G is for GOLDEN RETRIEVER | #AtoZChallenge

63 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Blogfests, Dogs, Writing/Blogging
#AtoZChallenge 2016 G is for Golden Retriever
Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Dog Breeds & Anecdotes” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the participants. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!
#AtoZChallenge: G is for GOLDEN RETRIEVER
Day 7, April 8


The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century. At that time, wildfowl hunting was a popular sport for the wealthy Scottish elite, but the existing retriever breeds were inadequate for retrieving downed game from both water and land. Retrieving from both land and water was necessary because the hunting grounds of the time were pocketed with marshy ponds and rivers. Consequently, the best water spaniels were crossed with the existing retrievers, resulting in the establishment of the breed today known as the Golden Retriever. Due to its widespread historical popularity, some regional variations have emerged in the breed (British, Canadian, American). However, all Golden Retrievers are blonde, yellow, or gold in colour and all subtypes are susceptible to the same health problems (cancer, hip dysplasia most prevalent) – WIKIPEDIA

Golden Retrievers are the second most popular breed in Canada and among the top five in the world. As you can imagine, I have had many of them as houseguests over the years, so please forgive the long post. Among my favourites:

Bailey, #AtoZChallenge, G is for Golden RetrieversBAILEY – AKA “SON”
Bailey was three or four when we first met. His people loved to travel, so he was a frequent guest for the rest of his life. We gave him the nickname “Son” because we loved him as our own. He was so friendly (a typical Golden trait), that once, he happily allowed burglars into his house. This probably saved his life, as he posed no threat. Later in life, Bailey developed severe environmental allergies and needed daily shots. Otherwise, he was a healthy boy and lived to be 13, which is longer than average for this breed. He died only a few weeks after our Dalmatian. His mom and I comforted each other and she gifted me with a book: “Merle’s Door – Lessons From A Free Thinking Dog”, by Ted Keresote. Inside, she had inscribed “In memory of Bailey and Tasha, two of the best free-thinking dogs”. I cried.

Cody, aka Grandson, #AtoZChallenge G is for Golden Retriever

Cody was the size of a small pony, but as good-natured as they come. His people, not so much. What disturbed me most was they seemed to view their dog more as an inconvenience than anything else. It’s no surprise that Cody always bounded up our front steps and was thrilled to see us! The feeling was mutual. We dubbed him “Grandson” because he and Bailey bonded like family. Cody was the only one allowed to jump on Bailey and wrestle with him. If any other dogs tried that, they were royally rebuked. We had Cody for several weeks ever year. His last visit was in 2013 when he was ten years old. He had a congenital heart defect and I can only guess what may have happened. It’s sad to think about. Sadder still that his owners didn’t even bother to let me know. They’re not the first and likely won’t be the last. Some clients don’t realize I love their dogs almost as much as they do! (Or, in this case, probably more.)


#AtoZchallenge 2016: G is for Golden RetrieverCANDICE – AKA “CANDY GIRL”
Excerpt from chapter five of my W.I.P., “Adventures in Dog Sitting”:

Candice was a Golden Retriever with a unique look, because of her curly coat. She also had a birthmark, right in the middle of her tongue. Such a cutie! Her human mom, a busy executive, didn’t do any grooming, so poor Candice looked quite ratty, most of the time. This didn’t bother her at all and she went merrily through life; a dog with a sweet, fun-loving personality. CONTINUE READING ►

More Gorgeous Goldens:

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Are you a fan of this breed?
Do you have any experiences to share?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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63 thoughts on “G is for GOLDEN RETRIEVER | #AtoZChallenge

  1. I don’t have a dog, and I don’t know much about them, but I do like Golden Retrievers. They seem so friendly!
    Very recently I met a blind lady with her seeing-eye dog, and it was a very fair Golden Retriever that was doing such a great job. I was impressed by both, the girl and the dog!

    1. Golden Retrievers are so popular because they are friendly and easy to train. 🙂 We have a school here that trains seeing-eye, hearing-ear and special skills dogs.

  2. I had to read about Goldens. I had a Golden retriever mix. He was such a wonderful dog.
    He had a heart murmur which a vet wanted to treat. I never allowed it because heart surgery is so rough on humans, much less dogs. The irony is that Lester made it to 15. He did die of a sudden heart attack one evening. He initiated a glorious walk which required all the resident dogs and cats. I turned and he had collapsed. I have missed that dog.

