Golden Girl

I’m one of those people who can’t pass by a pet store without going in just to see the puppies. A couple of days after Christmas, I was at the mall when I spotted an exuberant Golden Retriever pup beckoning me inside with her wagging tail and soulful brown eyes. There was no resisting this visit—Goldens have been one of my favorite breeds.

I felt an immediate spiritual bond between the pup and me. It was a quiet day and the manager let me play with the puppy in the back room for almost an hour nonstop. When she got tired, she curled into my lap and nuzzled her nose onto my arm. The manager was quick for the sale, saying that he had never seen a better match. I regretfully had to decline.

He responded, “Too bad. It’s probably the last puppy in Orange County. All our puppies are gone by Christmas Eve and it’s the same for almost all other pet stores. The only reason this one is here is because her shipping information got messed up and she just arrived this morning—too late for Christmas Eve. Even so, I guarantee that she will be gone by tonight.”

There was no doubt in my mind that this dog was special—and, we had definitely bonded. But within days, I would be leaving on an around-the-world trip and wouldn’t be back for four months. Obviously, I couldn’t take a new dog home now. As I left the store, the puppy started crying loudly, and pawing and jumping up at the window. It was so hard to walk away from her. Half an hour later, I could still hear her yelping across the mall. Even though common sense won out—it totally broke my heart. I resolved that when I returned from my trip I would find another pup just like this one.

For months after my return I was on a mission. I visited many kennels and pet stores looking for a dog like the one I had fallen in love with in the pet store that day. Although I liked every pup I met, there was always something missing—the connection I had experienced with that special puppy. As time passed, I had all but given up and thought that perhaps I was being unrealistic in my expectations. The idea of getting a Golden was put on the back burner.

Thanksgiving was approaching when my business partner came in and informed me that his wife had seen an ad for a free Golden to a good home. It was a local family so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to look and went by after work.

The young couple had two Goldens; a one-year-old and a three-year-old. They had gotten married earlier that year, moved into a new small home, and now a baby was on the way. They realized that they just didn’t have room for two dogs, and one would have to go. They figured it would be easier for someone to take the younger one.

I could hardly meet the dog—it was running all over the place; jumping up on furniture, even grabbing food off the table. Sheepishly, the wife confessed that they had been so busy with the wedding, moving, and making babies that they hadn’t had any time to train this dog. I knew that the last thing I wanted was a one year old dog that had every bad habit imaginable and no training. But, I didn’t want to be rude so I asked the usual question.

“So, where did you get her?”

The wife replied, “We got her at the mall a couple of days after Christmas. We had called all around and it was the only dog we could find.”

I gave them an astonished look. Could it be? My heart was pounding as I asked if they had a sales receipt. When they showed it to me, I immediately got tears in my eyes. There was no doubt. It was the same puppy. I nodded and said, “She’s a pretty special dog. I’ll take her.”

The bond between Sierra and me returned quickly and within a few weeks I had broken almost all of her bad habits. We became inseparable; we shared life, adventures and companionship until almost her eighteenth birthday. After Sierra left this earth, I have had other dogs that I loved dearly. But there is, and always will be, an exclusive corner of my heart that is occupied by only one dog—a special Golden girl who was fated to be mine.

Bruce from CA

One Response

  1. Sandra Miller Says:

    What a lovely story, Bruce. So wonderfully amazing you got together again.

    I got one from a pet shop, too. She was so
    adorable everyone in the elevator made a fuss
    over her. I had had many dogs, but, now, I was living in a 3rd floor apt. Buff got huge. She
    scared everybody in the elevator, and when I walked her she would pull me down on the ground.

    I knew I should find a better home for her, and I did. They had a walled in home with a pool and another retriever! I cried and cried as they
    took her to the elevator.

    Golden Retrievers are just the greatest dogs. If
    I ever have a lawn again, I’ll get another.