Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Golden Visit

We had a visitor yesterday who had the Midas touch.  I was outside tending to the horses, and this stranger was running around the neighborhood greeting everyone who barked at him.  I called out hello to him, but he seemed a bit shy.  I opened the gate and stepped out onto my driveway to make myself more accessible, I crouched down to his level, smiled, and welcomed him in a friendly voice. 

That did the trick.  He smiled back at me, came forward to shake my hand, and happily wagged his fluffy tail.  This visitor was a Golden Retriever.  His legs and belly were covered in mud and he had a patch of fur missing on his croup.  I invited him to follow me, and he bounded up to my front door ready to go inside.  Uh uh, not with all that mud.  I let him into my dog run.  He had a collar, but no tags.  I brought him food and water, but he wasn't interested in either.  He just wanted to play.

I went inside and called the animal shelter, but no one was answering at the non-emergency number, and their emergency number was not in service for some reason.  I went back outside to look the dog over more closely and I realized that he had been just recently brushed, had recently trimmed nails, had clean teeth, knew how to sit, stay, shake, come and heel.  This was a well cared for dog.  Not abandoned. 

Considering his juvenile status, I was betting that he jumped someone's fence while they were away at work.  I called the animal shelter again with the intention of just finding out if someone reported him missing or if they have picked him up before and know who the owner is, but they still weren't answering.  I didn't want to have to load him up in my truck and drive him there covered in mud.  It was too cold to give him a bath.   I just wanted to find the owner and have him or her pick him up at my house.

I contemplated walking around the neighborhood knocking on doors, but so many of my neighbors either have shotguns or gates locked or Dobermans so you can't reach their front door.  They like their privacy as much as I do.  Much of the time, even if they are home and I can knock on their door, they just hide inside and refuse to answer. 

Then I remembered that my husband mentioned meeting a really friendly dog a couple of weeks ago, so I called him at work and had him describe the dog.  It was this same juvenile Golden Retriever.  If my husband saw him on our lawn two weeks ago, and the dog was looking as good as he did when I met him, he definitely lives close by.  Some people actually cut their dogs loose in the morning to have the run of the neighborhood while they are away at work. 

The dog definitely had some Labrador in him, because his head was big and wide.  He stuck his face up against the glass of our french doors, and Scrappy went nuts barking and lunging at him through the glass.  I had to lock Scrappy and Midge up in a room where they couldn't see him.

I suspected if we just let him loose, he'd go back home.  Dogs know where they live.  I was just worried about him getting out in the road.  On the other hand, this dog was exceptionally smart.  Somehow I knew he knew how to handle himself around moving vehicles.  So, we let him out of the dog run to finish his inspection of the neighborhood, and I let my dogs out of their room.

Next thing I knew, Scrappy and Midge were barking and throwing themselves at the front door.  I looked out the window to see the Golden lying on our front porch relaxing.  He just completely ignored the ruckus he was causing.  I realized that this dog didn't bark once the entire time he was at our house.  I love dogs that don't bark. 

I needed to pick up the mail, but didn't want the dog to follow me, so my son distracted him with a wrestling match and a game of fetch.  This dog was up for anything and instantly understood every game that my son tried to play with him.  Watching this made me think of Dean Koontz, an author who owns Golden Retrievers and often includes a highly intelligent talking dog or two in his novels.  I finally understood why Koontz would view Goldens as being somewhat alien.  They are exceptional animals.

I had to run some errands and as I was away from this dog, I realized that I missed him.  My son did too.  He said, "I love that dog!"

I decided that if he was still lying on our doorstep when we got home, I'd unofficially adopt him... at least until his owner made an effort to track him down.  I mean, considering that the dog visited us two weeks ago, and the owner still hadn't put an ID tag on his collar, I doubted that his owner was very responsible.  On the other hand, maybe the owner relied on a microchip to identify him.

Unfortunately for us, the dog did head for home.  It was probably getting close to feeding time.  We really don't have room in our house for a big dog, nor the money for the vet bills.  He clearly had a skin condition that needed treating.  So, it is what it is.  We had a nice visit.  In retrospect, I probably should have attached a note to his collar saying something like, "Hello.  We love your dog.  Can we keep him?"


