Koda’s “Gotcha Day” was this past Saturday and it came and went without fanfare or much excitement. The same can’t be said for the first year she’s been with us. It’s been quite the year of the puppy around the Golden K… In many ways the Year of Koda!
We adopted Koda at 16 weeks old through the same Golden Retriever rescue group all our girls have come through. As soon as I got her home I realized we had one tenacious pup on our hands. Upon getting home I introduced her to our other girls who were only mildly interested.
Upon arriving home with Koda, Kali – almost ten years old at the time – had the same reaction she had when we brought Kloe home two years before: alternating looks between Koda and me, “Sniff, sniff…. WOOF, BARK, WOOF”. Translation: “Oh no no no. You take that little pup right back to where you got her! I will not stand for that in my house.”
Kloe was much more interested sniffing Koda up , down and under. They began running and playing and it was now evident to Kali, and much to her chagrin, that this pup was here to stay. Kali was probably thinking, “Great Kloe, we had it pretty good here just the two of us and now because of your open mindedness and welcoming demeanor this pup is probably going to stay”. But Kali being Kali who above all is a gentle and loving soul quickly accepted Koda and has even taken on the occasional role of mom to her.
Koda was not shy about immediately exploring her new surroundings and getting in the face of her new sisters. If her sisters tried to “school” Koda she would put her head down and her butt up in the air, puff up her mouth, and make this “aroo roo roo” sound as if to say, “bring it!”. This has become a signature trait for this fearless little girl.
Koda’s tenacity was also immediately evident in her play, in her response to being scolded, and in her unrelenting desire to engage in rough play with her older sister Kloe. She quickly learned and seem to accept that Kali was not going to play with her. But as long as Kloe responded to Koda’s overtures that was fine for Koda. As most puppies will do Koda initiated play with Kloe often by blind-siding her and jumping on her back or with a head crashing tackle to her face. The thing about it was that Koda at that time was just 22 pounds and Kloe was 80. It didn’t seem to phase Koda.
Most older dogs instinctively are aware of their larger size and will go easy on a younger smaller pup. Kloe started out this way but quickly learned that Koda was not your normal little pup who acquiesces to an older and much larger dog. When provoked Kloe would thrash Koda around pretty good but each time Koda went back for more usually with an extended “aroo roo roo” head low to the ground and butt in the air tail ‘awagging. “Bring it ! You’re not so big. I can take it and give you some right back….a roo roo roo roo…”
Koda has been more challenging than her sisters ever were. Kali was a mature five year old when we adopted her and she demonstrated immediate respect for authority and her surroundings. Kloe was a normal puppy with normal challenges but she is a rule follower by nature and therefore has always been easy to manage. Koda on the other hand? Well, “aroo roo roo” says it all!
“Down Koda”. “Aroo roo roo”. “Koda leave it!” “Aroo roo roo, GRRRR, aroo!”.
Koda is still learning that every dog she meets is not instantly ready or able to play and that every stranger we meet is not a human trampoline for her personal use. She is also slowly learning that good things happen when she is calm and obedient. I’m growing too. I’ve had to learn and deploy different training and management techniques. I’ve had to develop more patience. And, I’ve become a bit more tenacious myself in my commitment to helping Koda become the best dog she can be.
So one year down – the year of the Koda – and God willing many many more to come!
Happy Gotcha Day sweetie girl Koda!