Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Over 4 months old

Riley turned 18 weeks old this past Monday- 4 months old on Christmas Day. We were, unfortunately, not here to celebrate with him. We were gone in the Galapagos Islands for a week and when we came back **POW** He was bigger! Taller, longer, older. We really saw it after being away from him (for the first time ever).

He's growing up SO quickly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

16 Weeks

So Riley is 16 weeks old today. I make that distinction because he'll be four months old on Christmas day (he was born August 25th.) It is so odd that it's a 10-day spread at this point but it is what it is. He's 8 lbs and FULL of UNBOUNDING ENERGY! He's been a bit much to deal with these past few days- a bit more than in the past. He's just so curious and so smart- taking everything in, learning all new sorts of things like walking on a leash without killing the leash, he has his "sit" command down pat, and he's still learning lay down. Like his sister Phoebe, he knows, "Gimme a kiss" very well. Probably his first command. 16 weeks old and just over 7 weeks with us. Seems longer. Where does the time go?


Oh no he didn't! Yes, poor, poor Riley was leaning in for a kiss to Miss Phoebe, just like he kisses (i.e., tongue-bathes) his brother, Chandler. And wouldn't ya know it? She warns him... full on sounds, teeth, and all. Oh... this one is gonna take some time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm a big boy!

When Riley first joined our family he was teeny tiny. Look at the photo on the right side of the page. He could sleep on top of Chandler and not cover him. However today they are sleeping next to each other because Riley would crush Chandler. What happened? When did he get so big? And, he is not even halfway full grown yet. Yikes!

Sir Riley is now the longest dog in the house. He is not quite as tall as the others, but that will likely change in the next day to two.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend 2008

Then, this afternoon, on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, they all piled up with Dad-E while Daddy-M was baking 20-dozen cookies and 20-dozen brownines. This was the scene:

Thanksgiving Weekend 2008

We had a fabulous weekend of friends, food and puppies. Last night, as Riley was becoming very "nippy" and hyperactive (usually the sign that he's overtired and needing to go nighty-night, Michael snapped this photo of him playing with me. Caption; "Shhhh... Don't Speak!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am three months old now...

Sir Riley, Lord of Essex, is three months old today as he was born on August 25th. Hard to believe that he's been living with us for 4 weeks and three days (but who's counting?) We're so lucky to have this little guy in our family. It's already hard to imagine our lives without him. We love you, Riley!

Monday, November 24, 2008

He looks like a toy

We keep hearing from people that Riley looks like a stuffed animal. Well, here he is with a his new friend. Riley is the one on the right... or is he? We got him a stuffed cavalier, so he would think it was a litter mate, and he loves it. He drags his dog everywhere with him and wrestles with it. It is very cute to watch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


So we bought a FLIP Video camera before we adopted Riley and, wouldn't you know it, the videos from the first week and a half of his life with us (including how we met him, selecting him, etc..) were all lost! Devastating! This is because of some incompatibility issues with MAC's new iMovie software. Grrrr....

So I took the more recently made videos to the office today, uploaded to a PC and VOILA! They uploaded with ease. I only had the time to upload one, but I'll get the others up soon.

Anyway, here's the three pups napping on Michael's lap. Taken last Friday night, 11/14/08. SO, SO, SO friggin' cute!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Riley is 12 weeks old, today

Hard to believe that we've had our little boy for only a bit over 3 weeks and that he's 12 weeks old today. How the time flies...

This is what PUPPIES FOR DUMMIES calls the "terrible twos" phase of puppyhood-- weeks' 12-16. He's testing limits, more playful and rambunctious. We're not sleeping enough, but this will all pass and be a distant, faint memory one day. Right now, we're just enjoying this as much as possible; In the moment. He is such a surprising, fun, sweet little boy. We feel so very lucky to have him in our family.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Needle Teeth

Like all puppies, Riley has an affinity for chewing. It wouldn't be so bad, except his teeth, like those of all puppies, are needles. Those things hurt. When we are the subjects of his "mouthing" we tried giving him a chew toy instead. That didn't work. The vet last night suggested shunning him. In other words, when he does something he isn't supposed to do (like gnawing daddy's fingers) we are supposed to say "no bite" and then isolate him in another room for 30 seconds. So far, he uses that time to explore the bathroom. He hasn't discovered the toilet paper yet, luckily. But it is hard to have to carry him through the house to the bathroom, wait 30 seconds and then let him out. Upon his exit, he goes right back to chewing something.

Right now we are in the office so the cleaning crew can work in the living room. Riley is chomping away on his crate. He brought all his toys in there with him, but does he chew them? No! He only wants to chew on the things he isn't supposed to chew on. How long does this puppy phase last? It's been a long time since I have had to deal with puppyhood. Not that I want him to grow up too fast, he is such a cute puppy, but I really am over being chewed on.

