Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Portland, Oregon, United States
Posted July 10, 2015
Emily, our cocker spaniel, was the first dog that we owned in my lifetime. My parents had decided to get Emily because of a previous and brief experience when we tried to adopt another cocker spaniel that had been picked up and taken to the local vet (a rural area without a humane society). This dog had been very sweet and loving, but very soon after we got him, we found out the previous owners who lost him came to the vet looking for him.
Emily in contrast, was not very warm and sociable. In fact, when I was three years old, she bit me in the head while sitting together. She also bit two other small children during the time we had her, though I remember those times seemed to be provoked. In general, she was apathetic to family life and ‘did her own thing.’ My mom always surmised that this was because she was a purebred, registered with the AKC, and because we were not allowing her to compete, her life's fate was compromised and all life was meaningless.
She was surprisingly even less receptive toward obedience training, which I attempted through 4H. This came to an immediate halt after my father fed her right before class and she pooped during the walking sessions three different times in one hour. I’m still a little ashamed thinking about it right now.
She, like most dogs, was very food driven. One of the things she was good at was catching food in the air. Emily loved to catch fresh vegetables my mom would cut for dinner, but thought twice after a friend of ours threw her a sizeable chunk of raw ginger. Emily was a true opportunist. She was known to steal food off the coffee table and the couch; even once out of someone’s hand.
Emily was a pretty dog, with very curly black hair. She was pretty vain and her mood reflected that. After she would come home from the groomers, she would prance around with her bows in her hair. But during times her hair had grown out, she tended to live on the couch and sulk.
Emily was a passive aggressive sort. On more than one occasion, after my parents had disciplined her, she would wait until the next day and poop in front of my bedroom door, knowing that if she did at their door, she would be disciplined again. This left me dissatisfied, having stepped directly into the pile barefoot on more than one occasion. She was a black belt poop ninja.
Emily was a nervous pee-er. She was an excited pee-er. If you came home and it had been a long time since she gotten to go out, she had a hard time making it to the door. I’m not sure if this is common for the breed, but it was definitely a frustration for us.
Although she was not my favorite dog I’ve owned, she was my dog and we tried to coexist peacefully. She didn’t like to be picked up, unless it was by one of my parents. She would lay on the couch with me, which I decided to see as her way of reaching out, rather than her just wanting to be on the couch. She was also brave, barking a badger into a corner in front of our house once and causing all the neighbors to line up on the street in front of our house and call animal control.
She passed away from cancer when she was ten. I was glad she went right after she had gone to the groomers and was able to pass away with class and dignity. I know that my experience was an isolated incident, so don’t judge all spaniels by her review. She was definitely ‘her own person.’