Ellie, shortly after her arrival. She sure looks cute, but........
When I began to make murmurings about getting another golden early last summer, the males of the house tried to dissuade me: my son lobbied for a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and my husband requested I consider a Clumber Spaniel. As I read about both of these breeds online, I wanted to think I was being open-minded -- but really, I was having none of it. I mean, if it works......why fix it? (And you know, what Mom wants................) So, after researching several golden retriever breeders in southern Michigan through the summer, "Ellie" came home to us in September.
It did not take long for me to begin to wonder if, a) I had been tremendously naive, or b) I had simply forgotten what cute, little puppies are really like -- though I'm quite sure my memory serves me correctly in that I'd never experienced anything quite like Ellie. I'd envisioned walking through the fields with my beloved golden puppy at a perfect 'heel' by my left knee, (okay, okay.......that was naive), and suffered from delusions of me working at my drawing table with Ellie quietly napping on her fleece mat at my feet.
This was not to be. Actually working for any length of time, soon seemed like a distant memory. Ellie seemed much less like a sweet little puppy, and more like the whirling Tasmanian devil I recall from cartoons as a child. Even my husband, more dog-savvy and tolerant of puppy foibles than I, was heard to mutter on several occasions, "I think there is something wrong with her." Listening was clearly a totally foreign (or selective) skill on her part for many weeks, and there seemed to be a great deal of confusion as to who was actually the pack leader around here. Averaging about every forty-five seconds, I was either taking something out of her mouth that didn't belong there, saving my elderly cat from her puppy exuberance, or removing her from somewhere or something that is off-limits. (And I'll spare you the potty-training details.) My life was quickly reduced to a pocketful of "cookies" (food being the only thing that motivated Ellie toward anything that even remotely resembled good behavior), and a vocabulary consisting of, "no", "leave it", "sit", "stay", "STAAAYYY", "off", "leave the cat alone!"...............and the occasional, "good girl".