Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Madera, California, United States
Posted August 23, 2015
This sweet dog was a stray and obviously dying of dehydration. I found her in an outside mall and asked around, but she didn't belong to anyone. Because she was a mix, she looked like a baby Golden Retriever instead of a full-grown Cocker Spaniel! Anyway, I took her home and she was an absolute angel.
She was a little hard to housebreak and might not have received too much attention in her life. One leg was shorter than all the rest, and the vet thought that she might have been in a hit-and-run and that she had been on the road so long, her leg healed without any medical attention, which is what made it shorter. Her leg did not bend normally, but she had full use of the three others and could put her weight on it.
No matter what was going on, Lassie's wonderful personality made her an ever-cheerful, loving presence. Once I even lost my temper and yelled at her, but she just continued to smile.
Later, she lost her eyesight due to PRA (progressive retinal atrophy). She still loved to run and chase lizards and get out in the wild, but I had to watch her, afraid she'd impale her eye in the woodshed. Eventually, I had her eyes removed and sewn shut so she couldn't accidentally injure them. She eventually died of old age and possibly cancer. She was so old that the vet did not do all the tests, as it wouldn't make sense to put her through chemo and radiation even if she definitely had cancer. She died in her sleep and will always be remembered and loved.
Even though she had health issues, the vet thought that she probably received deficient nutrition as a puppy. Considering that she lived a very robust and active life despite that and despite the leg injury, I would say that overall her health was awesome. She was very sensitive to a floor cleaner I used to use and she would throw up and go into seizures, but it took me a long time to realize that dogs are much closer to the floor than we are and that chemicals can affect them much more. As soon as I switched to using white vinegar, all her symptoms went away!
PRA might be fairly common for Cockers, so I would be aware of that. Also, a purebred Cocker might have a lot more grooming issues.
I highly recommend this breed. :)