Is there such a thing as “the perfect dog”? I would have thought so, but the older I get, either the less tolerant I am, or the more truth I see….I’m not sure which. I have two dogs. My first is a rescue that originated in a pet store, so probably a puppy mill, and ended up with a young lady who was just starting her life and didn’t have enough time to look after him properly. Oscar is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest Golden Retriever you could ask for. In fact he is a poster child for the breed. When I brought him home at 8 months he was a little heavy (108 lbs), but with the proper diet and exercise he holds steady at a svelte 83 pounds. He has a perfect golden coat, a quiet demeanor, is loved by all that meet him, and will celebrate his 7th birthday this spring. That said, he has a penchant for “hot spots”. These are infections that can happen under long fur when the skin underneath gets moist and does not dry properly. It is a bacterial infection that causes great, gaping wounds that the dog continually scratches open when you are not looking. If I do put the cone-of-shame on him, then my house usually needs re-painting from all the walls he bumps into, or it stresses him out so much that he will just stand around, looking depressed and panting. Antibiotics take care of the issue, but try as I might, I have not been successful in my attempts to thwart this silly infection, and we usually end up with two rounds of it over the spring/summer months. Most Goldens are very prone to this issue. My next problem with him is his breath. Ugh! There are days when I can smell it when I am a good three feet away. We have tried brushing his teeth, but the only thing that helps, and only for a short while, are the bad breath cookies. So we keep plenty of those in stock!
My other dog is a beautiful 2 year old German Shepherd. I will admit that we never should have brought this dog into the fold, but we did and we have to deal with her. You see, we lost our elderly German Shepherd about 2 years ago now, and somehow the household which includes myself, my husband, my daughter and son from my first marriage (both in their twenties), my then 6 year old twin boys and Oscar the Golden Retriever, seemed too quiet! To this day I look back and wonder if somebody slipped something into my drink! Three weeks after losing our beloved Maxi, along came Kahshe. I dedicated myself to her training, vowing to never have a German Shepherd that was a liability. We got her used to other dogs, used to small children, socialized her every day, leash trained her to walk at my side, and generally made a good canine citizen out of her. Then she turned 1! She decided she hates little white dogs, will protect the house to the death, even if it is someone she knows, fight with the neighbours dog through the fence, run over anyone giving oscar attention to get it for herself, and generally just be a pain in the butt. I know, I know, she needs more exercise….well, she gets run everyday! She can no longer be run off leash since the “little white dog incident” that cost me $350, but we do our best. When we are up north at our cottage, where she can run free, and there are no neighbours to harass, she is the most perfect dog in the world. Her recall is astounding, she loves to swim, and after a long day, will just lie out on the deck, even if company comes by.
So is there a perfect dog? I thought I had two of them, but the older I get the more I realize perfect is in the eye of the beholder!