Meet Cassie - the Cute Cavachon Winner of SuperDog Carer of the Year 2021-2022
We chatted to Cassie's proud mum, Sue, after the sweet little cavachon was awarded SuperDog Companion of the Year for 2021 - 2022 at a glittering ceremony in London.
We are so proud of Cassie for winning the SuperDog Companion of the Year Award. We were so surprised to even get to the finals at all, and just to attend that night was amazing. The venue itself was incredible and all staff were so helpful, especially with me in my wheelchair. From the moment we arrived everyone was so friendly and chatting to everyone else there. It’s really hard to pick out particular humans or dogs as each and every one of them had their own amazing stories and it was so interesting to hear about them all. The celebrities who attended the event were all so friendly and were obviously all dog lovers themselves. Stacey Dooley was the presenter and was very friendly and helpful in getting me up the ramp to receive the award.
How did you feel about Cassie's big win and what does this award mean to you? What qualities make Cassie a good carer?
Cassie’s win has been amazing for us. As I said on the night of the ceremony, good things don’t happen to us but this was just incredible. Cassie has been such a support to us all through really difficult times, almost from the day she arrived in our home as a tiny 800g puppy. She has a lively mischievous nature but at the same time can be sensitive and calm, and just seems to know how you are feeling. She literally cheers you up just to be with her and so many people say she just makes you smile.
Cassie the cavachon
Cassie is now 5 years old and came into our life in January 2017. She was a twelve-week old puppy weighing just 800grams and loved nothing more than to curl up in my dressing gown pocket.
We’d been looking for a dog since we lost our lovely cocker spaniel Barley a year earlier. We were generally looking at different breeds who we felt would be suitable for our family and saw info about Cavachons – a breed we hadn’t really heard of at that time, so looked into them further and ended up bringing our mischievous pup home. We didn’t realise then just how special she would become to us.
Cassie loves training
Once Cassie was fully vaccinated, we started training at a local dog training school – Samdais. She gradually progressed through her Puppy Foundation Award then on to the Good Citizen Awards where she gained her Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Unfortunately, at 10 months old she developed knee problems resulting in her requiring surgery. She then had a long recovery period where she couldn’t exercise much so we started doing small tricks with her to keep her from getting bored. We found she enjoyed this so much that even when back to full fitness we continued with this and she has now gained her Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert Trick Dog Awards.
On top of this, Cassie enjoys agility and attends classes each week as well as running in competitions.
Cassie helped our family through tough times
The last few years have certainly been difficult for our family and sometimes felt impossible to get through each day. I’ve been disabled for many years and although I can manage in the house on crutches most of the time, I am reliant on a wheelchair outside. I am in constant pain and find it hard to relax but having Cassie just sit with me really helps.
Within a couple of weeks of arriving in our home, my Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and despite being a very bouncy little puppy, whenever we visited Dad she remained calm and quietly laid on his lap letting him stroke her gently which appeared to give him much comfort. She was also a great comfort to us as we tried to come to terms with my Dad’s diagnosis and seemed to sense when we were upset and snuggled closely into me throughout his illness and when we lost him just a few short months later.
Just a couple of months after my Dad passed away, my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer. This was such a shock after Dad, but after surgery and chemotherapy, it looked like he was cancer-free, so things looked a bit more promising.
During that time, Cassie suddenly became even more attached and extremely clingy to me. My husband Mark was usually the one to walk her due to my disability, and he also ran her at agility classes and competitions. She has always loved her agility and I loved watching her run around the course, tail wagging.
However in the summer of 2019 this changed and along with being generally very clingy to me, when my husband let her off her lead to run agility she made a beeline for me, jumped on my lap in my wheelchair and snuggled into my chest. This went on for a few weeks, during which time I found a breast lump, and yes, cancer had struck again as I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am 100% sure that Cassie had sensed this and was trying to tell us something was wrong.
