Why Do I Have Three Dogs?

After Koda joined our pack a couple of years ago someone asked me why I had three dogs.   I said, “because my wife won’t let me have four”.  Boom – Rim shot!  I wasn’t the one who thought of that answer. I had seen it somewhere else; maybe on a tee-shirt or a Facebook meme.   But I am pretty sure that if I seriously suggested getting a fourth pup my wife would present me with an ultimatum.  That’s not to say that Holly doesn’t love our three girls as much as I do or that I want another dog.   I’ve also had the question about what it’s like to have more than one dog, or as in my case, three.

Having more than one dog definitely has it’s merits: An obvious one is that they provide companionship and security to each other when Holly and I aren’t around.   More selfishly is how great I feel when my three girls are nearby and laying together fast asleep with parts of each other’s bodies on one another.  Ahhh…peace.

But there are plenty things that could be considered downsides:   Three times the cost of food, vet bills, pet insurance, and toys.   And the exponential affect of poop. Or as I say, poop squared.  I’m convinced that having three dogs yields enough poop for nine dogs!

Getting On The The Same Page

Like with human siblings there are times that my three girls are not barking off the same woof sheet.  Koda is maturing and more often she will acquiesce to the flow of the family, wait her turn, or just give me some space with one of her sisters.  But for much of her first two years she wanted demanded the attention of the entire pack during all waking hours.   She initiated commandeered rough play from her two older sisters – Koda and Kali – throughout much of the day. Whether they wanted to play or not.

When Kali joined the pack at five years old it was just her.  Most of my routines revolved around her.   Our walks to the Creek Trail, play time, cuddle time and so on. I have to admit I miss the times that it was just Kali and I.  We established an ever lasting bond that has transcended the passing of time and addition of siblings.   But now at 11 years, Kali has slowed down significantly and mostly sleeps the day away.  Often there are activities when she has to be left behind.  Like morning walks or an excursion beyond The Golden K like a trip to the lake.  That makes me a little sad.

Food Is The common Denominator

Regardless of age, distractions, or personalities there is one activity where The Girls are in lock step.  Meal time!  When breakfast and dinner preparation begin they work in harmony to get under my feet supervise and root me on.  As I lift the filled bowls from the counter they move as a single unit to the designated feeding area.  Their moves are so aligned and focused you’d think that Bob Fosse had choreographed it!  Once bowls are on the ground they sit without prompting, collectively look adoringly in my eyes stare impatiently while waiting for the release to their bowls.  Teamwork at it’s finest!

And then there were three

My Girls have distinct personalities and priorities.  They were never as evident as one day shortly after Koda joined the pack as a four month old puppy.   For potty training and other reasons we used gates to make sure Koda stayed in the kitchen and could not wonder too far out of our site.   One afternoon The Girls were all in the kitchen as I was busy going in and out for various reasons.  To get out of and back into the kitchen I would need to step over one of the gates.  As went to step over the gate my shoe got stuck at the top and I fell taking the gate down with me.  My knee landed hard on the gate and I laid there sightly crumbled on the ground.   Here is where the The Girl’s priorities were on full display.

It all happened quickly.  As I laid on the ground in a bit of pain The Girls all rushed to my side.  But for different reasons.

Koda was first and in a flash threw her body on mine.  Her tail was wagging fast, her tongue was out, and she was very excited to see me on the floor.   Surely this was play time!  Kloe is very sensitive and intuitive.  She knew immediately that I was in pain and came to my side to comfort me.  As I lay there trying to fight Koda off,  Kloe sat by my side leaning into my body with a concerned look on her face.  And then there was Kali; last to arrive but no less passionate (about her priority).   Most dogs – especially Goldens – are food motivated.  If there are levels of food motivation from one to 10 Kali would be at least 500.  These days she struggles to get up from a down position because of her bad hips.   Often times I have to help her up.  But if there is food involved Kali springs up like Tigger of Winnie The Pooh fame and is first in line.

So on this day as I lay there on the ground with the full weight of Kloe’s 75 pounds leaning into me and Koda’s paws and tongue in my face, here comes Kali.   And what does Kali do?  She sticks sticks her snout into my pocket because she knows that there are usually treats there.

So why do I have three dogs?  Because my wife says I can’t have four!