Riley ROCKED IT at the Vet

This pic was shot on the vet's exam table last night; Our little champ did really well at the visit, yesterday. We did NOT like the local vet we went to for his first visit, so we tried a new one and they were MUCH nicer and it was a better experience for all.

On Monday, Riley will be 12 weeks old. So he had his next round of vaccinations. He had his distemper/parvo vaccines as well as Lyme Vaccine. They're recommending it now, routinely, for dogs in our area since there's such a large population of deer (and hence, potentially, the ticks that carry Lyme Disease.) He was such a trooper. He did squirm and cry each time he had a shot but he got over it quickly. Later that night, he went a little nuts trying to find a comfy position on the couch, but his butt cheeks were sore and even if he rolled the wrong way, he'd yelp out in pain. But 9:30, we were done and put him to sleep in his crate. He woke up this morning like nothing had happened. You can sense a bit of tenderness on his left side, but other than that- no crying, no shrieking. HAPPY PUPPY!! YAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!

We go back in 4 weeks for his next round of shots.

He's such a big boy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ZZZZZzzzzzzzz...... It's Nap Time

Michael emailed me this photo, taken on his iPhone from above his head, while sitting on the sofa. Riley is napping to his left, Chandler napping to the right and Phoebe on his lap, standing guard. What a pack!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Riley's Parents

Thanks for the permission to post these pics, Juli!

This is his Momma, Isabel:

And this is his Dad, Yogi Bear:

Who do you think he looks like?

He's growing up!

I haven't much to report today that I didn't report last night. But I have this picture of him, taken the other day at 11 weeks old-- you can see him maturing, already! So friggin' cute...

I'm going to contact Juli and see if I can get permission to post pics of his parents. He looks SO much like his dad, Yogi Bear. (Though, after looking at this photo on a large screen and not my iPhone, his snout is starting to lengthen like his mother, Isabel.) Either way, they're both amazingly adorable dogs and he's gonna be luck to look like either of them and even luckier to have their great Cavalier temperment!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What about the first 2 weeks of his life with you?

Today, our little Riley is 11 weeks old. He has been with us for 2 weeks and 2 days. (Two-and-Two! Just like Chuck Woolery.)

It's hard to believe but he's doing so well! Only 2 accidents in the house and they were our faults- not his. He eats and sleeps on a very regimented routine and he seems to like it. He eats three times a day and he gets apple slices and carrot bits as treats. He loves his toys but, of late, he really loves chasing and being chased. This past weekend, my cousin Aviva came with her 2 year old mini-Dacschund, Homer, and they ran and ran... so cute! Today, Chandler gave Riley chase in the yard for a good 5 minutes. And Phoebe is being very magnanimous by not eating him alive each time he goes to one of her toys instead of his own.

We took video upon video for the first two weeks. More photos than I could post here, and then something awful happened--- my videos deleted off the video camera (the Flip) and when they transferred to iPhoto, we lost the video! There's only audio. I need to go to the help desk at the Apple store and see if they can help me retrieve this/salvage these videos. It SO SUCKS! If I get this back, I'll post it to the blog. But for now, we have just our memories of this little guy and our amazing first 2 weeks with him.

Where'd you get his name?

When I told my parents that we got a puppy and named him Riley my father said, "What kind of Jewish name is that for a dog?" Given that Michael's father and our next door neighbor said similar things, let me just say: THE DOG ISN'T JEWISH.

That said- it's kinda cool how Riley got his name.

We went down with a list of names we liked for a boy dog. We knew we were getting a male as there is no way in hell that Phoebe would tolerate another bitch in the house. This was the list we had written down on the airplane ride:


We were really going between Jackson and Silas. Notice; Riley wasn't on the list. Michael had suggested it earlier but I was quick to knock it off the list because I had a bad association with the Jack Russell Terrier next door to me name Riley when I lived on 20th Street in Chelsea who barked all day/night.

So, during our entire first meeting with him we were calling him by both names, seeing if one felt better or if he responsed to the sound of one better than the other. But that didn't happen. Then, we were driving away from the house, talking about him and how excited we were to pick him up the next day and take him home to New Jersey and it just fell out of my mouth. I refereed to him as Riley! I have no idea why. I thought I had said Silas, but I said Riley! And Michael stopped and stared at me and there was this knowing look between us. I said, "Oh my gosh! I just called him Riley! Why'd I do that?" And, smiling, Michael said, "Because that's his name. He's a Riley." It took us a moment, but we knew it was right. He wasn't a Jackson. Not a Silas. He was Riley.

Now, the title for his AKC registration? Well, that's another story....

Obviously, the first part, "Coosa Creek's..." is homage to his breeder. This is typical and requested in the adoption process. For the latter part; We often joke that Chandler and Phoebe live the attended lives of Royalty. We jokingly refer to them as The Baron and Baroness. Full titles, Phoebe, The Baroness Von Peebleschnapps (a name I made up) and Chandler, The Baron Von Kamplemacher (Kamplemacher is Michael's paternal great, great-grandfather's original name before he took his wife's name in marriage, changing the patrilineal surname to Suchman.) It's been a joke for years with us- The Baron and Baroness.

