A Girl and Her Golden.
Once upon a time, there lived a girl and her Golden. They were the best of friends and the Girl started and ended her day with a hug and a kiss for her Golden. They were always thinking of each other. Whenever the Girl was asked to write something at her school, she wrote about the Golden. Coming home from school, her first question was about her friend and he would run to say hi. Yes, the Girl’s Golden was special! Ask anyone, Goldens are special. This one was very special from a very special breed.
As are most things in life, this friendship had a connection to the past. The Girl’s mother always had a dog. Growing up there was an Irish Setter called Mack, then an agreeable combination of Pointer and German Sheppard called Wolf and later-on a small mutt called Loco (Spanish for crazy). The Girl’s father, when a small toddler, was regularly “guarded” on his potty by a mutt called Chizhik and then, when the father was a teenager, he spent some of his winter holidays with his relative’s handsome German Sheppard called Gaston. And when the Girl’s older sister was the Girl’s age, there was a Rottweiler called Tanzy.
The Girl’s mother wanted to have a dog since the Girl was born. First, the place they lived in was too small, and then, in a bigger house, the Girl’s father was not sure the Girl was big enough to handle the large dog he wanted. “And besides,” he always said to the Girl’s mother, “with our work schedule, we will never have enough time to take proper care of a dog.”
But the mother did not let up. One Christmas season, when the Girl was eight, she said: “Why don’t we give our daughter an extra special present this time – her own little puppy? I think she is ready, and as things are working out with her classmates this year, she sure can use a really good friend right about now.” The father voiced his usual objections, but as Christmas drew near, he relented. “But, it must be a golden,” he said. The mother was elated.
The father looked for a breeder with a kind description of his business. Kind people have kind dogs. He called one, whose advertisement said: “We breed family happiness!” “I am going to see this guy,” the father said. Halfway across the state the father saw a litter of 6-week-old Golden puppies. If you have ever seen this sight, you know what the father felt. The breeder picked up one of them and said: “This boy will be a great friend to your daughter.” The puppy had a wonderful teddy-bear-like face and his fur was the color of the Girl’s and her mother’s hair. “Yes, I will take him home,” the father said.
A long drive home gave the father plenty of time to think about the name they could give this beautiful creature. On the other side of the globe was a special tropical island off the coast of India. When the mother and the father “were very pregnant” with the Girl, they spent an unforgettable week there. “The name of that isle is befitting the Girl’s Golden,” the father thought.
For the almost 3-hour drive home, the father bought milk to feed the puppy, but not a crate. Driving home the puppy was all over the father’s lap. There were frequent stops.
Closer to home the father stopped by a store to get a small, narrow red ribbon, which he loosely tied around the puppy’s neck just before they entered the house. The Girl has never forgotten that Christmas and the red ribbon.
It was a rough going the first couple of months. The Golden was an alpha dog. He loved his family, but always wanted to be in charge. So, he kept nipping at the Girl, ever so slightly. But soon, the nipping and the potty training were left behind and the Girl and her Golden were becoming the best of friends.
The family taught the Golden to fetch sticks and tennis balls, and the green soccer fields around the Girl’s town became his outdoor realm. At about six months he was almost full-grown, had developed his wonderful Golden personality and became one of the family.
The Golden’s love for the Girl and her family was unconditional. He rarely complained and was always there to soothe and comfort when the Girl or her mother were sad or about to cry. He would come and place his beautiful head on their lap and keep it there until they agreed to his demand to brighten up. For the Golden there were no cloudy days, the sun was always shining.
He would only cry from joy. When one of the family members would come back from a long absence, he would jump up and down, wiggle his whole body, lick the absentee’s face and cry a little. Then he would follow this person around making sure the person would not leave again. He was also there when the family was sitting down to watch a movie – he would lay down touching the Girl’s feet. As a sign of his special affection, he would place his head on her knees and let her gently stroke his long floppy ears.
The Golden was jealous of his family’s slightest attention to other dogs, but graciously shared the Girl’s and her parents’ affection during family gatherings. He loved Christmas holidays when the Girl’s older siblings came for a visit.
Once he was even lovingly blamed for eating the cookies left for Santa.
Despite the never-ending struggle with the Golden’s hair, which populated every nook and crevice of the house just a couple of hours after it was sorely cleaned, the family loved his scent – it was synonymous with their home’s comfort. It smelled of peace and tranquility.
Whenever, later in middle school, the Girl felt mistreated by her classmates, she came home to hug her best friend. The Golden’s warm strong body always felt comforting and protective.
And as the Girl grew older, and the schoolwork and the school friends took up a larger part of her day, the Golden never complained. He was always there whenever she needed him.
Maybe because the Girl was lovingly called “The Little One” by her family or maybe because she has always remembered the puppy with the red ribbon, she nicknamed her large Golden “The Little Guy.” And so, The Little One and The Little Guy were inseparable.
As a five-year-old, the Golden and his family moved to a new home far away from where he used to live. The Golden patiently bore the 10-day cross country trip.
His new home was in a very warm climate. The green grass was replaced by the warm water and the tennis balls by the soft water toys. So, the new family pool became known as the “Golden’s pool” and the regular fetching game resumed.
The Golden developed a small skin allergy and had to have a special shampoo bath every week. He grudgingly stood 10 minutes shampooed in the family shower.
The Golden had several good dog friends, and one in particular – a snow-white golden named Bella. One play day they had in the Girl’s house left long lasting imprints on the living room’s hardwood floor. For a long time after Bella left the neighborhood, on his daily walks, the Golden continued stopping by Bella’s front yard, hoping she would show up to play.
Years went by. The Girl has grown into a beautiful young lady, hand in paw with her Golden. One day she learned that it was time for the Golden to leave his paws’ prints in dogs’ heaven. The Girl had a long loud cry of sorrow, penetrating her parents’ souls. Then she hugged her bestest friend one last time, became quiet and closed herself in her room.
A family friend mentioned a story he once read: “A 10-year-old boy … was asked why he thought dogs don’t usually live as long as people. He stated, ‘as people we are put on earth to learn to love others – that is a hard job and can take a long time. But dogs already know how to do that from the day they are born, so they don’t have to live as long.”