In the beginning….
…the house was empty. Only my wife and I occupied the house. But soon there arrived a small bundle of joy to fill our house with fun, family, and fur. His name would be Cody, an eight week old Golden Retriever puppy from Sho-Me Golden Farms in Farmington, MO. Cody, an AKC registered golden retriever, was born on November 28, 1995.
Cody had all the traits so typical of the breed. He had the golden temperment. He had the golden lean. He had the golden smile. He was both tough and gentle. His favorite things in the whole world were sleeping in our bed — he loved to lay across our pillows while we used him for a pillow — rough-housing, naps, and gardening. He loved the idea of going for a walk, more than he did the actual walk.
And he was intelligent. He learned to spell every single word that we tried to keep from him, and all the variations of the words that we used once he learned to spell them. For example, when he was a puppy we’d ask each other about taking him for a walk. But it didn’t take him long before the simple question was enough to get him excited. So we started spelling it. “Shall I take Cody for a W – A – L – K?” But he learned that meant “walk” too. So we spelled it backwards until he caught on. Then it was just a “W”, then a “K”. But he figured those out too. Soon, we were using hand signs, but he learned that one too. In my truck, he would watch my feet on the accelerator or brake to know how to brace himself. I almost never caught him off-guard or knocked him over.
During our search for the perfect playmate for Cody, we stumbled upon Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue. At the very first meeting that we attended, I asked the wrong questions and they made me webmaster, a position which I have held ever since. We found Cody two perfect playmates — Jasper, born in 2002, and Amos, born in 2004. In addition to Jasper and Amos, we have fostered 33 additional golden retrievers for the organization. We specialize in fostering puppies. We don’t mind the potty training, the crate training, nor the other woes associated with an untrained puppy. And we are the only family in our organization that usually (consistently) takes puppies.
Sadly, we lost Cody in January 2009. He was just over 13 years old. During his life he suffered through 7 surgeries to remove cancerous lumps, a surgery to repair a tear duct, his neutering at 8 months, and 3 months of chemotherapy. In the end, it was a stroke or simply old age that brought him down. We miss him very much.
This blog is dedicated to Cody’s memory. Its intent and purpose is to carry on Cody’s mission to bring a smile to everybody around him, and hopefully provide some valuable information about goldens and dogs in general along the way.
In 2012, Trooper arrived as an 18 month old Golden Retriever who had spent his last year on the end of a rope. He was just short of a viscous dog. He would growl and snap at every touch. At Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue, we cannot place a dog that has bitten someone and I was afraid that Trooper would bite me. We took him to a few trainers around St Louis, but ultimately, it was my determination to make him bite me that won him over. Every time he would growl and snap, snap, snap at me, I would heap on the love and praise and then do whatever I did to make him snap, again, and again, and again, until he just took everything in stride. Soon, it was obvious that Trooper was already in his forever home — our home. But that name had to go. Today, he is Cooper, and he is the best ambassador for Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue at local events because he’ll find the kids who want to pet him and go sit quietly beside them. He has been to the annual Greentree Festival in Kirkwood, MO every one of the last 4 years.
Today, February 27, 2017, Jasper is 14 years old and we have to decide that he’s not going to the bridge every single day. Jasper’s back legs don’t work very well any more, he’s fighting issues associated with laryngeal paralysis, and he’s started to have occasional bowel movements in the house. But as long as he’s eating well, and he’s generally loving life, I’m not going to deprive him of it. Amos is 12 years old and showing some of the same signs of old age that are bringing Jasper down. His back legs are starting to falter and he falls occasionally. Amos has a HUGE benign and inoperable tumor on his side and another malignant tumor attached to his bladder, but he’s loving life, so he gets to stay as long as he’s comfortable. Cooper is 7 years old and generally healthy. He had knee surgery a few years ago, which gives him trouble every so often, but since he’s learned that being a couch potato can be fun, we don’t have to worry much about him right now, either. We don’t think that he remembers his time on the rope — at least we hope he doesn’t.