Time

When Kali first joined established our pack six years ago as a rescue from Tawain she was estimated to be five-years old.  We didn’t have the pleasure of seeing her grow up from puppy-hood. We didn’t get to see her as that roly-poly ball of fur tripping over her own feet or bouncing off a ledge that was too tall to scale.   There are no memories of her at that gawky teen-ager stage.  We met Kali as an adult.  A mature dog who already had a lifetime of stories to tell if she only could.

Kloe and Koda came to us as puppies; Kloe at nine weeks and Koda at 4 months.   We have the memories (and plethora of pictures) of them going through various stages of puppy.   Golden Retrievers are slow to mature and they maintain much of that playful puppy personality until around three years old.  Many keep their puppish traits into old age.  Kloe, now four and a half, has been a full fledged adult for well over a year.  Koda at just over two is starting to outgrow some of her puppy-ness but she has a way to go…  I do hope that they are true to their breed and always have some of those goofy playful traits that are so endearing.

A day, four months, a minute, six years.  Just time, right?  And what do dogs know about time?…  I used to think that time is man-made and under our control.  And I suppose the manner that we measure time is of our own doing.  But really time is something we can’t control.  Whether it’s measured with man-made tools like clocks and calendars.   Or with nature like the cycles of the moons, colors of the seasons, or the rings of a giant sequoia tree (when measured with man-made tools) that can be over 2,500 years old.  The passing of time is inevitable, the effects of that passing of time is undeniable and reflected in our bodies.  And also in the bodies of our dogs.

We estimate Kali to be 11.  But we really don’t know anything about her life before she was rescued in Taiwan and sent to us in the U.S.   Maybe she is only eight and seems older due to a very hard life as a stray in Taiwan.  Or perhaps she is 14 which would be well above average life-span for her breed.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter because what does Kali know about time anyway.   She only knows “now”.

“Now” is getting harder for Kali.  Time has caught up with her mind.  Sometime she looks confused.  Time has caught up with her senses.   She has foggy eyes and is hard of hearing.  Time has caught up with her legs that are no longer very steady and especially wobbly on smooth surfaces.   She has always had a passionate appetite and is always ready for a meal or a snack.  That’s a reassuring sign.

Kali mostly sleeps now,  and is doing just that by my side as I write this post.  It’s typical for a senior dog to snooze away the majority of the day.  I feel that Kali has earned the right to do that.   There are occasional flashes of energy.  Like when she gallops (in-spite of her bad legs) across the driveway to my office in the morning.  When I see that goofy looking trot it fills  I laugh out loud.  It fills my heart with joy when I see some of the puppy traits she once had.  She is especially spry at meal time when she dances like Snoopy from Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts”.

So yeah, TIME.

“Lost time is never found again”  – Benjamin Franklin

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend” – Theophrastus 

“Time waits for no one” – Folklore

However time is measured – with clocks, the phases of the moon, or a lazy summer day – I hope to have much more of it with Kali by my side.

“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us”. – J.R.R. Tolkien

KALI:  YESTERDAY AND TODAY

Golden Kali – 2020

“Nala” before America

 

Golden Light In My Life

Six years in the context of an average human lifespan is not very long.    Six years to a dog is quite a long time especially when that dog’s life span is 12 or 13 years on average.  Six years for Kali and I is both a flash and an eternity.

A flash in that it seems like just the other day I was sitting in the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport waiting for my precious cargo to be unloaded.  Waiting with two months of accumulated anticipation since first seeing Kali’s picture on the Facebook page called “Rescued Love From Taiwan”.   This group coordinates with True Love Rescue to bring mostly Golden Retrievers from Taiwan to loving families in Northern California.  This was where Kali came from.  I’ve documented that story of Kali’s journey from Taiwan to America any times.  Newer followers of Golden Kali can read about it here:  Meet Kali.

It also feels like an eternity because of the countless experiences Kali and I have had together during the past six years.  For much of this time Kali  was rarely far from my side.  As I write this post she lies sleeping at my feet; a very familiar spot and one that is so natural to both of us.  We estimated Kali’s age to be five years when she joined our pack.  Now a full fledged senior at 11 her hip dysplasia slows her down quite a bit.  Her cataracts impair her vision.  She’s developed either acute selective hearing or just plain hearing loss.  I believe it is the latter.   Still, Kali’s  love and devotion remain ever present and stronger than ever.  I try every day to live up to that example she sets for me!

Each year Memorial Weekend marks Kali’s Gotcha Day.

