It’s a complicated process this. Tonight M and I started to have this conversation, but it deteriorated and we never quite got to the matter itself. I believe he’s overwhelmed by the idea of complications. I think of Alfred Hitchcock’s declaration “My idea of happiness is a clear horizon.”
I keep thinking that I’ll be 50 this year and I have yet to do some of the things I’ve set myself to; this therapy work for instance. Perhaps I am repeating myself. Once I was asked to choose a word that embodied my vision. I chose the word: *abundance. *
Clarity within complications. A full life. I pulled back to half time teaching in order that I might enrich and fatten up my life. Have time to do the work that I want to do. This work. And to serve with the animals. To walk. Take photographs.
I have thrown myself into this project: the research, the conversations, the blog, with such force and such focus. I set out looking for a breed that might replace the collie in its abilities to do the work that I would not ask the Papillons to do. Not that a Papillon couldn’t do it---just that mine aren’t quite cut out for it.
I started with the terriers. Bedlington. Manchester. But I had to face the fact that I was walking right near the arena I vowed never to go into: dog aggression. Or its possibility.
I veered off to the Welsh springer spaniel, a dog I have always admired, and there I encountered the Field Spaniel and the English Cocker. After conversations with some of my papillon friends, the subject of size came up…. One said, “nothing bigger than 20lbs.” The other said, “No bigger than a Cocker.”
And truth be told, for some reason, I am really drawn to the English Cocker. The rainbow of coats, the size, the outpouring of love, the ever wagging tail and that fabulous cobby body. “A little taller than long.”
So. I have on tap, 2 mentor/advisors. Both with long experience in the breed. Both careful but generous with their knowledge. Two breeders I’ve been talking seriously with, both in California. Barrister and Indigo. I may well tap Nohea. She breeds solids, but her cockers are very versatile and C mentioned that she’d be a great advisor.
How much do I care about coat color? I prefer a blue roan. I’ve really warmed to the orange and the orange roan. Liver is awesome. My least favorite is black and white. They look like springers to me. The blacks are hard to read/see. The tan and roan and tri-colors seem more like herding dog colors. I like the black and tans. The tan eyebrows. Lovely. The reds and blondes are OK.
Gender? Honestly, I think a male might be better suited to the work I have in mind. A female might fit into the dynamics of the pack more easily. Flynn won’t feel as put off by a girl as the boys would be by another boy.
I’m pretty confident about the breed, even though I haven’t met many. I ought to. Nothing is more grounding and clarifying than experience.