    1. Lester beat the odds and died in the best way possible, I’d say. Still, that must have been heartbreaking for you. 🙁 Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. I’ve never had a Golden, but I adore these dogs. They are gorgeous, and so sweet tempered. I once wrote a newspaper article about a Golden who was a therapy dog. He’d had a leg amputated because of cancer. People who were ill, and especially amputees, loved seeing that dog because he made them feel that they could still live, too.


  4. I love golden retrievers. They are so gentle. My former bro and sis in law had one and she was genial and was top dog. These people should tell you when something happens because that is courtesy in my book. Our Katie loved the mud but one day she came to us as we sat outside at the in-laws and she had a certain smell that was not mud…she found deer poo.

    1. Yes, Goldens are such people dogs. 🙂 I think clients should let me know too, especially the long-term ones, but some are just thoughtless, I guess. Oh yuck! I can image the lovely aroma of deer poo. 😛 Lucky for us, our Dalmatian was so prissy in her cleanliness, she would sidestep puddles.

  5. We have a Golden Retriever living next door called, Cora. She’s a lovely old thing. I see her sleeping on the top stair waiting for her owners to come home. I feel sorry for ‘only child’ dogs. They need to be in a pack don’t you think? I suppose their human family is their pack but if they’re out all day…

    1. Cora sounds lovely. 🙂 Yes, dogs are pack animals and it’s too bad people leave them alone all day. I used to be a dog walker (now I only take them into my home) and had several weekday clients. It’s a great break for the dog in the middle of the day.

  6. Most books with dogs in them were Golden Retrievers (only I didnt know much about them). I have to confess, that although I am fascinated with dogs I have an almost pathological (and uncontrollable) fear of dogs (ever since I was bitten by a stray dog). But I am okay so long as they dont lick me or jump on me.

    1. I’m sorry you had a bad experience. 🙁 There are more loving dogs around than mean ones and I hope your fear will subside over time.

  7. Hi Debbie!

    I see you’ve joined up in yet another challenge! I don’t know how you do it, girl! I’ve never had a golden, but I do know many that have. They are beautiful dogs, gentle, and well-mannered babies. My biggest issue is upkeep of the hair, thus one reason why I love my pibble babies. Low hair maintenance. 🙂


    1. Hi, Brenda; We’re used to dog hair around here. 🙂 That’s probably why Labs are more popular even than Goldens. They are sweethearts, though. Thanks for dropping in. I don’t know how I do this either – going nuts already and it’s only been a week! Good thing it’s just once a year; every April. Over 1800 people signed up, so I’m not the only crazy one. 😉

  8. J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird’s A to Z Ambassador Team.
    How has the first week of the challenge been for you so far? Are you meeting your goals of posting and hopping to other blogs? Looking forward to Sunday off?
    My blog’s giveaways are still going! Thanks for stopping by to visit earlier.
    Seriously, the friendliest breed I have ever encountered.

    1. Yes, these dogs are coveted for their personalities and good looks. 🙂 I think there were several movies featuring Golden Retrievers, some playing basketball.

    1. Goldens make great service and therapy dogs, as do Labs. We have a school here that trains seeing-eye, hearing-ear and special skills dogs. We often see them on the streets, going through their paces.

  9. I love most animals, especially dogs. We had labs, but Goldens are just as sweet. I didn’t realize about being crossed with the spaniels, but that makes sense.

    1. Thanks for visiting The Den, Lissa. Labs are even more popular than Goldens and I’ll be sharing some stories in the “L” post.

  10. I like Golden Retrievers. It’s one of the few dog breeds I’d consider getting if I were to ever get a dog. My boss owns one of these and periodically he’ll bring him into the office. You are right, they are very friendly dogs.

    The first thing I was wondering when you told the story of Cody, was why didn’t his owners tell you? Glad you addressed it in your post. Makes sense if you bring your dog to someone who dog-sits for him on a regular basis, they’d wonder when he no longer shows up. Oh well, some people. Makes me wonder.

    1. I’m glad you found this breed to your liking, Jeffrey. 🙂 Some clients don’t give a damn about my feelings; I’m just the ‘hired help”. It’s happened before and probably will again. Thankfully, those people are in the minority.

  11. Oh it’s heartbreaking to think that some owners wouldn’t bother to let you know when a treasured pet passes away. You’d think they’d have more respect for someone they trusted to love the animal as much as they did. I’ve never had a Golden in my life but have always admired their beauty. We did have a Shepherd/Lab mix once who insisted on retrieving fish we threw back:-)

    1. Yes, you would think that, but no. To some, I’m just “the hired help”. 😛 Not the first time that’s happened and likely won’t be the last. Sigh…. Your Shepherd/Lab sounds like fun. 🙂 That’s a popular crossbreed; I’ll have one in the “X” post.

