Sissy Mama

As Kali grew older I began referring to her, in relationship to her two sisters Kloe and Koda, as Sissy Mama. None of my girls were blood related but they were and are sisters (sissies) no less. So we would always refer to them as sissies. “Koda, where is your sissy”. Or, “Kloe, go get your sissies for dinner”. Yes we well I speak to them as though they are my kids. Because they are!

But Kali was much older and she became the Sissy Mama.

Six years shouldn’t seem so long ago. But if I think in “dog years” it is quite some time. Like six years ago when we brought Kloe home as a nine-week old puppy. That was a long time ago. Looking at her now, as she sleeps by my feet (filling in the empty space Kali left under my feet when she crossed the bridge), it’s hard to think that Kloe was ever a wee pup of 16 pounds. Green, fearless, and ripe for schooling by an older dog. Enter Kali.

Since Kali has been gone I find myself looking at pictures of her from over the years. Like today when I came across some pictures and videos of the first day we brought Kloe home. After the initial few minutes, when Kali made it very clear that Kloe was not welcome in her house, she quickly warmed up to Kloe and was every bit the surrogate mama we hoped she would be.

I had forgotten how inseparable Kali and Kloe were when Kloe was a pup. Mostly because at only weeks and months old Kloe adored Kali and followed her everywhere she went. There were so many tender moments sleeping side by side or on top of one another. And there were periods of play when Kali exhibited great patience with her new little sissy and also delivered lessons when needed.

In retrospect I now realize that Kali became the Sissy Mama the moment we brought Kloe through the front door in Livermore at 9 weeks old on May 7, 2016.

Sissy Mama In Action

Sissy Mama Gallery

Memorial Weekend Eight

Long time followers of Golden Kali may recall that she was one of 23 Golden Retrievers that arrived at San Francisco International Airport via China Airlines on Saturday evening, May 24, 2014. Holly, my daughter, and I drove to the airport that evening and waited for her crate to be unloaded from the plane along with 23 others. We took her crate to a staging area in the parking lot and I met her for the first time as I opened the crate door, leashed her, and watched her as she took her first sniffs of America. She had been in the crate for around 14 hours and was very anxious to pee. She took care of business and sniffed around some more. We took care of some formalities with the rescue organizers and volunteers and drove home to Livermore, CA would Kali would begin her New Life in America.

Since then Memorial Weekend has very been special to me. It marked the beginning of Kali’s new life in America, a new chapter in my life, and what turned out to be a seven and a half year journey Kali and I went on together.

That was Memorial Weekend One.

Kali laid by my feet in our backyard in Livermore as I started this blog. I knew during this first weekend and during the weeks to come I would need to be watchful and present to make sure Kali was successful. The rescue group cautioned me to not go to fast and to give Kali time. They said it may take time for her to be comfortable in her new surroundings and that she may have accidents and need to learn what her boundaries were. They suggested no visitors for a few days. This was of course a reasonable expectation. After all, there would be new sounds, new smells, new people, new food, new places to sleep, and on and on… It would take Kali time to adjust and we needed to respect that and give her space and time.

Except she didn’t need it!

Kali was still on Taiwan time when she arrived and it was expected she may have problems the first few nights. Except she didn’t. She slept by my bed tethered to the leg of the bed frame that first night, Saturday. She nuzzled me around two in the morning and I took her out to pee. I brought her back to bed and re-tethered her. She slept the rest of the night and every night after. Kali was respectful of the house from the very first day. She seemed to know her limits before we even had the chance to set them. She greeted visitors with a smile and love. She chewed on her toys but never furniture, shoes, or anything that wasn’t hers. With the exception of leash aggression that I found out about when we started our daily walks, Kali was a model rescue citizen from day one!

This is Memorial Weekend Eight.

The first Memorial Weekend that Kali is not physically laying by my feet as I write this Memorial Weekend post. As the weeks and months pass I miss her more and more. I long for her smell and the feel of her fur. I miss her at night when I wake up and remember she’s not there. I miss her when I’m in my office in the morning. I miss the ritual of walking with her from the back yard gate to my office when she would happily run towards the office door. Even though her physical legs were on their figurative “last legs”. Maybe it was something about going off with Dad in the morning that gave her body some spunk. Just for those few seconds, Kali was puppy-like as she pranced across the driveway.