So here on the Sunday of the 2020 Memorial Day holiday I sit reflecting on that same weekend in 2014 when we welcomed Kali into our family and into our home in Livermore, CA.   Kali adjusted to her new life almost immediately.  The bond between us was instant.  For two years we carried out an almost daily routine of morning walks, meals, playtime in the afternoon, and cuddles in the evening.

In 2016 we added a new nine-week old puppy to the pack and named her Kloe.  Kali welcomed her with open paws and became a great big sister and teacher.   Within two weeks we moved to the Sierra Nevada Foothill town of Tuolumne, CA.  Kali took it all in stride welcoming her new surroundings and new baby sister.  “But wait Kali – there’s more…”

In 2018 we adopted Koda, a four month old rescue.  Koda was, and is, a bundle of energy and moxie!  This time around Kali is not as actively involved with the younger pup.  She stays above the fray and leaves the heavy lifting to her younger sister Kloe all the while remaining near by and willing to offer advice (woof!) and criticism (“Zzzz”) when necessary.

So on this 2020 Memorial weekend, as we remain mostly sheltered in place,  I am feeling blessed that my Golden Kali remains in my life and by my side.

Happy Gotcha Day Kali.  You will forever be the Golden light in my life and at The Golden K.

 

Stay!

Most dogs know the word stay; especially when accompanied by an open hand in front of their face.  Some people, well not so much.

It’s a trying time for our global community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.   The stay at home orders continue to grow state by state and, in varying degrees, Americans are heeding the advice and direction from our leaders and scientists.  Privileged Americans that we are with all our civil liberties sometimes have a hard time being told what to do or when to do it.  We are reluctant or even unwilling to adjust out routines for the better good of the world community.   But “stay” is a very important word right now for all of us to hear, and adhere to.  It’s our best chance to slow the spread of this virus.

Having said that I know that many two legged pack members cannot stay.  Many are healthcare professionals treating the infected and helping them to get healthy.  Many are working to keep stores open so those of us who are not sick have the basic supplies we need to stay healthy.  And that list goes on for those who cannot stay.  But for those of you that can, please….STAY!   Don’t make me put my hand in front of your face…. 🙂

Meanwhile, life goes on without many changes for my girls.  The biggest disruption for Kali, Kloe, and Koda is the wet weather we’ve had the past two weeks.  It’s  kept them mostly sheltering in place in the house instead of outside in the sun.  Kali actually prefers to be in the house even when the weather is warm and dry.  Her 11 year old bones are much more comfortable when she is asleep in front of the pellet stove or in a sun drenched area of the kitchen.   She is a black belt at “down stay”.

I’m pretty sure the girls are enjoying the enhanced family time.  But I wonder if there will come a point where they wish we would go just away for a while so that they could sleep in peace.  The humans in this pack have been very good at stay but not so good at down-stay or sit-stay.   We tend to move around a lot during the day.  We’re constantly working, cleaning, and milling around.   It’s not until evening that we allow ourselves to settle down and relax.   I think the girls are exhausted by the end of the day from watching so much activity during what is usually their alone time.

We should also take some cues from our girls during this (hopefully) unique period of time and just settle.  Those of us who remain healthy should first and foremost count our blessings. But then maybe find some sun and take a nap.  Or take a long chew on a good book.  Or maybe use our noses to guide us around the yard and sniff out something we have not noticed before.  Because with continued adherence to stay,  good science, and good leadership it won’t be long before us humans are back in full blown fetch mode.

From all of us at The Golden K we wish all of our Golden Kali followers and their families good health and good luck riding out this difficult time.

Stay! and take care,

Kali, Kloe, Koda, Michael and Holly.

Shelter In Place

Sheltering In Place Experts

Falling In Love With Koda

I’ve always taken for granted that I love all my girls desperately and without reservation.       So I caught myself by surprise recently when I was looking at Koda and realized that I had fallen in love with her.   Not at that moment, or even on that day.   But over the months I had fallen head over heals in love with the youngest of my three girls.

