🌱 Fenced Yard
🏡 Carpet / Rugs in Home
❌ No / Few Stairs in Home
🕰 Someone Home much of the Day
9 year old DJ came into our care after he was dumped by his family at a shelter in Austin, Texas with odd symptoms like hind leg ataxia and a significant head tilt. At the time, he struggled to walk, so we decided we moved DJ to Birmingham, Alabama where he would have access to our full team of specialists. After visiting with our general vets he visited with our orthopedic surgeon who ruled out any orthopedic issue and therefore sent us to a neurologist. DJ visited the neurology team at Mississippi State University where he underwent an MRI and other diagnostics. These diagnostics were fairly unremarkable and inconclusive but we were able to rule out several serious medical issues like a spinal infection, tick borne illness, and PSOM ('glue ear'). The only thing we found via MRI was mild CM/SM (chiari malformation / syringomyelia) which we anticipated seeing as it is a condition that plagues the breed. There was though, no direct indicator that DJ's clinical symptoms were caused by the found CM/SM. We decided to start DJ on a trial of some medications for the CM/SM to see if they helped to improve his symptoms. After some time on the medications, we did not feel as though they did and have weaned him off of them. We did find though that DJ was getting stronger and more confident on his feet and his mobility has greatly improved since being in our care.
Besides his head tilt and his wobbly walk, DJ is a completely healthy, normal, happy go lucky Cavalier who only sees ways to overcome his challenges. He is congenitally sound with clear eyes, hips, knees, and heart (pretty impressive for a 9 year old!) He is now up to date on vaccinations, neutered, microchipped, and on monthly preventatives. He is not on any medications and does not require any vetting outside of regular wellness checks. DJ's best 'medicine' has been outside activity and plenty of active snuggling ;)
DJ's wobbly back legs do require some special accommodations for his forever home. It is not safe for him to do stairs, so we are looking for a home for him with few steps. He can do a few steps but certainly should not be asked or expected to do a flight of stairs. If you are interested in DJ and have more than a few stairs, please know you would need to carry DJ up and down the stairs and that we would require gates to block off the stairs, for DJ's safety. DJ gets around extremely well on non-slip surfaces like carpet, concrete, and grass, but can struggle on slippery surfaces, like hardwood or tile. Therefore, we are looking for a home with carpet or an adequate amount of rugs allowing DJ to safely navigate the main areas of the home.
DJ appears to be reliably potty trained and has not had any accidents in his foster home. That said, he is taken out frequently - first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and every few hours in between. Due to his mobility challenges, he does need a little longer outside to take care of his business. He gets around best off leash so we are requiring a safe and secured fenced yard in his forever home - preferably one that is fairly flat and easy to navigate.
Although The Deej is a big, hunky Cavalier, he is a bit overweight and we are working on getting any extra weight off to make getting around as easy as possible for him. He is currently 28 pounds and we feel his ideal is closer to 24. He is eating a weight management food and getting limited healthy treats. It is important that his forever family keep him on his strictly portioned diet and continue to provide for him safe ways to exercise.
DJ is everything you love about a Cavalier - he is always happy, enthusiastic, affectionate, friendly, loving, and laid back. Like most Cavaliers he thrives with attention and companionship. He loves spending time on the couch with his foster mom and Cavalier foster siblings. The closer he can be to his foster mom, the better! He also loves spending his time outside watching birds and squirrels, going on short walks, and trips to the park. He loves car rides and adventures and does not want his 'issues' to prevent him from experiencing life! It is important that his forever family provide for him frequent opportunities to get out and about! He will let you know when he is really, really happy by throwing his head back and letting out a howl - DJ is such a silly boy who truly embraces life!
DJ spends much of his day with his foster mom who often works from home. In true Cavalier fashion, he acts as a little assistant staying close by at all time. When his foster mom is out of the home, DJ stays with his Cavalier foster siblings in the puppy proofed and safe main living area of the home. DJ has not been crated since being in our care and since he is potty trained and well behaved, there is no reason for him to be. DJ would be happiest in a family where someone can be with him much of the day. At night, DJ sleeps in the BIG bed where he snuggles close to his foster mom and shares her pillow. DJ loves this arrangement and cherishes this special quality time. We are looking for a family who will invite DJ into the BIG bed for sleep and snuggles.
DJ is very much a people-person (errr, people-dog) and the company, interaction, and presence of his person is of the utmost important to him. If he has a family member with him much of the day, we feel DJ could be happy as an only dog. However, if there are regular and longer away hours, then we would prefer that DJ have a canine companion in his home. While DJ has gotten along wonderfully with all Cavaliers he has met (which have been many), he has been unsure about other breed dogs that he has encountered. He is also not a fan of felines. We think he would enjoy another Cavalier furiend who also enjoys outdoor outings, walks, and adventures and is mild and mellow like DJ.
Unlike so many Cavaliers in our care who struggle with socialization and human interaction after abuse and neglect, DJ seems to have had mostly positive experiences with humans as he is very friendly, outgoing, and social with people. He does not show any 'fear based behaviors' and is not easily frightened or startled. He is well socialized and is very adaptable and well adjusted dog.
We are seeking a special family for DJ who is able to look past his little quirks and see him for the amazing, determined, sweet, appreciative little guy that he is. If you feel you can meet DJ's special needs, please complete an Adoption Application found on our website and then email us at CavalierRescueAL@gmail.com to express your interest. DJ is being fostered in Jackson, Mississippi (travel there is required), and his requested adoption donation is $250. Please see video of his mobility using the link above.