Missing her pup
For over a year I helped out a local rescue by planning and managing their public education booths. The rescue focused on Golden Retrievers and our events served to educate the public as well as allow people to meet some of our dogs. Personally I preferred to work the events without a dog at my side, however we had to get our own foster out there, and to top it off he hated car rides in the beginning. If he was alone in a car he would shake uncontrollably, while standing stiffly in the backseat. It would take him an hour or so to calm down, and was not in any state to go into a busy store and be surrounded by strangers. He still didn’t like the car but was not as stressed if there was another dog in the car with him, so Gopher went with him to offer support.
So that was the case this day. My foster would rotate between myself and another volunteer as it was easier to circulate and assist with a more obedient pup like Gopher. We were circulating when I noticed a woman sitting a short distance from the booth. I approached her and asked if I could help her with anything, if she had any questions, and let her know she was more than welcome to see the dogs. She thanked me and said she was just watching for a moment. I turned to leave and my so called obedient dog insisted on going to say hello. He walked up to her and gently placed his head on her leg accompanied with a single paw and looked up at her. She snickered began petting and then began to cry, but kept petting him.
Not wanting to embarrass her or be intrusive we started talking about Gopher. “He is just such a wonderful dog.” I thanked her and explained that he was my boy and was here to support our foster that was not fond of the car. Forty-five minutes passed of small talk and Gopher getting petted not moving and he just kept looking up at her. She then explained to me that she came down there today as she heard we were going to be there and she wanted to see if she could even be around a Golden yet. She had to put down her own Golden six months ago and anytime she just saw any other golden retriever she would start sobbing. She still wasn’t ready to get another one, but she could be around them now. Then after Gopher came over and he came up, she realized it was just what she needed and that he was such a great boy, made her think that a new golden would be a good idea someday soon. It was then time for her to go and she thanked me, took a card for the rescue, and gave Gopher a hug.
I saw her again a few months later, this time Gopher approached her as he did any person, and did not behave as differently as her did that day. She had recently submitted an application and felt it was time. We briefly discussed the process and she spent most of her time on the floor with the foster dogs, no tears, just laughter this time.
These stories the last few days are what amaze me the most about Gopher. His natural desire to comfort is startling at times, he does great work both while working and not working and has comforted so many people. Tomorrow though you will hear about a situation that amazed me the most of all.