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Thursday, February 16, 2017

In search of a Golden

“A farm without a dog is not a farm at all,” the Farmer declared one evening, as we enjoyed a movie with a dog as one of the central characters. It has been about a year since we had to put our 17-year-old dog down. Cody had a good, long life and he is missed. He was a bit untrainable in certain areas, but still a lovable dog. Over the last few years he became deaf so he wasn’t much of a watch dog anymore – he never really was. He was more apt to welcome strangers because many of them came bearing gifts – the gas man shared his sandwich with our dog when he came to fill our tank, and the UPS man always had dog cookies in his truck.
Cody was a runner so when he wasn’t in the house he couldn’t wander free. He got me out of the house every day, because he needed to run down the road, dragging me on the end of the leash. He was also an incredible stealer of food. Even when he couldn’t possibly be hungry. But despite all his faults, he has left a bit of a void in our home. Our next dog will be trained. And we will also build a high fence around our house so he can roam freely. It sounds like the Farmer is ready to start looking.
My husband has decided that his semi-retirement dog is going to be a Golden Retriever. He imagines taking this dog with him to scout properties or to finish up the log cabin he is building. The dog will accompany us on long walks around our farm and he will sleep on Cody’s old blanket, in front of the TV and beside our bed.
I started the search for a Golden, and learned a few things. First of all, it’s pretty tricky to find a Golden Retriever that needs a new home. We could put our name on a waiting list for a spring litter, but that means entering a whole new world of training – waking up in the middle of the night and listening to puppy wailing. The Farmer says he is up for it. I laughed. He doesn’t seem to remember when he brought Chelsea the Border Collie in as a pup. She chewed his shoes, his furniture and his books and created a few permanent designs on the carpet. I’m not sure I’m up for training a pup. Besides, I have always had rescue dogs. There certainly are enough dogs looking for homes. We are bound to find a Golden in the lot somewhere.
I have registered with the organization Golden Rescue. I filled out their in-depth questionnaire and listed our vet and a few people as references. I also discovered that Goldens are prone to a unique set of health problems we have to be wary of. Hopefully they will be able to find us a nice dog that doesn’t mind the occasional barn cat or small child visiting, and likes rides in the car. Sometimes Golden Rescue brings in dogs from other countries like Istanbul, where they are found wandering the streets. Other times the dogs are needing to be rehomed because their owner has passed away, or needs to go into a residence that doesn’t allow pets.
The Farmer has always wanted a Golden Retriever, so that’s what we are looking for. If you know of one that needs a home, let me know!
I will have to break the news to Sheila, Sammy and the barn cats. They thought they finally had the place to themselves. They are in for a surprise. The beanie babies and small stuffed animals that Sheila carries around in lieu of kittens might also be in jeopardy. Golden Retrievers love stuffed toys and they are very possessive about them. We might have to let him choose some out of the storage room, after our granddaughter has first pick.

I heard a dog barking the other night, but we don’t have any big dogs living near us. I was told it might be a coyote. I didn’t realize they did more than yip and howl. Maybe if I walk my new Golden Retriever around the property, he can mark the perimeter and keep the wolves away from my newborn calves. Every animal has to earn his keep on the farm. 

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