Introducing The Cockapoo Owners Club
By Shirley Fearnley and Sarah Webb
Cockapoos are fantastic dogs and it’s not only their name that often causes people to smile when they hear it mentioned. They are friendly and fun and can make an ideal family pet. This wonderful cross breed has been growing in popularity for some time and unfortunately with this has resulted in them often being bred by unscrupulous breeders who do not have the dog’s welfare at heart but are only interested in financial gain.
Unlike the Kennel Club and Breed clubs that people looking for pure breeds can go to there isn’t anything out there for Cockapoos in this country. Whist information on good breeding practices and health tests can be found on the Kennel Club website many people owning or looking for a crossbreed don’t realise this or think the Kennel Club only represents pure breeds. There was a need for information to be out there to the public and this is where we step in.
We are Shirley and Sarah and we met online, on a forum for pet lovers, often having lively debates with others on crossbreeds and in particular Cockapoos. Through these discussions and realising our shared passion for the Cockapoos and responsible breeding, a respected breeder of Labradors suggested that we put together a website for owners. From that day our inspiration grew and evolved into The Cockapoo Owners Club website. We had not met each other but what we had was a common aim to raise awareness of bad breeding practices and to help educate people and to assist them in finding the right type of breeder. At the start we were very busy emailing each other ideas and writing articles and it was often hectic as it was just the two of us, but with the help of Helen, Sarah’s sister, who put our website together, we launched in November 2011. Luckily we agreed on what our website should contain, the hardest part was choosing the colour scheme! In addition to helping prospective Cockapoo owners we also provide lots of information and advice to help existing owners with regards to the everyday care of their dogs. We feel that people can come to our website and find lots of information on Cockapoos all under one roof.
Our website is not just for Cockapoos we do have a section for other Poodle crosses especially Cavapoos. Shirley owns a Cavapoo and we agreed that we could incorporate these as again people who own them have nowhere get advice and to share their stories.
Part of our clubs website is also organising and advertising Cockapoo meets arranged by us and others and through one of these we are happy to report that we finally met! The meets are a fun way to meet our members and of course everyone’s lovely Cockapoos
In December 2011 we became the official Breed Advisors for Cockapoos for Dogs Today magazine, again another positive step forward for us and our dreams of helping more people.
Since then membership is growing every day and we are so pleased with the support we have received. It’s not just our Cockapoo friends but we have support from respected breeders of Pedigrees who think we are inspirational in getting something out to the public for crossbreeds. Support has also come from respected organisations such as The London Dog Forum and Puppy love campaigns and various dog related businesses.
We have included a section for Rescue and Rehoming on our website .It was a way that we could help by advertising poodle crosses that are looking to be re-homed. We are also in regular contact with the Labradoodle Trust who has also been supportive of our endeavours. We have currently been working together on rehoming a Cockapoo that one of our members saw advertised. Both the owner and the Cockapoo had health problems and we quickly intervened to help them both. We got in touch with the owner and the Labradoodle Trust kindly agreed to foster her. We are pleased to report that the dog is doing very well.
We also wanted to have a featured dog related business page. Here we advertise people who make handmade items for dogs. We feel it is a way for us to support small businesses that in this difficult economic climate need all the help they can. In return they give our members small discounts or have donated a competition prize.
The Cockapoo Owners Club website has free membership and we have free competitions for our members to enter plus discounts for products. We are on our third competition. The first one was a caption contest and the second was a Christmas photo competition of our member’s dogs. We found it so hard to pick winners as they were all so good. Our third competition is a photo competition in conjunction with Equafleece who make fleece coats for dogs and horses. The lucky winner will receive a new Equafleece dog coat and their Cockapoo will feature on the cover of their next catalogue. We aim to make our competitions fun and we have lots of fun too as owners! Our members can send in their stories and pictures to the club and we have recently added a video section which is proving to be very popular. For children we have a printable Cockapoo colouring page and we will be adding more items for children in the near future. Alongside the fun is the serious information on health issues with stories from owners about their dogs illnesses. This not only highlights the potential of health problems but also helps other owners who may feel they are on their own.
We also have Twitter and a Facebook group. Our Facebook is ever growing and has become a mini forum where members can post their pictures and share stories and fun stuff. On our Facebook group we hold monthly Question and Answer sessions with our ADPT trainer and Behaviourist Anne Rogers. This is where our members can ask training related queries live and get immediate professional support. We then transfer these sessions onto our main website so that others with similar problems can get the same excellent training advice.
We are so pleased with the how our club has grown and have been overwhelmed by the support we have received. As two ordinary women with no experience of running a website we never imagined that we would be creating such a big resource and that it would be as popular as it is! It shows if you share a common goal and dedication anything is possible. We continually update our website with information and are open to ideas from our members. It’s not just the two of us but a whole Cockapoo Community.
So if you are Cockapoo crazy like us or wish to become a member of The Cockapoo Owners Club we look forward to welcoming you.
Just go to the join us page on www.cockapoo-owners-club.org.uk and we look forward to sharing all things Cockapoo with you.