Many of my friends have followed my story of getting what I thought was the ‘perfect’ dog, Chevy.
That story has now come to an end.
It was in everyone’s, ESPECIALLY the dog’s, best interest to allow a Golden Retriever Rescue to rehome Chevy to a home that is more aligned with his special needs.
I wanted a big ole yard dog to hang out with outside and we’d do fun things together. Then I would come back into the house and he would stand guard outside and be content for occasional visits and settings. After very brief research, the word ‘loyalty’ kept cropping up in my readings and piqued my interest in regards to selecting a Golden Retriever puppy. I mean, what’s not to like about a beautiful and loyal dog? One to have fun with. One to bond with. One to be my forever dog.
But in the end, that’s FAR from what happened and it’s totally my fault for selecting the wrong breed for my needs.
Read these words:
GOLDEN RETRIEVER DOGS ARE BRED TO BE COMPANION DOGS.
Total companionship is bred into them and it’s undeniable. They can’t help it no more than I can help my hair falling out. They are incredibly intelligent and very high energy. But they require an ideal home where they reside INSIDE and where they have the constant opportunity for human interaction/companionship. They cannot, and should not, be separated from the people that they own.
They need, like water and food, to be inside of your home and beside of you, on top of you, attached to you, around you and breathing the same air as you.
But the problems with why Chevy’s DNA didn’t match up with our DNA are:
#1: I don’t want to be owned by anything. Heck, I’ve been married nearly 36 years and I’m still not sure we own each other.
#2: The enormous amounts of hair we would deal with if we had him in the house.
Some people desire a pet that provides them with this constant connectedness and companionship. Goldens are perfect for that. And these humans also have no problems sweeping and using a tape roller on everything
Every. Single. Day. Of. Their. Lives.
I had hopes that some of Chevy’s acting out behavior would settle with age. But after 4 years and neutering, nothing it seemed could satisfy his need to share my personal space with me. Everywhere. All the time. Within inches of my feet when I walked. At last count, he had chewed up over $500.00 worth of things outside. Most were destroyed out of angst because he couldn’t come in and be with me and do what he’s programmed to do; own me. Keeping him outside was complete torture for him and that bothered me every day. Chevy needed to OWN a family and he couldn’t do it from outside.
We were smothered by all of that ‘Golden’ love. We couldn’t have family gatherings outside without his pouncing on people for love and attention. The UPS man ran from him not out of fear of life but out of fear of being jumped on or licked to death. Basically, if you were outside of our home, you were at the mercy of Chevy; play or be played with. Again, it sounds cute and all but after 4 years of trying to accommodate, it became too much for us.
Recently some visitors came and the wife insisted on staying in the vehicle until I crated Chevy in fear she’d get paw prints all over her. Everyone, and rightfully so, is not as keen to dogs with no sense of personal space. That was a sort of reckoning for me to see a woman that refused to get out until I removed my love-seeking dog.
Human needs should be respected.
Now, it’s strangely quiet outside of our home. Very still. No barking and running in front of the Jeep when I leave to escort me safely down the drive. No security guard clearing the path when we leave or pull up by chasing the cats away from the vehicles only to chase them UNDER the vehicle so that they accidentally get ran over. Swinging on the front porch swing is very different without having to say ‘Chevy stop’ a million times. There are no new limbs chewed up all over the steps to have to clean up.
No big red dog standing at the sunroom windows and staring inside like a huge red-haired hairy homeless man with a ‘will let you pet me for food’ sign hung around his neck.
And it feels weird to pee in my back yard by myself now. I’m used to him standing literally 2 inches from my feet while that is done. Every time.
I’ve had much fun with Chevy, and I will never forget the trips to the lake. Especially watching him take his first swim. He loved water. I particularly liked and will recall the truck rides. Riding in the passenger seat was the one time that I was totally his. He was relaxed in the seat beside me and all was at peace. We drove, listened to Zach Brown Band and talked some. It was a good truck ride with a good dog. But the second we returned home and he got out, he had to compete with life for my attention and he was in a running, spinning, barking hot lather again. Peace gone.
So it was time now to let someone else handle him that would make him happy. He wasn’t meeting my dog needs and I wasn’t meeting his human needs. Also, concern grew daily with a granddaughter that he might knock over trying to get to me or one of us. Accidentally of course. Even the vet commented once in his office that ‘Man, he’s a jacked up dog’.
There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. Well, unless there was another animal that was trying to get close to me. I had to rehome another dog I had gotten for him as a playmate outside just because Chevy was so jealous and starting growling and snarling at this new competition. His presence kept Chevy in a nervous jerk all of the time out of fear I’d love that other dog more.
These combinations of a magnificently beautiful and loyal hair factory with a ‘fatal attraction’ are not for everyone. That’s why Golden Retriever rescues exist. Many Goldens are abused because the genetic need for that love is overwhelming and these dogs demand that this need is met.
The Memphis area has 30-40 PRE-Approved homes of people that are willing to do what’s needed for these amazing animals. I take comfort knowing that he will get a family that he can own. The Golden Retriever rescues ensure that the adoptive families understand these dog’s special needs.
After he left, I was walking in the yard and I found a half-chewed plastic muffin that he’d had since he was a puppy. That made me sad as I recalled the fun times.
But in my mind now I see him surrounded by the Brady Bunch; loving each and every one of them inside of their home, jumping on furniture and being petted by Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.
And nobody is telling him ‘Chevy, stop!’.
While Alice chases the basketball-sized tumbleweeds of dog hair blowing down the staircase in their lovely 70’s brick home.
Regardless of what has happened, I will always remember that big ole Big Red Chevy dog that I once had. And I’ll remember the love that I had for a dog.
It was a love so deep that I loved him enough….
to let him go to a better place.
~That’s the best that I can tell about it,
My heart is breaking for the big red dog. I understand why with a toddler but I still know there is dog full of the memory of his previous family that is now gone. A friend once told me “never give your heart to a dog” saying that can mean “never give your heart to a human……….? Parting can be such a traumatic sadness !