Life at The Golden K Without Kali

That’s been the tag line of this blog since January First of this year when Kali crossed the bridge. She did so on her terms with the grace and dignity she earned. Kali was a truly special dog who I was blessed to know and love, and to have been loved by her. Kali will always hold a piece of my heart that is hers and hers alone.

So on this Memorial Day Eight, as many of us are remembering and honoring those who gave their lives in service of our country, I am also remembering and honoring my Golden Kali.

Except In My Dreams

My sweet Golden Kali has come to visit me several times over the past few weeks. Some of the visits have been short and some were extended stays with lots of kisses and hugs. The feel of Kali’s fur is so familiar. Her smell has been a welcome reminder that my girl is near by. I hope these special visits never end!

I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer and I remember most of my dreams in great detail; places, colors, smells, etc. After Kali passed many people suggested that she would visit me in the quiet of my dreams. I didn’t put too much thought into it at the time. The first few weeks after Kali passed were uneventful and although I missed her it wasn’t emotional. My rationale side processed Kali’s memory in a logical and matter of fact manner. My brain told me, “I did the right thing, grace and dignity, on Kali’s terms, last and greatest gift”, and so on….

But more recently, especially the past few weeks, I find myself longing for Kali. I find myself whispering her name as I think of her or see something that reminds me of her. I’ve become emotional a few times and realize that my brain had been managing the loss but now that loss has made it’s way to my heart and gut. When someone misses a family member or close friend but knows they will see them again at some point they may say, “yes, I miss him”. In their head. When that person is gone forever they also say, ” I miss him”. But now it’s in their heart and gut.

As obvious as it was that I would never see Kali again, it has now just hit me. I will never see, smell, or hug my sweet girl again. Except in my dreams.

Alexandria Horowitz is an author and professor of psychology, animal behavior, and canine cognition. I’ve read many of her books on canine behavior such as “Inside A Dog, What Dogs See, Smell, and Know”. In one of her books Ms. Horowitz was describing how dogs experience time relative to missing their owner. She talked about how (I’m paraphrasing) if the owner is gone for 20 or 30 minutes upon return the behavior of the dog may be much different than if the owner was gone for several hours. When it has been several hours the “welcoming committee” will probably be much more animated and excited upon the return of their owner. I know this is the case with my girls.

Ms. Horowitz explains this dynamic in simple terms. When the owner leaves their scent at first is very prevalent. It’s easy, especially with their keen sense of smell, for the dog to smell their owner after they’ve left the area. But as more and more time passes that scent begins to diminish and the dog’s owner begins to “fade away” creating anxiety or maybe even fear in the dog. Upon return the scent is back and all is well once again. Let the celebration begin!

A few nights ago Kali was present in my dream all night long. I woke up several times, probably from the adrenaline rush. Each time I went back to sleep quickly and she was still there. Kali was always good at stay! Another night’s visit was more fleeting. Kali went running by me like a puppy only slowing down long enough to let me know she was there and having so much fun running. There have been several visits over the past few weeks and each time I wake up knowing that deep connection with Kali will never end, even in death.

I often joke that I am more like a dog than a person. Wishful thinking… But I can’t help but wondering if this emotional longing for Kali (versus rational “missing”) is because her scent is less and less in the house. I can no longer pick up her scent as hard as a try. In my mind’s eye I can see Kali but I can’t smell her.

Except in my dreams.

Sleep tight my sweet Golden Kali. I hope to see you tonight.

Golden Kali

A Dog Of Few Words‚Ķ

When Kali first came to the U.S. from Taiwan she had a bit of an aversion to other dogs. Our regular walks took us on a trail along a creek that paralleled a nearby golf course. I quickly found that Kali grew anxious when we came across other dogs. As our steps brought us closer to them Kali would start barking. “Ruuuf, ruff!” Not aggressively but in a way that said, “hey – don’t come near me, I’m not comfortable around other dogs”. Over time we worked on this and she became more confident and could eventually pass by other dogs along our walks without much drama. That was over seven years ago.

Our home in the foothills sits up on a hill and although we are well off the road, the road is visible from our large wrap around deck. If any animals pass below on the road, (or – gasp – any of our neighbors have the audacity to walk their dogs down past our home), Kloe will sound the alarm and Koda will quickly chime in. Kloe’s bark is low and deep. She uses all 75 pounds of her body and big chest when she vocalizes. I would characterize it as a WOOF! “Wahooof, waahooof, wahooof”, followed by a low growl and then more woofs! Although Koda’s body size, shape, and weight (65 pounds) would suggest a lower vocalization it is actually quite high. “Bark bark bark bark, bark, bark” as it crescendos up and then back down in pitch. Koda looks at Kloe for reinforcement and to ask, “what are we barking at?”, as they both run down to the yard to see if they can get a closer look.

