How I Found My Dog’s Dad

I want to find my dog’s dad. Now there’s something I have yet to cross off my bucket list. These are the things that go through my mind as I drift off into sleep. The World of the Cocker Spaniel is a book that sits on my desk. I rarely refer to it, but a sense of pride swells over me when I gaze past the computer monitor and see its rustic spine glaring back at me. The book is one of those rare gems you can only hope to lay your hands on, let alone own and cherish a copy. cockerspaniel_book Written by Bill Gorodner and Lloyd Alton, the book chronicles the history of the Cocker Spaniel as a breed, and most of the more than 1,500 photographs are full color. If you are a breeder, trainer, hobbyist, or just plain genuine lover of the breed like I am, this is a book you delight in displaying. It also helps that Dexter’s ancestors are featured in the book. It is well-documented that Dexter came to me via a reputable dog breeder. This particular breeder is someone I now consider a friend, and we keep in touch via social media. As part of the “new puppy” package that we were gifted back in 2008, Dexter’s family tree and official papers stood out. I marveled at the flowchart-like symmetry of all these regal names, the stateliness of his line, and how very special and blessed I am to share my life with this boy. cocker_puppy In fact, from the time I held Dexter in my arms for that “just to look and see” visit, I was hooked. You know those moments that never leave your heart? Electric shocks literally crawled up my spine, and I knew this boy would come home with me. “He is the most outgoing of the litter,” his breeder told me once upon a time, when Dexter was eight weeks old. “He is very curious and adventurous and a love bug, too. A very nice overall puppy.” To this day, those same statements completely describe Dexter. cocker_puppy The littermates and I stay in touch: We have yearly get-togethers to celebrate our Cockers’ shared birthday, and I even know where Dexter’s dog mom resides. She was adopted out to a lovely woman in Maryland, and we are Facebook friends. Something inside my heart really does beat dog, and it is having these connections that fills me with appreciation and, well, joy. One branch from the family tree remains missing after all this time: Dexter’s doggy dad. I know what he looks like and that he always had good eyes and a clean bill of health, hip- and joint-wise. These are all things a good breeder ensures and has tested to keep a strong line going. I also know his dad name is CH Ging’s Legendary, or as he would be called, “Chip.” I tell Dexter he is a block off the old Chip. Indeed, my boy looks like his daddy. cocker_dogs As the years passed, from time to time a nagging feeling would arise in the pit of my stomach. What is Chip up to now and is he happy and playing and as ball obsessed as his litter of spunky Cocker Spaniels? I added “Meet Chip” to my doggy Bucket List. I connected with my dog’s breeder and she referred me to the gentlemen who last had Chip. Indeed, the writers of The World of the Cocker Spaniel called Chip their own. He was a champion show dog, but I just know he melted my heart whenever I saw the few photos of him in circulation. cocker_dogs On the official site for the kennel who bred Chip, he is listed as “A fast-finishing brown tri son of Ch. Legend Bosco Milk ex Ging’s to the Manor Born. Shown all the way by Tom Dowell.” Awwww, a fast finisher. I am the complete opposite of what it takes to be in the show ring: I cuddle, ooh and ahh over dogs, want to give them tummy rubs, and lift them off grooming tables and run far, far away with them. But I respect the breed, the job of a reputable breeder, and what goes into keeping a quality line going. Through some Facebook sleuthing, I stumbled upon Tom Dowell, the one who took fast-finishing Chip all the way. Silly as it sounds, my heart was racing a bit and those familiar electric shocks made a timely appearance up my spine. My heart beats dog, after all.

cocker Dexter
My Dexter, a block off the ole Chip.

Tom accepted my friendship, and I proceeded to tell him who I was, why I connected with him, and how we have a few friends in common. Then came the loaded question from a woman who just friended him on Facebook: Could I meet Chip any time soon? With his reply, you could have knocked me over with a groomer’s comb. Hi Carol, Ah yes “Chiperdoodle” as we called him when I was showing him. He was the sweetest little guy. He stayed with Lloyd and Bill after I finished him. Unfortunately Chip crossed over the bridge a little over a year ago. Every time we would go to Bill’s house if he hadn’t put Chip out in his run, the second he would here my voice he would howl until let out and then would come flying at me. As I said he was a sweet little guy. Tom He was a sweet little guy. I waited too long and now Chip is gone, at least from this Earth. We exchanged a few more pleasantries, me typing through tears and realizing there was not much more to say. I friended Bill Gorodner on Facebook, who is a legend in the dog world himself, and maybe someday I’ll get the courage up to write something to him or on his wall.

My Dexter as a pup

For now, I’ll hold steadfast to the few photos I have and cherish the life I am living with a tri-color Cocker Spaniel who is truly a block off the old Chip. Rest in peace, Chipperdoodle. I loved you even though I never met you. Say hello to my Brandy Noel at the bridge for me and finish fast together.


  1. Good post – nice to read and see the photos of little Dexter as a Pup! Though you never got to meet Chip – you took a little of him with you with little Dexter. He is an adorable dog with a very expressive face, just like his daddy. WOOF!

  2. Aw, that’s bittersweet 🙁 I’m glad you were able to connect with the person that showed him but it’s sad that he’s already passed. I never got to meet Nailah’s dad (mom was on site when I got her) and always wondered what he was like.

  3. What a beautiful story! I often wonder about where Daisy came from and what kind of breed mix she might be but the shelter had no idea since she was turned in as a stray puppy and will always be our little mystery mutt. It’s so cool that you have Dexter’s family tree!

    1. I tried to find my last dog’s parents, too, but no luck on that. Could be because she was a puppy mill rescue.

  4. I check in with my parents in the UK on occasion. My litter was the last one my mom ever had and she is now a house pet, dad is still with my breeder. My great granddad was a huge champion in the UK and passed on last year. I will never see my littermates as one passed on suddenly at a young age, one is in Sweden and the rest are still in the UK. Bailie may see her family since they are in Missouri but with fourteen in her litter a family reunion would be a huge event! We are pretty content to just see photos now and then. That is awesome that you found Dex’s dad, too bad he has passed on.

    1. This really taught me to not let things go and to act on them – not to wait. So glad you are able to check in with your parents in the UK.

  5. Ohmigoodness!! Dexter is so handsome but he was a cutie-patootie when he was a pup! That is so cool that you have a paw-ty with his littermates each year. You are truly lucky.

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