Cockeranians have a reputation for being well-groomed little charmers; with their silky coats, fluffy ears, big brown eyes, and playful personality they’ll win you over in a heartbeat. Which is exactly what happened when Ralph the cockeranian arrived unexpectedly in the lives of Rye residents Jane Cornelius and Antony Platford.
“He’d been in four different homes when our daughter Poppy came across him,” says Jane. “Poppy was 21 at the time and had moved out of home. She brought Ralph over and said, ‘Have him for 10 days and if you don’t want him, take him to the pound’.”
Antony was recently retired, and the couple were all set to become grey nomads and jump headlong into the world of caravanning and sailing when Ralph arrived. “How do you not give a being that needs a home a home?” says Jane. Ralph had completely won their hearts – so much so that Jane says getting a puppy is the best thing for empty-nesters.
“The important story of Ralph is that every child should give their parents a dog once they leave home. You get this beautiful puppy to distract you. It’s like having a beautiful new baby that creates all this love and connection between the two of you. It’s a really healthy gorgeous thing.” Laughing, she adds: “But now sometimes I wonder if Antony loves Ralph more than me.”
The couple did get to follow their travel plans. “You can’t take dogs to national parks and all the beautiful nature places, so we get our friends to come and stay and they have a holiday in our house and we go on a holiday.” Ralph does get to join them on their sailing adventures, however; he even has his own life jacket.
Ralph gets the benefit of Jane’s passion for cooking healthy food. All his meals are home-cooked. “I cook him special dinners in the slow cooker like lamb or chicken with vegetables. I cook it for seven or eight hours, shred the meat, mash the vegies, then I add pumpkin seeds which are good for stopping worms.”
During lockdown, Jane took up disco roller-skating with friends at her local netball court. “If you get bored of dog walks, meet up with your friends and roller-skate. It’s the best exercise. You have lots of fun and the dogs get exhausted following you round and round and round the court.”
When Ralph sees people he loves, he looks into their eyes and howls as if he is telling them how much he loves them. “The best thing is the love Ralph gives. I come in from the shops and he is beside himself like he hasn’t seen me for years. Can you imagine if you could get that excited about seeing someone every day, that you are somebody’s shining light and they tell you five times a day? No wonder we love them so much.”
Follow Ralph and Jane’s adventures on Instagram.