Our Story

Linda's Story


Cherished Cockers was founded in October 2003 with support from my friends Diane Frecsh and Barb Shoemaker.
Without them it would never have happened. Our purpose was to provide a local group in Central Ohio that could assist in the rehoming of Cocker Spaniels and their mixes.

My start in Rescue began with an adoption of a cocker spaniel from Cocker Adoption Center in Maryland in 2000. I had been a breeder and handler of Cocker Spaniels. I felt it was an obligation that I was assured my own puppies had good homes. If there was a problem I took them back and re-placed them in a different home.

Rescue made me aware of breeders that did not feel as I did, that my puppies were my grandchildren and not a cash crop. As I became more involved I realized their need to be protected and have the same outcome of those I had bred.
I continue to foster today those that are not place able because of abuse and have seen them turn around and trust and love me

During the period that I was CEO we placed over 90 dogs through our site and adoption events.
Unfortunate in 2005 I was involved in a car accident and had to step down in order to concentrate on my recovery Cathy Haynes a volunteer from Mason Ohio stepped up to take over daily operations and I continued to foster.

Linda Sweeney

Barb's Story


I met Linda through adopting my own cocker, Bailey (now 16 years young). She was chosen to do my housecheck, she represented Cocker Spaniel Adoption out of Maryland.

I then volunteered to help Linda with the dogs she was fostering for them, and our first event was Mingle with the Mutts where I met Diane. We started with a card table and three dogs. We all started discussing how we should start a cocker rescue here in Columbus to help the local dogs, and thus Cherished Cockers was born.

Without Linda, the backbone of Cherished Cockers, there would be no Cherished Cockers. She took in, fostered and placed dogs everyone else turned their backs on because they weren’t “perfect”. Those dogs found loving homes.
Linda, Gwen (one of the main fosters of our group and website coordinator) and Diane, who did endless hours of work on setting up the financial aspects of the organization, were the reason that Cherished Cockers became a success.

It was a very rewarding time for me, with up and down days, but when I look back at those 90 dogs that were adopted out, on our shoestring operation, in those beginning 3 years, I am very proud to have been associated with Linda and Diane in the extremely rewarding rescue, we know as Cherished Cockers.

Barb Shoemaker


Diane's Story


I got involved with cocker rescue a few months after our Penny (a buff cocker) died. I contacted the Cocker Spaniel Adoption Center and was put in touch with Linda. She told me about a cocker mix in the local animal shelter, she was struggling to find room for another dog at the time and wondered if I might be interested in her.

Molly, a black cocker mix became a member of our family just a few days later.
A few months later, Linda contacted me to see if I'd consider fostering a dog for a short while. Minnie, another mix, came to live with us until she found her forever home.
My husband fell in love with her and she is still with us today.

To avoid ending up with a house full of 'adopted' fosters, I decided to help in other ways.
I served as treasurer for several years and participated regularly in adoption events throughout the area.

While not actively involved right now, I continue to suggest that people look to a rescue or shelter when they decide to add a dog (or cat, we have a cat as well) to their home. I know how much animals have brought to my life and couldn't imagine not giving back to them by helping others find a place where they are loved and appreciated for all they bring to our lives.

When I hear the happy ending stories I have to wonder who is luckiest, the dog, or the person who got the chance to share their life with a canine companion.

Diane Frush


Gwen's Story


We know that Gwen lives her life to help animals and began working with Cherished Cockers Rescue as the Web administrator.
Gwen provides a sanctuary for 23 (or so) rescued dogs and works continuously with Beagle rescues as well as small breed rescues.

Her initial contribution to Cherished Cockers provided a web site to let the public know about our wonderful rescued cocker spaniels, and she was also one of the main fosters.

Gwen provides a permanent foster home for Dakota



Cathy's Story


I fell in love with cocker spaniels when I was about 12 years old.
My Aunt had a beautiful red cocker named Piper who had the typical cocker spunk but also the typical sweet, loving personality.

I got my first cocker when I was 18 – Jasper – who only lived to be 9 years old.
Then came Ashley who was truly the ‘perfect dog’. I lost Ashley at 11 years old on December 30, 2004.
Even though I had two other dogs (a golden retriever and an Australian Shepherd/Golden mix), my home just wasn’t complete
without a cocker spaniel. Out of curiosity, I began searching the internet and found Cherished Cockers Rescue and Spencer.
Fate definitely intervened – Cherished Cockers was based out of Marysville and as luck would have it Spencer was fostered in
the neighborhood directly behind mine – 2 hours away from Marysville! In January 2005, we adopted Spencer and felt so
fortunate to have him as part of our family.

I started fostering for Cherished Cockers in March 2005 and loved being part of rescue.
In August 2005, Linda Sweeney who was running Cherished Cockers was in a serious automobile accident and was not able to
run the rescue. I volunteered to step in and with the help of my best friend, Denise Kresser, we started running the rescue.
We were able to put the rescue consistently in the black and coordinated with Indy Cocker Haven and Columbus Cocker Rescue
to save many well deserving pups over the last three years.

