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Born Leithfield, 30th November 2003 I left my home and family and moved into a house in the middle of a town in Bedfordshire. Initially everything went well, I went to puppy classes and started to learn how to behave as befits a dog of superior breeding (Mum has two CCs and my great-great grandfather had 42!).
Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse and a dog bit my bum. As a result, and as I was an impressionable pup, I decided that this must be a formal greeting between dogs and so I started to bite others on the bum before they could bite me!
As I grew my exercise didn’t quite match my needs. I was a ‘growing lad’ and the regime of a 10 minute walk on my lead in the morning and again in the evening did not quite suit. Occasionally we ventured into the countryside when I was allowed to run on an extendable lead but that really did not give the chance to really exercise.
Boredom quickly set in and when the opportunity to enjoy myself (be naughty) arose I took it – much to the disgust of the family with whom I was staying. They took me to the vets and had me castrated to see if that would make me less boisterous and stop me trying to bite other dogs, but it didn’t work. To assist me in the form of a regime of even less energetic exercise they took to tying me up in the kitchen for most of the day. I grew more and more bored as I grew bigger and bigger. The biggest problem was that my owners at the time were unable to really do anything with me as the lady was unable to walk with her heavily injured ankle and that the husband and daughter worked full time.
Eventually I became big enough to throw my weight around – that didn’t go down too well but it relieved some of the boredom and biting the old man was a bit of fun!
Finally, as a last resort I was recommended to Patty Hunter, an animal behaviourist and she managed to teach me the basics like sit and down but the fun times spent with her were both too few and too short so I would quickly return to my loutish behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, the family loved me and would buy me lots of toys and treats but it’s not the same as being able to enjoy yourself and let off steam.
Finally in February 2006 it was decided that I should either be re-homed with someone who could cope with me or they talked about the alternative being euthanasia (wherever that is!).
One day this lovely lady and a strange man turned up and took me for a walk and introduced me to their two girl dogs – the girls weren’t as big as me and I could easily bite their bums, that is if the man would let go of my lead! They took me to their house and for several walks in the country, through the woods and by the river and I realised that the girls didn’t want to bite me, and in fact, I didn’t want to bite them. Playing in the fields and the woods is much more fun than biting anyway.
The eldest girl told me one or two home truths and so I agreed to behave. The next weekend we all went in the car to their cottage, a lovely place near the sea in Suffolk and we walked and walked miles every day for a week. I eventually learned how to walk to heel rather than jumping up and down and pulling all the time, especially after Dad (as the strange man had become) threatened to murder me if I didn’t behave after I had pulled him off his feet – and as he is not scared of me I decided discretion is the better part of valour! He then took me to the pub and taught me how to wait for my turn when the biscuits are given out!
Since then we have had a great life. I received the Cassie Rescue Memorial Trophy for the most deserving rescue dog in June and was very proud and showed off by walking perfectly to heel with my Dad and not trying to bite any of the other dogs – and there were lots of them there. Mum, as the lovely lady has become, said that she was so proud of us both and even Amber and Holly (the girls) grudgingly said well done!
I have walked 50 miles across Bedfordshire spread over two days, learned how to swim and dive, can walk perfectly to heel without a lead and recently started gun dog training. I really enjoy my new life and every day I tell everyone that I love them for all their help in making me a well balanced and well behaved dog (apart that is when I pinch Mum’s slippers and dump them in the garden!). The girls and I have met with Patty and her dogs since I moved home and we really enjoyed playing with Layla and Dexter and not one dog was tempted to bite another dog in the bum!
We are off to the seaside for another holiday and also going to visit Patty and her dogs again soon – lots more fun for every one of us is promised.
Can I please pass on much, much thanks to Lynn and the rest of the Eastern Counties Golden Retriever Rescue team from Mum, Dad, Amber, Holly and especially me?