Hope

Posted on 3:55 PM by sara | 14 comments

Hope: A four letter word that is so small, yet can mean so much. According to the Websters dictionary, Hope is, quite simply “to believe, to desire or trust.” Hope is a word that means a lot to my family, not only for the meaning, but also for the beautiful cavalier, whom my mother decided to name “Hope.”

When my Faith was taken into rescue, she came with a whole bunch of papers, one of which was called “Faith.” It was the name of her mother. When it came time for me to name her, I decided to keep her name Faith in honor of her mother. I was always on the lookout for Faith’s mother who would eventually be turned into rescue 8 months after Faith came to live with me. It was apparent that this cavalier, whose mill name was Faith, had one mission in life: to produce as many puppies as possible. She had puppies in November (my Faith is one of them) and it was apparent when she came into rescue in August she had recently had puppies once more. She was turned into rescue with a hernia so large it dragged on the ground as she walked. She also had a grade 3 heart murmur. When I first seen her picture, it was evident to me that she was scared to death. I then found out she was Faith’s mother. I wanted to adopt her myself, but then I spoke to my mother who turned out to be the perfect match for her. She was 6 years old when her new life began.

She came to live in her furever home in August. After thinking long and hard, it was decided she would now go by the name Hope. She was so fearful when she came home that she would sit in a room by my parents and watch them through a small crack in a door opening for hours. She would only lie down if she was leaning on something, and she used to eat and drink sitting down. It also became known that she was very fearful of men. When she came up to Toronto (6 months after she came home) I needed to pick her up and she tried to run away from me. I of course followed her as she ran away. When I finally caught up with her and bent down to pick her up, my heart was broken as I realized she was so scared that she urinated all over herself.

Here is a picture of her shortly after she came to her furever home:




Fortunately, her story does not end there. As time passed, Hope slowly but surely came out of her shell. She first came to love my mother, and would do anything in her power to be in her presence at all times. My mom worked up at a lodge which sees many mountain climbers throughout the summer, and Hope quickly became a much spoken about fixture within the hotel. Many people were educated on cavaliers, the health conditions that come with cavaliers, and exactly what puppy mills are and why people should never buy from them. Hope’s story touched a lot of people’s lives.

Hope quickly became queen of the castle back home. She warmed up to my dad but decided life was better if she didn’t have to kiss him. Over the years, she began to show the very traits that define the cavalier king charles spaniel. When I went home in August to visit my family, she actually slept on my pillow one night! She came up to me voluntarily for pets, and she even greeted people when they came to the door. She also kissed my dad for the first time on the face this summer. It was evident: she had come to love her people just as they had come to fall in love with her.

Unfortunately, as with many cavaliers, one thing was constantly looming over her: mitral valve disease. Although she had a grade 3 murmur in 2007, it had progressed to a grade 5 this summer and began getting worse. She seen a wonderful cardiologist at the University of Washington called Dr. Stern, and he helped to treat her mitral valve disease. She eventually progressed into congestive heart failure. As her heart got worse, she was put on lasix that was able to be injected as well as a slew of other cardiac medications, and had fluid drained from her abdomen that had backed up due to her heart not functioning properly. All of this is absolutely heart-breaking to see in a much loved family member and should serve as a stark reminder for those of you who may be looking for a cavalier to thoroughly check your breeder’s health records. Ensure that they are following the mitral valve disease breeding protocols, and ask to see certificates that they have been heart tested from cardiologists. Although many cavaliers will eventually die of mitral valve disease, Hope could have easily lived for many more years had proper testing been performed and had she been bred for health.

As congestive heart failure is a progressive disease, eventually Hope’s heart could just not keep up anymore, and she lost her battle with heart disease. She was peacefully sent to the bridge today, December 13, 2010.

I have chosen to blog about Hope, because she has etched her pawprints in my heart and to me, she is a wonderful success story. To go from being such a fearful dog to a dog that loved my family with her entire heart is heartwarming. I often say cavaliers suffer from bad hearts because they love us too much and with their entire heart. Hope has also taught me a few lessons on her way. The most important being that I learned to never give up. Hope may have seemed like a lost cause when she first came home, but with tons of love, patience and persistence, she came to be one of the best cavaliers I know.

As days turn into weeks which will turn into years ultimately, my family will be forever touched by this blessing God chose to bestow upon us. Hope eventually lived up to her namesake; through love and perseverance, she learned to “believe, desire and trust."

R.I.P Hope - July 31, 2001 - December 13, 2010

14 comments:

Susan Davis said...

Beautiful Sara!

Lynne said...

So sorry! Hope will live on in your heart forever!

Empty Nest Mom said...

What a wonderful tribute -I'm so glad Hope's last years were happy ones.

JanaG said...

That was an amazing tribute. Made me cry. I remember her story so well and was so happy when your mom adopted her. hugs to your family.

Miss Kodee said...

Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful Cavalier. Loss of a loved one human or pet is always difficult. As time goes on we learn to treasure the good they brought into our lives more than the sorrow we feel when we loose them. I am sorry for your loss, but more importantly, so happy you all got to experience "Hope"

debjen said...

That is a beautiful tribute to Hope. Thinking of you and your family.

Linda said...

Absolutely a wonderful tribute to Hope, I am so sorry that she has gone to the bridge but yet have peace knowing she is free of pain. Your parents devotion from the first day she came to live with them to the end is a memory you will all treasure in your hearts forever. She will remain in all of our hearts, it was a miracle from God that she found your family to live the life she deserved Sara and in the end returned to him to run free as all cavaliers should.

Love My Cavaliers said...

What a lovely but sad story. In the first photo she looks like a broken down puppy - broken hearted and broken in spirit and yet at the end with her chin in the air you can see the HOPE that she was given by your parents and the wonderful happy life she had with them in her eyes. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! People like you, like your parents, like us all here deserve to have Cavaliers and they deserve our love too. They are such a special affectionate breed. I have tears in my eyes now. Thanks for sharing that wonderful tribute.

Whitney and the Preppy Puppy said...

That was a lovely tribute, Sara. I smiled when I got to the part about Hope kissing your dad this summer. I rememeber seeing the picture on your mom's FB page and was so delighted and thought that was the final part of her journey from puppy mill mommy to beloved family member.

Rouky said...

Sara, this is so touching. A real tribute to Hope. You and your parents are wonderful people. You are making my cry...

Katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This was a lovely tribute to her, and to your love for her. Thank you for saving a puppy mill puppy. Thank you for giving her happy years. Get lots of hugs and licks from Faith and Kosmo for comfort.

Momo and Pinot said...

I cried. I am very sorry for your loss. This wonderful story really makes me think that we should never give up. One of my parents' dogs (Pekinese) John was about to die many years ago. He couldn't stand up by himself anymore. We were told this dog had a few month to go but my parents tried hard and he eventually was able to walk again and enjoyed his life two more years.

Thank you so much for sharing the story.

Momo and Pinot's mom

Suzie said...

Sara, A beautiful tribute to a precious soul. So sorry for her passing.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful tribute to Hope. It made me cry. I'm glad to know more about her and am especially pleased to know that your parents have Graham. He's a tribute to how much they loved sweet Hope.

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