By Judi Curry
As my Golden Retriever Buddy was quickly losing his ability to stand or walk, I decided it was time to start looking for another dog. I hoped that the new dog would breathe some life into Buddy, and although I had been looking for months for the “right” dog, none came to the forefront.
None, that is, until I found Shadow, a.k.a. Thomas, at the Baja Animal Sanctuary. He was just what I thought Buddy and I needed.
Although we cannot be sure of Shadow’s heritage, he appears to be a pure Retriever. But just what kind is in question. You see, I think I have the Superman of the Retriever genre. He can’t jump between buildings in a single leap, but he sure as hell can jump over the coffee table — with all the geegaws on it — to jump up on the couch where he’ll watch the people go by.
He loves to jump up on people entering the house, and, unlike other dogs, he gives hugs. With the exception of two people – one of my daughters, who shall remain nameless, and “Cowboy,” who says that all animals should be kept outside” – people enjoy the feeling and are reluctant to have him get off. He’s so soft and cuddly – and strong.
It is estimated that his age is between 2 and a half and 3 years old. The only training he appears to have is that of being house broken. (Thank goodness.) We have tried giving him commands in Spanish – after all, he was found in Mexico — Japanese and Swiss German and he didn’t understand those and better than he understands English. So it was time to hire a trainer to help him right his ways.
I immediately went to Buddy’s trainer – Lee Wells – out of Coronado. When Buddy was being trained we took him to her classes, but now she does individual lessons at the house. Five of them. While she was training him – with me observing – he learned everything she taught him: sit, stay, down, release, wait, no bark, etc. I tried my hand at emulating her – with her in attendance – and Shadow would have won the gold star.
Except when she walked out the door Shadow appears to have said to himself “ Well, I sure faked that.” and never has done it again. Oh sure, he’ll sit – sometimes. He’ll lay down – sometimes. He’ll never stay. Today I went out to bring in the trash cans and when I turned around he was right behind me. Lee had taught him not to go out the door without a command. So much for that.
But the jumping is so much fun to watch. You even wonder how long he can keep it up. He jumps over the dining room table; he jumps over the umbrella table out by the pool; he jumps from the king-size bed over and over and over, always leaving a new toy on the bed. I wanted to take him for a walk and as we approached the three steps from the porch to the ground he leapt over the steps, nearly pulling me with him. (Did I say he was strong?) Now when we go for a walk we leave from the side gate where there are no steps.
I doubt if he is really part kangaroo. His coloring is a little similar but besides the jumping ability he doesn’t have any other kangaroo attributes. So maybe he is just a plain Golden Retriever, with a bent for the dramatics. Lord knows – he keeps me laughing.