Aubinwood Ashley at Sanflorian


Ashley, like Madison, came to us as an adult and as a brood bitch. Her sweet and gentle demeanor quickly stole our hearts and she made herself so quickly and permanently part of the family that it was hard to remember she wasn’t always here. She did her job well and gave us 2 beautiful litters.

Unfortunately, Ash was also the one to teach us about the tragedies dog breeders can face. In October 2005 she whelped a litter of 8 puppies, 6 of whom died within 36 hours of birth. We almost lost Ashley as well that night.  We had heard the expression that breeding is not for the faint of heart – and learned exactly what it meant that night.

And Ashley is the mother of Hickory, our puppy affected by Episodic Falling Syndrome. The onset of Hickory’s EF was the end of Ashley’s breeding career, but good came of it in the end.  That entire litter and their extended family submitted DNA to researchers working on finding the gene for EF.   A couple of years later there was no one one more thrilled than we were to hear the announcement of a test for carriers of the condition.  With the availability of this simple cheek swab test, no more puppies need ever be born affected by the condition.

Ashley enjoyed life as the retired “grand dam” of the house for many years.  She had not much tolerance for puppies being fresh and was a decisive and effective disciplinarian.  She loved the couch and the yard and visitors. She was not so thrilled when RV travel became an almost weekly event, but she put up with it in exchange for extra snuggles.

She developed a Mitral Valve murmur shortly after her 6th birthday.  While it was initially “graded” very high (was loud) the valve actually functioned quite well and she had several year with no outward symptoms or need for medication.  She had a bit of a crisis with her heart disease just before she turned 10 and we thought it was the end.  Happily, medication turned things around.  In the end she was a model of the slow progression we would all love to see in MVD in Cavaliers.  But it did progress.  By the age of 13 the MVD had progressed to the point where we were all surprised when she kept waking up each morning.  She had lost most of her muscle mass, had very low blood pressure, and slept a lot.  But she didn’t seem in pain and still had as much couch time as she wanted, lots of time to lie in the sun, and frequent trips around the yard.  She was a happy girl.  Even her last day was simple and uncomplicated.  She had her usual morning of breakfast and time in the yard, but when I came home from work mid-day and woke her up to let her out of her crate she couldn’t walk.  Given her fragile medical status, the decision was very clear and I am grateful that we were able to send her peacefully to the rainbow bridge without forcing her to linger in pain or fear or anxiety.






CKCSC, USA CH Bramble Ethan x CH Heavensgate Abigail at Aubinwood

4/20/2000 – 7/17/2013