by Sandra Gurev
Missing not having a dog in our lives for many years, my husband, Jerry, and I decided to check out some eight week old golden retrievers. Owning a different breed was not an option for us. Our last golden, Jenny, had all the attributes of her breed: intelligence, sense of humor, friendliness to children and desire to please.
We drove to a small town in New York State in pursuit of a puppy. The five pups for sale all had winning personalities as they approached us with happy grins and tails awagging. We chose Sweetpea because of her eyes and expressive face. She came home with us that day.
A few week's later we realized that we were overdue for a dog obedience class. Sweetpea had gnawed through the knobs on our new kitchen cabinets and had drawn some blood from my arms and lip through her rough play. She treated me as she would a litter mate.
Our trainer gave us one private lesson with Sweetpea after I was in tears one day from her aggression. She put Sweetpea in a "down stay" thirteen times! It took grabbing Sweetpea by the scruff of her neck and shaking her for her to obey the trainer. "She's a tough one," she said.
Besides the group lessons the trainer recommended providing Sweetpea with daily puppy play time to work out her considerable energy. She advised finding other young dogs in the neighborhood and setting up play dates. We developed a routine with Liberty, Bear, Cassie, and Edison. Their owners were amicable to our bringing Sweetpea to their yards for play. Since they all had invisible fences, for the most part she stayed on their property.
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Sandy Gurev is a wife of fifty-one years and mother of two sons and four grandchildren. Sandy was an elementary school counselor prior to retiring to Williamsburg, VA nine year's ago from Rochester, NY. Her volunteer work includes providing lunch to cancer patients and fitting women with wigs after they have lost their hair. Playing competitive duplicate bridge and belonging to two book clubs rounds out her time. Within the past two years she has written a memoir for her grandchildren and a couple of articles for the American Amateur Press Association. Sandy found that writing helped to reduce her perception of pain while she was awaiting back surgery.