Monday, October 11, 2010

Golda, The Amazing Dog

The local animal shelter may only keep animals for 3 days and after that they can be subjected to euthanasia. This particular dog was given a couple of days reprieve from that fate because the people at the shelter liked her so much. Jayna had looked at her one day and took me there the next day to see if I would like her as well. We got to walk her around the yard for a bit and, yes, I was immediately sold on her. We named her Golda. We were never real sure exactly what breed she was. The people at the shelter thought she was at least part Australian Shepherd, but not sure what else. Others thought that there was some Brittany Spaniel in her. It didn't really matter. She turned out to be a great dog. She was about a year old when we got her and she lived to attain the ripe old age of 15 years.
Here's Golda (on the right) with her other two cohorts in crime getting ready for a ride in the famous Canadian Subaru. Madeline, in the background, is a 14 year old german shepherd/husky mix. We found her (or should I say she found us) one very cold winter night many years ago. Sophie, the chow, with a slightly confused look on her face, is on the left. She seems to always look a bit confused and we found her (she found us) on Christmas night almost 2 years ago
The night we got her, we got on the internet and tried to find out more information about Australian Shepherds because neither of us knew much about the breed. We read some interesting "stuff" but one story we read captured our fancy. It seems that one couple that owned an "Aussie" had an outdoor party at their home with food and drinks in their back yard. At one point in time during the evening they noticed that all the people at the party were sort of centrally located in the middle of the yard with the dog walking in a circle around them. The damn dog had gently, but firmly and effectively herded everybody into a circle so that he could keep an eye on everyone.
Golda always seemed to have a grin on her face, especially at snack time after a walk.
I still laugh about reading that story even though Golda didn't always display traits like that. But she was such a friendly and social dog. She always wanted to be near you, at your side. She always wanted to help with whatever you were doing especially if barbecue was being cooked. She would always protect our kids who were aged 11 and 16 when we got her. She would always greet you with a smile and a friendly wag of her tail.
Here she is supervising the barbecue. The coffee can catches drippings from the cooking process and she is always and forever interested in that.
And she loved to run!
And what a runner she was! She never seemed to tire and if she did, she'd never let you know it. Our son at the time was running a lot of cross country and track. Golda loved to run with him. It was not unusual for her to run 2 or 3 miles with him. She even ran with the team a few times and everybody thought that was "pretty cool". It was the members of the cross country team that invented the phrase that became the title of this post. They actually turned it into a little song. She also loved to go for a walk with us in the evenings. We did this almost every night. After dinner, when we maybe had settled down to relax and watch a little television, she would nuzzle up against one of our legs, or look up at us with those smiling eyes of hers, as if to say, "Come on, let's go for a walk". We were hard pressed to resist.
Oh, such a sleepy dog!
It was not unusual for a neighbor to see Jayna or I walking with her and say something like "Who is taking who for a walk?". She always wanted to be in front, leading the way. There were always things she wanted to check out like that little rabbit hole down by the creek or that funny smell next to the fire hydrant. She occasionally caught rabbits and possums and was always proud when she protected us from something that she might have considered a threat to us.
At the same time she always had a sense about her to know what our mood and feelings were. There was one time that I had been suffering from some serious back pain. I wanted to take her for a short walk, thinking that the exercise would be therapeutic. I was a little concerned that she might pull too hard and I would end up hurting myself. But somehow, she sensed my feelings and knew I was hurt. She was incredibly patient with me as I hobbled along at a pace much slower than what she was used to.
As her life progressed she developed many little symptoms of what happens to everybody as they get older. Arthritis and other little problems started to take a toll on her physical capabilities. She became unable to really run like she used to, and we knew that frustrated her. But even with these difficulties, when the evening walk might be ready to start, she would try to be the first dog out the door and ready to go. Eventually even the walks became more and more difficult for her and sometimes were only a short jaunt to the end of the block and back. But it was always special for her, no matter the distance.
Jayna and I like to imagine that she is now running in some kind of afterlife with a lot of her old friends and some cross country runners.
We know that is really what she loved to do. .
Golda, We love You! We miss you! .
Go have a good run!


  1. +1 to Mad Dog's comment.

    Lots of good memories. They are family.


  2. Mad Dog and Keith,
    I guess it is sad, but she had a wonderful life and I really think it's a happy post. But it took me awhile to put my thoughts together.
    Thanks for the interest.

  3. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    There is a special place in heaven for dogs... It is right next to the place for people who open the door to strays, who are lost and cold and hungry.

    What a great dog.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads