a cinnamon colour with white markings and has a slightly indistinctive "Buddha's thumb print" or "kissing spot" on her forehead. This marking is particular to her colouring and is very sought after for show dogs. It is a chestnut marking on the dog's head, right in the middle of a white blaze. Hermione's hasn't developed fully yet and it may never, but either way, we think she's beautiful. We don't plan on showing her or breeding her, so if the mark never shows itself fully, life will continue on as always. She has curly fringes on the ends of her ears, feathers on the backs of her legs and a perfect ringlet at the end of her tail; this last feature will probably go away with age and turn into a big fan. We met her Mom, Queeny, and she had a beautiful full feathered tail.
Hermione was purchased from a breeder in England and we had to drive four and a half hours one way just to pick her up. She was in a litter of seven and was the only girl. Five of her brothers are the same colouring as her and the other is a tri-coloured, which means he is black, white and brown. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels come in four different colourings:
Ruby (deep reddish brown and it is ideal that there is no white on these dogs),
Blenheim (which Hermione is and may be spelled incorrectly),
and black and white.
With Hermione being the only girl, she was a bit more expensive and very sought after. Luckily for me, I put a down payment on her right away as other people called for her just minutes after Mr. K and I laid claim to her. One woman even went as far as to call the breeder three to four times and suggest to the breeder that she just tell us that Hermione had been sold. Her remark to the breeder was:
"Well, I'll get there faster..."
Thankfully, Hermione's breeder is a stand up citizen and told the woman that that wasn't going to happen. The breeder figured that the very persistent and rude woman was a breeder as well. We had already paid for the puppy and were already on the road. The nerve of some people.
There were a couple of reasons for us getting Hermione, but the main one was that I want to train her as a therapy dog and use her skills as a part of my Master's degree dissertation. Not to mention, I was really craving puppy breath, teeth and sleepless nights. Also, when we moved, we re-homed our three Dachshunds and I was missing having a dog that I could treat as a dog and not my working partner. Mine and Glacier's relationship has a very particular balance and too much mothering on my part can tip that balance in the wrong direction. I wanted someone who could be my princess and baby.
With all of that in mind, Hermione is definitely a diva, but is definitely not allowed to be a little Hellion. She has been working on going potty outside for just over a week and aside from an accident here or there, she is doing very well. Pee is the hardest to catch for me. She also knows how to sit and can hold a stay for about ten seconds. Yesterday we started working on down and that is coming right along. She can be a diva, but she will be a well behaved diva.
Some of Hermione's favourite pass times are trying to play with Glacier, tug of war, getting in the shower stall for no reason and napping. Since she does like tug of war so much, we are also working on "drop it" as I don't want her to think that she can just take off with whatever she wants. She also loves going for walks and actually has half decent leash manners considering her age and that she's only been on a leash for about a week now.
Hermione is the perfect size and will probably grow up to weigh about 20 LBS, making her smaller than the Cocker Spaniel, but larger than the King Charles Spaniel. Confused yet?
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is considered a toy even though the King Charles Spaniel is smaller. The King Charles Spaniels are also more rare than the Cavaliers. Cavaliers were bred to be lap dogs, but they still have a lot of energy and spunk. I had been through several breeds, trying to decide on what small breed would be appropriate for a therapy dog, and after hours and hours of research I came to the conclusion that a breed that had been bred specifically to be a companion was probably the way to go. I'm a big dog person, but our flat is small and Mr. K prefers the small breeds. So, in order to make us all happy-Mr. K getting a smaller breed and me getting a puppy-I found what I hoped would be the perfect little dog for us.
In her short time with us, Hermione has accumulated a few nicknames,; just like every other animal that has lived with me. So far she is called:
Hermione Sophia (Sophia after my mom LOL),
Jumping Bean (which has been shortened to Bean),
and Goob (which is substituted for Scooby-doo in the Scooby theme song and is sung to her).
I may be biased, but Hermione has been the easiest puppy I have ever had to train. She just wants to please you and your praise is reward enough. She is incredibly smart and that coupled with her wanting to please makes her a dream puppy. We can leave her on her own for a few hours and she doesn't tear anything up or bark/howl/whine. We did start leaving her for small time periods pretty much from the second day we had her to teach her that us leaving wasn't a bad thing. She just goes to sleep. She has also started "holding it" until we get home and I can take her out to the bathroom. From time to time, she still sneaks off to potty in a secret corner, but if I stay on top of taking her out every two to three hours, she doesn't have an accident. I love my Dachshunds and I miss them very much, but this puppy is a cake walk in comparison to them and she hasn't lost any of the "'tude" that I loved about the Dachshunds. The only thing we do have to be concerned about is the health risks associated with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, but that is with most breeds.
To give you an idea of Hermione:
if she's not napping, she's attempting to battle with one of the big boys; if she's not attempt battling, then she is up to her shoulders in Mr. K's shoe mining for toe fuzz; if I remove the shoe from the situation, which I do, she's dragging the fleece tug I made for her around the living room at top speeds; and if that isn't enough excitement for her then she convinces Mr. K to pick her up so they can "sing" together. That's right, she sings. Mr. K will hold her up close to his face and sing to her and she starts squawking/squeaking/yipping right along with him. She definitely keeps me busy. I'm only able to write this now because she is snoozing soundly on my legs.
So, that is Lady Hermione Sophia in a nutshell. I'm sure you will be hearing more about her as she grows, conquers new cues I teach her and any other silly little things that she does because she is a puppy.
Did I ever mention that there is never a dull moment?