69.5 and rising

by Lorin Michel Friday, April 1, 2016 10:42 PM

All of our dogs have been rescues. I have always been an advocate of dog rescue and since we got Maguire at the animal shelter, Kevin has been, too. I love that it is now considered the way to get a dog or a cat. Rescue and adopt and give a four-legged friend a chance at a wonderful life, regardless of how long you’re blessed with the little dude or dude-ette. 

When we got Maguire, he was a puppy. Ten pounds of squirmy, stinky fur. He grew quickly. The shelter had figured he’d be a medium sized dog. They also thought he was mostly German shepherd. He was neither medium sized, nor a German shepherd. He grew into a big dog and at his healthiest, weighed 85 pounds. So much for the medium dog thing. We wouldn’t have traded his big-dog self for anything. 

We rescued Cooper about 10 months after we lost Maguire. We went to all the local shelters and found no dogs that we bonded with. The sad thing about shelters, especially in the Southern California and Central Coast area where we lived and visited, is that they are teeming with pit bulls and Chihuahuas. We tend to like very furry, long haired dogs. Hippy, goofy dogs. Maguire had been diagnosed as being golden retriever and Australian shepherd, with some other breeds like Chow thrown in for good measure. He was rarely goofy but he was funny. We looked for Australian shepherd-golden mixes at shelters and online. Eventually I found a golden border collie mix that just grabbed me. His name was Andy. He became our Cooper. He actually was a medium size dog. He was about 50 pounds, though his paperwork said that he had been 67 pounds at one point. We couldn’t imagine another 27 pounds on him. By the time he got to 64 pounds, we could.

Riley is a golden retriever and something else and some other things. The people who surrendered him evidently had been told he was a golden-doodle, a mix of golden retriever and poodle. There is no doodle in this boy of ours.

When he arrived, on a Monday night at the end of April, he seemed … small. When Jenny, my friend, who drives transport for Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue, drove into the motorcourt and got out, Kevin and I were nervous. We were standing inside, at the door. We’d only seen a picture and the dog didn’t look, well, great. His name at the time was Bernie, a horrible name for a dog. As Jenny walked around her car, “Bernie” stood up in the back seat and turned around

Kevin, hushed: “He’s beautiful.”

He was. And skinny. When we took him to the vet that following weekend, he weighed just 54 pounds. He was tall, with long legs, and could easily have been in the 60s for weight. 

Well, not to worry. He is now. After a year with us, he’s now clocking in at a healthy and happy 69.5 pounds. We went to the vet today, to follow up on his allergy issue, and they weighed him. He’s filled out; he’s thicker. He’s healthy (other than the allergies) and happy. His fur is soft and curly. He’s growing. 

In September, when we had the first homeowner’s association meeting here, one of the residents who attended, who had an older golden retriever named Sam, remarked: “He’s skinny. Do you think he’ll gain weight?” We need to have that guy back so he can see that our boy has definitely filled out. In the near year he’s been with us, he’s gain 15.5 pounds. 

Maybe it’s the food we feed our boys (Natural Balance Ultra). Maybe it’s just that each, when here, finally feels safe and happy, and so like people, they fill out a bit. I’m going with the latter, because I know that all three – Maguire, Cooper and now Riley – lived, and in the case of Riley, are living, the life they were meant to live. Safe from the world. Rescued. And loved. Living it out loud.

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live out loud

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