Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I feel the need to bitch about my bitch. Ok, that was pathetic. I know.

Ruby is my eight-pound dog. She's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which for those of you who don't know what type of dog that is, it's the same kind that Charlotte had on Sex and The City (I know you know that show.)

Anyway, The Fiance got Ruby from a breeder in another city. This is because he knows how much I love dogs, and was trying to make me feel more at home in his city, where I had moved, you know, to be with him.

The Fiance meant well. Also, I had started to talk about maybe having a second child, and that freaked him out. He was probably thinking, "I'll get her a dog! That will get her mind off a second child!" It kind of worked too. Toilet training a dog is really very hard.

The thing is, I always grew up with big dogs from the Human Society. There was Spot, my favorite dog, a mutt who died suddenly after having a diabetic seizure.

There was Blackjack, a mutt, who was possible the stupidest dog in existence, but had a nice personality. He died of cancer.

Then, there was Bogey, a part beagle and very stupid dog too, who, though weighed about 90 pounds, thougt he was a lap dog and always wanted to sit on you. He was given to a very nice man, who adored Bogey, when I moved to The Fiances city, where he lived in a no-dogs-allowed condo.

Now we have Ruby, the 8-pound dog, because we moved into a house.

The Fiance liked The King Charles Spaniel, because Sinatra had one. So he was sold. I wasn't sold, because I love big dogs who I can lie on. And I wanted to rescue a dog from the Human Society, because those poor dogs. I didn't really want a small, designer dog. Anyway.

The Fiance found a breeder, made arrangements. And, $1000 and a few weeks later, we picked Ruby up at the airport. She was tiny. If I lied on her, she'd die. But she was cute, as most dogs are.

But the breeder LIED to us. Seriously. Ruby, the 8-pound dog, was turning out to be a lemon. That's what we call her actually, "lemon."She was supposed to be entirely Ruby-colored, and she is not. She also really, really likes to lick. Which is nice, for the first minute, but after 38 minutes, not so nice. Oh, and she limps.

We took Ruby to a Pet Resort (seriously, that's what it is called - a Pet Resort) when we went on vacation. I actually called them, while we were vacationing in Hawaii a few months ago, to check in. The woman who answered the phone was in shock that a dog-owner called to check up on their dog.

But, I mean, Ruby was part of the family. When I leave The Dictator, I call about 12 times a day to check in.

But the woman was friendly enough and came back to the phone saying, "Ruby is doing very well, and she's been playing with puppies because she is so small."

Anyway, when we picked Ruby up, her coat of fur looked about 120 shades lighter than when we dropped her off. They did wash her, like we asked, but I am convinced, so is The Fiance, that the breeder had dyed Ruby a darker brown (the color she was supposed to be) before shipping her to us.

The Fiacne is sick of Ruby. He gets really upset when she poos in the house. I'm more like, "But her poos are so small!," which is true, and a positive about owning a small dog.

The Dictator, we think, likes Ruby. Or at least she likes taking all of Ruby's toys and throwing them in the basement. Basically, I think The Dictator likes torturing Ruby, because Ruby is the only one in the house smaller than her.

I've grown the love Ruby-the-lemon-8-pound dog-who-limps. Even though we paid for a pure-bred dog, and that's not what we got. And we've already spent a couple thousand dollars on her, because her baby teeth weren't falling out and there was talk about giving her a leg operation, which I've turned down, because she doesn't seem to be in pain. She just limps.

The Fiance regrets getting her. But Ruby kind of did the trick. She, too, is a full time job. I couldn't imagine having another child, plus The Dictator, plus the dog.

And though in the 10 page contract we signed, from the breeder, we are allowed to give her back if there were any medical probelms in the first year. But, really, she's been with us for a few months now. I could NEVER send Ruby back. It would be like sending The Dictator back to the hospital and saying, "Well, you know, she cries a lot and makes a mess everywhere, and sometimes she likes to hit and bite me and she still doesn't sleep through the night.. She's a lemon! Can I have another please?"

Could you imagine?


Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Oh I think I love Ruby-the-lemon-8-pound dog-who limps. Those quirky dogs are the best! Sure you paid for a beamer and got something else but sending her back isn't cool

2:56 PM

Blogger Jenn said...

Poor Ruby.

King Charles Cavalier dogs tend to have a whole tonne of health problems, and the limping thing is actually very common. It's likely something called Patellar Luxation, which means that her kneecaps pop out. It may not be painful now, but it will be eventually if it doesn't get fixed (which I know costs a whole lot of money). They also tend to have serious heart problems, so I'd keep an eye on her if I were you.

Aside from their health issues, I've never met one that didn't have a sweet personality, and working in Veterinary health for over a decade, I've met a few (all with either the knee problem, heart problems or both).

