Meet Charlie and Jake
This very special story came from Ran Miller of Eugene, Oregon.

Let me tell you a little more about our story. Spot was our canine son for 16 years. He was found in a ghetto on the streets of Philadelphia by a friend. He was a human in a fur coat and by far the greatest dog I've known. He died in October 1996. Six months later our lives changed forever. I was attacked by a German Shepherd that had been abused with a defective electrical collar for an underground fence. To make a longer story much shorter, I wasn't bitten but was knocked down, falling backwards and hitting the back of my head on a parked car. I was left unconscious for about an hour. I had a fractured skull behind my right ear Dad and Charlie sitting on a rock at Gold Beach, ORand diffused cerebral bleeding over the frontal lobe, left parietal, and both occipital lobes. No paralysis. I can walk and talk now, but have been left with other cognitive deficits such that I will never return to my work in finance.

About three months after this happened, my wife was away with a friend of hers and I happened to be walking through a shopping center past a pet store and low and behold, I got taken with this little furry butterball with a black button nose. He was coming onto being three months old and was kept in a double cage.

I sometimes tell people (jokingly) that Charlie was an unplanned pregnancy. We knew nothing about Goldens and actually thought maybCharlie at Gold Beach, ORe he was defective in some way. He was close to being a hell on wheels. His middle name should have been Trouble. In ways I don't really know how to explain, Charlie saved our lives. He's 5-years-old now and still quite a knucklehead as my wife would say.

One and a half years ago I was looking at the Golden Bond Rescue website, and bingo I saw Jake. The description of him seemed ideal . . . "55 lbs. and a real joy, yada yada yada." We met with his foster Mom in Portland, OR and here was Jake, 55 pounds because he was literally skin and bones and could barely stand on his back legs. But it was love at first sight and Charlie seemed okay with him.

The next thing we knew, much to our amazement, Jake jumped into the back of our Ford Explorer and looked at his foster mom with a look that said "well goodbye" as he knew he was going home. We refer to Jake as a "cheap date" because we think he probably would have gone home with anyone. He's a real kisser anCool Dude Jaked sweetheart.

They are the central focus of our lives and I prefer them over most humans and would do anything no matter the expense to serve their well-being because I think it's impossible to measure in any way how much Charlie and Jake have given to us.

The story continues . . . . Well tomorrow marks the end of our first year with Jake. What a year; what a Golden guy! Jake came to us almost like a skeleton. He was so underweight and could barely stand on his back legs. His tail was never up and he didn't wag it very much, if at all. Given how he was, he was a remarkably sweet and loving guy, always having a few licks for whomever.

When we got Jake home we had him x-rayed from neck to tail. His hip dysphasia was bad and it could have been worse. We learned of his cataracts which weren't too bad but he had them nonetheless. Both of our DVMs told us they thought we were going to have a lot to contend with given Jake's condition. We slowly got his weight built back up and got on Eagle Pack food as suggested by his foster mom. Jake now weighs in at about 70 to 75 pounds and is in very good physical shape.

We took him swimming last summer and found out he didn't really know how to swim correctly because he wasn't accustomed to using his back legs. I would get in the lake with him and hold him while he would start moving his back legs with greater frequency and he did get his muscle built up to some degree.

Most recently, we started taking Jake in for acupuncture for his hips. While it cannot correct deformitJakey in the hip bones, it is quite amazing how much it has done for him. He is far more stable and steady with his back legs now. He doesn't "bunny hop" as much when he goes out to play with Charlie, our 5-year-old Golden boy.

Jake has helped build up Charlie's self esteem. They play and romp together and probably just like most siblings (human and otherwise) have their moments of competition. They each sleep on their own couch or sometimes jump into our bed and sleep with us. It doesn't bode well for keeping the covers on, but hey, what do you expect from a Golden once they get comfortable.

Jake loves to talk a lot. He makes all sorts of odd squeaks and squeals when he wants to play with his bone or want us to NOT STOP rubbing his chest or under his neck. Jake and Charlie love kids. Their tails and butts swagger miles per second whenever kids are around. Many times when Jake is really happy and excited he will just leap nearly straight up in the air just jumping with joy. He's a real kisser and loves to snuggle. Watching the two of them running together or simply just sitting next to each other, they have such a majestic and regal look about them.

Whoever is out there wondering about why they should adopt a Golden from Golden Bond Rescue . . . understand that just like everything else, there are no guarantees and any dog could end up with dysplasia or other problems. If you give any dog from a shelter or rescue group the chance, you will be repaid in ways that cannot be measured. Your four-legged hair shedding friend will warm the depth of your soul . . . . Now if we can only get Jake to understand the meaning of "Okay, drop the ball!"

The story continues . . . . Today [June 2003] for the first time since last summer, we took Charlie and Jake to Dexter lake. They both ran like two red-haired bullets from the car down to the water. Charlie jumped right in. Nothing unusual about that. Jake got to the water's edge and acted like he was thinking. "I want to go in . . . but, but, but, I don't know what to do." So I got into the water and started calling Jake into the water. He wanted to go but still wasn't sure. So he's running back and forth . . . you know like one of those ducks in a shooting gallery at the carnival.  It hit 90 and the water was cold. It definitely took some getting used to for me. Well, finally Jake got in and low and behold he started swimming!!

So what 's the big deal you ask? A year ago when we adopted Jake he could barely stand stable with his back legs. Last year he would swim predominately using his front legs except when I held him under his belly then he would use his back legs. Not to offend anyone, but for lack of better way of saying it, I told Claire it was as though he swam like a girl (LOL). Today Jake not only started swimming with all four legs, but his back was completely parallel to the water surface and he swam out about 30 to 40 feet from the shoreline and back, and he did it consistently several times for about an hour or so.

Dad with Jake and CharlieHe recently had his 4th or 5th acupuncture treatment for his hips and what a difference it seems to make. We are continuing his acupuncture on a maintenance schedule of once a month. The fact that Jake was able to swim so well today means that, at the very least, he has substantially much less pain or discomfort in his hips and he may well be able to really build up his leg muscles which will go a very long way toward compensating for his hip dysplasia. He loves the water. As a matter of fact he likes to dive . . . his whole head going underwater. Now, all we have to do is teach him to catch salmon!

Charlie is still the otter he has always been and now they both go and swim along side each other, playing keep away with the training dummies. Honestly, these two knuckleheads can easily wear us out and many times do. Sometimes they can seem like a real "pain in the a--" when they get rambunctious together. However, we love these two knuckleheads and wouldn't give them up for anything in the world. Charlie and Jake each have a soul.