“Everything in moderation” is a good way to live. I follow this credo in most areas of life, but not pets. There I throw caution to the wind and let my heart lead the way! Consequently I can’t get up from a chair without someone jumping up on it behind me, can’t leave the room without an honor guard of at least two or three tripping me up, a posse accompanies me to the bathroom, and I eat every meal with the knowledge that I am being watched intensely (by several pairs of eyes!).. but my home is filled with love….and hairballs.
I’ve been a dog lover all my life. As a child, we had small dogs – “toys”. Very cute and very loving… but I yearned for a St Bernard. I asked Santa for one every year; a dog I could play with and wrestle with, walk with and HUG. (Yes you can do all those things with toy dogs….but you have to watch the big hugs when the dog weighs under 5 pounds. You hug with your fingertips) Santa had other ideas though. I suspect my Dad had a hotline to the North Pole on this one.
As a wife and hopeful mother to be, I was told that Golden Retrievers were great with children. I did a little research and, indeed, they sounded like great family dogs. Lovely to look at, even tempered, ideal with little ones. Perfect. This would be our family pet.
Then Fred entered my life. Fred was a 12 week old Golden puppy when he wiggled his little furry way into my heart. As the previous owner of dogs that could fit in snack bags, Fred was a totally new experience. Here was a pup that you could really hug, and he hugged back! He loved to cuddle and lay in my lap, yet frequently got the zoomies and tore through our home sending carpets flying! He was my best friend, and as the babies arrived, he became their best friend and Nanny too. He slept next to bassinets, cribs, youth beds. Small fingers entwined in his fur and tiny arms hugged him tightly. He shared meals, played games, attended bath times, said bedtime prayers. Fred had his own stocking on the mantle at Christmas, his own basket at Easter. No trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house was complete without Fred – and he was welcomed with open arms.
Fred was not a family pet. Fred was FAMILY.
Having Fred was the best experience of my life Loving him opened the way to my obsession with Goldens. For me, they are not the perfect family pet – they are, in fact, the perfect FAMILY MEMBER.
As I am writing this, I have my feet on Goldens Number 4 and 5 in my life. (Fred and Goldens 2 and 3 are in urns in the bookcase) They have all had their own individual personalities, their own obsessions, their own idiosyncrasies. But they are all a tribute to that first wiggle-butt of a pup. That happy, loving ball of Gold fluff who filled my life for twelve years and my heart forever, and taught my children the meaning of friendship, devotion, compassion, and unconditional love. As a family, we have other breeds of pup, but the one I keep returning to is the Golden. I can’t get enough of them, and I never plan on being without at least one in my life. Everyone one of them has completely owned my heart.
I still haven’t gotten that St. Bernard. But you know what? I haven’t missed him so far….. and I’m sure my Goldens would love to have one someday…….