That’s not to say that I don’t love my other girls with equal passion.   I do.  But I realize now that the dynamics of adding a third dog placed more demands on the pack than I had anticipated.  Like children to some degree adding numbers to your family has an exponential effect.   One dog is like having one dog.  Two is like four and three is like nine.   Or at least that’s how it feels at times.  My love is bottomless so it’s not really a problem. They put more in my tank than take out…

Koda, now 21 months, joined our pack at four months old.  From the moment I brought her home it was clear that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with a handful.  She had tenacity both physically and vocally.  In play with her big sister Kloe – who outweighed her by almost 60 pounds at the time – Koda never backed down even when Kloe tried to tell her enough was enough.   When I told her I didn’t like something she was doing she would slink her body around puffing up her cheeks and letting out a stream of profanities vocalizations that sounds like “A rooo rooo rooo!”  If I were to  translate those sounds into words they would have to be written something like, “#@%&#*!!”.

Koda’s tenacity and determination was evident from day one.   The Golden K sits on five acres and the girls have designated fenced areas for their safety.  Koda quickly found that she could slip through the bars of a wrought iron gate that leads out of one of those fenced areas.   In some ways it was endearing because the only reason she wanted to escape was to be me with who at the time was doing some work in another part of the property.   I put chicken wire on the fence the next day to keep her from slipping through the bars.  No problem for Koda – she scaled the fence, again in an effort to follow me to where I was going.  There were several iterations of this as I experimented with various methods to keep her inside the safety zone.  With each escape she would come trotting up to me smiling as if to say, “I found you. I’m here.  I figured out how to scale the fence”, or “I missed you and I was able to slip under the bottom of the railing” and so on.

Koda was destructive at times chewing on furniture and finding her way to clothes, shoes, and other personal items.   Some of that’s on me of course but still Koda seemed to set new household records for finding her way to trouble.   The drip lines in the garden?  No matter how deep I buried them Koda found them.  Sprinkler heads? No problem. Apparently she knows how to twist them off the risers and with her jaw.   Last summer was dry and brown in the garden to say the least!

Koda Koda Koda!   The typical third child who believes the rules don’t apply to them.  But over the months this tenacious pup has fallen into line (mostly).    Through maturity and a lot of time and training on our part Koda has tempered her “enthusiasm” and is learning to respect the pack.  She and I recently completed intermediate obedience training with our local AKC group.  I was so happy and proud to see how eager she has become to learn and please me as her handler and as her dad.

Throughout much of last year Kloe was injured or recovering from her bi-lateral TPLO surgery.  During much of that time Koda was challenging the status quo and finding new ways to test our patience.  Much of our energy went into “managing” Koda and nursing Kloe back to health.  Plus Kali is getting on in years (almost 11) and sometimes needs special attention and help.  Distraction was definitely a theme for 2019!

I now realize that throughout these past and sometimes tumultuous 17 months I was falling in love with Koda.  Maybe it was the aforementioned distractions.   Maybe I simply took it for granted.  Certainly I didn’t expect this deepening of love to be a journey.   I don’t believe Koda will ever lose the tenacity she displayed from the moment she arrived home.   Nor do I want her to. I believe it will serve her well over the years even if at times it is a challenge for me.  In many ways it has helped me to be a better pup-parent.

As it turns out falling in love doesn’t happen over night.   It really is a journey and I’m  blessed to have Koda as my guide.

Koda then and now

 

 

Grateful This Christmas Eve

A Christmas Eve walk with Kloe this morning put this particular holiday season in perspective for me.  It was a brisk forty five degrees as we headed out at about 8:30 am.   The morning was calm with no wind, the tall pine trees at the Golden K were still, the sky was grey but dry, and the neighborhood was quiet.

As Kloe and I headed out I was grateful that we had nowhere in particular to go and all day to get there.  Quite a difference from the days when my children were small and there were so many tasks to complete in time for the “big day”.  All those tasks parents like us were fortunate to be able to undertake to make that big day special for our children.  They were great times that I will cherish forever.  But I have to admit this morning as we headed out to walk I was grateful that those days were in the past and Kloe and I were in the present.

This has been quite a year for my special girl Kloe.   It was April when she was diagnosed with a torn CCL.   For over seven months we nursed her back to health.  In that time she tore the other CCL,  had double CCL surgery (bi-lateral TPLO), and then convalesced back to so far what seems to be a full recovery.  During that period much of our life was consumed with caring for (and worrying about!) Kloe.  Her injuries had a major impact on our lives as well as her two sisters who often took a back seat to Kloe’s needs; especially puppy Koda who just wanted to play with big-sissie but could not because Kloe was at zero activity level.

