Golden Retrievers Speak: First Beach Day of 2017!

Jeter:   We got on the beach for the first time in 2017 last weekend!   We went on Easter Sunday, when the crowd was a bit more sparse than what a typical Sunday crowd would be.   New Jersey doesn’t allow dogs on most of their beaches, but there is a stretch of beach on Island Beach State Park where we are allowed to go.  It is so much fun – we get to play in the sand, meet new dogs, etc.

Alanis:  It also represented the first time I ever went to a beach.  It was so relaxing, and so much fun.  I didn’t even bark when I saw so many people and other dogs.  I guess there is something about the beach that calms everybody down.    I even met a new friend – a tiny hound dog mix who came running up to me as I was sitting in the sand.

Jeter:   Many people let their dogs go off leash, even though the rules say you shouldn’t.  It isn’t a big deal, of course.   That little dog was cute…

Alanis:  So cute that you snapped at him!

Jeter:   Let me explain:   Mommy and I walked all the way down the beach, and came back to Alanis and this other dog playing and sniffing each other.  I wanted to get in on the action, but I am a little nervous when I meet a new dog 🙁   On top of that, Mommy and Daddy know that I am protective of other dogs in my pack, and I was likely trying to help Alanis, even though they were only playing and sniffing.  I have great intentions!

Alanis:  As proven by the other dog you met…

Jeter:  Correct!  There was a much taller version of me walking down by the water, and Mommy brought me to that dog…Alanis stayed behind.  When I was sniffing that dog, there wasn’t any snipping or barking.   That is likely due to a few reasons:   1)  My pack mate wasn’t with me, so I had no need to protect anyone; 2)  I was the APPROACHING dog, instead of the dog being approached.  I like it better when I get to make the call on whether I want to say hi to you.

Alanis:   Everyone knows you are a sweet dog, Jeter.    We all have our little quirks…

Jeter:  And it isn’t like I actually bit the other dog.  I was just a bit “snippy”.

Alanis:   I wasn’t fond of the water.  I was scared of the waves.

Jeter:   Josh was never a fan of the water, either.  He wasn’t scared of the wave, but he had no real interest in getting his body wet.   Me, however…

Alanis:  Jeter loves to run into the water, and even drinks some of the salty crap.  Ewwwww!

Jeter:   That is still better than running away from the big bad waves, you chicken shit.

Alanis:   All I know is that my family was very proud that I handled my beach experience very well.   From early impressions, they think I may be a “beach bum” type of dog that doesn’t really have a need to walk on the beach, but loves to lay down in the sand.

Jeter:   I loved the walk Mommy took me on.  I have never been a Golden that likes to lay in the sand.  When I was younger, I played a lot of ball with daddy while Josh walked the beach with Mommy.

Alanis:  Why doesn’t our schmuck Daddy let us off leash?

Jeter:  He is just a paranoid idiot.  He probably thinks a Great White will hop out of the ocean and take us.    I don’t care, though – being on or off a leash is meaningless to me.

Alanis:  Why were their people sitting in chairs with big poles next to them?

Jeter:   You can be so dumb sometimes, girl!  They are obviously trying to make it easier for dogs to see them so we can go greet them.  Duh.  Why else would they just sit there like that?

Alanis:  Makes sense now.    You are always so good at explaining things.

Jeter:   This wasn’t a long beach session, but it was still a fun beach session.  Hopefully there are more to come this summer!

Me:  We were pleasantly surprised by Alanis’ behavior.  She is our “diva dog”, and we were fearing the worst – a dog that would bark at everything, try to run after every dog she saw, and attempt to even steal their toys.  She was none of the above.  Was she hyper?  Of course.  But she seemed content with just hanging out.  She was excellent with the tiny dog that approached us, which wasn’t too surprising as she is a playful dog.  A bit rough, but playful.  Jeter has always been a bit more skeptical of other dogs – he needs to be a bit more comfortable before he allows them in his domain.  And, again, I think some of it is that he is protective of his pack.  Once he sees you pose no threat, he is comfortable.

