I woke this morning and stumbled down the steps, through the breezeway, and to the back sliding door. It was stuck. I yanked it open only to be shocked by a snow drift. My dogs leaped over it and into literal Golden Retriever paradise. Thick, powdery, dry snow, and a gorgeous sun rising gave way to a lovely morning romp. Although I wasn’t dressed for it, I couldn’t help but join them in their pure happiness and joy. One just never knows what can happen in life, and today I am thankful for the safety and life of those I love most, and I have a heart full of gratitude for the simple pleasures in life.
Andi has been placed in a wonderful breeding/working/companion home. She will be residing in West Virginia with Veronica and family. Her new “sister” is a Golden close in age who, due to a genetic condition, can no longer be trained as a working dog. Andi will have big paw prints to fill, but we think she can do it! Later, I will get two puppies back from Andi, so I have not lost her gorgeous structure and type in my breeding program. I feel sad, but it’s bittersweet. Sending a wonderful home-bred puppy off to a great home is an amazing feeling. I will be pet sitting her in May and June, so look for pictures and updates both then and before then from her new family. Congrats Veronica, and welcome to the Windridge family! Here is the meeting between Andi (left) and her new sister Sailor (sitting, right).
Meanwhile, I will be focusing a lot on Willow and her training. She is simply amazing.
Willow is a very special puppy. Now, it’s not a secret that I suffer from some significant mental health issues. I don’t hide it. For one, I’m sick and tired of the world’s stigma against the mentally ill. We shouldn’t be ashamed. We aren’t at fault. We can’t control it any more than a diabetic can control having diabetes. That said, I’m going to explain what this magical puppy did for me recently.
Recently, though my life is vastly improved in many ways, I have had some difficult things to deal with. My BPD has flared, among other issues. A few days ago, this looked like me lashing out at someone who definitely did NOT deserve it, and the resulting guilt and self hatred I had. Soon, a full fledged break-down followed. The entire time, sweet five month old Willow kept her self wrapped around my back, with her head on my shoulder, pressed into my tear-stained face. She watched me with concern and love. I didn’t notice at the time, but a friend witnessed the whole thing.
The episode grew worse, and I was reduced to sobbing incoherently, and Willow laid across me, on me, and beside me, 100% by her own choice. My crying and panic did not frighten her. She remained intuitive yet perfectly calm and attentive. This dog is everything I would want in a prospect for psychiatric service work. I couldn’t be more proud or thankful that she is in our lives. I don’t know what our plans for her will ultimately end up being, but I can tell you that she isn’t going anywhere!
Over the last few days, I have gotten some nice photos of the girls. Scottie’s girl Willow, and my girl Andi, are both looking lovely in their own ways.
First, here is Andi. I love her balance, angles, head type, and her spunky personality. She wants to do all the things, and wants to go with me and work and learn. She is sassy and demanding, affectionate, and a bit free spirited. She is very much like her mother, with a slightly prettier head. more coat, more pigment, and a better front assembly!
Andromeda (Andi) – Windridge I’ll Show You The Stars:
And Willow is also lovelly. She is built more like her mother, and with a rather “tweedy” type of head and look about her. She is super fast and athletic, very biddable and gentle and loving, and wants to be quietly and affectionately with you most of the time. She is a lot like Fontana, and the two of them are usually together. We love her eyes, expression, color, light bone, leggy build, and wonderful temperament. She has natural retrieving drive, too.
Willow – Windridge Wild Mountain Time:
Now, I’m pretty picky when it comes to what I will refer to as a canine athlete. I have a life long history of loving and admiring sigthhounds, and over two decades owning performance sighthounds. I have even worked professionally with racing Greyhounds at two different facilities. The average dog running about is not going to impress me a lot.
That said, my little out of coat mama dog, Flirt, is a true canine athlete. She is built for it. Here she is this past week, out of coat, free stacked and holding a stay in my driveway. Because she lacks coat right now after her recent litter, you can see every inch of her.
Today on our lovely walk in the woods and through the park, she demonstrated impressive athletic ability, and the brains to back it up.
In this move, she is leaping over her daughter to avoid a collision at full speed:
Here she is simply racing full speed towards me as I called, but about to go around me:
I frequently say that drive without brains is meaningless, and I truly believe that. All the speed, desire, and athletic agility in the world is not any use if you’re injured or dead because, to be frank, you’re a fool. I love that Flirt is so agile and fast, but also smart and bodily aware. Her daughter Fontana is no slouch, and is still young, but is built just a touch more like a show Golden. This isn’t shocking, since her father is half American show lines. She has a touch more bone than her mother, a slightly longer body, and a bit less leg. She is still far more athletic than the majority of Golden Retrievers I have encountered, and only time will tell if she catches up to her mother at maturity. What Fontana definitely does have is bodily awareness and a lot of intelligence and desire to do what you ask her to do.
Although it’s a shame it’s blurry, here she is trying hard to catch up with her mother:
Fontana will be bred to a very athletic field trial bred male, and I am very excited to see the results. Her show type sire improved shoulder layback, and gave her a touch more “type” than her mother has. This makes me question if that “good front” is really actually better in the end. Flirt’s is more typical of actual fast and agile working dogs of almost any breed.
Here is another photo of Flirt, also taken in the last few days, standing naturally and watching my room-mate pull into the driveway.
At any rate, I am very proud of these girls!