Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Posted February 5, 2014
When I was growing up we had a Cocker Spaniel named Teddy. Found as a stray, my parents thought he would be a good companion for us girls. They were right. Teddy took to his new, young charges easily and quickly became our constant playmate. I don't remember Teddy every laying off to one side to get away from the childhood activities. If anything, he would be in the thick of things happily playing with anyone in the family. His family. It wasn't unusual though for us girls to blame any wrong doing on Teddy. To this day, when something goes wrong, we quickly say, “Teddy did it!”
Teddy was hard to house-train and would piddle when he got excited. We worked hard on the training and eventually got him to do his business outside. The piddling never stopped. We lived in rural Alaska and did not have fences. Teddy knew his boundaries and did not wander. He did have a penchant for chasing cars up our long driveway though and came too close for comfort many times. It was a bad habit that we were unable to break. Once he heard a car coming he wouldn't respond to our calling him back.
Cocker Spaniels were made famous when Disney came out with Lady and the Tramp. Who could help but fall in love with Lady. The Cocker was bread to be hunters in Spain. It's thought that the first of the breed came over to America on the Mayflower.
Cocker Spaniels are intelligent and energetic dogs which fits in perfectly with young, lively children. He loved to join us in our sand box, play ball and fetch sticks. He would sit and stay but they weren't his favorite things to do. Teddy loved water and was glad when we went on picnics by lakes. We always had to bring an extra towel to dry him off before letting him back in the car.
Teddy had a beautiful golden coat which required regular brushing. His long, curly ears hug low and enhanced his appearance. They were pulled on from my younger sisters and Teddy would lay and take it. He developed a strong bond with us children and when he wasn't playing he would stand guard.
Cocker Spaniels have a tendency for food allergies and Teddy was no different. We finally discovered it was chicken and after eliminating it from his diet he quit scratching at his ears and paws. Cockers develop health problems when they reach the latter stage of their normal 12-15 year age span. They can experience kidney, heart and liver failure plus cancer and hip dysplasia. Teddy lived until he was about fourteen. During his last two years he suffered from hip dysplasia, and arthritis. I'm sure he lived a long and happy life because my parents told me he went to live with a family on a farm where he could run and play and be healthy as a young pup again.