Brinkley was our first Cavalier. I did a lot of research into different dog breeds before discovering the Cavalier KCS on a dog breed web site. I found a site that gave you a survey to fill out - specifying your lifestyle, how many people in the family, size of your house and garden, etc... and then gave you the best breed for your circumstances. Up came the Cavalier and the Beagle. Since I knew that beagles are very big diggers and we didn't want to be chasing after the "diggingest dog" we opted for the cuteness of the Cavalier. Honestly I had never heard of them before. I had heard of King Charles Spaniels but remembered their flat nose and bulgy eyes and that look didn't appeal to me. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Cavalier although a close cousin had a more appealing appearance. I immediately fell in love with their gentle nature, warm brown round eyes and big floppy ears.
Many years ago.....when I was in my teens an older friend had given me a small ceramic figurine of a tan and white dog laying flat on its belly, ears flopping out to the sides and face down between its paws. I always loved the look of that dog and treasured it - don't know where it disappeared to in all my house moves but I regret losing it. I always assumed rather than knew that it was a Cocker Spaniel. It seemed smaller which indeed the Cavies are, but I didn't know the difference. I now realize that that figurine was a Cavalier and as I now also collect Cavalier figurines I so much wish I still had it.
It took me a few months to locate a breeder with available puppies but finally found one of four available puppies only a few minutes from home. Two things I've learnt when searching for a Cavalier: 1. Buyer beware - avoid the pet shops if possible as there's no guarantee on what you're getting or of any hereditary problems of your puppy and 2. Ask all the right questions. By this I mean do your home work. Not all so called registered breeders know what they're doing when it comes to breeding. My motto from here on in is: "Go for the Show." Look for a show breeder, preferably someone who has been doing it for many years and has the ribbons to prove that their dogs are breed worthy. The best web site I've found so far in my amateur opinion is http://www.dogsonline.com.au/ .
From the first moment I saw him Brinkley and I connected...made eye contact and I fell "in love" with my first Cavalier puppy. His puppy name was X-Box - obviously named by a child. Of course we told the kids the puppy was for them - they had been begging us for a dog for a few years and now they were old enough to look after one after practising pet ownership with a few guinea pigs. Both the children were at school now and I was working from home. I missed the company at home so a "lap dog" suited me perfectly. Cavaliers are the perfect lap dog. They thrive on human company and will follow you around absolutely everywhere - from room to room...even sitting outside the bathroom waiting for you to come out. Brinkley was the epitome of that behaviour. When I worked, he sat under my desk - as do both my Cavies now....as I write so they both sit under my feet - Jasper "Mr Licky" doing what he does best and Marley keeping my left foot warm with his head.
Brinkley was a fast learner - he learnt to drop and roll over within a few weeks - later one of my children taught him to roll over by just a twirl of the finger using no words. He learnt to pick up the clothes pegs if I dropped them and would bring them and drop them at my feet for me....that later developed into me saying "Brinkley fetch me a peg" and he would go and get one out of the peg basket and bring it to me.
Brinkley craved human company too much though. If I went out shopping for the morning when I arrived home I would see a little brown nose poking out under the side gate. He had been there since I left home. He was always eager to go for walks and I would take him to pick the children up from school each afternoon. BUT....if the front door was left open when someone arrived and we weren't watchful Brinkley would make a dash out the door and would be gone as quick as a flash. He would run across the road to the bus stop to sniff the rubbish bin for other dogs who had walked past. My big mistake was not getting him desexed at the recommended six months of age. I was a new dog owner and I had visions of breeding him, I learnt later what that involved and didn't want to go down that road. But, by not desexing him earlier he developed the "wanting" to run for it when he had the chance. Cavaliers have absolutely NO ROAD SENSE!!! Future owners beware, this is not an idle threat...it's the absolute truth. Love them, leash them, but don't let them out of your sight!
One day, I arrived home from a doctors appointment with one of the kids while the other one was brought home by a friend and her child. I quickly ran out of the house to thank the mother of my child's friend and called out to the kids "Don't open the front door or Brinkley will get out." It happened. I blame myself because I didn't take the extra precaution of making sure the front door was locked.
The door was opened and in a few moments it was all over. Brinkley came bounding out to say hello to me. I grabbed for his collar but only managed to grab an ear. He slipped from my grip as I twisted and fell grazing my toes and ankle in the process. Brinkley shot across the road and as I looked out it really was like one of those movies where everything happens in slow motion. I never believed that before but I can attest to it now - your mind really does do that. I saw the car coming down the road and my mind calculated the impact to exact precision. Brinkley's head collided with the front drivers wheel and he was knocked down and killed instantly.
It was a terrible horrible day. The kids were all outside and saw the whole thing. One child ran screaming inside the house, the other ran onto the road on an impulse to check Brinkley was okay - a thought which haunts me to today. We've since had to drum into both children that it doesn't matter WHAT happens never ever ever run on the road ever ever EVER! Your own life is worth more than any beloved dog or cat or anything else. It's just not worth it!!!!!!
The car stopped and the driver and her husband on their way home from work emerged - she crying and apologising profusely that she hadn't seen the dog and me not able to cry and just trying to reassure her that it wasn't her fault it all happened so quickly.
My friend sent me inside bewildered and I think I was saying something like "I don't know what to do???" I was in shock. She very calmly took matters into hand and sent me inside to see to the kids. While she very gently wrapped Brinkley in something temporarily and carried him up the driveway as she herself sobbed uncontrolably - so she later told me, for my husband to deal with when he arrived home. I rang him hysterically and he rushed home to bury Brinkley before I had time to think.
We buried him in the bush near our home - my husband removed his collar and tags and then came home and removed the dogs bed and all his toys and locked them in the shed. When I later remembered the dog tags Brinkley was already buried and I cried. What a wonderful man I married, he knew me so well and knew that I would want to keep the tags with Brinkley's name on it.
My youngest child set about making me a cup of tea and trying to console me by offering to cook dinner that night - that child was 6! Here I was a blubbering mess who couldn't sit still - pacing the rooms in shock while my 6 year old child (who loved the dog more than anything on this earth) was trying to help ME cope!
My husband took the kids over to Brinkley's grave a few days later and they planted some flowers there. It helped the youngest one cope. I have never been over there. It's not something I feel the need to do. Brinkley is in my memory and in my heart still.
He will always be my "Brinkley Boo."
...Next post....Brinkley the Name???... you say I've heard that name before but where from?