Since I published my latest recap not long ago, I’ve decided to skip the usual end-of-month post (I don’t have much to report, anyway).
Instead, I’m dedicating a page in my (virtual) Scrabbled Journal to our two new furry family members, Dash and Rowley. Doggie Diaries will be a new blog section for occasional updates on life with our two pups.
So as promised, this first post will be an introduction to Dash and Rowley, their characteristics, and personalities. I will also describe how we got to choose them, the memorable moments so far, and how our life has changed since their arrival.
Pet profiles 🐶
Nicknames: Dashie, Dashington, Dash Can (because all sorts of things end up in his mouth, like a trash can!)
Type: male Tricolor (black/brown/white) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; thick coat; slightly big size
Birthday: 22nd November 2017
Gotcha Day: 19th January 2018
Likes: biting everything; eating everything; barking at people from the balcony; belly rubs
Dislikes: sounds made on plastic containers (reaction: barks and growls!)
Personality: shy; gentle; friendly but cautious (and a bit submissive when he meets new dogs); usually calm and quiet but when he sees or hears something unusual, he barks; walks slowly but becomes fast when it comes to food and fighting Rowley
Unique traits: when we don’t let him kiss us properly, he keeps licking the air like crazy; when he wants to come up in bed, he puts his paw on it in an adorable way to beg for help (but now he has finally learned to jump by himself)
Nicknames: Rolly, Frawli (because we call him ‘rawli’ which rhymes with ‘frawli’ (the Maltese word for strawberries))
Type: male Blenheim (brown/white) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel; thinner coat than Dash; slightly petite size
Birthday: 20th December 2017
Gotcha Day: 17th February 2018
Likes: biting everything; eating everything; cuddling between our pillows in bed; befriending all the strangers and dogs on the street
Dislikes: when Dash barks (reaction: cuddles up to us!); too many boops on his nose
Personality: overly-friendly; hyper; fast runner and high jumper; loud (his bark is shrill, and he often sounds like a deranged monkey, haha!); bossy (he often picks up a ‘fight’ with Dash, and he barks when he demands food)
Special traits: jumping on/off the sofa/bed, thinking he’s SuperDog; ‘dancing’ on his hind legs for a treat
Name origins 👑
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, as their name denotes, are royal dogs (they were named after Charles II). And we happened to choose two royal names for our dogs.
Any fan of the UK series Victoria will undoubtedly know where the first name comes from. Dash was Queen Victoria‘s first dog, a childhood companion who stayed by her side until after her ascension to the throne. He was more than just a pet; in fact, after he passed away, the Queen had an epitaph inscribed in marble and erected at Windsor. Dash had a prominent part in Victoria, and the series helped with convincing us that Cavaliers were a good choice.
Rowley, on the other hand, was the name of the Cavalier owned by Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Also called Rolly, this Cav is perhaps the last example of the breed in the British Royal Family. I am kind of hoping that The Crown will play Victoria‘s card and add Rowley to their new cast!
Why two male Cavaliers?
First things first: we did not adopt. We needed to find a dog suitable for our small apartment, and it’s tough to find a small dog for adoption. To take in a rescue dog is still our dream, perhaps if we ever get a bigger house.
At first, we were considering Dachshunds (Matt had one back in Sweden, but they bark a lot), Beagles and Cocker Spaniels. Then we discovered the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed (Cavs or CKC in short) through Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 and various Youtube videos. They are small, smart (not hard to train), not very barky (especially when compared to other small breeds), extremely friendly and good-natured. They are suitable for all kinds of weather, they’re not too high-maintenance, and they only require the usual daily walks.
You won’t find Cavaliers in sanctuaries here in Malta, so we had to find a reliable breeder by asking around. Although actually, what kickstarted our quest was a call for adoption of a Cavalier, forwarded to me by a friend from class. Fortunately for the dog, the notice was removed after a couple of hours (it’s sad enough when people have valid reasons to give up their pets, but I know that some do it because the pet is too naughty or unable to be bred).
Matt wanted to have boys because he wanted to avoid all those feminine hygiene issues. 😝 Besides, we are definitely not interested in becoming breeders; we just wanted to have a companion. Or rather, two companions. At first, the idea of having two puppies drove me crazy. But having two, especially when they’re Cavaliers, is great because it’s a breed that not only loves to be with their humans but also with each other. Also, having two pups means that they can entertain each other and give us a break, once in a while!
We wished they were real brothers, but it wasn’t possible because our chosen breeder’s first litter only had two pups, male and female. The male one was a Tricolor when we initially were planning to have a Blenheim and a Ruby (solid brown). However, Tricolors were secretly my favourite, and it would have made more sense to have a Tricolor named Dash, just like Queen Victoria had. And so, Dash was born late in November. The next litter came a month later and Rowley the Blenheim was born, the only male in a litter of three. The only connection between the two now-brothers is a grandma from their mothers’ side.
Memorable moments 💙
- First meeting: we met Rowley a couple of days after birth, shortly before Christmas; Dash at 6 weeks old at the beginning of January – they made our festive season extra special!
- Gotcha days: I had the fortune to hold them in my arms during the drive back home
- 1st March: Dash and Rowley’s first time together, after Rowley’s 2nd vaccination (before that, they had to stay separate) – they were so happy to play together, and in the end, they crashed to sleep on each other!
- 24th March: first walk outside, to the family park, after Rowley’s last vaccination
- 20th May: first meeting with other local Cavs for a seaside walk in our village – Rowley got to meet his uncle!
- 12th July: first grooming session; they were such good boys.
- 22nd July: first swim, although it was too wavy and they couldn’t really swim that much
How they changed our lives ❤
Ever since they arrived home, there has never been a dull moment! They definitely made us happier, even with all their naughtiness, and the cleaning and the early wake-ups. We have also become more physically active, that’s always a plus.
Getting them during my busiest period ever had its pros and cons. Dealing with pups, with all their hyperactivity and peeing-where-they-should-not-pee, can be a little bit stressful and, although Matt dealt with most of it, it still affected my nerves. On the other hand, ironically, puppies also serve as a stress relief. I used my study breaks to cuddle them and going out for a daily walk with them definitely improved my mood. Apart from that, they kept Matt company during the long hours I spent locked in my office poring over books.
Bottom line: no regrets on getting two puppies, our life has become 100% better. We love you, Dash and Rowley. 💜