Helping you to get the most out of our region

Local pets: Ivy the cocker spaniel puppy

27th March 2023

Dedicated dog lover Phoebe Langston had always had at least canine companion in her life whilst living in her family home in Rutland. When she moved out to set up home with her partner, it wasn’t long before two became three, writes Amander Meade

Cocker spaniel pup Ivy with her owner, Phoebe

‘I absolutely love dogs, and our family have always had at least one dog at home,’ reports Phoebe. ‘Our little Jack Russell terrier Willow was my best friend. Time off and weekends were usually spent walking and going on great dog-friendly trips and days out with Willow and my partner, Niall. When Niall and I bought a house together and moved out of our respective family homes, one of the hardest parts was leaving Willow behind. We had her with us as much as we could, but her home is really with my parents, and so we began to think about having a dog of our very own.’ 

Extensive research narrowed the prospective breed down to a cocker spaniel, as the couple discovered that cockers are friendly, easy to train and get on well with other dogs. ‘Whatever dog we chose needed to be able to bond with Willow, so a sociable nature was important.’ Phoebe and Niall identified a respected and reputable breeder online, and Phoebe admits that she had already earmarked Ivy after viewing the images of the litter provided by the breeder. ‘Ivy was just so pretty – she is a tri-colour spaniel, which is a little bit more unusual. Her mum was really beautiful too, so that gave us an idea of what we might expect as she grew up.’

After travelling down to Kent to view the litter, the couple were not swayed in their choice, even when Ivy’s siblings were initially much keener to approach them, with Ivy being one of the shyest in the group of pups. 

Settling in

Taking ownership of Ivy at 10 weeks old, Phoebe and Niall took her settling in phase very seriously – each taking consecutive weeks of annual leave from work in order to be available for Ivy’s first fortnight in her new home. ‘Ivy settled so well and quickly became house trained. We originally trained her to a puppy crate, but the door was never closed, and now she has a bed of her own. We took her to the puppy training club at our local vets for socialisation and then on to some basic obedience training at Meadow Paddock, which she loved.’ 

Phoebe and Niall are both interested in fitness and are big fans of spending as much time outdoors as they can. Their adventures include lots of travel – now focused on seeing as much of the UK as they can with both Ivy and Willow. ‘We love to have Willow with us, but it can be a little chaotic.  Although they love each other, she and Ivy are a lethal combination and get incredibly overexcited,’ laughs Phoebe. ‘Ivy is still too young for huge, long walks, as puppies need to have plenty of rest at her age, and overextending their exercise can be detrimental to the development of their joints and can do more harm than good.’

‘Extensive research narrowed the prospective breed down to a cocker spaniel, as the couple discovered that cockers are friendly, easy to train and get on well with other dogs.’

Future plans

The couple are looking forward to many exciting trips further afield with Ivy. Favourite current walks include Exton Park and the woods near Braunston; they’ve also enjoyed trips to Bradgate Park. Phoebe says: ‘Ivy is really great off the lead. Her first beach trip was to Wells in Norfolk, where she loved the shallow channels and rock pools but was a little bit wary of the sea. We’ve visited Sandringham for the day too, which was a big success. Going forward, we plan to go on dog-friendly visits to the Peak and Lake Districts and we will be spending our weekends walking and discovering all the dog-friendly pubs along the way, which will be a bonus for us too.’

To find out more about cocker spaniels,

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please register to receive updates from Local Living by email to be able to read the magazine online. You only need to do this once and you are welcome to unsubscribe from the email at any time.