Have you ever seen a twelve-week old golden? Just fluff and face. And he was really shy, peeking out from behind the firefighter's legs, then hiding again. We learned his story: His original owner died unexpectedly. The family member that took him couldn't keep him because of allergies. The firefighter's wife took him because they raised another breed of dog and could accomodate him, but didn't want to keep him, so the ad was placed. Who says "no" to an orphaned twelve-week-old ball of fur? Not me. Sophie gave a sniff of approval (maybe it was more like acceptance, with a touch of superiority) and we headed home.
That was six or seven years ago. Today, Teddy, like most goldens, retains his puppy playfulness and happy countenance, although his face is starting to show that mask of white that forces most retriever-types to be honest about their age and the unfair fact that "middle age" starts at around five years old. Teddy loves to go for walks and car rides. Some of his hobbies are barking from his fenced yard at passersby, "gardening," unstuffing stuffed toys, and following me around everytime I get up from a seated position. His goals include eating as much as possible as frequently as possible, getting wet and muddy every time he goes outside, and carpeting the world with excess golden fur, which he sheds with life-altering abundance. He is one of the most gentle animals I can imagine. Most of the time, if someone tells you a story that starts with, "My dog found a nest of baby bunnies," it ends in tragedy. Not with Teddy. He found the bunnies, but he just carried them around. He brought one through the doggy door onto the screened porch. I guess he thought he would leave it there until he went out the next time. To Teddy, everyone's a friend.
Teddy is a big, sweet, hug of a dog, and even though I spend an unimaginable amount of time vacuuming my carpets, polishing my floors, and rolling my clothes with one of those sticky-roller things (don't even mention the sticky-roller thing to my husband, who has to try to escape the house every morning in a dark suit...), he is worth it all. He's a great dog, and I love him very much.
In case you're wondering, Sophie and Teddy get along very well. Teddy would love for Sophie to run and play, but she never has. It seems that she doesn't know how to play, although we have tried to engage her for years. Teddy tries regularly, thinking "today may be the day," but it hasn't happened yet. Sophie is a dog of leisure, and I see no change in her future. Fortunately, Sophie and Teddy have bonded over their mutual interest in treats, car rides, and sleeping on the "big bed."