We have learned a lot along the way and have made wonderful friends.
Running the rescue is an experience I will never forget and I am so happy to have an enthusiastic team to turn the rescue over
to so they can take it to the next level!!

Cathy Haynes


Denise's Story


My story doesn't go down the path of a love for Cocker Spaniels and owning them but I have always had several dogs and a love for helping those in need. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a dog.

I started with rescue when my dachshund passed away in 2003 and I didn't feel the house was complete without one, so we adopted a dachshund from a rescue in Indiana. This opened my eyes to a new world of helping dogs. I started to help the dachshund rescue in small ways and fostered a few dachshunds.

Then in 2005 when Cathy Haynes decided to take over Cherished Cocker rescue for Linda Sweeny she asked me to step up and help her by being the Treasurer. I did and the Treasurer position meant doing many things.
We had a great team to help us help the Cockers we did. We made a lot of friends and I am so glad to see such a dedicated team taking over at the helm.
Keep up the good work and don't forget us we won't forget you.
Good Luck

Denise Kresser


Christine's Story


My love of cocker spaniels began when I was a small child and our neighbor had a buff colored cocker named Snickers. I had the daily job of walking Snickers for a small weekly fee, he was the best dog, I loved him as if he were my own, and I looked forward to our time together in the mornings and after school. He lived to be 14 yrs old, and I was just devastated when he died.

My very first cocker of my own was a black male named Benji, he was given to me by a friend that I worked with. He was 1 yr old when I took him into my home, and unfortunately died 15 months later from AIHA at only 2 1/2 yrs old. He was my buddy, and I will always have a special place in my heart for him.
Shortly after he passed, I began fostering for a small breed rescue named Adopt-Aluv small breed rescue. After about a year of fostering for them, I began to look for a cocker rescue group, because I knew my real love was the cocker spaniel breed. I searched the internet, and found Cherished Cockers, and Cathy Haynes, the President of the Rescue at that time. Cathy taught me a lot about the world of cocker rescue, and I will always consider her to be my mentor in rescue.

I was with Cherished Cockers for about a year, when Cathy asked me if I would be interested in running the organization, as she was no longer able to put forth the time that it took to manage the daily operations of the rescue. At first, I declined the offer, even though I felt honored to be offered the role of President. A few months later, when it was looking like Cherished Cockers would be a thing of the past, because Cathy just could not find someone willing to take over the responsibility, I decided to give it a try. I now know that it was meant to be, and I do not regret my decision to take over.

My husband became a HUGE part of my success, he built a website for me, and took over as my treasurer. What a GREAT job he has done!!!! I consider us a team in this, and I do not believe that I could do it without him at my side. I also still have Cathy as past president and a board member, and she continues to be a big part of Cherished Cockers.
Sara Popp is my Vice President, and she handles many of the southern rescues and fosters, and assists me with coordinating transports.
I am so glad that GOD brought me to Cherished Cockers when he did, and I am looking forward to making it a HUGE success.
Thanks Cathy for believing in me!!!!!

Christine Bacon

Jenn's Story


I have had a passion for dogs my entire life. Many of my childhood memories involve my favorite dogs growing up. As I graduated college and moved out to Indianapolis, IN from Cleveland, OH, I was sure I wanted to get my own dog. Trying to be a responsible pet owner I did my research on breeds. I had grown up with large breed dogs but my apartment lifestyle didn’t allow for that. However, I wanted a dog that would keep up with jogging in the park, long hikes or just a pal to play fetch with.
I stumbled across, the Cocker Spaniel breed and fell instantly in love with their floppy ears and droopy eyes. I was smitten! Next step, where to find my own! I have always been a strong believer in pet adoption and often brought home unwanted animals, bless my parents for always allowing me to do so.

So, the search began on PetFinder.com and I found a cocker spaniel rescue in Indianapolis. I found a dog on their site that I really loved so I called, sadly she was already adopted but the lady kindly offered for me to come visit with some of the other available dogs. I did and I met the love of my life…Rudy!
He truly has given me such joy, however, he can’t run more then a mile, doesn’t like to play fetch, and lays down on long walks. But despite not filling my original “requirements” he fills so many others, he has the floppy ear that listens, the tail that wags when I walk in the door, and the warm body to snuggle when I am feeling ill. He is my best friend! I am so grateful that he brought me into the wonderful world of Cockers.

So, Now your wondering so how is it you became involved in Cherished Cockers. Well, Rudy and I moved to Cincinnati in 2007, we had a large apartment just for the two of us and I began working with Nestle Purina. So we had lots of space and dog food…hmm how can we help I thought? That’s when Cathy helped me to become a foster parent. Rudy and I really loved the opportunity. We meet so many wonderful dogs.
Unfortunately, I moved again in late 2008 and was no longer able to foster but the fantastic experience made me want to stay involved. So, until I can foster again I am working fundraising events and activities for the organization.

I love being a part of such a phenomenal organization and watching it as it has grown over the recent years has been truly amazing!

Jennifer Loftus




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