Boykin Spaniels: Best In Show, Best Family Pet, or Just Best All Around
State Dog of South Carolina: The Boykin Spaniel
After first admitting, choke, choke, that I'm from the state of South Carolina which gets a lot of bad press in the news for all sorts of things ranging from Lizard Men in our swamps to the Luv Gov cheating on his wife, I would like to issue this disclaimer: We have some slammin' things as our state emblems. You know, how some states have the state flower, the state bird, and all that jazz? Well, we in South Carolina, couldn't stop there and we decided to have all sorts of state emblems. (Evidently, it was a slow day in the State House when all these important decisions were being made!) We have a state amphibian (the spotted salamander, I have no idea why); a state beverage (milk, because we hear it does a body good!); the state hospitality beverage ( iced tea, with plenty of sugar), even a state dance (the shag, and you people from the UK get your minds out of the gutter!). I will agree with most of these decisions wholeheartedly, although why they chose milk I will never know when everyone knows we South Carolinians sit around on the veranda of our plantations all days sipping mint juleps. However, the one I most agree with is the selection of the Boykin Spaniel as the state dog.
Best Dog Ever
After owning a Boykin for several years and knowing many other happy Boykin owners, I feel qualified to say Boykins deserve to be the state dog ANYWHERE! Boykins are great family pets and get along with just about anyone, even ...dare I say it...CATS! My Boykin, Molly, loved the cats we had and was friendly with all of them. I can truthfully say I never saw her chase a cat unless it was one that ventured into our back yard and she knew it wasn't supposed to be there. I'm sure you're wondering how a dog can rise to the heights of becoming the state dog when they're not even the mascot for the state's college football team...hey, we save our chickens for that honor in the state of South Carolina!
Boykins were bred around the turn of the century in the early 1900s as a sporting dog for hunters who used small boats to navigate the Wateree River in South Carolina. Because the boats were so small, the hunters needed an equally small dog to act as a retriever who was good in and out of water. The first Boykin started out as a small, stray dog who ended up following Alexander White, the hunting partner of Whit Boykin, home one day. The two trained the dog and found besides being a compact little dog and perfect in size for a boat, he also could retrieve like no dog they had ever seen before. They bred this little dog and the rest is Boykin Spaniel history.
Silver enamel Boykin Spaniel charm great for a bracelet or necklace.
Puppies 4 Sale
The first time I laid eyes on Molly, my Boykin, she was just a few days old. Her head was no bigger than a golf ball, since she was the runt of a litter of nine puppies. No one was really sure that she would make it since she was so tiny, so she was hand fed until she got to where she could fend for herself. Her mother, father, and uncle belonged to my niece who was a Boykin lover. I really didn't know much about the breed other than I knew my niece was fond of them. I had no desire to get a dog, because I really had my heart broken when my cocker, who was kind of my and my husband's starter child, was hit by a car right in front of my house. However my kids, after much begging and pleading and insisting they would take care of her, wore me down, so we became the proud owners of Molly. I had no idea that sweet little puppy would turn into one of the major loves of my life and a huge source of comfort to me.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
We bought Molly a cute dog bed and the plan was that she sleep in her dog bed in one of the kid's rooms. That lasted about 20 minutes on the first night, because as soon as we hit the lights, she began crying...loud. Not wanting to wake my daughter, I brought her and her bed in my bedroom, but she continued to cry even with socks and an alarm clock added to her bed for comfort. Finally, I picked her up and laid her on my chest. Instant silence. I lay awake all night with that little puppy on my chest, afraid that if I fell asleep I would crush her.Thus began the process of Molly somehow becoming my dog. She slept with me and my husband from that night on, first starting out at the foot of the bed (once she moved off my chest), then advancing to sneaking up and sleeping between my husband and me like a little child. Finally, after the divorce, I found myself waking up staring into amber eyes in the morning where she had now decided she would commandeer my ex-husband's pillow. Because of her small stature (she only weighed 25 pounds), I hardly knew she was in bed with me. Female Boykins don't usually weigh more than 35 pounds and males around 40 at the most, making them a great size for a house dog. And evidently a sleeping partner. Many nights I would fall asleep with her silky ears pressed against my face. She seemed to have an instinct for knowing when I was feeling sad and tried her best to let me know she was there for me. She didn't even seem to mind when her ears ended up getting a little bit wet.
Little Brown Dogs
Molly, like most Boykins, learned very quickly and was housebroken in no time. She also learned an amazing array of tricks in a very short period of time and loved to do them for anyone who asked, usually in rapid succession. Boykins are definitely people pleasers and are incredibly sociable. I'm pretty sure that Molly considered herself human and was highly offended when she was put outside by herself for any length of time.
Boykins love water and are very good swimmers, so if you have a pool, you can be pretty sure your Boykin will take a swim when he or she has the opportunity. Molly's favorite thing to do was play a game that, for lack of any creativity at all on our part, we called "Chase the Hose." This game could also be transformed into "Chase the Sprinkler" as well depending on where the water was coming from. Molly would plaster her mouth against the source of the water and try to drink as much of it as possible. It didn't matter if it was spraying all over the rest of her, she wanted to make sure she drank every drop of that water!
Looking For A Furry Friend
Boykins are known for their longevity, often living from 14 - 16 years, although I have personally known Boykins who have lived even longer. My Molly, because she was the runt of the litter, began battling health problems the last two years of her life starting when she was around 10. Although she was still getting around fine, she began to lose her hearing. She was still as playful as always, but seemed to be sleeping a bit more. Gradually, she began to lose her sight as well shortly before the Christmas holidays. I thought about taking her and having her put down, but I had never had an animal put to sleep before and this wasn't just any animal, this was Molly. I decided to leave it in God's hands and sure enough, two days after Christmas, I found her outside by her dog house. She looked as if she has just laid down to take a nap, but just kept on sleeping.
There are many people who say because dogs aren't human, they have no soul and because they have no soul, there are no dogs in heaven. I am here to tell you, Molly had a soul, and so I fully expect to see her once again some day, chasing birds, drinking from the sprinkler, curling up by my side and looking up at me with those beautiful amber eyes, letting me know once again, that she is there for me.