In September 2011, after living in the US for many years, my wife and I moved to my hometown in Italy.
A few weeks later, while we were still settling down, we decided to get a dog and, after some research on all the different breeds, we settled on getting an English cocker spaniel.
We found a small kennel not too far from Turin that had a couple of puppies still available from a litter of black and white cocker spaniels. We drove to the kennel on a cold afternoon to meet the breeders and to see their puppies.
While driving to their place, we were thinking of possible names for our first dog. "Bamboo" in Japanese means long and healthy life because bamboo plants are strong and flexible. Eventually we arrived at the house, the breeder welcomed us in and, right there, next to the kitchen, there was a large pot filled with bamboo sticks. We took that as a sign and a couple of hours later we were driving home with our little Bamboo in my wife's lap.
We never had a dog before in our lives, so you can imagine how exciting was our first year with Bamboo.
Every weekend we would try to find a nice place to go and spend some time with him in nature, so that he could have some fun.
We brought him to run on the beach, to walk up the mountains, to swim in various lakes and rivers. Every free moment we had we spent it with him.
We had so much to learn and so we ended up meeting a lot of interesting people thanks to our desire to learn more about dogs, and in particular about cocker spaniels.
At the end of 2012, following the recommendation of Bamboo's trainer, we started looking for a female cocker spaniel.
With no intentions of breeding them, we were just trying to help Bamboo becoming more independent. A friend recommended a breeder located very far from us, near Trieste. After a phone call to get an appointment with her, we drove all the way to her place.
It was just a couple of days before the end of 2012. As usual, on our way there we were thinking of names. We were looking for another name whose meaning was "long and healthy life" and we came up with "Menta", the Italian word for "mint", a very resilient plant, just like bamboo is.
After meeting with Liana, the breeder, she showed us the litter. Bamboo immediately seemed to be attracted by the smallest dog of the litter, a cute little blue roan puppy. We asked the breeder what was her name, and she revealed that the entire litter was named after different herbs and spices. Her name was Menta! It was destiny for sure, as well as the beginning of a long lasting friendship with Liana, the breeder. We kept in touch with her, via Facebook and phone calls, and she has been a true friend and a great help.
If having one dog is a lot of fun, having two dogs is ten times more fun!
For a while we continued to bring both Menta and Bamboo at the dog training school.
When that was not possible anymore we tried to bring them to a training field for hunting dogs so that they could run at least once or twice a week.
We also had the opportunity to take a wonderful holiday in the mountains of Trentino with some of our friends and their cocker spaniels, and that was a ton of fun!
A year later, Liana posted some pictures of a new litter with a couple of orange roan female puppies.
Even though at the time we were not really thinking of getting a third dog, it was love at first sight!
Since the puppies were already teething, Liana preferred to keep them under her own supervision until they were ready.
It was a long wait, but, eventually, in March 2014, we went to pick her up.
We named her "Camomilla", the Italian word for "chamomile", another plant that is very strong.
Milla is the sweetest cocker ever, very attached to us, and to Bamboo and Menta as well.
Traveling with three dogs became more of a chore, and while living in an apartment with one or two dogs is feasible, we soon realized that it was becoming difficult to manage them.
That's how we started looking for a new home, possibly with a fenced garden, so that the dogs would be able to be more independent. It took us a few months but, eventually, thanks to a friend, we found a small house just a few miles away from town, with a nice fenced garden. Needless to say, the dogs loved it, and our life has changed a lot since then!
This, in brief, is the story of how we ended up living in the country with our three lovely English cocker spaniels.
In this website you will find the story of our life with Bamboo, Menta and Camomilla.