3:44 PM

Blogger Cindy said...

Yeah we got the same deal with our doberman from the breeder, thankfully no problems because I certainly could never part with my big dumb puppy. He also at 90 pounds thinks hes a lap dog and will sit on you. My other dog who is a mutt does the licking thing. For hours. And hours. She will sit on the floor and lick the carpet until it looks like she peed there. Dogs have all sorts of quirks, but I wouldn't part with either of them for anything.

7:22 PM

Blogger Sarah and Wyatt said...

LOL.... I have my own lemon. But I love her to bits. WE bought a purebred unpapered rottweiler from a breeder (aka biker who breeds rotties). Anyway, she just came up to me looked at me and my heart melted and she was mine. She is an incredibly loving dog, but also EXTREMELY nervous. Basically would bark at her own shadow. People think she's mean because she barks whenever anyone comes near our place, but they don't realize it is because she is scared. We know someone who has one of her siblings, and she is a sweet natured, lovey, people friendly dog, but a complete klutz. Then there is mine who won't go near anyone out of fear and runs the other direction when anyone approaches her. Pretty funny for a 140lb dog.

8:55 PM

Blogger Not Jenny said...

Our lemon is a Bassett Hound named Lucy. She has a lame leg and throws her back out every once in a while and is not fully housetrained. She was our first child. I can't stand how she sheds all over everything and steals food from the kids, but there is no way she is leaving the family.

8:10 AM

Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

This is sooo creepy. I was just about to do a big dog post over on my mommy blog. there must be dog vibes in the air, lol.

I can assure you that a huge number of 'breeders' are unscrupulous - I used to handle dogs in the show ring.

I've bred and exhibited/shown dogs, horses, sheep, goats, and chickens(really!) and the dog people are the very worst followed closely by horse-folk and sheep breeders.

Money and competition are two things that make people crazy.


9:58 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

I wouldn't give Ruby up either, lemon or not. But I would give that breeder a piece of your mind. Dyeing a dog and giving you a dog that limps? I'm not saying I'd care what color my dog was or if it limped (as long as it wasn't in pain, like yours) but I have to say- if you pay top dollar to a breeder, you had darn well better get your money's worth.

I'm a big shelter dog kind of girl myself. Once we get out of this godforsaken apartment, we're getting a dog. Nothing small because Leah would probably pull it's ears off or something, brute that she is, lol.

12:45 PM

Blogger Kristen said...

Oh, and we had a Shih Tzu lemon when I was younger. She pooped in my mom's room because she didn't like her, and HUMPED everyone even though she was clearly female. And as she got older she got ear and butt problems, to which she rubbed both body parts all over the rug constantly- and she started to really stink. Her name was Casey.

12:46 PM

Blogger Refinnej said...

Ruby sounds sweet. Our lemon dog is an overweight mutt named Goldie. She worships my husband, is scared of everyone outside our family, and blows off the most awful farts daily. But, she's part of the family.

Man, what I'd give to have small dog poops to pick up. Sigh.

11:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Cavalier owner and fancier (hope to be a breeder someday). Actually, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels don't have many more health problems than any other breed. (I disagree with Jenn.)It seems like the problem with your pup is that the Fiance didn't get her from a good breeder & didn't do his homework first. (The first hint is the price--well-bred Cavaliers actually go for $1500 to $2000.)

I reassure you that it is not uncommon for rubies to have white on them, although it is a fault. This happens when you breed a wholecolor (ruby or black and tan) to a blenheim or tri-color dog. You may mix the colors to reinforce structure or head type in your line, but this can result in mis-marked wholecolor puppies. They can make perfect, healthy pets, but are disqualified from the show ring.

As far as health goes, nearly ALL small breeds can have problems with luxating patellas, but usually it isn't a problem in dogs from responsible breeders. (And a responsible breeder would tell you up front if they noticed your pup had a real problem.) It may happen occasionally, but usually it's not difficult to correct.

Mitral Valve Disease is a heart condition very prevalent in Cavaliers. It's getting better now, but it used to be that nearly all Cavaliers had at least a minor murmur by the age of 5. But my dog is almost seven and shows no sign of a heart problem. It's something to be aware of, but really doesn't affect the quality of life of most Cavaliers until their old age.

The main problem now is syringomyelia (SM), which has to do with the occipital bone at the base of the skull. This can cause limping or limb weakness. Other signs are scratching near the shoulders or the ears, and screaming episodes where the dog doesn't want to move.

Cavaliers can actually be hearty little dogs, despite their status as a toy breed. It just seems like you had the unfortunate experience of not getting one from the right person.

3:58 PM


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