The Golden Retriever Club of America National Rescue Committee

IN PRAISE OF BIG, OLD RED DOGS

By Louise Ure

Thinking of adopting a Golden? I'll let you in on a secret. Big, old, red dogs are the best.

Oh, I know, you probably think I sound biased and shallow. Maybe their coloring matches my furniture. Maybe their girth makes me look slim when we walk together. Maybe it just makes me feel good to have a partner whose age in dog years equals my own. But it's more than that.

Look at their coats and your mind wanders to names like Cinnamon, Cognac, Cayenne and Sedona. Heady, fragrant, lush names. But look in their eyes and they become Murphy or Angel or Good Boy. They are dogs with hearts as big as dinner bowls.

Seeing a big, old, red dog rediscover tennis balls on a sunny day in a grassy, green park will make tou believe in love again. And having that soft, heavy head lay against your thigh will make you believe in God.

Give me an old dog any day. A dog who's walking pace doesn't put me to shame. Who is grateful for every sunrise. And who is old enough not to tolerate fools, but doesn't mind fooling around just the same. There's rarely any house training to be done, and the bad habits to be broken work both ways.

Can an old dog learn new tricks? I know they can. A new command, a new skill, a new attitude. Maybe there's hope for me as well.

Someday I'll tell you the story of our two big, old, red dogs: Shelby and Angus. Shelby who arrived broken and unbowed and taught us how to be young again. And Angus, our 8 1/2 year-old new arrival, with a lop-sided face like a tragedy-comedy mask and the heart of a lion.

But today I'll just sing the praises of all big, old, red dogs. They are home entertainment centers you don't have to plug in.

(Reprinted with permission of the author and Norcal Golden Retriever Rescue)