Secrets, Lies & Chat

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Little Ray of Sunshine

A little ray of sunshine has come into my world :) Actually he arrived on 19 November, the day after I returned from a visit to Brisbane to see my mother, the last time I saw her alive :(

He was this 3kg fluffy, soft, sweet little darling. He smelt a bit the worse for wear after having spent the day in a cage in a vehicle that had brought him from Tweed Heads, on the far north coast of New South Wales. I met the breeder at the door and took the little bundle from her and gazed at him. Instant love!

I vowed when my best mate and beautiful friend Scrubber died, that I would never own another dog. The pain and the grief I felt after he died was something I didn't want in my life again. As the months slowly passed and I began to accept his death as being what was meant to happen, I realised that I needed to fill that void in my life. I also knew I had a lot of love to give to another little soul who would always live in a loving environment and would, as Scrubber had done, forget he was a dog and think he was human.

I decided not to have another Cattledog as there was only one Scrubber. I didn't think it would be fair, as I would no doubt be comparing all the time and have expectations that most likely wouldn't be possible. So I chose another breed I had always admired. I read a lot about the breed before I ventured to websites looking for a puppy. My choice? Golden Retriever. After finding a number of websites in Australia it became obvious there weren't many litters around at the time I was looking. Then I found one!

There were pictures of the puppies, all colour coded, tiny little bundles just a couple of weeks old. I spent a few days looking at the pictures and chose ''Gold Boy'. I had decided on a dog, not a bitch, and I wanted a dog with stature, like Scrubber. Gold Boy sat and stared at the camera, or the photographer, and he had a curious, inquisitive look on his face. That got me right from the moment I saw the pic. I saw in him something that I knew would guarantee he would be bright, intelligent, and a joy to have around.

It's now January 21, and Shaye was 3 months old on January 2. I weighed him on January 16 and he was 15kg. He is growing in leaps and bounds and is now like the puppies you see on the ads on TV and on cards etc. His feet are huge, as are his ears lol. He has, thankfully, stopped most of that puppy biting that had me with sores all over my lower arms and hands. He sleeps in the laundry at night and although he can't get out of there, his area is clean and dry after 8 hours or so when he barks for me to get him up at 6.00 am. Probably the biggest problems I've had with him have been trying to toilet train him so he can be inside when I'm home and stopping him from eating stones outside.

I bought him his own little pool and whenever he is outside, he is in there, paddling or lying down. He loves to be wet. He goes in the salt water pool when anyone is swimming and loves to duck dive. Just amazing to watch this wuppie under the water! Because he is a retriever and supposed to be in water, he has an amazing coat that dries very quickly. When the breeder dropped him off she told me that once he found water he would be in it all the time. She wasn't wrong. He has his own towel, that he knows is his, and doesn't mind getting dried off as many times as he needs to be in a day. He will even roll on it himself if it's put on the ground.

He barks now if he hears someone coming up the driveway or a noise he doesn't recognise. He drives my poor old moggie crazy chasing her and harassing her. She hisses at him and smacks him across the face and yet he is after her whenever he finds her. I know he just wants a playmate, but she is too old to play. Or perhaps she has found a new lease of life and enjoys the attention. Best thing to do is just leave them be and save her if I feel she is tired of him and it's become something more than playful/spiteful banter between two different types of animal. Probably it's more a case of saving the pup now as Miss Jasmine has shown him who is boss .... I think!

This is all very new to me as Scrubber lived here with his mum from his birth until he was about 7, when she had to be put down. I didn't have to be his mum and go through all this training with him as he spent most of his life until she died outside with her. Once she was gone he became a house dog when I was home and slept inside every night wherever he chose to sleep. He slept on my son's bed until he left, but he never ventured onto my bed. I think a waterbed was a bit much for him and I preferred him not to be on there anyhow. He used to come and wake me up if he needed to go outside in the night. This is what I hope eventually Shaye will do. Now he goes to the back or front door if he wants out (well most of the time) and if I don't see him, then the mat gets the download. At least he knows that he should be out and it's not his fault he can't get out. At night the laundry is his bedroom and as I mentioned before, he goes in there quite happily around 10 or 10.30 and I don't hear a peep out of him until 6.00 am. Perfect baby!

I chose the name Shaye as it's an Irish name and means "stately, courteous and hawk-like". He is showing all those traits so I chose a very apt name for him. His colour is golden and a really nice colour. His line comes from breeding with the American Golden Retriever which I believe has traits that the Australian breeders, well some of them, are wanting in the Australian dogs. He chews anything so I've had to teach him that certain things are a BIG NO, such as the leads under my desk for my computer. He chewed through the phone connection to the computer but, as I use broadband, that wasn't that big a deal and I have other leads. He seems now to have learned that leads are not to be chewed, which is a great relief.

He brings things to me all the time and lays at my feet, or on them, while he plays with whatever he found. I have to make sure I keep the door to my walkin robe shut or he steals my shoes and any socks he can find. He has his own shoes and socks but of course, other peoples are more fun and banned!

He learned very quickly to chase things and bring them back, which is the retriever instinct in him I imagine. He loves a tummy rub and a chest rub and I run my hands all over his face, under his chin, over his eyes and he accepts that as part of our relationship. He is becoming a beautiful quiet dog, but when he wants to play and has a playmate, like my grand-daughter, he has endless energy and nortiness too.

So that's Shaye, my new little wuppie friend. Scrubber would have loved him as he was very friendly with other dogs and Shaye is very friendly too, always looking for a game of chase or punch-ups. If you are thinking of a mate, and don't want a small dog, then give the Golden Retriever some consideration. They aren't used as seeing eye dogs without a good reason and I can attest to the fact that Shaye is well worth the effort and time needed to help him become what he will be eventually. He is very loyal and loves to be around people. His time outside he isn't that fussed about except to chew a bone or sit in his pool. He much prefers to be where I am and that puts a smile on my face.

I learned something from the vet, and from reading on the internet about the Golden Retriever, that they should not be exercised by walking until they are fully grown. I used to take Scrubbie for long walks and my sons would run with him. No wonder he had arthritis! I know now that the only exercise a puppy needs is playtime as they know when they have had enough and it's time for a rest after play. We humans take them for walks thinking we are doing them a good turn, when actually we can be doing them a lot of harm. Until their bones have fully grown they are susceptible to hip dysplasia and arthritis later in life, and skeletel problems, and all these things, as well as overdosing them with calcium, are caused often by their human mates. They keep walking even if they are hurting because they are doing what we want them to. I guess if a dog sits down during a walk (you see people dragging them along on their leads) he is telling you that he is hurting and he doesn't want to walk anymore. So my plans to walk with Shaye are on the backburner. It's okay to take them for a short, very short, strolls on the lead now and then.

I take him for rides in the car and he knows now to put his feet up on the front seat so I can lift him in. He is quite at home in the car, looks around a lot, or goes to sleep. Wherever I can take him I will, just as I did with Scrubber, so being happy in the car is important.

Until next time, take care and keep smiling.

Vena

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