Although Kali was never too interested when her sister’s sounded the alarm she would get up (usually from a nap in the warm sun) look around, and add her two cents (barely!). Kali’s bark, especially in her senior years, turned into a bit of a “Yip”. As she was woken up by Kloe’s WOOFs and Koda’s bark-bark-bark Kali would seem a bit confused and offer a brief “Yip” or two. “Yip? Yip?” she would say as her sisters ran off to the yard below. By the time they returned Kali had usually returned to her spot in the sun and was once again fast asleep. It’s easy to sleep, even during Red Alerts, when one’s two younger sisters are on patrol!

About a year or so ago I realized I hadn’t heard Kali bark for many months or maybe even longer. For a while I used to be able to get her to vocalize before I began preparing meals for her and her sisters. As it got closer to meal time Kali would find a spot somewhere between where I was sitting and where her food was stored. She would fix a sustained stare on me as she tried to will me to my feet and over to the food bowls. When she finally wore me down I would get up and tease her a bit by telling her she had to “speak” for her food. I would put my fingers and thumb together like a puppet, and say, “Ruff, ruff!”, in a high pitch. Kali would respond, “yip, yip”, and begin dancing and prancing around the room and looking towards the food bowls and then back to me.

At some point Kali stopped vocalizing in any manner at all. I don’t remember exactly when. But she was always a good listener and never much of a talker. Other than her early time with me when we walked along the creek trail Kali was never a dog of many “words”. I can’t recall a time I ever heard her growl. If she chased birds or squirrels, which she did on occasion, she did it in silence. Before we had fencing up in the back of the house she once took off after a black tail deer. She ran after it is silence, quickly gave up, and returned to me.

Kali has been gone now for three months. I wish I could say I miss the sound of her barking but she didn’t bark much so how could I? But I do so miss her silent presence. I miss my therapy sessions with her when I would talk and she would listen. And yes I even, and perhaps mostly, miss that laser snake-eyed stare 30 minutes before dinner-time as she laid somewhere between me and the food bowls and willed me to my feet to feed her.

Kali sleeping on the deck. Kloe and Koda ready to sound the alarm at any time…

Rituals

I’ve been thinking about Kali a lot since New Years Day when as her head laid in my hands she took her last breaths. There are so many great memories I have of the rituals we developed over the years. Many of those rituals are carried on by Kloe and Koda, but Kali was the driving force and reason for so many of them.

“Toasty-Time” was a favorite of Kali’s because it involved food! As I prepared my breakfast in the morning she would place herself nearby and I would give her a few pieces of bread. Before moving to the Sierra Nevada Foothills our daily walks along the Creek Trail in Livermore were hardly ever missed. That remains a favorite ritual of mine. Kloe and Koda – the “Red Girls” – joined the pack at our home in the foothills and never got to experience the Creek Trail. While many of our daily rituals are shared with all my girls it’s special to me that the Creek Trail is mine and Kali’s alone.

Meals, especially dinner, were always a big big deal for Kali. Beginning about an 45 minutes before the designated dinner time Kali would lay at a distance, usually in the kitchen close to the food. She would make sure she had a direct view of me which was usually sitting in the family room watching the news. Kali would just stare glare at me trying to will me to my feet to get up and begin the feeding process. The drama was intense! As the time grew closer to dinner time her glare became much more intense and I would begin to sweat from the laser-like energy she was directing at my neck. Ok, I’m making the sweating part up but this part I’m not. When it was time I would stand up and pronounce in a loud booming voice: “The time has come!” Kali would spring to her feet and begin prancing around because she knew this was the signal and food was coming soon. Kali loved her food almost as much as she loved me!

Cuddle Time

I think the ritual I miss the most with Kali is “Cuddle-Time“. This is right before lights out as the girls lay in their designated spots in our bedroom. I spend one on one time with each one of them laying and cuddling with them and reciting certain silly things.

For example, with Kloe I say, “tight, tight, tight.” Because when she was a puppy I used to tell her to sleep tight. Or I say, “See you in the morning Shawnee. I aways see you in the morning.” This is a reference to a John Lennon song called “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” about his son Sean. At the end of that song John whispers “I’ll see you in the morning Sean.”

When Koda first gets in her mat she positions her body in a full circle; presumably to be warm. She looks like a red doughnut with her nose covered partially by her tail which is wrapped around to complete the circle. Holly says she looks like a fox when she does this. So… my silly thing for Koda is to call her Foxy Lady. I’ll say, “Goodnight Foxy Lady, I’m coming to getcha!” A reference to the Jimmy Hendrix song Foxy Lady where one of final lyrics is, “Here I come baby, I’m coming to get ya!”

For some reason with Kali there were never any silly sayings established. Actually, I guess there is a good reason for that… Kali has always been my confidant. My sounding board. My therapist. She listened without judgement always interested in what I had to say. As I recently confided, Kali takes with her some of my deepest fears and dreams that no one else has ever heard. Full disclosure: Cuddle Time with Kali involved “spooning”. Sometimes we lay in silence and sometimes we had a conversation.

More recently, and as I began to realize that Kali’s days with me would be ending soon, we would reminisce about the old days. We would talk about all the fun times we had together. I told her how much I loved her and that she would always be with me. As always she was patient if I got too windy. Only occasionally would she shake her head or snort to tell me she was tired and ready for sleep. And when she did I would quickly wrap Cuddle Time up, give her one last smooch on her snout and tell her, “Goodnight sweet girl; sleep well.”

Goodnight sweet girl, sleep well.

Life Goes On…

…without Kali.

Life does go on. It’s a trite saying. A phrase, usually well intentioned, thats used when something bad has happened to remind the person feeling bad that their life can’t stop because of the bad thing or event. And it can’t.

In the case of Kali it is true that life has gone on for the rest of the pack. But I would not characterize the fact that Kali is gone as a bad thing, per se. I do miss her. I still consciously look for her when I enter the room or am handing out treats. I wake up at night and remember that she won’t be there in the morning. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two plus weeks reminiscing about her. I’ve looked at hundreds of photos of her. But in the grand scheme of life (and death) while it wasn’t a bad thing, it wasn’t good either. But, it was the right thing to do. And once I began listening to Kali with my heart, instead of my ego that told me I could be her superman and savior forever, I knew it was right.

The days since Kali has been gone have been mostly normal. The out pouring of love, empathy, and well wishes from friends, fellow bloggers that follow The Golden Kali Blog, and social media connections has been heartwarming to say the least! There were a lot of special messages that meant so much to me. There was even one very special blogger friend (you know who you are!) that did some super sleuthing to find my home address and sent a beautiful hand painted card with a loving message inside.

I didn’t know how the Red Girls (Kloe and Koda) would react to Kali’s absence from the pack.

Neither Kloe or Koda have had a life without Kali. Kloe was 9 weeks old when we brought her home and Kali was a great surrogate mama for her. When Kloe was down for almost a year with her CCL injuries and surgery she was often sequestered from Koda and Kali. During that time Koda and Kali bonded quite a bit. In recent months Koda seemed to know Kali was struggling and in need of help. She watched over Kali. Several months ago Koda came running up to us barking and doing that Lassie “Timmy’s in the well” kinda of thing. She coaxed us to come to another part of the yard and sure enough there was Kali stuck and unable to get up. So I expected Kali’s absence might have an effect on Koda.

But it’s been Kloe who seems to notice a difference in the Pack. There were a few meals early on when given the release to go to her bowl Kloe hesitated. She looked around as if to say “where’s Kali? We can’t start without Kali…” Or perhaps I’m just projecting.

I thought I might have some moments but really didn’t until…

There was just one time I became outwardly emotional. I went to pick up Kali’s ashes at the vet. The receptionist looked a little uncomfortable when I told here why I was there. Her voice became tentative and here eyes looked sad, or maybe scared that I was going to break down. But I was upbeat and told her it was all fine. I think I put her at ease. She came back with a beautiful dark brown wooden case with a gold plaque on the front with Kali’s name and a card.

I went to my truck and with Kali’s ashes sitting beside me I opened the card. The card told he story about the Rainbow Bridge and how all the animals are once again healthy, play and run together, enjpy warm sunshine, lots of food, and are happy. I’ve always enjoyed the imagery of the Rainbow Bridge. But as I sat reading the card the last part got the best of me. It says:

The day comes when [during play] one [of the pets] suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent. Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together…

Sitting in my truck with Kali’s ashes in my hands I lost it. I was overcome by the imagery and I weeped and cried out loud. It felt so good to have an emotional release for my special girl. A moment of retrospection and gratitude for all Kali gave me especially in the end when she gave me the courage to let her go and know that life does go on.

Until we meet again on the bridge sweet girl, my Kalimazoo, my Kalis Marie, my Golden Kali.

Kali and Kloe

Koda has been a great addition to our family. It’s hard to believe it’s been over three years since we adopted her at four months old. She and Kloe are almost always together and have grown to be good companions even though there is some sibling rivalry from time to time. It’s heartening to know that since only two years separate them they should have many more years together as they grow older.

But before there was Koda there was just Kali and Kloe.

Kali was seven years old when Kloe joined our pack at just nine weeks old. Kali was just the right age and had an ideal temperament for bringing a puppy into the family. She quickly accepted the new little whippersnapper and become a surrogate mother during Kloe’s formative years. They became great companions to one another. Kali was still young enough to have interest in playing. At first very gentle and then as Kloe grew larger and stronger more vigorous. It didn’t take Kloe long to become larger and stronger than Kali. By 9 months old she was 75 pounds surpassing Kali’s 60. As Kloe got older they became more of equals, never any competition or rivalry as there is at times between Koda and Kloe. Even as Kloe grew older and larger she continued to seek comfort from Kali as she did when she was a wee pup. I know that Kali enjoyed having a companion in Kloe and they were never far apart from one another.

Kali has slowed way down over the past year or so. She has wobbly legs, poor eyesight, hearing loss, and she doesn’t seem to have a good sense of smell any longer. Other than that she’s fantastic! ūüôā It’s become harder and harder for her to get around and at 12 plus years now she mostly sleeps. She’s earned it and she maintains a very special spot in my heart and in my day to day life.

Recently I pulled up some old photos of when it was just Kali and Kloe. It was fun to look back a photos of Kloe at 15 or 20 pounds laying on big sister Kali and then seeing photos from over the years with Kloe still using Kali as a pillow. And the photos of just the two of them hanging out together sometimes being a little goofy. Although the pack dynamics have changed over the past few years with the addition of Koda and with Kali aging, it continues to make me happy to know there is still a special bond between Kali and Kloe!

Kids and Dogs

Kids

I’ve always likened having dogs to having children. We do so many things for our dogs that we do or did for our kids. We feed them, educate them, entertain, love, discipline, and so on. We even refer to them as our kids, our fur-babies, or in my case as “the girls”. Our human children are all gown and have been out of the house for many years. There are many things I don’t know about their day to day lives. When they were very young I observed and knew every small detail of their lives. As they grew older I saw less and eventually knew less. Which is the way it should be. I know as I grew older into a young adult and beyond my parents knew less and less of the details of my life. I needed them less. They were glad I was independent. I feel the same way about my grown children.

My kids many years ago. Left to right Michael (now 34), Jessi (now 30), and Jonathan (now 37). Wow! In some ways I wish they could have stayed just like in this photo forever. But time marches on. They are independent with full and robust lives of their own.

Dogs

But with our dogs it’s a little different. They never become independent in the way our children do. They rely on us their entire lives for their care and well being. While there are many similarities between a puppy and a human baby, the baby grows to be a toddler and beyond and they puppy grows to be like a toddler and mostly plateaus there. As dogs mature and age we continue to not only know, but also mostly control all the details of our their lives. When they eat we know it. When they walk we know it. When they find themselves into some sort of trouble or problem we not only know it but also correct it. Our dogs become moderately independent for short amounts of time but they can’t be (or shouldn’t be) left overnight by themselves. And as they grow older, like my 12 year old Kali, they need us more and more.

My “girls” a few hours ago. Left to right Koda (3.5 years, Kali (12 years), and Kloe (5 .5 years). Koda has finally matured into a toddler, Kali’s hips and eyes are deteriorating, and Kloe’s muzzle is graying. Like their human siblings they also have a full and robust life but rely on Holly and I to make sure of that. They are very dependent and we are ok with that.

So having dogs is like having kids but way different.

The Golden Kali Blog

Newer followers of Golden Kali can get caught up to speed about each of my girls here:

Thanks to everyone who follows Golden Kali! We’ve been away for a while busy with pack life but will be posting much more often. Tells us what you think about the Golden Kali blog and what questions or interests you may have about life in the mountains with three Golden Retrievers.

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 РKoda and Kali Рthroughout 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 Рespecially Goldens Рare 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!

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…. ūüôā

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.

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