So as we walked in the crisp air I reflected on how grateful I am for Kloe’s recovery.  Grateful for having the flexibility and resources to dedicate much of our time over the past months to ensure the best chance for her recovery.  Grateful that she is now pain free, can run and jump without restrictions,  can wrestle with puppy Kloe and just be a dog again.  But mostly I am grateful that Kloe came into our lives as a nine week old pup three and half years ago and changed our lives for the better and for ever.

Kloe and I stopped along the seasonal creek to take a quick photo and memorialize this special walk.

Christmas Eve morning 2019

fullsizeoutput_1007

Koda Gotcha Day

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!

IMG_6088

Koda First day at the Golden K

IMG_6124

Koda at about 5 months “aroo roo roo!”

 

IMG_7141

The heart of The Golden K

img_7484

Koda on her Gotcha Day

 

 

 

TPLO

Golden Kali followers may recall my last post where I described our three year old Kloe’s condition: two torn CCL’s (cranial cruciate ligament) that after three months did not heal on their own as we had hoped.   The TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) surgery took place this past Wednesday and everything went as planned.  No surprises, no complications, and a prognosis of full recovery over the next few months.

With surgery behind us the recovery period begins and Kloe’s condition should get better every day.  The hardest part now may be keeping Kloe’s activity level to almost zero for the next four weeks.   She will begin feeling better and stronger each day.  After about four weeks we can begin to introduce more structured and supervised activities but no running, jumping, or play for at least 8 weeks or longer.  Aside from a swelling and the trauma of surgery, where a semi-circle of the tibia is sawed, rotated, and secured back in place with an orthopedic plate, Kloe’s knees after four days are probably feeling better than they were before the surgery.   For those interested in more info on the TPLO procedure you can get it here.

Dropping Kloe off Wednesday morning for the surgery was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.  During the days leading up to surgery both Holly and I were stressed, worried, and didn’t sleep well.  We trust our vet Dr. Tanya Jackson without reservation.  The surgeon she recommended, Dr. Justin Uhl, has a lot of expertise with the TPLO procedure.  Plus Dr. Jackson would be assisting him and by Kloe’s side the entire time.  Still, when I worry about things outside my control I go to that dark place of unfounded fears.

What if the saw cuts through the bone got botched? What if Kloe had a problem with the anesthesia and didn’t wake up?  What if during surgery there was an emergency like a major fire or earthquake and the building had to be evacuated?  What if a giant fissure opened in the earth and the building, Kloe, and the doctors fell to the earth’s core of molten lava where evil monsters prey on canines?  What if!

I kept mostly busy Wednesday but found myself looking at the clock periodically. The surgery was to take place about 1:00 and take up to two hours.   At 12:30 I told myself that Kloe was probably sedated by now and therefore not too aware of things.  At 1:15 I told myself that she was now under anesthesia so not awake or scared.  At 2:45 I told myself they were probably sticking her up.  At 3:30 the phone rang and it was Dr. Uhl.

Dr. Uhl told me that Kloe was starting to wake up and that the surgery  went just fine.   I asked him if she would fully recover and he said she would and be able to resume normal activities in a few months so long as we took good care during the recovery period.  I wanted to ask him if there had a been any natural disaster warnings or if he had noticed a fissure opening in the earth’s crust but I though better of it and simply thanked him and hung up.

Dr. Jackson is the best.  Around 9:00 that evening she called to give us an update.  She was still at the office and had been sitting with Kloe for quite some time.  She told us Kloe was looking more like her normal self, and staring into the doc’s eyes and pulling the doc closer to her with her paw.  That’s our Kloe.

Kloe has been home since Thursday afternoon and recovery is going very well and has been a model patient.  Each day the redness and swelling diminishes and her spirits elevate.  She is starting to get up on her own and taking a few steps without assistance.

So, day four.   We’ve got a long way to go but we will go as far and as long to get our Kloe healthy and back on her CCL’s, or feet as the case may be.

The Fifth 4th

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Not because of any great traditions or specific memories but because its been one of those holidays where I feel ok not doing much and not feeling guilty about it.  As a kid the long July days made it hard to wait for fireworks.  It seemed as though it would never get dark.  I have many fond memories of when our kids were young.  There was the annual neighborhood bike parade where the kids would decorate their bikes in red and blue streamers, flags, and whatever else they could come up with.  Usually a block party took place later in the day and was followed by volleyball and later fireworks.  But more recently, as in the past five years, the 4th has a much more special meaning for me.