Maery Rose said...

I don't get people that let their dogs run loose. You don't know what they'll run into. Hopefully this one will remain safe.

fernvalley01 said...

Goldens do have a way about them, they take a milisecond to trap your heart if you let them .Hope his owners wake up and start keeping him home!

Breathe said...

I had a golden once - hubby #1 got him when we separated.

Mozart was an ambassador for canine kind. Once, when I was on a camp out with SCA Mozart slipped his collar and spent the evening being the polite guest of many campfires. He returned to my tent in the morning, and people stopped by and complimented his manners.

Hurmph, I said. A polite little criminal. He thumped his tail at me, practically glowing with joy.

They are such great dogs...

Mikey said...

Lol, do that! Send a note back next time you see him, maybe encouraging them to buy a $2 TAG for him.
Sometimes I just don't understand people. Animals, kids... if a person doesn't want to take care of them properly, then DON'T HAVE THEM!!

Ms Martyr said...

Goldies seem to be naturally friendly. Except, of course, for the one that we got. She was afraid of everybody and everything. Was a fun dog for the family but definitely not what we'd expected from that breed.
I hate irresponsible owners who let their animals run loose.

Reddunappy said...

I love love love Golden Retrievers!! We have had two of them, they have the most wonderful of personalitys!
We now have the Labrador, he is a grat dog too, both of these breeds are very special and wonderful for familys with children!

Sydney_bitless said...

What a good boy. I wish people would be responsible for keeping their pets in check. If it jumps the fence you need to fix that not just ignore it and let it happen again.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like a nice dog. He wouldn't last in our neighborhood running loose. Meridian claims anything that isn't inside a fence. I hate to see dogs loose around here because I know what comes next.

Jeni said...

Goldens are great dogs that's for sure. Extremely intelligent. They are the dog of choice of companion and service dogs.

I sure hope the owners come to their senses and put a tag on that boy. Obviously they care enough to keep him groomed, you'd think they'd care enough to keep him home.

But then again, maybe they don't know he's visiting?

Katharine Swan said...

He sounds like a great dog (even if Midge and Scrappy don't think so). I suppose you could always attach a note that says, "If you don't want your dog, please keep letting him out. Next time we see him running loose we are going to keep him." >:-]

Grey Horse Matters said...

I've had two Golden's and they are the friendliest dogs. So friendly that one was actually stolen out of my back yard which was fenced years ago. We never got him back, I hope he had a good life. My son has one now and he's so good with the babies I just love him.

I'm glad you had a nice visit, but I wonder how someone can leave a dog run loose like that. Then again they are great escape artists and love to wander. A note on his collar would have been good maybe suggesting an identity tag with his phone # and address.

Have a healthy Happy New Year! And here's hoping your nosy neighbors move.

Crystal said...

That sounds like a nice visit! They are sure nice dogs always friendly!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

We had a beautiful blue eyed Siberian Husky come visit us when we were at my Mom's house a few weekends ago. He had a collar and tag but there was no answer when we called the phone number listed. I was afraid the dog had been abandoned because there are lots of summer homes in the area. He stayed for the day but must have gone on home because he was gone in the morning.
we actually considered rehoming him with a friend but I was glad that he did go home after all.

Once Upon an Equine said...

The note is a great idea. I have a feeling you'll get another chance to do that. Sounds like a great dog. It's worrisome that he is running loose like that.

I'm a Koontz fan and enjoy his use of dogs in his books. Watchers was the first Koontz book I read that got me hooked.

Happy New Year!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Goldens are one of the presttiest dog breeds, and usally the friendliest, too.
Who knows, he might come back and choose to stay with you :)

At one time in my life, I had an entire bookshelf filled with Dean Koontz books I had read. I became a sort of collector. I could lose myself in his books for hours or days. Then one day I decided to simplify my life and get rid of clutter. I donated all of the books I didn't plan to read again, which included all of my Koontz books, to the local library.
I still like Koontz, though :)


word verif: snuci

reminds me of your next post...snuggie!