Me and my cocker spaniel
11:43 04 March 2016
Maldon’s Debbie Driver runs a business in Rayleigh, but loves nothing more than striding out on the green carpet at Crufts with her cocker spaniel, Daisy
Breed: Cocker Spaniel
A little about myself – I am an Essex business owner with a hobby of dog showing and occasional breeding. My first love and early career was horses but now, with a dodgy back, the smaller four-legged canine has taken over. I live in a small village near Maldon in a lovely Old Rectory with 2.5 acres, where my cocker spaniel family will meet you at the gate
What is special about your pet?
We used to have golden retrievers, but when we lost our last retrievers, Holly and Alice, we were so upset that we decided not to have any more dogs. Well, that did not last long! Within four months we could not bear to come home to a house without the much-missed welcoming greetings. We decided a smaller breed would be better to handle and transport in the car and went to a gun dog show to decide which breed to have. We met a great little character called Jessie James, who was a cocker spaniel. Shortly after this meeting we had found a breeder in Worcestershire and bought our first blue roan cocker called Daisy.
What do you do with your Daisy?
Daisy came from a line of show cockers and during a rush of blood to the head, I agreed with her breeder that I would show her in both local and national breed shows. That first year we took Daisy from Blackpool to Exeter, but she repaid the effort by gaining her Stud Book number aged just 14 months and I was hooked. A stud book number is gained in a special breed class that qualifies your dog for life entry to Crufts. I have since shown Daisy’s puppies with good results and look forward to later this year when I will be showing one of her grandchildren. Crufts is the highlight of the dog showing year and I will be there again this month walking the green carpet. Exhibitors just hope the judge appreciates their much-loved dogs and the time it has taken to groom and trim them. I am fortunate enough to have received a rosette there for the last ten years. Daisy is still shown and regularly wins Best Veteran in Show, making me very proud.
I now have four cocker spaniels at home — Daisy, Lewis, Freddy (who does agility with a friend, Georgia) and Eva (who has just had a litter of six with Freddy from which we are keeping a girl to show and are currently deciding upon her name). Most of them can be found in my office at Harveys Garden Buildings in Rayleigh during the week, where they perform the important role of customer greeters!
Tell us a special memory you have of Daisy?
One day I remember well was when we were just finishing a lunchtime meal in a restaurant when my daughter phoned to say that Daisy had swam over a small creek chasing ducks while out on a walk and she could not get her back. I asked her to keep an eye on Daisy until I could return and help catch her. It took over 45 minutes to get back and my daughter was, by this time, very cold and really quite distressed as she had been there for more than two hours. When Daisy saw that I had arrived, she found her own way back over the creek and promptly jumped-up my best dress with very muddy and very smelly paws!