Let me take you back. Lucinda and I met in 2004 and in spring 2005 we took a trip, with Lucinda’s parents, to visit her Uncle and Aunt in Sydney, Australia. Uncle John and Auntie Margaret had a puppy called Lucy who was a black spoodle, a cross between a spaniel and a poodle, and we fell in love with her. Fast-forward a decade, and we were now living into our ‘forever home’ so, we once again began the discussion of dog-ownership. This time we decided to put it on hold until Ezra was at school and after we had extended the kitchen giving us direct access to the garden. 2018 we ran out of excuses.
Since 2005 the term spoodle had been replaced by various terms to better describe the type of spaniel. We were most interested in a Cocker Spaniel/ Miniature Poodle cross: A Cockapoo. Cockapoos have been around since the 1960’s but have become very popular in recent years because they combine the best element of the Cocker Spaniel with the Poodle, yielding a non-shedding, intelligent, affectionate and people-oriented dog that is just as happy to run around the park or sit on your lap watching TV. A perfect dog for novice owners who have a house full of children.
We idly kept an eye on various dog websites over several months when, after a renewed conversation, we chanced across one litter that we could not ignore. A litter of five red cockapoos had been born on the 29th May in Wraysbury and would be ready the week after we returned from holiday, at the beginning six-week school holiday. The colour, the ‘breed’ and the timing coupled with the fact that they were from the next town was too good an opportunity and we made an appointment to see the litter.
The summer of 2018 was already turning out to be a good one. England basked in a heatwave and over in Russia the England football team were performing above expectations in the FIFA World Cup and on the 7th July, the day that England were due to play Sweden for a place in the World Cup semi-final, we met our puppy for the first time. We had tried to convince ourselves that we were just looking and we would think about it. Deep down we knew that wasn’t to be the case.
The mother of the litter, a Red Cocker Spaniel, who was extremely friendly and interested in the humans that were coming to look at her babies, greeted us at the door. After letting us fuss her and letting her smell us, the owner ushered her into the garden so that we could meet the litter in peace. Of the five puppies, we were already down to a choice of two for three were already reserved. We sat on the floor while five adorable cockapoo puppies ran amok. They say that a puppy chooses its new family as much as you choose a puppy and so it was for us. While most of the puppies were interested in running around and playing, or completely ignoring us, one little puppies crawled onto Éowyn’s lap, curled up and went to sleep. She was one of the puppies that was available and was a bitch (and we were after a female dog). Although we didn’t immediately hand over our deposit, I think our hearts and minds were set on her at that point.
We went home, watched England beat Sweden and earn a place in the semi-finals and discussed whether we were ready to welcome a puppy into our home. The next day we handed over our deposit and got ready to become dog-owners.
The final stage was to choose a name. As she was red, we liked the idea of a name that invoked the colour red, we listed them off, and none seemed to fit until we reached Rosie. Somewhat fittingly, considering Rosie chose Éowyn, Éowyn came up with her full name: Rosie Wan Kenobi.
Rosie Wan Kenobi becomes the Bagnalls fourth pet and our first dog. We are now a family of nine with humans still holding on to the majority, but only just.