She remained a bouncy mischievous little dog, who has never lost her sense of fun, but when I came home after my mastectomy she was so gentle and cuddled up close on my lap. She supported me through Chemo and radiotherapy and as I slowly recovered she gradually started enjoying longer walks and restarted her beloved agility. Fingers, and everything else, crossed I’m hopefully cancer-free though still have some treatment and my general health isn’t so good but Cassie remains our loyal companion through everything.
Unfortunately whilst I was having treatment it was found my brother had developed secondaries in his brain and passed away in November 2020.
It’s been a nightmare over the last few years and life has been far from easy but Cassie has been a huge support to all of us in the family. I’ve explained how much she has supported me not just through the grief and my own cancer but in day to day life which is a struggle due to my disability, but she’s also been an amazing support to my husband whilst he in turn has been supporting me and trying to cope with keeping everything else going on.
She’s been a true fluffy friend to my son who quietly gets on with things and has himself been a great support to us all. My daughter suffers with severe mental health issues so has found these last few years incredibly tough to cope with. Cassie has definitely been like a therapy dog to her.
Last year she decided, along with her husband to do the Race for Life to raise money for cancer research. Due to Covid which obviously affected so many, this couldn’t be held as normal so they did their own socially distanced one to still raise funds which Cassie joined in on and even wore her own Race for Life hoody! We like to support cancer charities, particularly Breast Cancer Now or Macmillan who have been a great support to us in difficult times. Since having Cassie, we have been members of the Cavachons UK Facebook group and have seen many little Cavachons and other dogs who have been rescued by The Many Tears Animal Rescue Centre in South Wales and love to support them where we can too. They all did so well and raised so much money for Cancer Research – a cause so close to our family’s heart.
Cassie’s mischievous nature
Cassie is like a little Diva. She knows what she wants and how to get it. She has a fleece at one end of the couch for her to sit on. My husband, Mark, sits by her with a cushion behind him, then she gradually creeps up to him, paws at the cushion behind him until it comes out and lies on that, until she somehow manages to have all the cushions and is taking up the whole length of the couch whilst Mark is by now sat on the floor.
On top of this, she’ll come for cuddles with one of us, and as soon as we stop tickling or stroking her she literally paws our hand back under her tummy to keep us tickling her! When we’re going out we put her 2 favourite toys in her bed, let her out for a wee, turn round and she’s grabbed the toys back out and ran back in the lounge, sitting with them wagging her tail. She constantly looks cheeky and as though she’s up to no good!
Cassie loves doing tricks
Cassie isn’t really one for balls or a particular toy apart from her two soft toys she snuggles up to in bed. Her favourite games are really doing her tricks. Her tail starts wagging and she bounces around as soon as you get her trick things out. She loves bell ringing, roll overs, prayers, and more complicated things like passing you a tissue then putting it in a bin, or putting her toys away in a toy box. Do you have any dog-friendly places that you love to frequent?
Some places are tricky to find that are both wheelchair and dog friendly but she does love to run along the canal by us or up on the common. She never runs far from us and always looks round to check we’re nearby. This year we found a beach that had beach wheelchairs so for the first time with Cassie, we were all able to go on the beach together and she just loved it, running free in and out of the water with the wind blowing her ears. It was a really lovely time.
Cassie celebrates Christmas
This year we all celebrated christmas at home as a family with our son, daughter and son-in-law and my Mum. Cassie had her own presents and also some Secret Santa presents from a member on the Cavachons site. She loves opening her own presents on Christmas morning.
Every dog is a SuperDog!
All the nominees for the SuperDog Awards had incredible stories and it was a privilege just to be listed among them. The stories of survival, support, work, etc were all amazing and we just couldn’t believe it when we got through to the finals out of all the incredible dogs that had entered.
All of our dogs are special and we are so lucky to have them. Whether your dogs are big or small, quiet or on the noisy side, energetic or lazy, they are all special to us. They are family! Care for them with the love and respect they deserve and you will get that love and respect back in bucket loads… and more!!
"Whatever prizes or awards our dogs may or may not win, we are the real winners as we are lucky enough to have them in our lives."
Happy 2022 to all the wonderful dogs out there as well as all the owners who genuinely care for them.