Kali arrived from Taiwan on May 24, 2014.   She quickly assimilated into our family as in almost instantly.   The morning after she arrived I began this Golden Kali blog which at the time had the tag line, “Kali’s New Life in America”.  Kali arrived wearing a brown scarf that was put on her at some point before boarding the plane in Taiwan for the trip to America.  After greeting her at the airport, taking care of a few formalities, and letting her get her land legs back we headed home to Livermore.  But before we did one of the rescue group volunteers took off the brown scarf and replaced it with a scarf that had red, white, and blue stars and strips.  It was quite symbolic and a touching gesture that Kali was now an American.

So back to the 4th…   Although Kali arrived on a Memorial Day weekend because of this scarf it’s been the 4th of July that marks another year of her life in America.   Much of Kali’s life, and mine, has been chronicled in this blog over the past five years.  In a 2015 post called Tradition I wrote about how a new tradition began where on the 4th I put that red white and blue scarf on Kali and she wears it for the day.   This scarf for Kali and I stands for her journey from Taiwan to America and her her new chance at a good life in a furever home.  As important, when I hang the scarf around Kali’s neck, I do it as a tribute to all the rescue groups volunteers in both Taiwan and the US who have done so much good for so many Golden Retrievers like Kali.  For them I will always be grateful!

So on this fifth 4th the tradition continues.  This morning I took out the scarf and placed it around Kali’s neck and we went for a brief walk.  She’s twice as old (ten) as she was when she arrived and the tradition of the scarf becomes more meaningful with each year.  She doesn’t want to walk as far, uphill is not her friend, and there are may signs of her slowing and aging.  I don’t like to think about it but there will be a 4th of July when Kali is no longer with me.  Not physically.  But in spirit I know she will never leave my side.  And this scarf, her journey, and her time in America will be with her and I forever.

Happy fifth 4th Kali.  Thank you Rescued Love From Taiwan and True Love Rescue for brining Kali into our lives.

Cheers from The Golden K!

Left: Kali on her second 4th.   Center:  Kali, cousin Ben, and sister Kloe last year, her fourth 4th.  Right:  Kali this year, her fifth 4th.

Sex?

Sorry… this post, as all others, will be rated G for Golden….

When I was very young I used to think that dogs were boys and cats were girls.  Not the human type of boys and girls but that dogs represented the boys in the pet category and cats represented the girls.  I was too young to take this misconception further and think that dogs and cats mated and both dogs (boys) and cats (girls) would come from the same litter.  But in my little kid mind dogs were boys and cats were girls.

During that time in my life my family didn’t have any pets.  But our close family friends had both a dog (Skeeter) and a cat (Yum-Yum).  Our friends had two boys, we lived three houses away on the same block in San Francisco, and we were very close friends. We spent  most of our free time together, usually at their house.

Skeeter was usually hanging around us when we were playing and often times we would incorporate him into our play when we built forts, dug holes, captured bugs and all the other usual little boy stuff that little boys do.   Skeeter was one of the guys!

Yum-Yum on the other had was rarely around and when she was, she was aloof.  She wasn’t interested in playing our boy games like Skeeter.  Yum-Yum would also lay in wait for me and take a swat at me with her claws from time to time.

To a four year old it was pretty clear, based on these behaviors, that Skeeter was a boy and Yum-Yum was a girl.

At some point in my young life I realized that there were both boy dogs and girl dogs and same for cats.  Probably around the same time I realized that Santa Clause  [SPOILER ALERT!] was not real.

This recollection is prominent in my mind because I realized recently that when I’m out with one of my three girls and we encounter someone we haven’t met before they are addressed in boy terms.  “Hey Buddy”. “What a good boy”. “Oh, he’s such a good looking boy”.  And so on….

When I look at my girls I don’t see anything “boy” about them.  Not in their body, in their face, or in their disposition.  OK, well maybe Koda’s disposition is a bit testosterone-laden male adolescent-like enthusiastic.  But really they are all girl.  When I see other pups for the first time I usually have a good idea of whether it’s a boy or girl.  Although I’m not always correct I am correct much of the time and I don’t even have to look down or under at their, well the umm..  Hmm – well you know what I mean.

So back to the title of this post.  What sex is your pup and does your pup ever get mistaken for the opposite sex?

Version 2

Who could possibly mistake my beautiful girly girls for boys?