Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Touching You

I have a Golden Retriever. This Golden Retriever knows service dog commands. This Golden Retriever knows how to act around little people. This Golden Retriever knows when you need a hug. This Golden Retriever knows when you need a laugh. This Golden Retriever enjoys going for bike rides. This Golden Retriever knows how to wiggle his way into your heart. This Golden Retriever makes everyone who ever meets him fall in love with him. This Golden Retriever, my Golden Retriever, is named Eclipse.

I know Golden Retrievers are special dogs that make people fall in love with them over and over and over again. I know they're quirky and crazy and loving and special. I know almost everyone who has ever met a golden retriever wants one. I know all this, and yet I didn't see it for the longest time. To me, Eclipse is special, even for a Golden. Maybe it's true and he really is, maybe I'm just biased.
I think this last weekend some who love Eclipse beyond belief were able to, for the first time, see Eclipse on his new home turf and find some closure. I know that the more people who experience Eclipse fall in love with him and desire to own a Golden that is just like him. The amount of people who have asked me to train their could-be-sometime-in-the-future golden retriever to be just like Eclipse is astonishing. I know that no amount of training will make another Golden be just like Eclipse but I don't know how to tell others that. Eclipse is something special alright, whether it's due to his mother's malnutrition while he and his littermates were in utero or if he would be like he is as a perfectly healthy dog it's hard to say, but he is the way he is and that's all that matters.

One of the most amazing things is that in exactly one month from today he'll have been in our home as our pet for as long as he was with us "in training", one day after that will be the longest he's ever been in one home. Okay, so the time isn't the most amazing thing, what is has to be the fact that he's becoming more and more like he was when he left as each day passes. We've always loved Eclipse and were so happy he came home but he did come home with some baggage. Things are improving and now instead of running from his crate he runs to it! Walks, we're making some progress on although it's slow and tedious work, it's necessary.
Starting today we'll be buckling down on his service dog training a bit more not because it's needed regularly, but because it will be needed every now and then. The local dog trainer we use has a number of people interested in turning their pets into service dogs and there is a public access seminar coming up. Many of the people have zero idea what it takes to have a working service dog and how they should behave in public so even though Eclipse is now just a pet he'll also be a sort of "demo dog" for the day to show people how a working dog should enter/exit vehicles, settle in public and walk through stores. I know he'll do great as we'll just be at Petco and we'll pay Petco some visits to work on manners between now and then. Hopefully he'll be able to show off some of his "skills" as well! He's been begging to tug off socks so he's been getting to do that regularly along with picking up his toys and turning off lights and showing people his retrieval skills. He's a happy boy and we're working on getting him out on regular bike rides and working his brain with frozen kongs every morning while he's along.

I have a Golden Retriever. A Golden Retriever who is a piece of my heart. A Golden Retriever that I've never seen happier. A Golden Retriever that still has the ability to touch people and make their lives happier. A Golden Retriever that may, someday, get to be a therapy dog and get his CGC for real. Someday, when we get this Golden Retriever more comfortable with himself, which may only come with time.

I have a Golden Retriever, who if you met him, would touch you deeper than you thought possible.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know about closure just yet, but I do know that he looked great and if nothing else it helped Steven a lot to see him there. :) you are doing a good job with him.

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