  12. Goldens are very popular here in the South, it seems. There was one named Moses whose owner would let him out in the morning when he left for work and bring him in when he got home. He spent the day walking back and forth. When people would approach, he’d greet them and walk with them for a while, until he got to the corner or until more people walked past, when hed turn around and either follow the new people or walk back by his house.

    My brother Pat has a Golden he found wandering around the business park he works in on a Sunday. No collar or tags or chip, so he brought the dog home and named him Baxter, after the business Pat found him near. Pat and his wife have two boys (I think they’re 11 and 8) and they’ve grown up with the dog, and he’s been really good with them. He must be an old guy, because his face is all white.

    1. Thanks for sharing those two lovely Golden stories, John. 🙂 Moses was a good dog, to not wander too far off. Goldens start getting grey fairly early – around the age of 5 or 6. How wonderful that Baxter was rescued by your brother! Have a good weekend.

    1. Beagles are very cute! 🙂 I’ve taken care of a few and they were all sweeties. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  13. Golden Retrievers have never been one of my favorite breeds (those are Irish Wolfhounds and Old English Sheepdogs 🙂 ) but all the ones I met were super friendly and kind of goofy 🙂 They are a very likable bunch.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

    1. You’re in luck! Come on back on the 11th and the 18th. 🙂 Goldens are friendly to a fault, sometimes, but definitely lovable.

  14. Debbie, thanks. I learnt something new today. I always wondered about the ‘retriever’ and now you’ve enlightened us. 🙂

  15. There sure are many around here indeed. My cats had fun playing with one a while back. I’ve babysat them but never had any as pets.

  16. I’ve never had a Golden Retriever, but I have loved the breed and have had many friends with them. They are wonderful dogs.

  17. My daughter who lives in Michigan has two Golden Retrievers now – Lily and Scout (but he’s a boy). They have featured regularly on my blog. She also had one called Cody who was the best behaved dog I’ve ever met, one of my all time favourites. Your post has brought back happy memories.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Bob. 🙂 I’ll check out more of your blog for those doggie pics. Must be hard to live so far apart from your daughter! My parents moved 2600 miles away from me in the 70s, (from Toronto to San Diego) so I know how it is.

  18. Bailey and Cody sound amazing. I love that Bailey invited the burglars in. We’ve had a series of labradors so friendly that that was the standing joke – that they would welcome a burglar. And now I hear it actually happened with a dog.

    1. That story about Bailey and the burglars was funny in hindsight. Thankfully, he survived the ordeal. Goldens and Labs have similar personalities and tend to love everybody. 🙂 I hope you’ll have time to check out my “L” post next week. Have a good weekend.

  19. Loved all your anecdotes about Golden Retrievers you’ve known. Such beautiful and sweet dogs! That’s too bad that many owners often don’t tell you when their dog goes over the bridge since you grow so fond of them, too. What lucky dogs to have you care for them. Sounds like some of them enjoyed staying with you more than their regular homes. Sad that often people get dogs when they don’t really have time for them and see them an an inconvenience.

    1. Thank you for reading my dog stories, Cathy. Yes, some owners are just thoughtless (or possibly too grief-stricken), while a small minority considers me as merely “the hired help” and not worthy of notification. Either way, it bothers me, but what can you do?

  20. Awww – what lovely babies. We’ve never had golden retrievers, but whenever I’ve met one they have been so lovely. Such friendly darlings.
    Tasha’s Thinkings (70) | Wittegen Press (72) | FB3X (AC) (73)

    1. They are beauties and yes, so friendly. Sometimes to a fault, as the case of Bailey and the burglars. 🙂 Sorry to have missed this comment – seems I skipped a page.

  21. golden retrievers would have to be the nicest dog in the canine world – they are just so loving and placid (although I believe they shed hair everywhere!) I have two friends who own one each and both love them to pieces. Leanne @ cresting the hill

    1. Haha! Yes, Goldens do shed a lot, but usually in tufts, so it’s easy to pick up. If they are brushed regularly, it’s not too bad.

