I first took an interest in cocker spaniels after my parents purchased a blue roan puppy from Carol Steeples (Casrod) in 1995. A friend at the time showed papillons and encouraged me to have a go at showing our new puppy. I was 10 at the time and soon caught the showing bug!
You know that famous saying "We're not having any more dogs!" well, my dad said it many a time whilst I pleaded with him to let me have another cocker puppy. As we all know, women can be very persuasive and myself and mum soon got what we wanted, a black dog (Asquanne's Gopenge) from Anne and Alan Webster. Josh, as he was known became the making of me and gained me recognition around the show ring.
As time passed, I owned and showed two more cockers, Annashonn Golden Memory at Franaille (Sonny) and Jozelah Centre Fold Among Franaille (Ellie).
In 2004, I was very lucky to purchase another puppy from the Asquanne kennel. A black bitch called Grace (Asquanne's Grania with Franaille JW Sh.CM). Grace's career went from strength to strength, winning many top awards. At 13 months, Grace gained her Junior Warrant, a first for Franaille, and then at 16 months she went on to achieve her Show Certificate of Merit.
The pinacle of my showing to date was in November 2005, where Grace was awarded the reserve bitch CC at Rotherham Cocker Championship show under Mrs Barbara Ward (Wensum). Mum was so proud of what we achieved and I was so pleased she was able to see us achieve such a goal.
Asquanne's Goldstein at Franaille joined us in June 2005 and soon made his presence felt in the ring, being highly placed at all shows attended.
Sadly, in February 2007, Franaille had a devastating blow. Mum passed away suddenly, leaving myself and my family distraught. Her love, laughter and companionship is something that can never be replaced.
I have now moved to Exeter and teach year 5 at a school in Tiverton. Whisky and Grace and Grace's daughter Phoebe live with me and are enjoying the Devon life, whilst the rest of the Franaille clan reside with my dad and brother in the midlands where they are thoroughly spoilt!