Sooty the most non-dog like dog I've owned

by Jenny


Halloween, 2009, I held my boy close as the vet ended his suffering.

His name was Sooty. He was the most amazing, loving, snotty, stroppy, Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel that I have ever known. He left massive pawprints in my heart. No other dog has ever quite measured up to my boy.

He came to me due to an unorthodox rescue, as his owners (from a young pup) had decided that he was vicious... They weren't dog owners previously and made many mistakes, the first being that "getting the children a puppy for Christmas" was a good idea.


The young dog, endured his stub of a tail being pulled, his ears being pulled, by overzealous human siblings in the form of two young girls aged 4 and 2. The parents of said human children did not handle the situation well and banished the small pup to the garden, no toys, no joy, no love. Where he was left day and night from what I was told. Please let me assure you, I did not know this family, or I would have taken them to task...

A mutual friend heard of this dog's plight and vowed to locate him to a new home. He took him in, and with his own dog, Rex, he soon discovered a mischievous loving pup still lived inside the shell of a body. My friend had just bathed him the day I came home from work, and the little rascal had just slipped through his hands as he was drying him off in the sun. He bounded up to me, all wriggles. He didn't have a tail (it had been poorly docked), so his whole body would wriggle instead - quite funny.

I spent the afternoon playing with this very silly but lovable pup.

As I got up to leave, Sooty pounced on me. He was on my lap with a paw on each side of my face, and had snuggled up under my chin... he actually sat there quite quiet. My friend made the suggestion that was running through my mind. Could I take on this pup?

I had the space in my life and in my flat. I had the time to commit, and a pay rise in a couple of months meant that financially I could look after him. Trying to be "sensible" I voice that I would think about it.

I went home, without Sooty, and took the evening to consider what to do. I was 21 and usually would have phoned my parents. I decided against that action thinking they would try to talk me out of it. I carried on with my evening and thought about that lovely little Blue Roan.

The next day - when windswept but with a dry coat, I saw the little scrap for what he was and my heart melted. He came home with me and was then forever by my side.

To date he is the only dog I've known that could stamp all four paws at the same time, stick his tongue out at you if he thought you'd done him an injustice, "sing" along with the radio for certain songs, and come up on my lap for a proper cuddle.

He was 11 years old when liver cancer got to him. I was 3 months pregnant with my son. As of 2022 that was 13 years ago and to this day I miss that lovely amazing boy.

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Sooty the Characterful Cocker Spaniel!
by: Pauline

Hi Jenny,

Thanks very much for posting these wonderful pictures and stories about Sooty. He sounds like he was a real character!

Even now, after 13 years, he still has the ability to capture hearts.

My Cocker, Max, is almost 15. He's deaf and blind and he sleeps pretty much all day now. I'm dreading the day I need to do what you had to, but I know we all need to face up to it someday.

I love my golden cocker, but if I decide to get another dog, this time it's going to be a blue roan, just like Sooty!

Kind regards,

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