My dog is a #spoonie, too.

I always write about myself as a person living with Chronic Illness, a #spoonie,  but today I am going in another direction. My beautiful dog, Georgia Grace is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel also lives with debilitating chronic illnesses.

Georgia Grace, age 7

This breed is very delicate from years of puppy mills breeding unhealthy dogs together. Georgia suffers from Syringomyelia (also a human condition), hip dysplasia, luxating patellas (her knee caps move), arthritis (a lot like her mom), chronic dry eye syndrome (she no longer makes tears), chronic ear infections (she rubs her head so much from Syringomyelia she causes eye and ear infections), and was just recently diagnosed with a heart murmur and Chronic Valvular Disease (her mitral and tricuspid valves are both leaking). Her heart diagnosis at almost age 8 devastated me.  Living with Syringomyelia for 5 years has already been such a challenge.  My dog is truly a #spoonie. If you are interested in getting a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, please do your due diligence and learn about the health issues. She currently takes 15 pills, 2 chewables and eye drops each and every day to control her pain from syringomyelia and to keep her eyes lubricated.

Georgia’s weekly medication (pills only).

She also gets acupuncture, laser treatments, and takes canine cannaboids ( all provide relief from her painful condition.  I spend a small fortune monthly on this dog.  So much so that I need to work a part-time job in addition to my full-time job.  That is difficult for me because of my own chronic illnesses.

It’s not easy taking care of her, but she is worth it. I wouldn’t trade my beautiful girl for the world. I see how popular the Cavalier breed is becoming and it makes me nervous.  Families love these sweet, smart, and adorable dogs.  Unfortunately, their health issues are not widely known and many of these dogs are given up because families can’t afford the medical costs.  To get a healthy cavalier, you need to find a breeder that does both heart testing AND MRI testing to prevent (or try to prevent) diseases like Mitral Valve Disease an Syringomyelia from occurring.  Investing in a healthy dog, can help reduce the medical costs in the future.  These diseases cut the lives of these beautiful animals very short.  Living with my own chronic illness has made me hyper aware of Georgia’s levels of pain and her need for medical care.  I probably go overboard, but again, I promised to provide her with a happy and healthy life.  She may not always be pain free, but I do my best to make sure she is as comfortable as possible.  When I can no longer control her pain, it will be time to say goodbye.  I hope that is a date far in the future.

Here she is getting acupuncture.  It is our miracle and our holistic vet is our Earth angel. Our regular vets have been a great source of support.  She also sees a neurologist and will begin seeing a cardiologist soon.

I try to provide Georgia with a happy and normal life.  Here are some favorite clips of my beautiful, funny girl.  She is the epitome of “but you don’t look sick”.  This dog lives with diseases that would destroy most people, yet she never complains and is a ball of pure love.

And every once in a while, she does her best Jon Snow impression (Game of Thrones):

Winter is coming!

My Georgia makes me laugh.

No animal should suffer like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do.  Please think twice about purchasing from puppy mills and backyard breeders.  Investing in a healthy puppy may be pricy BUT it may save you a fortune of care during the life of the dog.  Adopting an older dog with health issues can be a challenge, but I’ve never met a cavalier owner who regretted adopting their pet.  I thought I did everything right, but sadly, I ended up with a “lemon”.  Georgia, however, is the sweetest lemon ever created and together, we’ll keep making lemonade.

If you want to learn more about Cavaliers go to  They are a fantastic source of information.

** Click on highlighted words to learn more about Syringomyelia and heart disease in cavaliers.

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

14 thoughts on “My dog is a #spoonie, too.

  1. Our little pup is (she is 13) is a cocker Spaniel. We love her very much and like Georgia cockers have been bred in puppy mills. Samantha came to us via adoption because her original owners could not afford her many medical issues. She is the best for us, but darn, when I see how she suffers with everything from allergies to arthritis it makes me sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The suffering is why I am trying to speak out for Cavaliers. I thought I did everything right, but I had no idea. Thankfully, I am able to support her, but too many Cavaliers are abandoned or put to sleep so young. I hope to rescue and I want another chance with a Cavie puppy. I’m waiting for the right moment for that to happen.


  2. It’s so important to look into health conditions common in a breed before getting one. Georgia is beautiful though, and sounds like such a great pet! Our dog is a shelter mutt, but he has arthritis in his hips because someone drove their car into our yard and ran over him, breaking his pelvis. Isn’t that crazy? He takes glucosamine for it now, but I’m sure he’ll have to take stronger medication once he’s older.


    1. Georgia is my only non-rescue. I found a very reputable breeder, but she bred for personality and. It the genetic issues. Take a look at canna-pet for arthritis. It’s been a mini miracle for us.


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