As for beach tips, just be aware of your surroundings. A beach full of dogs can lead to all kinds of adventures, so make sure you assess the situation – look for the dogs that are loose.  Many of them have no intentions of approaching you, as they are off in their own worlds.  But if they do, just make sure both your dog and the loose dog are comfortable before you allow them to play and sniff.  Don’t assume the dog approaching you is friendly, and don’t assume your dog will act fine around the approaching dog.   If you play it right, nobody will get hurt.  We have never had a bad dog incident in our years going to the beach, and we have come across many dogs.

You will see that different dogs like to do different things on the beach – some like to chase things into the water.  Some like to play chase in the sand.  Some like to just lay down and chill out.   Some love to take a long stroll with their owners.    Just like you enjoy the peace of the beach, the dogs likely do as well.  It is an adventure for them filled with enough exercise to knock them out for an evening.

Golden Retrievers Speak: Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Jeter:   Alanis, today is Mommy’s XXth birthday!     Be sure to give her many licks and hugs!

Alanis:   I love birthdays, even though I have no idea what they actually are.  Why do humans celebrate the day of their birth?

Jeter:  I don’t know.    I know when I was born, it wasn’t the best thing I ever experienced – popping out of the womb with so many other puppies, all blind, and all needing our mother just for survival.   We couldn’t do a thing on our own.

Alanis:  That is the part I don’t get.  For the most part, the day of birth doesn’t seem all that pleasant, right?    Babies come out of the womb as if it is the worst thing they have ever experienced…..

Jeter:  Well, it is, given it is the first thing they experienced.  But, whatever…

Alanis:   Shut up, wise ass.   Why is this day so much more important than yesterday?  Why don’t they celebrate the first time they could eat without drooling all over themselves?

Jeter:   Daddy still can’t celebrate that…

Alanis:   True, that.

Jeter:   I think we just have to recognize their weird customs and just go along with the gag – give them some extra attention on their birthdays for the sole purpose of them giving us some more treats.   That is the goal, right?  Brain wash them into thinking their birthday is so important to us, so we can get more treats.

Alanis:      But we must remember that this is our Mommy, and she loves us, so we should really wish her a Happy Birthday.

Jeter:     I agree with that – she deserves that from us since she is so good to us.  Do you have any idea how old she is?  I am looking into age-specific cards.

Alanis:  Given you are seven and I am three, Mommy can’t be older than ten.

Jeter:     Wow, that’s old – but your math makes plenty of sense to me.

Alanis:   Why isn’t she covered in gold hair like we are?

Jeter:   Ugh, must I explain this to you, Alanis?    Obviously, they lose their hair when they give birth to us.   It is probably a traumatic experience.

Alanis:   Thanks for explaining the birds and the bees to me.  Thankfully, I am spayed – I will never lose my hair.

Jeter:    Correct.  Let us please respect that this is Mommy’s first birthday since living here without Josh around.

Alanis:   Yes, that is indeed sad.  There are many milestones we will be passing that will be the “first without Josh”.  This is our first major hurdle.   What did Josh do for Mommy on her birthday?

Jeter:  I don’t know.  The same as us, I guess.  Not much we can do but be dogs, ya know?   Isn’t like we can hop on Amazon and buy her more scented candles.

Alanis:   Yeah, I guess we will just have to act like dogs…easy enough to do.

Jeter:   Well, I think she would appreciate it if you didn’t bark needlessly all afternoon on her birthday.

Alanis:  Asking for the impossible again, I see.

Jeter:     Any way, even though we both don’t understand what this day is or why it is meaningful, it is time to wish Mommy a HAPPY AND HEALTHY BIRTHDAY, filled with many tennis balls, treats, butt sniffing…..

