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The Life of Bentley

Bentley,
                                    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Bentley, the world's most loveable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is a purebred Blenheim male. Bentley was bred by Tri Star Cavaliers in South Carolina.  He was born on 4/12/03 and adopted at 12 weeks old.

Bentley was neutered at 5 months of age. He is licensed and micro-chipped because I couldn't bear to lose him!

As a puppy, Bentley had a very white muzzle which, over time, developed several adorable freckles.  His tail was long and feather-less until after his first birthday. As an adult, he had a gorgeous plume of long feathers that routinely swept the ground!

Tucker and BentleyBentley's best friend was a 100+ lb Golden Retriever named Tucker who lived in our neighborhood. Tucker was unbelievably patient when Bentley was a tiny puppy and would let Bentley crawl all over him, and lick Tucker's face. They shared walks, toys and bones together for many years until Tucker pass away a few years ago. Bentley still looks longingly at the front door of Tucker's house when we walk past.

Bentley chasing bubblesAside from romps with Tucker, Bentley learned to socialize with other dogs at a local doggie day camp.  It was a day camp that Bentley developed his love for chasing soap bubbles!
 
Bentley enjoyed a relatively healthy childhood, though he had a tendency to throw his knee out of joint (patellar luxation) every once in a while while running to catch a tennis ball. When it happened, he would stand still for a minute, holding his left rear leg up. But within a minute or so, he would be back running and jumping. On occasion, our Vet gave Bentley anti-inflammatory meds to help him get over any soreness in his knee, but fortunately the condition was never bad enough that we considered surgery.

arthritis in Cavalier's hipsBetween 5 and 7 years of age, Bentley was diagnosed with fairly serious osteoarthritis in both hips as well as his knee. In addition to giving Bentley glucosamine and fish oil supplements, Bentley began needing stronger meds.

Bentley never whined or cried when he was in pain. At most, the only hint I would have that he was uncomfortable was when Bentley stood still, swallowing repeatedly.  Otherwise, I could tell when Bentley needed pain relief because he would slow down on our daily walks. Also, I would see him taking a few moments to think about it before jumping up into his favorite chair.

I learned how to administer Adequan injections, which helped Bentley's arthritis tremendously for a long time. However, over time, I noticed that Bentley was having stomach distress (i.e. vomiting) on the same day he was getting the Adequan injections, so eventually we turned to other meds (Gabapentin and Tramadol).

Amazingly, the best relief for Bentley's arthritis turned out to be laser treatments!  Fortunately, our Vet is part of a progressive clinic that specializes in a number of alternative therapies. K-Laser is a wonderfully non-invasive treatment when a Vet Tech runs a light laser (it looks a bit like a small, narrow flashlight) over Bentley's fur.  Though the results take time, the laser stimulates the body's natural healing process, and was a Godsend for Bentley!

The other thing that helped Bentley's health was been keeping his weight under control. I constantly received compliments from strangers when they saw Bentley and I walking, partly because he stayed so slender. Certainly feeding him a premium pet food and keeping excess weight off his tiny frame was a big plus for his arthritis!

At 8 years old, Bentley had his teeth cleaned as well as two cracked teeth extracted. He came through the procedure without any trouble (though my pocketbook hurt for some time thereafter!).

Over the next two years, we paid more attention to Bentley's heart. After diagnosing a slight heart murmur and some abnormal blood tests, our Vet  prescribed Enalapril for Bentley.  He did wonderfully on it, and his albumin levels quickly went back to normal levels.

As he approached his 10th birthday, Bentley became deaf. I don't know whether it was sudden or gradual because it didn't seem to bother him very much.  As a result, he slept through thunder storms and ignored the fireworks on 4th of July for the first time in his life. I had to adapt, however, as I couldn't call his name anymore to get his attention, so we needed to be more careful keeping him on the leash.

Early in his last year of life, we had to switch Bentley to a new medication for his arthritis, but he had negative reactions to it, experiencing "mini-seizures."  Shortly, thereafter, Bentley also lost most of his eyesight. Meetings with a neurologist suggested that Bentley had a brain tumor, which we began treating with steroids.

My poor, darling deaf, blind and arthritic little boy continued as my loving companion for many more months, before succumbing to his health challenges. He died in my arms on August 17, 2013.

Bentley waiting for me to come
                                  homeEvery evening, as I arrive home from the office, I look for Bentley who was always sitting in the front window on top of his chair, waiting and watching for me to come home.

For those of you who own Cavaliers, you'll understand. He was the love of my life!




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