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The Love Machines

Can you die from an overdose of cuteness? My daughter and I both own King Charles Cavaliers. These are dangerous critters if you have things to do or places to go. Their plan of attack is to immobilize owners with their winsome dispositions. They disarm disciplinary measures with those "doe" eyes. However, the secret weapon they pull out just when you're just about to win is their little velvet tongues. Cavaliers will lick you into submission. It isn't easy to be the pack leader to a bundle of unconditional love. Even the simple act of walking a Cavalier is a daunting task. Everyone you meet on your path is compelled to pet them, marveling at their innocent appearance. Innocent? Try going down the basement to do laundry. My little bundle doesn't like the basement and quietly whimpers until I return. These dogs become extremely attached to their owners, and they do suffer from separation anxiety. However, they don't engage in destructive behavior. In all my years of ownership, I have never had to deal with chewed shoes, torn pillows, or garbage destruction. Cavaliers have what is called "soft bite." They can't really bite down completely, which means they don't tear at objects. It also means they are good with children. When I was working, our two Cavs would sit in the front window waiting for me all day. Neighbors would tell me they would watch them in the window, little did they know that were plotting to nuzzle me mercilessly when I arrived. Chloe, the Blenheim, is mine. My daughter owns the tricolor, named Vladimir. Until my daughter moved to Florida, Vlad and Chloe both lived in my house. It was twice the fun and twice the love. The pair was the dynamic duo of puppy love.

I won't brag about their intelligence, because they sure as heck aren't Lassie, but they obey commands and understand love. This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1995, but they have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to King Charles of England. After nearly disappearing, Queen Victoria brought them back into popularity.The breed is a small dog, weighing about 18lbs and standing about 13". The females mark their territory. Cavs come in four colors: Black and Tan, Black and White, Blenheim, and Ruby. They want to please their masters more than anything else.They are wonderful with children, but because of their small size, children have to be gentle with them. They are also good for the elderly, as I can personally attest. They do not require rigorous exercise and so make a calm companion for those who require it. They do shed seasonally, and it is necessary to keep up the sweeping. My Chloe nursed me through hip surgery, back surgery, and other health issues. I don't know where I'd be without her.

We are lucky in this suburban town, to have a field across the street. The high point of my day was walking the dogs when I got home. I would let Chloe off the leash to chase the bunnies, but she never came close to catching one. Vlad never bothered. He didn't run, he pranced. He sort of reminds me of Pepe LePeu. Of all the things I miss now being in a wheelchair, walking Chloe is the biggest loss. I knew every dog owner on the block, every kid who had to pet her, and every mom who had to explain why they couldn't have a dog. Chloe was my little ambassador. Vlad is now 11 years old, and Chloe is 10. They are old in Cavalier time. I don't think about that. I'll be forever grateful to these cutie-pies for letting me share a love with them.