“Our Golden Girls” is the title of a chapter in my book telling the story of the golden retrievers that have graced our lives: Ginger, Taffy, Brandy, Amber and Cricket. They all shared typical Golden characteristics: unconditional love, high level of intelligence, eagerness to please, excellent retriever and hunting skills and exuberance for life. Evidence of the exuberance is they smile a lot. Yes, they really do smile!
Cricket embraced her retriever training, as had her predecessors, with that characteristic Golden gusto. Bill trained her well. Once she hits a field or draw, she’s a scenting, tracking, flushing, retrieving machine.
Although Bill hasn’t hunted as much in recent years, he and Cricket have been out a few times. When they return home, there’s always a story about the “Retrieve of the Century.” This is usually followed by a comment I’ve been hearing as long as I’ve known him: “There will never be another dog like ________!” Fill in the blank with Ginger, Brandy, Amber or Cricket. My response is usually, “You say that, but every dog you’ve ever trained has been better than the previous one. And that’s saying something!”
A Scenting, Tracking, Flushing, Retrieving Machine
The Paper Carrier
The second winter at the new farm, Cricket cut one of her fronts paws on a piece of thick, sharp ice when Bill was breaking ice on a pond. The cut was on the insides of two toes and required stitches. The wound was bandaged, but we suspected she would chew it off during the night to she could lick her paw. Since her bedroom was in one of the outbuildings with a dirt floor covered with straw, we knew the wound would get dirty. We decided to do something we had never done: let a dog spend the night in the house.
The following morning, Cricket woke up Bill, he let her outside and gave the command, “high on.” This means “go potty.” Yes, there is actually a retriever training book command for going to the bathroom. All of our Goldens were trained to “high on” and they obeyed. Impresses the heck out of people when you tell them your dog pees on command!
A little while later, Bill opened the door to let Cricket back in the house. There she lay on the front step with the morning newspaper, still in its plastic sleeve, beside her. She got up, picked up the paper in her mouth and presented it to Bill. This was apparently her way of thanking us for letting her sleep in the house.
Fetching the morning paper is her job.