MEMBER STORY – Caroline Cockwell

Whether or not to get a dog is a very important decision. But when you are thinking of introducing a dog to a household that already has other pets then this becomes far more important. Well it certainly was for me.

I have always lived with cats and also for quite a few years had a Rescue Cross breed dog and German Shepherd whom both lived very amicably with 3 rescue cats. I lost my German Shepherd and then lost my elderly rescue, four weeks before my father passed away. It was at this time that I got my first pedigree cats. I love my cats and really enjoy the breeding side (most of the time) but still really missed having a dog around.

I would always watch Crufts and had made the decision that once I retire I would get myself a dog, but this was still 4 years off. I was chatting with my sister and saying that I would probably go for a toy breed when my sister said that she would happily have a dog during the day when I was at work, if I wanted to get a dog earlier.

So now the hunt was on. What breed? I had to consider that with a house full of overly privileged Siamese, Orientals and Birmans who felt the world, everything and everyone in it revolved around them. I had to consider a breed that wouldn’t harass the cats as these cats were likely to retaliate but also a breed that would happily live along side these diva felines. I didn’t want a dog that moulted too much as I didn’t want to vastly increase on the house work.

I was watching Crufts and making note of all the Toy breeds and listening to the commentators talking about their personality. I eventually got it down to about 4 breeds so started to do more research. I ruled out 2 breeds due to higher risk of fractures and then ruled out the 3rd breed as reported to be a bit noisy and also moulted. This left me with the Bolognese who were reported to be friendly with both animals and people, didn’t moult and were fairly robust and stocky as they would need to be able to spend the day with an energetic Frenchie at my sister’s home.

I definitely wanted to go for a show quality dog if possible and wanted a KC registered breeder. I also knew they were quite rare in the UK so was expecting the need to travel miles. Well I did my Google search and what did I find a breeder that literally lived a few minutes away.

I contacted Chris Thatcher of Devonia’s Bolognese and arranged a visit to meet the breed and talk about the various requirements. I explained that I breed cats and had a houseful and fortunately Chris didn’t feel there would be a problem as she had previously had Birman cats with her dogs. It was agreed that when the next litter was due that Chris would consider me for a puppy. In April the following year (2016) baby Lucca was born. During his baby weeks I would visit and play with them as they got older, Chris would show me what she was looking for in relation to show quality and I was generally having a great time getting to know baby Lucca. The day came that Lucca eventually came home with me and I have to say I haven’t looked back. He has settled well, he is cautious and respectful of the cats and he is a really quick learner picking up new skills all the time.

You could pretty much say the rest is history as he has been with me for two and a half years now and probably considered an honorary feline amongst the cats.

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.