Daphne – The Cocker Spaniel!!


Meet the most benign guard-dog rescue, Daphne. If she is not on the beach or cuddling up with her owner Susan Barkham (Sue), she will be either sleeping on her bed in The Boat House (local shop on the jetty), or wag her tail welcoming every customer.

The very first time I met both Susan with her dog Daphne was on one of my beach adventures with Rustle. I saw this woman walking a cute little dog, who came across as very timid and shy. Without any hello, I remember Susan saying, “She wouldn’t poo here, I would like her to poo and pee out on the beach. She holds it in and will only do it in the backyard.” I didn’t see the harm in a dog performing her ablutionary obligations in the back yard. Then Susan said, “Well I have only just got her yesterday and I work in the shop on the jetty, 6 to 8 hours a day. There’s a beach she could go to but she holds it in until we get back home, that cannot be healthy.” So yes, she had a point! But as we spoke, Rustle pee’d on some seaweed and Daphne followed suit. Hurray! I hadn’t met a woman who celebrated a dog pee-ing on the beach so much before. It was definitely a happy moment of Sue’s life.


Daphne is a two and half year old cocker spaniel. This rescue has had two previous owners before she found her forever home in Broadstairs.

Susan, 65 years old, who is a retired teacher had a labrador that passed away in 1992. Post – divorce and after her children left home, this dog was her only companion. If there was one thing she looked forward to going home was her ever so waggy tailed labrador. After the death of her Labrador, Sue couldn’t bear the emptiness in her house. So, she decided to take a break and go to Sicily and teach English for a few years before settling down in Broadstairs.


Susan took a retirement from teaching only two years ago which eventually led to her adopting Daphne but there is an amazing chronology of events that took place leading up to her retirement. One fine day Susan’s daughter brought her the tickets to the Prince concert that she’d always dreamt of. The tickets were for a Saturday. Susan was aware there were two things in life she wanted to do before she got another dog, that is attend Prince Concert which was now possible and then travel to Spain. Susan said, “I thought well, the concert’s for the weekend – and I am close to retiring, so why not just quit. ” So she quit her job just like that, celebrated her retirement by going to the concert and then flew off to Spain.

Now, there was just one thing left to do – get a dog! Just a few days before getting the dog, she got offered a job at The Boathouse in Broadstairs. And her first question to the owner was, “Can I bring my dog to work?”. The owner said yes and asked, ” what kind of dog do you have?” and Susan replied, “Oh I don’t have a dog, I am asking just in case.” The owner probably was puzzled, I wouldn’t put words to his thoughts.

Anyhow, following that one evening when she was babysitting her grandson, who is apparently a computer geek (which kid isn’t these days!), randomly suggested his grandmother to look at some rescue dogs, and they found a cute little cocker spaniel and believe it or not within a day, Susan had the dog.


Daphne at that time was living with a family in Suffolk who had adopted her from someone else, and the family dog wasn’t getting on very well with Daphne. The family put Daphne (16 months old) for adoption as they didn’t see it fair on their older dog to spend its last few years adjusting and compromising with a new addition of a dog. So as soon as they received the call from Susan, they hopped in the car the very next day and drove Daphne down to Broadstairs (Sue didn’t have a car and Daphne didn’t have any experience of traveling in trains, but the then current owners were desperate). And that is how Daphne ended up in Broadstairs.

Daphne is a lovely little thing bouncing around on the beach, very friendly and docile. She loves attention and cuddles, especially from Sue. Next time if you visit Broadstairs’ The Boathouse, don’t forget to say hello to our pretty pooch Daphne and her owner Sue.


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