Updated: Dec 11, 2019
When I met Purdy, it was love at first sight. Seven years later I’m still besotted. The way she follows behind as I go from room to room. The sparkle of love and devotion in her eyes as she blinks at me adoringly, the way she licks my hands to say thank you. Her digestive biscuit smelling feet I can’t help but sniff, and how she lies on her back, legs akimbo, expecting belly rubs which I give without a moment’s hesitation.
There really is no other love like it.
Did I forget to mention Purdy is my seven-year-old Cocker Spaniel? I hoped you’d have cottoned on but just to clarify, Purdy is indeed my beloved dog. Well, she’s my Dad and Stepmums! They pay the vets bills, I take Purdy at weekends for sleepovers and undo all the good they’ve taught by showering her with constant affection, sofa snuggles, Cornish Rambles and treats.
Since I can remember, the family in one way or another has had dogs. From Jack Russell’s to Sheep Dogs and Poodles to Springers, there has always been a four-legged friend to dote on and pour my love over when visiting family as a kid.
Several years ago, when we’d just the one Springer called Becks, my Dad decided to get him a little pal. Cue Purdy’s arrival and the start of a true friendship between a Springer and a Cocker.
When Becks passed away it left Purdy in a state of doggy depression. Both dogs would come for the occasional sleepover, but with Purdy now being on her own and finding it hard without company, she started to stay with me more regularly. The odd sleepover has now become a weekly weekend stopover where I have her from Friday to Monday morning.
With Purdy being a small, airing on the side of medium, sized Cocker she is easy to lob into the back of my van (in a cage where she is safe!) or on the front seat (in a special doggy harness!) where she sits and stares at me lovingly as I drive us to our next adventure.
Having her stay with me each weekend not only helps keep away her loneliness, it also means I have the company too. Not that I have time to get lonely with a walking group to organise, a partner to spend time with, a big family to see and friends to catch up with. But for a while, there was a time when Purdy’s attention got me out of some unhappy ruts, and she has become someone I heavily rely on for companionship, love and adventures.
As a way of thanking Purdy for her constant love and devotion and because she is such a special little lady, I wanted to do something wonderful for her. So, I did what any other besotted dog hooman would do and arranged a great big Cocker Spaniel Meet-Up on a local Cornish beach. That’s right! I convinced people from across Cornwall, and even over the border into Devon, to come along to Watergate Bay beach, back in July, with their Cockers for a walk across the sand.
Was I nervous? Yes!
Did it take a lot of planning? Yep!
Was it worth it? Absolutely?
Did anyone turn up? Heck yes!
After weeks and weeks of planning this special event, I was pleased to see the beach swarming with beautiful Cockers and their humans. Over 100 four-legged friends were bounding across the beach and having a whale of a time. Purdy could hardly believe her puppy dog eyes and went darting from one wet nose to another, all the while looking at me in delight as if to say, ‘you did this for me?’
The biggest turn out for a walk before the Cocker meet-up was a couple of years back. I’d organised a ramble around Lanhydrock and as I waited for people to arrive, I couldn’t anticipate what was about to happen. There was a small trickling of cars to begin with and then suddenly, after 20-minutes of chaos, the car park had filled up with Cornish Ramblers until there was hardly room left for a push bike to squeeze in. I had to enlist the help of a Lanhydrock volunteer who assisted with the parking and rounding up of walkers. In the end, I counted over 70 people. So, when over 100 dogs and their owners turned up for the Cocker meet-up, it was a walk in the park.
Or beach should I say!
The morning was brilliant and went without so much as a hiccup. As well as the abundance of Cornish folk, there were people hopping across the border from Devon and holidaymakers from Manchester who’d heard about the event in the local pub, excited to take part in the first Cornish Cocker Meet-Up. I’m still overwhelmed at the support so to everyone who came along, a big THANK YOU to you all. There were no scraps between the dogs, or humans! Everyone two and four-legged got on extremely well and it was a hub of chatter, endless zooms and excitable barks. Silly stories of Cocker related shenanigans were shared whilst bums were sniffed and leads entangled. I’ll leave it to your imagination to decide who was doing what…
My partner Hannah, Purdy and I got there just before 10am and within the space of half an hour, I was speeding around the beach in an attempt to speak to all who had so kindly turned up for this crazy event.
Purdy and I were interviewed by Radio Cornwall, Spotlight and Cornwall Live which was a brilliant, if somewhat scary, experience. I was asked why I’d planned this event and if it were to become an annual get together, to which I nodded enthusiastically and said absolutely.
You can watch the Cornwall Live footage by clicking here!
The Get Your Cockers Out 2019 event was such a wonderful success and one I can’t wait to repeat next year. However, let's make it even bigger and better! So, if you have a Cocker, would like to go for a ramble with 100’s more Cockers, head to the Cornish Ramblings website and subscribe to keep up to date with the 2020 meet-up, all upcoming rambles and events.
See you soon!
Special thanks (in no particular order) go to;
Ecohound - for providing a whole box of bio-degradable poo bags.
Watergate Hotel – for their support and help in sharing the event.
WAX Watergate – who kindly offered 15% off if you brought your Cocker to the bar.
Checkered Photography – for coming along with their camera and taking some lovely shots of the day.
Hannah Wheeler (see her lovely face below!) – who not only supported me throughout the event and is a great girlfriend, but also armed with a clipboard, spent the morning chatting to everyone and taking down details for me.