  22. Hey Debbie, I loved this post. Golden retrievers are so adorable! Aren’t they similar to Labs in nature? The last video was too cute. I loved Murphy the best!
    @KalaRavi16 from

  23. The dog I walk now is a X Golden Retriever / Golden Lab – he’s a lovely friendly chilled boy! I recently redid some of my obedience training and had the pleasure of meeting his advanced trainer (he’s a working Guide Dog for the Blind) so it was lovely to swap stories and get some very specific advice about him!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

  24. First we were going to get Golden retriver only but then my husband got us a Lab and he too is totally adorable. Though, I find Golden retrievers so adorable and so royal. And the last picture is so cute!


  25. Goldens are gorgeous dogs and I have one that stays here named Bonnie. She’s a real sweetheart. On the other hand, I had an issue with a male Golden who attacked my Picasso the second he met him and I had to take him to the vet to have his ear sewn up. The owner later told me that his dog had issues with other male dogs. Gee, ya think ya might want to tell me that ahead of time??! Some people I know had a male Golden who became very aggressive and bit their kids so they had to rehome him. Since the incident with the attack and hearing what these other folks went through, I’ve been reluctant to take in male Goldens. I’ve heard that the males can have a propensity toward aggression…which is very surprising because I’ve always thought the breed to be very friendly. Have you experienced any of that with male Goldens??

    They are absolutely beautiful dogs. My brother had a female Golden and she was a sweetheart…

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. That’s terrible, what happened to Picasso! Do you pre-screen the dogs? I do preliminary meetings with all potential new clients so I can gauge the dogs’ personalities. Even so, I had a bad biting incident with a Golden Retriever once, but it was a female. She was sweet as can be for the meeting and the first few days of her stay. One day, we were playing fetch in the yard and one of the other dogs, a Lab, stole her ball. She bit that poor Lab right on the snout! A real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario. The Lab needed stitches too and I paid the vet’s bill. Fortunately, her owner was understanding. When I told the Golden’s owner what happened, all she said was “dogs will be dogs”. Didn’t even offer to split the bill or anything. I said her dog couldn’t stay with me again and yet, she still called me a few months later. When I reminded her of the incident, she had the nerve to say she didn’t think I was serious! Some people! 🙁

      I think because Goldens are so popular, there’s too much inbreeding going on and that leads to personality quirks. Even Bailey (“Son”) wasn’t overly fond of other males (except for “Grandson”) and we had to keep an eye on things. He never bit anyone, though; just growled.

  26. This was my favorite submission on dogs so far.. Your love for your ‘house guests’ really comes through. I really liked your sentence that many owners don’t know you love their pets almost – even sometimes more than they do. Love that you have a photo of each dog, and interesting how distinct their personalites are.

    1. Thank you, Angelika. 🙂 I enjoy taking pictures of the dogs and each of them gets a vacation photo to take home. In a way, it offends me when people think I don’t care what happens to their dogs. This has never been “just a job” for me. Sometimes I marvel that I’m getting paid! Like humans, every dog has a unique personality.

  27. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    Thank you for the excellent report on Golden Retrievers that you have known and loved. I am very fond of this large, friendly breed, and often wish that I had owned one. I don’t think I’m cut out to do what you do and that is to live with and care for a dog for a short time, then have to part with it when it’s time for it to return home. I would suffer separation anxiety from each and every one of my temporary canine house guests. The worst part would be handing the dog over to an owner who doesn’t love, appreciate and take care of the animal as much as I would. It disturbs me but doesn’t surprise me that some dog owners left you wondering what became of their pets and disappeared without a trace. The right thing to do, the decent thing to do, the class thing to do would have been to notify you of the dog’s death to give you some closure.

    Thank you very much, dear friend Debbie!

    1. Hi, Shady; Goldens are sweethearts, but also have some health issues and do need regular grooming. I think of my houseguests like grandchildren. They come and visit for awhile, then go home. 🙂 True, the ones with bad owners are more difficult to give back, but that’s the nature of the business. One such dog actually lay down and refused to move, The owner was visibly annoyed (a rich woman who had the dog merely as a status symbol), snapped “let’s go” and tugged on the leash. I never saw them again and felt really sorry for that dog. It disturbs me too that some people don’t think to tell me when their dogs have died. They don’t give a damn about my feelings at all and consider me merely “the hired help”. Fortunately, those types of clients are in the minority. Most of them are kind and considerate,even bringing me gifts from their travels. You have to take the good with the bad, sometimes. I did cut off one wealthy client who was the biggest asshole of all. He had a hyper bull terrier. Once, when he brought her over she ran right through the screen of the patio door. First words out of his mouth were “I hope you’re not expecting me to pay for that”. If my dog had damaged someone else’s screen, I would have been apologizing profusely and whipping out my chequebook!

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