In Memory of a Golden Angel on National Golden Retriever Day
Our family has been blessed with many dogs of various breeds and mixes through the years. Today, I’d like to share some memories of a Golden Angel. It seems appropriate, given that today is National Golden Retriever Day.
Our family enjoys our canine buddies. Since we live on a large property in a rural area, we allow each family member to have a personal pet. In reality, most of the time that translates into multiple pets for each. But that’s ok. We have the room and the ability to care for them. And I reap the personal benefit of enjoying several different animals within our home.
So when one of my sons wanted a Golden Retriever for his personal buddy, I didn’t hesitate. We went on a mission to find him a healthy, happy golden pal.
Within a few weeks, we found her in a family of Goldens, the last pup available from her litter. We watched her parents and an older brother play happily within the large living room she had called home since birth. They happily chased a stuffed toy, sliding to a stop just before the doorway, then turning back for another turn. Even in their middle age, both parents were full of playful energy.
My son’s eyes glistened as he laughed and watched them play. The pup came back to him several times, enjoying the attention, but not wanting to miss the games. She came home with us that day.
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
He is her boy!
The bond between them happened instantly. She sensed that he was a Golden Retriever person. He couldn’t have been more in love. He aptly named her Angel, a name that really seemed to fit.
Angel housetrained quickly, in part due to the help of our then reining house queen, Poppy, a tiny black and white Pomeranian who seemed to think she was a border collie. Poppy had become the leader of our dogs, earning their respect without any barking or growling. They just all seemed to acknowledge her as the pack leader. As such, she seemed to happily take new pups and train them to be good house dogs. It was a strange relationship that really worked well. In fact, we rarely had to do any amount of house training when Poppy was in our home.
We homeschooled, which provided Angel with plenty of time with her new boy. The two played with the others outside and enjoyed time just chilling when indoors. She was by all accounts a low-maintenance dog in terms of attention.
I guess in those days, at least to my son, every day was National Golden Retriever Day.
Some of my favorite memories of Angel happened at our 4-H dog meetings. I was one of the county dog leaders and so my son and Angel attended our weekly meetings. She did well in obedience, as most Golden Retrievers do.
But she was quite laid back in energy level, making agility training a little more of a game. Yes, she enjoyed the jumps and other training obstacles. But her favorite became the tunnel. You see, Angel enjoyed relaxation more than running. The tunnel became her favorite place to catch a little snooze. She happily followed the “tunnel” command, but often stopped about halfway through to stretch out for a break. Even her favorite treats could not entice her to come out.
She never competed in agility. It was not her sport. But that didn’t matter to her boy. He loved her just as she was, his Golden Angel.
Golden Retrievers Love People
Like most Goldens, Angel befriended our other dogs. She never met a stranger in people, either. But she was good about barking when a neighbor dog wandered in, though I’m sure they would have become a friend, too. She accepted rescue dogs when they were introduced. Everyone’s a friend to a golden.
She was a young adult when we moved to a larger home on more property. To Angel, the larger farm was Angel’s Paradise. More room to roam and ponds in which to swim with Daisy, her new canine buddy. Daisy, a low-slung Basset, was the new buddy of another of my sons and she and Angel became very attached.
They would travel about the yard, sometimes going past the house yard and finding the pond for a refreshing swim. Well, to be fair, Daisy didn’t really swim as much as she waded. Bassets swim more like a rock than an Olympian swimmer. But the two enjoyed their short journeys together, always returning to their boys. Farm life was good for the kids and their dogs.
When we added the hydroponics to the farm, we never thought of the dogs’ part. Angel became the farm ambassador. She happily greeted visitors to our farm store, wiggling happily when a child offered that welcome pat. Returning customers asked about her if she wasn’t there when they arrived.
But she seemed to take her position a bit too far at times. Tomatoes on the vine held great appeal to her. She would happily pluck a ripe tomato and carry it off to eat.
Yes, Angel was a tomato-loving thief!
We always laughed at the sight of her carrying a mouthful of tomato, the red showing on either side of her mouth. Like most golden’s, she had a tender mouth and didn’t crush the fruit until she was ready to eat.
Goldens Love Water
Another Golden Memory that happened frequently revolved around livestock water bins. We often used storage bins for water as they allowed easy access and were easily cleaned.
Angel saw these as her personal cooling pool. She would carefully climb into the bin and sit down. Although she barely fit, she would sit in the cool water with that big smile that Goldens are known for. Life was good for Angel!
When one of our farm cats had kittens, Angel watched over them from a distance, never encroaching on the Mom and litter. But once they were weaned, she and the last little kitten developed a very unusual friendship. Well, it was more like an adoption. Angel nurtured the kitten, even allowing and encouraging it to nurse from her. They maintained a close relationship which none of us really understood.
I have so many memories of that Golden Angel. She was not “my dog” but she was definitely our family member and one I grew quite close to. I might revisit this post in the future and add more memories. Even after 7 years have passed, it’s hard to think of her without smiling at the memories and holding back the tears of missing her.
It was difficult to say goodbye to her in her last days. She developed cancer and it progressed rapidly. I was fortunate to be able to stay close with her to the end. Like most of her life, Angel went peacefully after saying her goodbyes. She was ready to rest.
These golden beauties will meld into your life and weave themselves into your heart. They make great service dogs but also serve well as a family member.
Today is National Golden Retriever Day. Golden Retrievers are incredibly dedicated to their families. I’d like to dedicate this post to our golden Angel and the many other Special Goldens!
Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a Golden Retriever,
one’s life and one’s outlook is never quite the same.