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· Resident Aquarium Nerd
10,108 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I did an update on the fosters, here's an update on our own dogs.

We have three American Cocker Spaniels. I have a 7 year old named Sophie and a 12 year old named Gracie (who I just adopted and will introduce at the end). My mom has a 6 year old named Bambi (who's kind of the family dog).

Cockers have a bad rep these days, especially among rescue groups. They're known for being snappy, excessively shy, bad with children, etc. I've found that to be true...of poorly bred puppy mill Cockers. The problem is that the breed was quite popular for a while and so they were over-bred (like Dalmatians). I wish people would realize that a well-bred and socialized Cocker is not going to have those issues!

Another problem is that they do very, very poorly in shelter environments. Cockers bond closely to their families and are sensitive, "soft" dogs. I think many of them just break down and that's what causes them to fail temperament tests.

So many people have told me that they "hate Cockers" or were bitten by one and are now afraid of them. After meeting ours, they fall in love. I'm a big advocate of the breed and I hope to change even more peoples' minds. In 2004 I remember us not being able to adopt a Cocker in Texas because they didn't adopt them out to families with young children. This was a high kill shelter and that Cocker probably didn't make it out alive :(. I hope someday they aren't discriminated against like that.

So, without further ado, here are our "snappy" Cockers who will probably turn on us someday :lol:.


Sophie and Bambi:


Sophie and Bambi again...practicing recall:


Exhausted and happy:

After a day of hiking:

Excuse the shagginess, they need to be groomed. We're switching groomers (the current one is at a vet office and we hate having to leave them there all day just for grooming).

The newest addition is Gracie, formally called "Puffy". Changing her name was easy...she's deaf. I had never trained a deaf dog before so it's been quite a learning experience! It's funny how much I rely on being able to "call" dogs. She's doing well with the training, though, and already knows hand signals for "good" and "sit".

Poor Gracie was in a shelter at 11 years of age. I don't know her background before that but that must have been rough. She was then adopted by a family as their son's pet but after 10 months, they decided to re-home her. See, Gracie suffers from severe, chronic ear infections that require constant cleaning (and also make her smell terrible). She also supposedly urinated a lot and needed to use puppy pads but she's doing fine here (I suspect they weren't used to small dogs and their small bladders). At 12 years old, she was going to be brought back to the shelter (where she would probably be PTS). I have a huge soft spot for Cockers and the idea of a deaf senior being returned broke my heart. So I agreed to adopt her. At the time, I was told her ears "needed cleaning" and had no idea how badly infected they were. I'm treating the infections and hoping a raw diet (which she was switched to immediately) helps. Apparently a raw diet can "cure" a lot of cases of chronic ear infections.

Being shuffled between homes has caused Gracie to have severe separation anxiety to the point where she barks incessantly when anyone leaves the room. It's getting better and I don't blame her. I wish she didn't bark so loud, though, haha. She can't hear herself so her barks are especially loud.

Gracie is very sweet and affectionate. I cleaned her ears the day I adopted her and it was obviously causing her a lot of pain. Still, she never snapped or even growled. She had just met me less than 15 minutes ago! What a good dog. She walks nicely on a leash but is nervous around large dogs and barks at them out of nervousness. We've been working on it and now I'm able to get her to "sit" when dogs walk by.

Here she is:

Keep your fingers crossed so that we can beat the ear infections!

· Registered
82 Posts
Gracie is so precious, bless you for caring for her!!!

· is a little "special"
4,182 Posts
Aww, they are all adorable! :heart:

Gracie has the sweetest eye, she looks like she absolutely adores you! That's so great that you gave her a second chance. Poor baby.

· Premium Member
4,281 Posts
They are adorable. I love cockers! Our families cocker passed away and she's greatly missed. She was a puppy mill rescue and had her problems, but all around she was an amazing dog.

She had a lot of problems with ear infections as well, and was also deaf. When she got older she developed glaucoma and went completely blind. Caring for an elderly deaf and blind dog was a challenge at times but it was amazing to see how well she did, and how happy she still was, even with all her issues. She was an inspiration.

I wasn't aware that the breed was developing a bad rep. That's sad. I've always thought of them as very sweet, loyal dogs.

· Betta Bomb
5,417 Posts
Wow, your dogs look so happy!! I am not used to seeing cockers with such shaggy faces and I had NO idea their rep!! I thought they were a "sweetheart" breed for old people and families. I think mostly families with kids have them here, and they're not common shelter dogs. Wow, you are an angel to the breed though!!

Look how happy Gracie is!! I'd die if I met her. Despite senior dog's problems they still stole my heart. Poor Gracie has undergone so much :( Do your other 2 help her out?
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