Alanis:  That’s us, Jeter…

Jeter:  Oops.   See?  Josh was much better at this stuff.     It is time to wish Mommy a HAPPY AND HEALTHY BIRTHDAY!   We love you every much and appreciate everything you do for us.   We wish we can hand you a check for $1,000,000 (mostly because that can really be a boon for our treats stash), but our Golden smiles, wagging tails, licks, and cuddles will hopefully be more than enough.  We’ll let Daddy handle the other stuff.

Alanis:  That is scary.  Did you hear he got her a PAPER SHREDDER?    I have seen better romantic gifts given by Sheldon Cooper to Amy Farrah Fowler.

Jeter:  Yes, I heard.   I don’t even know what to say.   Maybe she should look into purchasing a Husband Shredder.

Alanis:   That being said, I also want to wish MOMMY a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!    We both appreciate how much you care for us!  I know I can be a pain in the ass with my quirky ways at times, but I love you.   There isn’t a better Dog Mommy on the planet – I am so happy I landed here when I was put up for adoption.

Jeter:   WAIT!  You were adopted?

Me:    The dogs get a bit confused around this time of the year.    It indeed is Colleen’s birthday today, and it does have a milestone attached to it.   Yes, her “big gift” this year was a paper shredder, but she got a lot of goodies out of the deal as well.  Sheesh!       Colleen has been through a lot over the past several years, but she enters this birthday feeling healthier than she has in years.  We hope it is the beginning of nothing but healthy birthdays forever.    The dogs and myself both appreciate EVERYTHING about her.  She has a heart of gold, has a sense of humor (look at what she married), and is definitely the one great thing about waking up on any given Monday morning.    Everything good that comes her way is deserved – she fought hard even on her toughest days to get to where she is today.  The dogs are much happier for that, obviously.   It is another blog post I can write at some point, but Jeter was always “in tune” with her health -to the point where it was amazing to watch him as he watched over her.   I could not have ever asked for a better wife or a better “Dog Mother”.     I am happy to be celebrating this special day with her, and am looking forward to the nicer days filled with so much sunshine.   Sunshine is appropriate, as my first ever nickname for her was “Sunshine Girl”.  I won’t reveal what her very first nickname for me was.   Happy Birthday, Colleen!  I wuf you! 

A New Year’s Message

Josh:   Being the oldest dog in the house, it is up to me to speak for the entire pack.   I want to wish all of you dogs out there – whether you are painted in gold or not – a very Happy New Year!  I once again hope we can, as the most lovable of all creatures, show these humans what true love and compassion is all about.     We can continue to wag our tails vigorously as they yell at their televisions.  We can continue to pant happily as they complain about whatever negative stuff is now showing up on their Twitter feed.   We can laugh about how ridiculous they look worrying over petty stuff (Think about what OUR lives are like, humans!  We often will lay on the floor, panting wildly while doing nothing more than looking at a blank wall.   We are HAPPY in just about every situation – unless you missed our feeding schedule, of course!)       If only people can cherish their time as much as we doggies cherish ours – we don’t know where it began, and we have no concept of it all ending.   All we know is what is happening right at this very second, and we are going to live the next second just like we lived the previous one.  Happy!   I wish you all the best, and we will see you in 2017!

Indeed, Josh.  Indeed.   Although New Year’s Eve is not quite as scary for dogs as the 4th of July can be, just remember to keep your dogs safe.  If you live in a neighborhood where fireworks are  a New Year’s Eve possibility, keep your dogs INSIDE until they subside.   A dog freaked out by fireworks can become “Superdog”, capable of hopping high fences or barreling through fences you thought were secure.    If you are having a party, make sure Fido is safe and comfortable – if your house typically doesn’t have much company, he may be spooked/stressed by having so many people at once showing up at the door.     Keep all of that in mind and have a Happy New Year!

Goldens Talk Around the Christmas Table

Josh:   A topic about FOOD?   Now you are speaking my language!   Pass the chicken livers!

Jeter:    I love the holidays – of course, we typically get “extras” every day anyway.  But on the holidays it seems we get even MORE!

Alanis:  How much more did you exactly get, Jeter?   I think it should be told that our parents took JETER to the family get together this year while Josh and I stayed home.

