As many of you may have read about two months ago in Grosse Pointe Patch, as a result of lymphoma. But today I am here to tell you that puppy love lives again and his name is Woody!
After going through the loss of Flash, I knew that I would never be able to replace her. She had a mischievous personality laced with unending love that won’t ever be replicated. But I also realized that my life had an incredibly noticeable void. I needed a dog.
I went to an event hosted by the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society (GPAAS), a wonderful organization, to see golden retriever-German shepherd mix puppies. I realized then that I want another pure golden, but I didn’t want a puppy. I was OK with not knowing my new dog as a tiny little fur ball. So I looked at the Golden Retriever Rescue of Michigan (GRRoM) web site. There I saw pictures of and read stories about a dozen goldens, ranging in age from one year to senior. I emailed GRRoM and asked for an adoption packet, which I promptly received via email.
It was the end of October and I still wasn’t sure if I was completely ready for a new dog, so I just saved the email. The next day, as I drove down a street near my home in Grosse Pointe Woods, I saw a woman walking a beautiful reddish golden retriever. He was stunning. I stopped the car and rolled down the window.
“That is a beautiful golden,” I said to the woman.
“He’s available through Golden Retriever Rescue of Michigan,” came her reply, with a big smile. It was Colleen Kelley, my neighbor, who fosters for GRRoM. I was so fixated on the dog, I didn’t even notice it was her. I got out of the car and walked over to visit this handsome dog. As I reached out to him, he leaned into me, then collapsed onto my feet, rolling onto his back so that I could rub his belly. Love at first sight for both of us, I thought.
“How old is he?” I asked Colleen.
“You’re meeting him on his first birthday,” came her reply.
If you know me at all, you know that I don’t believe in coincidences. There is meaning in everything. The fact that it also was the 14th anniversary of when my husband and I first met only added to my chills. From that moment on, I knew I was ready for a dog … if it was Woodson (his official name).
While GRRoM has a few hoops you have to jump through before adopting, my husband and son and I were happy to do so, knowing that they are in place to ensure a successful adoption.
Rule 1: You and your entire family, including other dogs, must visit more than one adoptable dog.
Rule 2: Each GRRoM dog must be visited by at least two potential families so the foster can help determine which home is the best fit for the dog.
Rule 3: You and your family must meet with a GRRoM case manager for evaluation (this is done in your home so that she can see where the dog will live).
As Colleen explained it to me, these sensitive dogs have already gone through abandonment once. GRRoM wants to do everything it can to make sure they reach their “forever” home.
Woodson’s story was a sad one. Before he reached his first birthday, he had lived in four homes, two of which were GRRoM foster homes. His first owner had to give him up when he was only a few months old due to a family tragedy. He was then given to a new owner who kept him crated most of the day and night. When Woodson was about 11 months old, his owner, who apparently worked long hours, gave him to GRRoM, recognizing that Woodson was not living a very fulfilling life.
For this, I am thankful to him or her. I am most thankful to Colleen for helping Woodson transition so wonderfully from a scared puppy to an outgoing, adorable dog. Woody, as we have called him since his adoption on 11/11/11, is incredibly loving, calm (yet very playful) and has impeccable house manners. We leave his crate door open, but don’t insist on him using it. He loves to lay on the couch, especially if you are there with him. He wants to please and will actually put away his toys (sometimes!). My son, Quinn, gets a kick out of lying on the floor and doing sit-ups with Woody nearby. It only takes only a moment before Woody drapes his body across Quinn’s chest. Workout over!
I am telling you this story to help those of you who want a dog. I encourage you to consider adopting, whether it is from GRRoM, GPAAS or any of the other reputable rescues. And if you are partial to golden retrievers, here is something else to consider about GRRoM. To purchase a golden puppy from a reputable breeder is about $1,800. To adopt a golden puppy (under the age of six months) from GRRoM costs $400. If the dog is older than six months, the fee drops to $250. And all GRRoM dogs have been microchipped, fixed and have all of their vaccines. All you need to supply is a leash, food, water and a loving home. Some dogs even come with their favorite toys.
If you have never owned a golden, or gotten to know one, they are truly special animals. As I told my husband, when we chatted about getting a new dog, goldens are a slam-dunk as far as having great personalities. That is very true. To know a golden is to love a golden.
This is also the time of year when rescues like GRRoM see an influx of dog. The theory is that the owners consider them too much trouble during the holidays. But this is good news if you are ready to adopt. Right now, my neighbor, Colleen, is fostering two beautiful, honey-colored goldens under the age of one who will become available within the next two weeks. They are sweet, happy dogs who did nothing wrong – they were simply caught up in the wrong owner life circumstances. She also knows of five- and seven-year old goldens who will soon be given up by an owner who can no longer take care of them.
As for us, we adopted a winner. And I am experiencing puppy love once again!
GRRoM is also availavble on Facebook.