‘Our Friend, The Cocker Spaniel’

   spaniel engraving Now thou art dead, no eye shall ever see,
For shape and service, spaniel like to thee.
This shall my love do, give thy sad death one
Tear, that deserves of me a million.

Robert Herrick, Upon His Spaniel Tracie

What a lovely poem and what a treat to be Tracie, reading this whenever she wants after all these years without her friend and master.  We have lots of books about gundogs and yesterday we came by another one, published in 1932. The frontispiece, actually the only picture in the entire book, is of ‘A cocker spaniel “of Ware”‘ who looks just like me. I know this famous family of cockers by reputation; maybe we are related.  There is much of wonder, much that is just right, about the observations in this work. Modern dog manuals  don’t ring with the loving warmth for my kind you get in these old tomes, written in far less enlightened times.  Phrases such as ‘our little long-eared friend’, a ‘fireside adornment and a chum’, ‘so adaptable and of so merry a nature’ warm my cockles and I shall ponder on them further.

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