Josh:   I don’t go for rides any more, due to my age and immobility – I am content with just hanging out at home, protecting the house like I have always done.

Jeter:  I only received a few meatballs and Milk Bones….

Alanis:    While we were here, suffering in our hunger…..

Jeter:  Dramatic much?

Josh:  WIll you two stop?  Pass me the beef jerky.

Jeter:   I love these treats for dinner – typically, we get dry dog food and….

Josh:  STOP RIGHT THERE!  The three things we do not talk about around the holiday table are religion, politics, and dog food!   Humans are weird when it comes to debating dog food!  I just want to eat…

Alanis:   I do like the Earthborn….

Josh:   STOP!  Just please stop before you cause The Doggie Apocalypse.

Jeter:  I wonder what Santa got us for Christmas this year……

Josh:  Duh!  Treats and toys!  Have you not figured this out yet?   I am of the age where I am the Grandfather that goes right to sleep after dinner.

Alanis:   I love Christmas gifts!  Especially if they are the type I can instantly tear into a million pieces.

Josh:   Did anyone see the chocolate?

Jeter:  NO CHOCOLATE, Josh!   Remember, those pesky humans have a list of things we shouldn’t eat around the holidays!

Josh:  I know, I know.  I just wish I could sneak a Kit Kat every now and again…..

Alanis:    Milk Chocolate isn’t as bad as the darker stuff….

Jeter:    True, but once we get the taste of chocolate in our brains, we are more apt to want it and crave it.   So, they keep all chocolate from us.

Josh:  Well, not really – they have like 10,000 pieces of chocolate sitting there in the dining room that we were trained to not touch….they are tempting fate.

Jeter:   I am content with cheese, hot dogs, pieces of biscuit, and whatever else they decide to give us.

Alanis:   It still isn’t enough!  (WOOF WOOF!)  I want more treats!  (WOOF WOOF!)

Jeter:  STOP THAT BARKING, diva!

Josh:  Annoying.  Very annoying.

Jeter:  OK, I am done here – everything was good, as always – though strangely, most of it tastes the same.

Josh:  We have about 8,000 less taste buds than humans..but we smell things much better than they do!

Jeter:   Dork.

Alanis:  Why don’t we have a Christmas tree?

Jeter:   Because everyone knows you would likely destroy it five minutes after Mommy decorates it!

Alanis:  OK, OK, enough of this!   Time for presents!   And Josh to take another long nap!

Jeter:  I hope Santa remembered the tennis balls…..

Me:   If you get five different dog owners in the same room, you will receive five different opinions on how you should feed your dog.   I am no fan of the “Dog Food Police”.   I have a simple rule that I think everyone can easily abide by:   Get the best possible food you can that you can reasonably afford.   Criticizing people on what they feed their dogs is pointless – dogs have lived long, satisfying lives living on Mighty Dog and Alpo.  I agree that it is possible those dogs may have lived even LONGER if they had a better food, but that is true of us humans as well.   Don’t drive yourself crazy over this.   If you are interested in dog food ratings, you can try the Dog Food Advisor.    Pay attention to dog food recalls.   Some people like to mix things up from time to time with different brands and what not.  If you do this, do it slowly.  Mix in their old food with the new food to give your dog a chance to adjust.   Currently, my dogs are on Earthborn, Rachel Ray Delish Dish (Mainly Jeter, who also gets her “wet food” once a day), and recently Dr. Foster and Smith.   We have used Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Solid Gold, Nature’s Recipe, and more in the past.  They are all good foods at different price points.   Costco’s house brand also gets praise at a very reasonable price.    I have never done the “raw” diet before, so I can’t comment on that.   As for the holidays?   Use common sense and your dogs will get through them just fine.   Most dogs don’t bother Christmas trees – but use common sense.  Monitor them.  Put a gate around the tree, if necessary.    Most of all, have FUN with your animals during the holiday season – as they say, every day is Christmas for a dog!