Dog trainers we are not.
Some people are just ‘like that’ and others, like us, are not. But we are huge animal lovers and rescuers and we have a special connection with golden retrievers that we don’t so much have with other breeds. And there are a number of people in our immediate circles who could well benefit from a dog inclined towards being a therapy dog of some sort.
We have looked into therapy dogs before but for several reasons we decided that if we wanted one, we would have to train her ourselves.
After we lost our beloved golden retriever Daisy (nearly twelve years old), we all fell into disarray. She was full of joy and scamp right to the end. She brought constant laughter and love and affirmation of just how fabulous we all were while maintaining a boldly cheeky and independent streak that amused us no end.
Were we really ready for another dog? I didn’t feel ready. Indeed, the loss of Daisy had triggered months of depression in me. But Hubby and Son both wanted another golden retriever, so I agreed to dip my toe into the world of ‘just looking into it’.
While we were investigating options, we decided to cast our net out with the intention of perhaps bringing in a pup with a temperament that might suit a role as a support dog of some kind. If it didn’t work out, so be it. We wouldn’t love her any less. If it did, that would be an added bonus. We weren’t deeply invested in the idea but we did set out with the intention of spending the first six to twelve months of the dog’s life throwing as much effort into a well-rounded education as possible within our energy and time constraints and fairly pitiful knowledge base of any training beyond basic household manners (and Daisy would have convinced you we didn’t even have much of that).
But by twelve weeks of age, it was pretty clear to us that Sunshine did indeed have a solid temperament that could well suit support work. That was when I started this blog, to keep track of our journey together.