The Life Story of a Loved Golden Retriever
Let’s be clear, this is not an important story in the grand scheme of life right now. What it is though, is happy. And cute. And filled of smiles from a dog all in efforts to provoke a smile on some other person.
I was a junior in high school when fifteen years of asking for a puppy finally paid off. My mom and brother drove to Canada to spontaneously pick up a golden retriever companion to our aging small dog, Levi, twelve at the time.
While brainstorming names for this ball of white fluff brought into our house, my brother and I were in a phase of life where everything was about music. He was in a band, I always had earbuds in. There were very few artists in which we overlapped, and one of them was Frank Ocean. Playing with the names “Orange”, “Forrest”, “Siegfried” and other interesting options, my mom vetoed them all. Finally, I landed on Ivy. This was one of maybe two occurrences in which my brother and I agreed so unanimously about something ever.
I was in the midst of college applications, constantly forgetting to stop and slow down and enjoy the moment. So, my memory of coming home to a small fluff of dog are all but a blur – not just because she couldn’t stop running everywhere. I remember being in love immediately with this small creature, but being so busy that I didn’t get to sit down with her very often. My mom asked me a couple weeks into having her in the house to grab some pictures because “the puppy phase won’t last very long”. She was wrong.
Okay she was right that her baby figure disappeared very quickly, transforming into an awkward
stature. However, ten months later we would have traded anything to get rid of the puppy inside this dog. Peeing on the floor, constant barking, tearing up the carpet, digging holes in the dry wall, eating blankets and all the towels, it never stopped. I took her to obedience classes once a week on Wednesdays and while originally I was so excited to have this great time with our new puppy, very soon after we started, she would not stop barking, could not be trained to sit or act well with other dogs, and would just absolutely have no control when people would come over to see her. It came so close to the last straw that we were almost ready to send her back across the border.
And that day, she changed. Well maybe not that day exactly. My dad swears it is true, I have my reservations and think it may have been a week or two. Regardless, she started to listen, she started to come when called, and she learned how to ask to go outside. No, she wasn’t perfect, but something inside her must have clicked to say that she had to get better fast or she would not be able to live in our house anymore.
Throughout the past couple years, we have gotten to know her better. She is constantly down to play a game of tug-of-war, she will sit by the mailbox each morning to wait for the mail lady to come and throw her a treat, and she will lay on her stomach just sleeping on the driveway because that is how happy of a puppy she is. She will freak out if you say the word “squirrel” or “walk”, and I swear can tell time and knows exactly when the clock hits 4:30 (time for food). She’ll whine if she sees one of her dog friends and isn’t immediately let out, and will talk to you if you funny dog-talk to her.
Three years later, we are all in love. Ivy got us through quarantine with her cute little face always looking up at us. She forced us to take walks even when we might not have wanted to. She made friends with the neighbors and got us to make friends as well. She could get so excited at the simplest things, despite all the craziness of the world, and that made us just a little happier. My family and I absolutely adore Ivy now, she is a full member of our family and has captured our hearts more than we could have imagined. She’s not perfect, in fact she is likely the most spoiled dog in southwestern Michigan, but her personality makes her even more lovable.
Ivy came into our lives as a small fluff of white fur, getting lost in the grass in our backyard. Now, she is an integral part of our lives, full of sass, energy, and personality. During quarantine, a lot of people started to recognize the small stuff and find joy in special little things, and for me, I fell more in love with the weirdest, most attention-needing, most adoring dog.