Updated: Jun 13, 2019
For sixty years I was always a cat person; never liked any dogs. Dogs are too high maintenance... and the thought of daily picking up their fresh warm biological waste material was just too much. No sir, I like simplicity. Give me a cat any day. Even though the cat we had was aloof and only came out of hiding at night for food and some attention, she was easy to care for.
Kathy and I downsized into a townhouse at which time the family cat went to live with my oldest daughter Rachel. A few months later our neighbor Robin moved in with her dog Riley, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A real mouthful. He was an annoying little fellow that wanted to lick my bare legs and jump up for attention. Get away, you hairy bouncing ball of enthusiasm. I miss my cat.
Robin worked a fair distance away and would often put Riley into doggie day care. Kathy had recently retired and was at home working on her new Etsy thread crochet creations with extra time on her hands, so she offered to take care of Riley on many of those days.
This pooch could tell I was no dog person but that didn’t stop him. He would jump up on the couch and just stare at me, trying to wear me down. Like that was going to get him anywhere. After a while he got bold enough to lay his front paws on my lap and I tolerated it. Then he would inch his way further onto my lap and soon occupy it as if it were his new home. This is insufferable. Well a few days later it wasn’t so bad. When I would come home, he would run to greet me with so much excitement I thought he would explode. Okay, I give up, this is a dog I can live with. As an added bonus, it gave us a chance to get to know Robin.
We had heard that as far as Cavaliers are concerned, the females love you but the males are in love with you. This special breed was cultured over the recent centuries to be very loving companions. Lap dogs for sure, but with playful personalities and an urgent desire to greet, love and be loved by everyone they meet.
A year went by and my new best friend Riley visited as often as we could have him. Then Robin moved to Bend, about three hours away. This was bad... she would have to take her dog too. Oh, the humanity! Maybe someday we could get a dog like this. But not just any dog would do. It had to be a male Cavalier, preferably Ruby colored. It had to be a Riley dog.
What To Do?
Robin put us in touch with the local breeder that had arranged for Riley’s entrance into the world. Soon we went to the breeder’s home to get interviewed and were able to see a couple of brand new pups. There might be an availability from this litter so we got on “The List”. Kathy likes the mostly black Tri-Color variety but I’m still hooked on having a Ruby male like Riley.
Several weeks went by and we find out that indeed there will be a puppy available from the current litter. We visit again and this time we witness a terrific display of tug of war between four tiny pups, each with a death grip hold on one corner of a knotted wash cloth. They are pulling in different directions with fierce snarling and having the greatest of fun.
The Ruby male took a break from playing with his siblings to come say hello and sit in our laps. It is then that we learned that this would be our Cavalier if we are still on board. It’s as if he knew we were there to meet him. A couple of weeks later he was ready to be handed over to his new proud parents. He would become Winston.
Traveling With Winston
We wanted to travel around in a small motorhome and were anxious to get him adjusted to going out on new travel journeys with us. To our dismay, the first attempts to have him in his carrier in the car were a harrowing experience… even a short trip resulted in major meltdowns. Oh, the whining, the howling and gnashing of teeth. And that was Kathy.
We must get him accustomed to spending hours in his carrier. Not only did we have plans for RV trips but, in a few months, he would fly with us to Costa Rica for a few weeks. We had recently built a small casita there on Lake Arenal. For now, we use it for vacations but soon we intend to live there perhaps as much as half of the year.
Winston’s Adventures have just begun.
Here is Winston as a young lad bonding with our friend Robin's Cavalier: