The golden retriever is a large-sized breed of dog. They were bred as gun dogs to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds during hunting and shooting parties, and were named retriever because of their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged. They have an instrinctive love of water, and are easy to train to basic or advanced obedience standards. They are a long-coated breed, with dense inner coat that provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors and an outer coat that lies flat against their bodies and repels water. Golden retrievers are well suited to residence in suburban or country environments. Although they need substantal outdoor exercise, they should be housed in a fenced area because of their tendency to roam. This dog sheds copiously, particularly in the change of seasons, and required fairly regular grooming. (We used to have Emma groomed regularly so didn't have a problem with shedding in the house).
Its intelligence makes it a versatile breed and allows it to fill a variety of roles - common ones being as a guide dog for the blind, hearing dog for the deaf, hunting dog, detection dog, and a search and rescue participant. The breed's friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog, but its temperament has also made it the third most popular family dog breed (by registration) in the United States, the fifth most popular in Australia, and the eighth most popular in the United Kingdom. They are rarely choosy eaters but require ample exercise (of two or more hours a day). The are fond of play and Augie, a golden retriever from Texas, holds the world record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog.
The golden retriever is a large strongly-built breed with a dense weater-repellant coat. As a dog with origins in pedigree breeding, and due to its widespread historical popularity, some regional variations have emerged in the breed so therefore there are three sub-types of golden retriever that reflect the typical variations in dimensions and coat. However they are blonde, yellow gold in colour and all sub-types are susceptible to the same health problems. They are very smart dogs who are loyal and friendly to their caregivers.
There are apparently British, American and Canadian golden retrievers but I am not going into all the ins and outs of the differences between them. Suffice to say they are the most beautiful, well behaved and gentle dog to have as part of any family.
Our Emma came to us secondhand. We had said goodbye some time before to our wonderful bull terrier "Princess" and it was time to have another dog in the house. We saw an ad for a retriever and we called and were asked to come and meet this dog. She belonged to a Scots lady who had just gone through a divorce and was returning to Scotland. She needed a good home for Emma and we seemed to fit the bill. While we were there having a cuppa a gentleman came to the door who was also looking for a dog and had seen the ad and telephoned. When the owner opened the door Emma followed her and the man immediately said "That dog is too fat!" Very rude of him I thought although Emma was indeed overweight as she apparently shared morning and afternoon teatime with her owner. The man at the door then said "I'll soon get her weight off as we are vegetarians so she will be on a vegetarian diet". The owner said she was so happy to tell him that she had already found a home for Emma and politely said goodbye to him. She said she was so glad we had arrived first on the scene and so we took Emma home with us.
Although she seemed quite happy with us and responded to us very well we knew she was missing her previous mistress and if she heard a car door close she would immediately prick up her ears and we knew who she hoped it would be. It often made us quite sad and we tried to make up to her for being abandoned by the lady she obviously loved so much. She finally accepted us as her family and I am sure she became contented to be part of our household as much as we loved having her here.
Emma was a truly beautiful dog and loved to travel in the car. If on her own with Phil she would sit upright on the front seat (they were bench seats in his Valiant) and one day as I was driving home from work I saw Phil turn out of a side street a way in front of me. When I caught up with him I was wondering who the lady with the beautiful hair was that he had in his car. Of course it was Emma and we have often laughed about it over the years. She really did look like a woman with a really wonderful hairdo and Phil didn't have a lady friend that I knew nothing about after all.
Emma lived with us for seven years until finally her kidneys gave out on her and we couldn't let her sleep in the house at night. We had a huge cardboard box in the big garage where she slept quite comfortably but we knew it saddened her to be shut out of the house. I have always been so very thankful to Phil for taking Emma to the vet when I was away on a camping holiday with a girlfriend. He asked the vet's advice and was told it would be kinder to put her to sleep. Although I was not there to say goodbye and of course missed the dear animal when I arrived back home I did appreciate it that Phil had borne the sadness of having to make that final decision, but then that's Phil.
Apologies for such a long post but memories of Emma came flooding back and I just had to write about how fortunate we were to have her spend some years with us.