Ten Years with a Goldendoodle
I hope the Biden administration will step up Federal funding for dog cloning. The Goldendoodle should be the focus of the research because, my research shows, there is no better dog in the world. If you want a smart, clean, gentle dog, look no further. Your Doodle will be your lifelong friend. And you will be loyal to the breed for the rest of your life.
My Doodle, Lucca, arrived 10 years ago. She was a lively puppy that liked to jump on people, smell everything, and occasionally go crazy at the sight of a squirrel or rabbit. Our solution was to gently walk her in circles while she was on her leash until she got tired. That took a while, but it was the start of a beautiful relationship. In short order, the bad behaviors began to disappear. Lucca was a fast learner.
At home, Lucca exhibited several behaviors that endeared her to us. First, she declined to eat like a pig. Every other dog we have had attacked its dog dish with a vengeance that was frightening. We sometimes wondered, what if she came at us with the same ferocity?
With Lucca, mealtime is a polite affair. Although we get her the best possible dog food (in our opinion, not that we have tested it), Lucca declines to eat it unless we top it with some human food leftovers. She is partial to salmon, prime rib, chicken, and luncheon meats. Just a light sprinkling on top of her regular food will do the trick — she will dig in until the bowl is empty. Everything gets washed down with a healthy drink of water.
Bathroom time is usually a positive, both for Lucca and her masters. She doesn’t always like the dark, but fully understands why we are going outside and what is expected of her. Usually, she starts and completes this mission in less than 20 minutes.
Regular walks are a different matter. These depend on her mood. If both of us choose to walk her, these walks can last an hour. They are more fun for Lucca than for us because Lucca has an active and curious nose. If we walk in an area off our usual path, she wants to smell everything. Patience is required but the walk itself is rewarding. Passers-by often stop to inform us that we have a beautiful dog. Neighbors not yet familiar with Doodles will ask what kind of a dog she is. I suspect that these encounters have led to dozens of doodles finding homes over the last 10 years.
One particular trait of Goldendoodles, one that we have seen in every Goldendoodle we have encountered, is that they are friendly to everyone. No need to worry about a Doodle biting a child or getting into a dog fight.
Occasionally, a negative person will ask us what the worst trait of a Doodle is. An objective answer is, “There are none,” but Lucca is not perfect. Her vice is running away.
On more than 15 occasions, which isn’t bad for a ten-year-old dog, Lucca has gotten off her leash or escaped through a gap in a fence to run away. Immediately upon realizing that she is no longer restrained, she shuts down her ears to better ignore our impassioned pleas for her to “stay” or “sit.” She also displays acts of athleticism that exceed what we assumed she was capable of. She takes off at perhaps 25 mph per hour, with sprints of up to 30 mph if she sees us getting close to her or spots a rabbit. One of her bucket-list items, apparently, is catching and dispatching a rabbit. Although Lucca is getting up in dog years, she has never harmed a rabbit.
When Lucca escapes she seeks out mud and briar bushes. Because she is such a thoughtful dog, she sometimes will take advantage of a neighbor’s swimming pool to rinse off. A quick dip in a swimming pool both helps her cool down, gives her an opportunity to lap up a quick drink of water, and makes her slightly more presentable.
As you might imagine, these pool sessions leave a small mess behind. We have been fortunate — extremely fortunate — that our neighbors are nice. They are not necessarily happy about the mess left behind, but, because Lucca is so lovable, they appear to forgive her. We don’t think this would happen if she were a Pit Bull or one of the bizarre-looking dogs with one blue eye and one brown eye.
Lucca always returns home after her escapades. Sometimes this has involved a neighbor catching her. We are grateful to the neighbors involved in these cases, but why does Lucca surrender herself to a neighbor while continuing to run away from us? She also sometimes comes home by herself, sheepishly walking up to the front door, sitting down, and waiting patiently for us to let her in.
Although Lucca may have ruined a few hours of our lives on these jaunts, we forgive her. The routine is to tell her she is a bad dog, which is never accompanied by a strike with a rolled-up newspaper or any other type of physical discipline. Then we pop her into a shower and wash her down. This can be an ordeal, but one that is rewarding. By the time she comes out, she is both exhausted and grateful. Or at least we imagine her to be grateful because we would never want her to fall asleep when she is covered with mud and smells awful.
Lucca will celebrate her 11th birthday in February. She is still healthy, but no dog lives forever. When she ascends to dog heaven, we will get another Goldendoodle. No dog, even another Goldendoodle can replace Lucca. That is why we would like to see cloning become less expensive.
Other articles by John Dean:
In Favor of Florida’s Wood Storks
There is a lot to like in a huge prehistorically-looking bird