golden retriever puppy

This funny tale comes from Scotty Richardson, who has done much therapy work through the SW Washington Humane Society. Scotty actually submitted a prize-winning entry, Goldens ─ Behind Bars, in our very first contest here at the Land of PureGold. 

Scotty currently [9/2009] has four Goldens, and they have all worked up a storm, as you can see by the titles following their names:
  ♥ Porkchop PFTD, CGC, TDIA OV
  ♥ Burton PFTD, CGC, TDI
  ♥ Harlow, SD, PFTD Therapy Dog, CGC,  TDI, CCCR and DLAATD (Porkchop's daughter)

No, this is not a eulogy. Although Porkchop, now 14 years young, recently suffered a nasty infection. We did fear for her life. Antibiotics cleared up the problem, and we’re happy to report Porkchop is back to being perverse. A true curmudgeon!!

I don’t like eulogies. Make me feel bad. Usually means somebody died. Plus they’re generally inaccurate. All of a sudden somebody you thought was a real S. O. B. is characterized as another Ghandi or Mother Theresa. If you thought so tell the individual before they’re tossing dirt in their faces. Or not. You could just go with the S. O. B. and tell them how you REALLY feel. So I’m writing this instead. A**tribute** to a truly Golden character! Before she qualifies for Sainthood!

Porkchop is the result of a gaggle of loose women gathered—uhhhh—strike that—a loosely organized group of women aptly named “The Divas” getting together for some fun in Texas. One of this group brought along a couple of Goldens to join in the fun at the hotel. Porkchop was one of them. From that first meeting with Porkchop, my bride, Michael knew there was something different and alluring about Porkchop. This was confirmed the first night when Porkchop endeared herself to an unnamed Diva. You see, Porkchop has this little game she plays with—herself. She grabs a tennis ball, jumps up on a bed or couch and balances the tennis ball as close to the edge as possible. She then nudges the ball with her nose **ever** so gently, until the ball becomes a victim of my old enemy, gravity, and tumbles off the edge. Next, reflexes take over. The point of Porkchop's penultimate polo is to catch the ball before it hits the floor. Hence, a 70-pound dog lunges off the bed attempting to catch said ball. The act of lunging and leaping is cute, unless you’re the hapless Diva upon whose bed Porkchop has chosen to play with herself. Did I say play with herself? That didn’t come out right.

So, this unnamed Diva, possibly somewhat under the influence of liquid spirits, having been awakened for the umpteenth time — made reference to Porkchop as “that effing dog” suggesting murder was immanent if Porkchop didn’t knock it off. Oh, I forgot to mention, Porkchop is nocturnal. In an attempt to restore order, one of the other Divas wisely suggested this problem could be solved by—putting Porkchop in the other room and closing her door. This was the beginning of a love affair still burning hot as ever today. Michael fell in love with that “effing” dog.

Upon Michael’s return home from her holiday all I heard about was “this great dog she’d met named Porkchop”. So I tongue-in-cheek e-mailed Porkchop's owners, Rick and Jane Fish to tell them how much Michael enjoyed Porkchop. I also rolled the idea out that should they ever seek a home for Porkchop, a retired show dog, please don’t look further than Michael and I. Two weeks later we got the great news—if we’d drive to Phoenix we could pick up Porkchop! Michael was ecstatic! Me? Hey, we only had two Goldens at the time, Burt and Earnie. What’s one more?

When we met Jane Fish with Porkchop one of Jane's remarks sort of flew over our heads in the heat of the moment. That comment was these three words—“she’s a runner”. Little did we know----! So Porkchop came home with us. Burt and Earnie were ecstatic! Hadn’t had a female Golden in the house since Becky and Peggy Sue, our dearly departed bridge kids. Porkchop didn’t need much time to settle in, she just—was home!

Thus began many years of the joy of living with Porkchop. Everybody who is owned by a Golden thinks their dog is—different. Maybe they are. But Porkchop puts the “D” in different. She lives by Porkchop rules. We took her to obedience classes. She slept through them. Obedience is beneath her. Sure, she’ll sit and lay down, but on her terms. Michael nicknamed her “The Texas Mule” for her attitude.

Now, about the “she’s a runner” comment. We truly learned what that is all about one day in our driveway. Porkchop managed to get out without a leash. As we called and pleaded for her to come, she looked over her shoulder with a “you gotta be kidding” glance and took off. She stopped at the top of the driveway making sure we were in pursuit. Stupid humans. She waited until Michael almost got a hand on her. She then looked over her shoulder, gave a little bunny hop and ran down the street just fast enough we couldn’t catch her. It was our lucky day, though; some dudes were working down the street so naturally Porkchop stopped to visit. They corralled her for us. After that we were very cautious about allowing Porkchop off lead.

Down in Arizona when we ran the dogs in the Pecan Groves Porkchop dragged a long line. Turned out she wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere in those groves, though. Porkchop discovered Pecans are a delicacy, so I spent more time walking back to get her than I did going forward. Only dog we’ve ever seen who gained weight on long walks.

Did I mention that Porkchop is hard of listening? Not hard of hearing, she has selective hearing. She can hear the opening of a potato chip bag at 100 feet, but can’t hear me 20 feet away calling her in out of the yard. Perverse? You Bet!

Although obedience was never her long suit, Therapy work was. Porkchop was simply an amazing Therapy dog, primarily because just like her daughter Harlow, who by the way shares a LOT of her mothers traits—NOTHING fazes her. We had her tested and certified through TDI one year. She did great except on the “down” command. Porkchop doesn’t like “down” anyway, but omigawd we were on –gasp—wet grass! Neither Porkchop or her prodigy Harlow do wet grass! After nearly running out of time on the exercise with Michael and I PLEADING with Porkchop to lie down—amazingly, she did. The parts of the tests dealing with temperament were a slam-dunk.

We spent several great years visiting hospitals and many other venues with Porkchop. Our local Humane Society would call on Porkchop if an assignment included other animals. Pigs, camels, snakes, no big deal. The only time we saw PC rattled was at a “Farm Festival” where several baby Nubian Goats were gamboling about. PC was fascinated with them. Couldn’t take her eyes off them. Finally one walked up to her allowing PC to sniff its butt. PC looked back at us as if to say, “what the heck is this thing, anyway”?

Although Porkchop has been retired for quite a while now, places we visit with Harlow still ask about Porkchop. PC had a lot of “flash” and would bop down the hospital corridors doing the “show strut” she refused to do in the dog show rings. Lass with class!

Porkchop has given us some truly Golden years. It’s tough to see her on the decline, but after this latest illness, she seems to have her attitude back. Always, if you push on PC—she pulls. Pull, and she pushes. Try to corral her down the hallway, she goes into “catch me if you can” mode. Alas, her days of running up and down stairs are behind her. We have a harness on her with a suitcase grip so we can lift her around it we have to. She hates it! However, after a couple of tumbles on the stairs, it’s here to stay. We all get old. We humans in this house are praying for lots more time with this 14-year-old critter. What a joy she’s been, what a joy she is to this day.

Your choice — turn off music or keep on.

Famous model Golden Rusty