Pete and Betty are Working Cocker Spaniels so they live for the great outdoors
As soon as the ‘w’ word is mentioned, often the second I even think it, I’m underneath a spaniel with her head cocked to one side, eyes boring into mine until I reach for the leads and tug on my wellies.
Living in Devon, there are no shortage of places for us to go full of new sniffs and things to roll in, Tesco Bank asked us to share a couple of our favourites for you and your furry friend.
Gallows Gate to Cockington
Parking the car at Gallows Gate -complete with its grisly history-and ‘pawsing’ to take in the view, we follow the gravelled path through the fields. Uphill, down dale and completely car free, P & B love rampaging through the meadows and orchards on our way down to Cockington Country Park. Cockington is incredibly picturesque with its beautiful thatched cottages and incredibly dog friendly, right down to the local craft studios almost all of which welcome your pooch (you might want to think twice before taking your spaniel into a glass blowing studio though. It’ll take a year or two off your life, trust me). There are also several dog friendly tea rooms and a decent pooch friendly pub to stop off at before heading back up hill; we’ve enjoyed many a cider and bowl of chips by the fire there. Parke – National Trust
Pete and Betty need a lot of stimulation and do get bored of the same walks on repeat so we try to go a bit further afield for our weekend walkies. One of our favourite longer adventures is around the National Trust grounds at Parke. Parke is surrounded by acres of woodland to snuffle our way through and every Saturday morning they host a pooch friendly Park Run. Choosing a different trail each time, we stomp our way through the trees, never failing to stop off for a swim in the river at the end.
When you’re outdoors as much as I am, you learn pretty fast where the good food and drinks are – Parke also boasts the award winning (and dog friendly) Home Park Café which has one of the best pourers I’ve come across anywhere. Bold statement.
Mine are two of the most energetic dogs there are, whenever we leave the house Betty is off her lead like a bullet. Walking with her is a lot like being in an episode of Lost – look for the weirdly rustling long grass and trees and you’re sure to find a spaniel burrowing underneath. It’s incredibly reassuring to know we’re insured up to the eyeballs should she get herself in a spot of bother or pick a fight with a wrong ‘un and we need to call in the Super Vet.Regular long walks are just a small part of keeping these crazy spaniels entertained; it’s a full-time job (you know, on top of my actual full time job and trying to run a house and a life and keep teenagers alive and all). If you’re thinking about getting a dog and a spaniel is on your list, it’s important to remember that they need a lot of mental stimulation too. I am constantly inventing new games and trying to teach these dogs new tricks to help them break a mental sweat when we’re not out exploring the undergrowth and wallowing in muddy puddles.
If you want to find out more about the characteristics and care needs for a whole range of dog breeds, Tesco Bank have some super helpful breed profiles. You can find out all kinds about everything from Working Cockers like Pete or Betts to the glorious German Shepherd (Ben, one of the first dogs we ever had, was a German Shepherd and he was SUCH a good boy) to the bonkers Beagle.
Whatever your canine intentions, do your research* before you bring your fur buddy home. And DO NOT forget the insurance, fingers crossed you’ll never need it but you can’t put a price on that peace of mind.
*Or just while away a few house cooing over all the puppers if you’re a rampant dog botherer like me.
This post was written in collaboration with Tesco Bank. All pooch spam, words and opinions are mine and mine alone.