So would Riley be a Duke? An Earl? No-- he would be the Lord of the Manor. And given that we live in Essex County, he thus became Sir Riley, Lord of Essex.

Yes- we are COMPLETELY insane.

"Why'd you get a third dog?"

On Saturday, October 25, 2008, Michael and I flew down to Fort Lauderdale, rented a car, drove up to Lake Worth to get our new Puppy. He was with Juli Drago of Coosa Creek Cavaliers which just happens to be all of a mile and a half from The Fountains; where Michael's grandparents had their winter condo that he visited annually throughout his childhood.

You see, I've wanted to have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for a very long time. When I adopted my first dog, Blackie, he was a pound rescue from the ASPCA. When I went to get him a companion dog, Phoebe, I kept to the idea of a similar kind of mixed-breed dog, similarly sized and also a pound rescue (though this time from the CACC which is the KILL-Shelter in Manhattan). In some sense, I feel like I've "done my part" and now I was ready to support responsible breeding. So, a number of years ago, I made up my mind that whenever I was going to have another dog, it would be a Cav. I researched breeders around the US and in Ireland. So many puppy-mills! So much irresponsible breeding. So very sad. ( Incidentally, Michael had his own experience when he adopted Chandler from a breeding in Pocahontas, Illinois, 13 years ago. He thought he was dealing with a responsible Yorkie breeder only to find out when he got there that it was, in essence, a puppy mill. That's when he rescued Chandler from that life.) With breed like The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that is genetically predisposed to mitral valve disease, syringomyelia and hip dysplasia, it was really important to me to find a responsible breeder. When I found Juli at Coosa Creek, I knew I had found the right one!

Juli loves all of her dogs and gives them the best of medical care. For many generations now, she has been breeding out these horrible and life-shortening defects from her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They are all screened by both an orthopedist and cardiologist and clear of any of these problems. Julie's home is a warm loving enviroment where her Cavs of all coats socialize together, run in the yard and play. She even runs a Cavalier Camp and Coosa Creek!

When we were living in Manhattan, I would repeatedly annoy Michael with imploring questions like "Don't you want a puppy???" to which I would get a quick and firm "NO!" His point was well taken that we barely had enough living space for the two of us in our small 1 bedroom apartment, let alone for Chandler and Phoebe. We finally made the decision and left Manhattan this past spring and moved to Maplewood, NJ. We love it here. We have a spacious home with a really large yard with lots of room for Chandler and Phoebe to run around. And though I'd thought about getting another dog I tabled it over the course of the summer- just to make sure things were working out well here.

Then, in September, we went through a really upsetting and difficult health scare with Chandler. His long-time right shoulder instability issue suddenly flared up and became very acute. So much so that he couldn't even put his arm down or bear weight on it. After a night-time E.R. visit, a follow-up appointment, an MRI of his shoulder and spine, a Neurology consultation and an Orthopedic Consultation, they were telling us that it looked like a very invasive surgery with a long and painful rehab was in the cards. Desperate, we searched everywhere for options. I finally found a veterinary journal that advocated use of a post-op brace/splint for puppies who underwent surgery for shoulder and elbow instability. Looking into it, it seemed like it might help Chandler. We ordered one (they're custom made, so a bit pricey) and VOILA! From the moment he donned it, there was not another limp or whimper. And now, nearly 2 months later, he is fully adjusted to walking/sleeping/living in it and he seems to have successfully avoided the need for surgery.

Michael and I are, of course, immensely grateful and thrilled that we could help Chandler avoid this painful, time-consuming and costly surgery that would leave him permanently disfigured. But it started me thinking again about Chandler and Phoebe's mortality. They're both getting up there. And though Phoebe is going on 2 years of surviving Cushing's Disease, Michael and I know that they're not going to be around for another 10 years. I felt that a younger dog may help keep up their energy levels. Moreover, though, I had a really strong feeling that I didn't want to wait until one of them passed away before getting a new dog. I didn't want something happy and wonderful that I've long anticipated and wanted (i.e. getting a Cavalier) and predicate it on a horrible thing I can't bear to think about (one of our dogs passing away.) So I decided it was time. I brought it up with Michael. In our typical fashion, we really talked it through going over the pros, cons, the ups and downs, what we thought might be the benefits and the risks and decided to do it.

So I went back to Coosa Creek's website and saw that Isabel had a Litter with Yogi Bear. I have long thought that Yogi Bear is just the most beautiful male Blenheim Cav I've ever seen. Imagine how excited I was to see that he had three sons and a daughter that were now approaching 8 weeks old and up for adoption. So I got in touch with Juli, bought our airline tickets and the rest is history.

This was a bit spur-of-the-moment but like so many of those decisions, we feel like this was a great one. We love our little Riley and are thrilled to have him as part of our family.