Much has been written about my dog, Bella, (MistyTrails Bella Gemma), who has Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, and about her little sister, Sara (MistyTrails Will'n2B Saranad'd), who has Legg Calve Perthes Disease. Much less has been written about Caiya (MistyTrails Cayenne Pepper). This is Caiya's Story.
Caiya was a surprise puppy for us. We were waiting for Sara to arrive when I was shown a video of a little puppy leaping at the fence at the Breeder's home to get to the children on the other side. I was told that this puppy's determination would make her a wonderful show dog. I was also told that Caiya would be a red girl. Neither of those statements turned out to be true.
Caiya arrived via another family who was travelling to our home. I fell in love with her the moment I took her into my arms. She was such a beautiful little girl. In the sun her hair glowed red and my first instinct was to call her MistyTrails L'il Red Corvette but, as time passed, the red turned to brown so she became our Cayenne Pepper.
Caiya was a playful puppy. In her own home, she chased Bella and was a happy little girl. Outside of her home, it was a very different story. It was hard for her to warm up to other people. When I took her to watch Bella, and we introduced her to our handler at that show, she backed away quickly. This was so different from her sister.
She did fine in her first round in the ring as a baby puppy; she was the only puppy in the ring. In her second show, however, she backed away from the judge on the table and would not allow him to put hands in her. She continued to do the same thing at handling class but we worked hard with her and eventually she settled down.
Caiya's tail always wagged when she was on the conformation table. I learned at one handling class that this was not a sign of my girl being happy; it was a sign of her discomfort and uncertainty. I was told this by other handlers and by a judge as well. Caiya was fine when she was walking but she did not like the close interaction required in table work. As she grew older, this became more apparent.
I should have known when I first saw Caiya leaping at the fence in the Breeder's backyard that there was something a little off with our girl. Other Breeders have told me that this was possibly a sign of Separation Anxiety, not of her need to be centre front in a show ring. Not every puppy can go into the ring and not every puppy should go in the ring. Caiya's brother had the same anxiety when separated from his mother at a show where I looked after him. He cried for his mother all night. Something should have clicked with me when I saw that happening.
At Caiya's last show, I had a handler show her for one circuit of the ring. It was the only time I ever did that. I passed Caiya to the handler at her setup and was told later that Caiya had to be forced from her crate to be groomed. When Caiya was brought to my cart ringside, she was very upset. She refused to walk in the ring with that handler and Sara refused to walk in the ring with me in sympathy with Caiya. It was clear that the only person who would be able to take Caiya in the ring in the future was me. Caiya was perfect during the next round but that experience stuck with her.
Right after that show Sara was diagnosed with Legg Calve Perthes Disease. Neither Sara nor Caiya entered the ring again.
Caiya continued to express Anxiety issues over the summer of 2016. We could not take her in the car with us to Ontario at the beginning of September because she would throw up in her kennel in the car whenever we went out, so my sister came to look after Caiya and Bella in our home. We only took Sara with us as she still required daily therapy following her LCP femoral head
operation. We were gone for ten days. During that time, my sister babied Caiya; she had developed a very special spot in her heart for our little brown girl.
Caiya was and is happiest playing at home with her sisters. She always carries a toy with her wherever she goes. She is the keeper of the teddies.
By the end of September 2016, several weeks after our return, Caiya started to have fugue trances where she would growl at the wall for no apparent reason. Even if Bella and Sara brushed up against her out of concern, she would stay in that fugue state for long periods of time. We were also concerned about possible seizures with Caiya. She would lay on her side and run sideways for 3-4 minute at a time. This was a very scary period for Caiya and for us. During that time, most of the hair in her tail fell out. She continued to grow in fearfulness of other people outside of the safety of her home. She even hid her tail and backed away from the vet whom she had always been happy to see before.
A Breeder friend told me to get Caiya a Thundercoat. Here is Caiya after one of her seizure-like episodes, laying on our bed with her thunder coat on. She was exhausted.
Both Sara and Caiya were spay in the Fall of 2016. Sara was an automatic decision because Legg Calve Perthes Disease could be passed on to her puppies. We, the vet and I, felt that Caiya was emotionally unable to have puppies; it was best that she not risk losing any more of herself in that experience. Nor did either of us want to risk Caiya passing on her Anxiety Disorder to her future puppies.
With much love, care and hard work from October 2016 to February 2017, Caiya came back to us. While she still has difficulty riding in a crate in the car, she no longer throws up. She no longer has fugue states where she stands for long periods of time growling at a wall and our concerns about possible seizures have been put on the back burner, although we still watch her closely. Caiya's hair has grown back in and she is more confident when other people want to pet her...as long as we are right there beside her.
We had Caiya's hair cut back to make grooming easier for her and for us. Here is Caiya in her Christmas collar all by herself.
Our Gand daughter is the puppy whisperer in our family. She is the one who has always been able to figure Caiya out. Andy just knew Caiya and Caiya trusted Andy implicitly. She still does.
Caiya has a very soft interior. While she has always appeared to be pushy, demanding our love continuously, we now know that of our three girls, Caiya is the one who is most needy. Caiya is the one who has the most fragile personality. And Caiya is the one who needs constant reminding that we love her just for being our little brown....Caiya Bear.