I grew up with dogs and cats and birds and hamsters and, when I was four years old, a rabbit. My father was an animal lover. It was lucky for me because I learned the joys an animal can bring into your life.
My husband, Bill, was an airline captain and I was a flight attendant; a dental hygienist; a mom – and all that that brings – an officer of several organizations and a “would be” tennis player. I say “would be” because my husband, who is a very good tennis player, has always said I lack proper eye-hand coordination at the net.
We had several dogs before we had a Golden Retriever. When our first Golden, Sandy, came into our lives, she was a rescue of sorts. We had a black Labrador at the time that was my husband’s hunting dog. One morning I noticed this pretty, golden colored dog sniffing around in the field next to our Lab’s kennel. The following morning the same dog was there, so I came outside and tried to approach. She was having none of that, and ran away. I walked to where she had been and looked to see what she was sniffing. It was some dog food that our kids had obviously emptied there before they brought the dog dish inside.
The following morning, I watched for her out the window, and when she showed up again, I went outside with a bowl of dog food in my hand. I shook it gently as I called to her to come eat. After much coaxing, she literally crawled across the backyard on her belly to where I had placed the bowl, and she ate like there was “no tomorrow”.
I was shocked to see a dog so frightened. Growing up in suburbia, I had never seen anything except well-fed, well-cared-for dogs. I approached carefully so I wouldn’t scare her and was able to get her by the collar. There were no tags, she was dirty, matted, had filthy ears, and had a good sized, open sore on her head.
I called the police to see if someone was missing a dog. No luck. I left my name and number and called animal control to check with them. Nothing there. I had them come and pick her up because I was sure that someone would be looking for her. After they left, I called all the vets in our area and still had no help for her. I left my number with them all, just in case someone needed information. I called each day to check on her and, after three days, the limit before euthanasia, we went to pick her up. She was happy to see me again, and on the way home, we named her Sandy. The kids thought this was a great name for her because of her color.
Sandy’s next visit was to our vet, who cleaned her up and treated her wounds, spayed her and sent her home to us a few days later with pills for her worms. She was a beautiful, sweet dog and was my first experience with a Golden Retriever. It was instant love of the breed for all of us in my family…..including our Black Lab. They became great buddies. It was a winning situation all the way around.
We have had five Golden Retrievers since that time in our lives; all of them having that very special Golden Retriever personality; all of them giving us their love and bringing great joy into our lives.
I had never known there was such a thing as a Golden Retriever rescue until we moved to Florida five years ago. I was invited to a meeting by a friend who was a member, and I have been a volunteer ever since. I do the “vet checks” for the Rescue. This means I call the applicant’s veterinarian to make sure they have a history of caring properly for their dogs and are reliable owners. I attend as many meetings as I can, and help with the yearly fundraiser. It is a very rewarding experience for me to be a part of an organization that does so much good for these Goldens; caring for any medical needs they might have and placing them in good homes where they can have the love they deserve and a family of their own.