Our second Golden Retriever was Sandy. At three years old, she came to live with us from Golden Retriever Rescue in Belmont, California. Being a little older, Sandy had a bit of baggage. I guess that was part of her charm. We knew that with a little help and encouragement she could become a great dog, so we were anxious to adopt her.
For the first 3 years of Sandy’s life she had been tethered to a tree in the backyard of her owner’s home. She was seldom allowed in the house and was often taunted and teased by 2 teenage boys. As a result, she was shy, tentative, and had a fear of teenage boys. It even took her a while to become comfortable with me. I guess she agreed with my wife who said that in many ways, I had the outlook and maturity of a 7th grader. Remember my article on maturity?
Like Goldie, the bonding was immediate. Not with me this time, but with my wife. Like me, as soon as Sandy laid eyes on my wife, there was an immediate attraction and they bonded from that day forward. I must admit, however, that my wife and Sandy bonded much faster than my wife originally took to me. Oh well, it eventually worked out for the best for all involved.
Sandy came to live with us on a hot summer afternoon. We picked her up in Belmont and began the long drive home. Sandy got into our car and snuggled as close to my wife and as far away from me as possible. As we approached the summit on Highway 17, we decided to stop for a stretch and some water for the dog. I stopped the car, walked to the passenger side, opened the door and said, “come on.” Sandy froze. She looked at my wife and refused to budge until my wife left the car with her.
As the summer wore on, Sandy came to accept me. She delighted in riding in my truck, especially when we went to the lumberyard where she always received treats from the clerk in the outside checkout lane. She also became quite accustomed to the Santa Cruz Harbor and our boat. She never fell into the water, and she never became seasick. She did, however, feel that it was her duty to rid our dock of flying wildlife.
She would charge any duck, bird, mud hen or seagull that ventured onto our dock. As a result, it seemed that our boat became a favorite depository of articles of endearment from that wildlife, and it became my job to constantly wash and scrub our boat clean.
Birds and cats were the two things Sandy did not tolerate. She chased birds out of our yard the same way she chased them from our dock. And cats. Our neighbors had a big cat named Leo. Leo grew up with a puppy, and they bonded and played together without any fear or animosity. Leo thought all dogs were his friends. When he first spied Sandy, he crossed the street to greet her. Sandy was astonished that any cat would calmly approach her without fear. Good thing she was on a leash. She lunged at Leo in frenzy, and Leo ran away humiliated, hurt, and
confused. Never again did he venture across the street to our house.
Our house sits on a little knoll overlooking the street, and one of Sandy’s favorite things was to sit on our front porch and survey her domain from above. She would bark and bravely defend our home from those threatening mothers and children on their way to and from elementary school. She was successful, because never once did they harm us or our home.
Sadly, Sandy’s time with us was limited. After a few short years, she died in the arms of my wife. Not too many years later, my wife died in my arms. I will always cherish the joyful times we all had together, and the fond memories I have of our little family. Good times, good memories. What more could one want?
For more information: L_Tartaglino@hotmail.com