Living la vida loca: Life with a Cocker spaniel
The English Cocker spaniel can be traced back several hundred years as a race in it´s own right (offcially in the 1770´s). In Britain it was breeded to trace woods cocks primarily, coking spaniels, scaring the wits out of the evasive birds and later all waterbirds, swimming excellently and to retrieve, that is bring back the game when shot by the hunter owner. Spaniels, however, can be traced back to early China and onwards but with different characteristics, looks and temper.
Walking a Cocker spaniel is like walking a vacuum cleaner on legs. With the nose permanently in the grass or woodland undergrowth you seldom see her face no matter how far and for how long you roam in the wilderness. Every forty meters, or so, she stops in her track to check if you are still on your legs and have managed not to collapse of exhaustion before she continues her mission. She has absolutely no sense for proportions because she is equally enthusiastic when it comes to tracing cows or elks twenty times her size and sometimes she believs she a herder dog, trying to direct wayward majestic and aggressive red deers in an exact formation to be ushered into the nearest compound or barn. She has an admirable courage even if, at times, somewhat megalomaniac..
Her nose which is 40.000 times as sensible as ours must be an ordeal, or so I believe, since all poo and urine, no matter what species, is a pure delight to her and the object of endless sniffing, something which you involuntarily become part of when she is trying to lick you clean after an extensive safari, the mother instincts running amok with affection.
The earlier in the morning, the better. At five o´clock A.M. she becomes noisly impatient with my lazy habits and makes sufficient commotion for me to give in. The first kilometer I walk with my eyes closed, half asleep, while she is busy at work. When, upon the return, I am fully awake she instanly falls asleep on my feet.
The little lady has made me lose six kilos in four weeks, losing my taste for smoking after all the fresh air and to eat regulary and helathier since my bad habit of eating snacks while watching telly is gone. I just cannot stand the thought of stuffing myself when she can´t. There is much to say for Cocker Spaniel´s eyes. They can fill you with remorse whether you have done something norty, or not.
Despite the dog´s extreme energy and tracing instinct they, furthermore, are very social and affectionate dogs, who are constantly at your feet and by your side. The only escape is to try to make it to the bathroom before her and closing the door. That´s when she believes she is a German shepherd or a Rottweiler and guards the door wih her life.
She loves everybody and everyone, including cats and toddlers trying to pull out her eyes but loyally shows who´s her flock leader. Anybody with a fragile self esteem should try a Cocker Spaniel as a companion. They´d do close to anything for you and never fail you. In return you will have to be prepared for miles and miles of daily excercise no matter the weather, be it icy snowstorms or exhausting heat waves.
They are very decorative, if that is important to you, but tougher than their enchanting looks. They are mildtempered but strong willed and snore to high heaven when they sleep. She is still very upset that I do not allow her to sleep on my bed but has given up the efforts since she pretends not to be able to jump up in bed when I am present. When I am not there she manages without any problem but hurries down as soon as I enter the room.
Nellie is in her subtle way orchestrating quiet a lot of my daily life but I was raised in the countryside on a huge farm and a dog will be regarded as a dog, nothing more and nothing less, and that means that a complete takeover never will happen. She will not have a Gucci dress nor a necklace with Swarovski stones, Love her to death....