Seven years ago my father passed away. He was my best friend, my confidant, and my co-conspirator when it came to getting dogs. When I was very young, we could not have a dog as my older brother was quite allergic. When we would go to our cottage for the christmas holidays, and my brother was old enough to stay home alone, my dad would go to the nearest SPCA, adopting a dog for the two weeks we were there. When it was time to come home, we would find a friend who could adopt the dog permanently, and give it to that family. Many of my friends got amazing dogs this way and many dogs got wonderful homes. As soon as my brother moved out for good, I think it took about 5 minutes before he was replaced by a stunning black mutt named Sadie.
As we learned about different aspects of different breeds, we both fell madly in love with the Golden Retriever. Long after I was married and out of the house, my dad got a beautiful boy named Barclay, and he and I shared the dog. Barclay was my dad’s, but I was his best babysitter, and we enjoyed 11 years of co-ownership.
When my dad passed, I felt very lost. It’s amazing how you can be surrounded by loved ones and still feel so alone. And then while looking through pictures one day, I got the bright idea to look on different breeder’s websites and see what kind of golden retriever’s might be looking for homes. I ended up talking to a breeder who had an 8 month old puppy who was available. With 4 kids at home, and an older german shepherd, my husband was understandably insistent that we could not bring another dog into the house, but for the first time ever in my life, I did what I wanted to do, and not what was expected of me. I told him I was going to pick the dog up, and all he had to do was help me to introduce the two dogs. In the time it takes to say “you want how many dogs?” Oscar was an integral member of our family. That was 6 years ago.
Everywhere I take Oscar, people fall in love with him. He is a gentle giant, handsome and sweet. My daughter says he is the canine equivalent of Jeff Bridges, and I’d have to agree. From the moment I brought him into our home, I started to heal. I could almost hear my dad telling me what a beautiful dog he was, and I could sense him smiling at the pleasure my youngest children got from him. Today is Oscar’s 7th birthday. Time has certainly flown, and the acute pain caused by my father’s passing has certainly eased. I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t had him there by my side to help me grieve, and luckily I don’t have to worry about that. So happy birthday my big, sweet boy, thank you for all that you have given me.
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