Actually, there is no US - it's just little old me!
My name is Pauline Simpson, and this is my website about Cocker Spaniels.
I write all the articles for this site and do lots of in-depth research to ensure the information I give you is accurate and up to date.
I take many photos of Max and his buddies, but visitors often send me pictures of their beautiful dogs, and I use those too.
I also sometimes buy photographs of Cockers from professional photographers - they can't all be of Max!
I also maintain and update the website as and when necessary, which, I guess, makes me the chief cook and bottlewasher!
I'm retired now, but in my previous life, I was in Human Resources, which was always full-on, quite eventful and often demanding, to say the least.
The company I worked for needed a personnel department. I saw an opportunity and went for it. Building upon a Diploma in Business and Finance, I studied part-time for a degree in HR and Employment Law.
When I qualified, I set up an HR department and spent 15 years running it, working for the same company.
Eventually, the opportunity for early retirement arose, and I grabbed it with both hands.
It felt good not having to join the rat race every day. I was finally able to do what I wanted when I wanted!
Life slowed to an acceptable, relaxed pace, and I began to enjoy my newfound freedom, one leisurely day at a time.
Life was bliss!
I had so much spare time, so I decided the time was right to get a puppy.
Once I'd made the decision to get a puppy, the 64,000 dollar question was, which breed do I choose?
Over the years, hubby has owned several Cocker Spaniels, and he absolutely adored each and every one of them.
So, after much research (on my part) and a little persuasion from hubby, I decided to plump for an English Cocker Spaniel. I couldn't resist their adorable little faces with those big brown eyes and soft floppy ears!
Three months after retiring, I returned home from the breeders one day with a beautiful 8-week-old puppy, and that's when my passion for golden Cocker Spaniels was ignited!
It was around the same time that I decided to build this website, about 15 years ago.
Between us, hubby and I have over 30 years of experience owning dogs (and cats, too!).
I was 6 years old when we got our first rescue dog, a Heinz 57 variety, which we named Jenny. She was a bit of a mutt, but she gave us many years of love and affection and was loyal to the whole family.
Our next dog was a noble-looking Afghan hound whom we named Prince. Although he was a beautiful dog, his coat was quite labour-intensive. He was also very highly strung and needed an awful lot of attention and handling!
Our next pooch was a cute Yorkshire Terrier (Sherry), who used to run for the cupboard under the stairs every time my Grandma arrived.
Eventually, we realised why. Sherry had quite a long coat which often made it difficult to know whether she was facing you or away from you.
We later discovered that my Grandma, whose sight wasn't too good, had been trying to feed Sherry with doggie treats but hadn't realised she had her the wrong way around!
And then we acquired a wonderful German Shepherd. We took him in because his family could no longer afford to keep him. He was an enormous, fierce-looking black dog, inappropriately named Demon, as he was the biggest softie I had ever known!
Sadly, as is inevitable, they all eventually left this world.
Before I even collected my Cocker Spaniel puppy, I had begun my research for this site. (It also acted as a timely refresher while raising my new puppy).
Over the years, I have carried out a ton of research and read countless books and research papers on dogs: dog and puppy care, training and behaviour, health matters, and much more.
Here are just a few of those books I really enjoyed reading and found particularly helpful when building this website:
I have devoured many other good books about canines, but the above really stood out as leaders in the field of dogs and training.
Research papers include:
Aggressive behaviour in English Cocker Spaniels and the personality of their owners.
Written by: A L Podberscek and James A Serpell
I have also undertaken several courses on dog training and behaviour and continue to do so as and when I have the time to spare.
Here are some of my favourites:
This course on animal behaviour and welfare was given by the University of Edinburgh.
It covered animal welfare policy issues, including both scientific and ethical issues.
The course involved the study of animal behaviour and the challenges associated with monitoring and assessing animals' emotions.
This training was very interesting, and I learned a lot from it.
Instructor: Dr Ian Dunbar
This course covers many common problems with dog behaviour, including peeing and pooping in the house, chewing habits, barking, digging, and separation anxiety.
It also covers other behavioural problems such as jumping up, pulling on the lead and much more.
I can tell you it has proved to be very helpful many times in the past!
Instructor: Dr Ian Dunbar
This course covers cutting-edge and common sense concepts that make dog training easy and effective (for you both!).
It's about motivating your dog by making the training as enjoyable as possible for your pet.
But it's not all about training; it also covers correcting misbehaviour by redirecting our dogs to other more acceptable behaviours.
Instructor: Melanie Monteiro
This is essential training to help keep your dogs safe and to give you the ability and confidence to take action in a doggie emergency.
You never know when you might need to know how to stop a dog bleeding or how to calm a dog after an accident.
Fingers crossed, you never need to!
Instructor: Victoria Stilwell
This course looks at the inside of your dog's mind, which is exceptionally enlightening.
The course covers how dogs think, feel and learn to help make training dogs much easier and more effective.
It explores the 5 cognitive dimensions and goes into some considerable depth, probably much more than I had expected!
The University of Edinburgh
This course covers the science, behaviour and body language, senses and perception, and challenges for human-animal relationships, and I found it very interesting.
Well, that's enough learning for now, but I'll never stop researching dog training and behaviour because I find the subject so interesting, and I love to learn new things.
Watch this space for more!