I have been a Golden Retriever parent for 13 years. My first Golden came home with us when she was a puppy. We got her when she was about 12 weeks old. The kids were small and they grew up together.
When we were looking for a dog, we were thinking about Labs, German Shepards, and Goldens. We looked forever and interviewed so many dogs. One day we were at a puppy store and I bumped into my first, we named her RAINBOW. She was in pen and she gave me this….Hello, if you have a credit card and can get me out of here today, I will love you forever and be the best GR ever” look.
It worked, a couple of hours later Rainbow was home with us. We had a huge fenced in yard at all Rainbow had to worry about was how and when to play. She loved going into the pool and was an amazing swimmer. She was patient with the kids so she never seemed to mind when Julia, then 4, would stick her hand in Rainbow’s mouth or something.
Finding the name Rainbow only took about three weeks. We left it to the kids to come up with the name. The only problem was that made a legal pad list of names and kept trying names out. Poor dog. One moment we had the final name, by the afternoon the kids couldn’t remember what they named her. My wife put an end to it. The only way to was rule by decree. The name was RAINBOW! End of discussion.
Rainbow was smart. We somehow managed to teach her to retrieve the newspaper every morning. Rainy would go out without a leash, hunt down the paper and bring it back in the house every morning without fail. If you know Golden behavior, when they think they are doing something that pleases you, they are so proud! Rainy was proud.
We also taught her to deliver cold water bottles. I forgot to say we were living in Florida. When were out tending to the roses or cutting the lawn, there was nothing better than an ice cold water bottle. Better yet, a cold one delivered by Rainbow right to you where ever you were in the yard. This was a pretty easy task, Rainy would take the water bottle in her mouth and run over to where you were and plop it down in front of you. She was so proud and loved the praise. Beer, why didn’t I think of Rainy delivering a cold beer? Drat!
Rainbow also loved tennis balls. She could carry two in her mouth and tried endlessly to get a third. She was successful only a couple of times. Three was too hard. Two was an all day, every day thing. She especially loved a brand new out of the can tennis ball. It was like gold to her.
We lost Rainy 12 years later to a battle with cancer. Life without Rainy was hard, we lost a family member, a clown, a listener and the best companion ever.
We are sitting there in the TV room about 6 months later and on the local news was a story about how the animal shelter was out of blankets and supplies. The news story was basically a cry for community support. The spot had video of dogs locked up. The pan shot showed a huge Golden. My wife said to me, “Did you see that? Someone let go of their Golden! We need to check this out!’ The next morning we crossed town and demanded to take that Golden home with us. Honestly, we got the run around. We got nowhere. The shelter gave us a bunch of excuses.
I happened to be friends with the President of the GR rescue in our area. I called her and said we want dibs on the dog. Lucky for us, we got him. We named him RANGER. Ranger has been our boy for a year now. He is a big boy, 108 pounds with a gorgeous dark red coat. The shelter told us that someone found him wandering the streets. They thought he was homeless for a couple of weeks at least. They also said he was probably abused.
How could someone let go of a dog like this? Goldens are very smart, they have a family intuition, and are loyal beyond imagination. They learn from you and never forget. We are so fortunate to have Ranger with us. What a friend he has been to all of us. He doesn’t bark, can’t play tennis ball, nor can he sit still when it is time to eat. You never saw a dog eat. He can put it away. He is also a couch potato! He loves the outdoors and will stay out in the yard for hours at a time. He loves to lay in the sun and roll around in the grass. It is fun to watch him keep himself entertained.
By the way, if you are considering a dog, you should look up your local Golden Retriever rescue and inquire. There are so many friendships waiting to happen. Go through the process, it is worth it. We are blessed to have such a wonderful and wacky friend and dog. Viva la RANGER!