Color-Blind Retriever

April-May 028My dog is a golden retriever. I thought that meant she’d be good at retrieving things, but she’s not.  She loves catching, but things usually drop first or bounce before she gets them. Occasionally she’ll catch a Frisbee in the air and we clap and congratulate her as she trots back to us with a BIG SMILE.

Ginger:  [Pant, pant, pant] Did you see that catch! Did you see it? I can die happy now! That was a great catch! I love you Alpha Mom. You’re the best. Throw it to me again! Come on! Don’t tease me! [Pant, pant, pant; smile, grin, raise her eyelids in question] Did you see that last catch! That was great, wasn’t it? [Pant, pant, pant]

So I throw the ball again…and my dog lays down at my feet.

November 2nd 003Ginger: On second thought, I’m tired. [Pant, pant, pant] I chased 3 flying things and that was hard. [Pant, pant, pant] I love you Alpha Mom. Your feet smell good…almost as good as poop…but not quite.

The thing about Ginger that baffles me is how her whole temperament changes when we go on a walk. She’s usually so docile and lazy. If you’ve watched that Chevy Chase movie with Yellow Dog in it, Ginger’s like that. She poops out easily (both ways—in the yard and also from physical exertion).

But when I take her on a walk—she becomes SUPER SLED DOG—Balto the crazy, hyper dog. I just want to walk—but Ginger has other ideas.

Ginger: Come on! Faster, faster! Here! I’ll help you. Just hold onto this rope and I’ll pull you to our destination. I know where you want to go. We go there all the time:  either the grassy park that smells like poop…or the canal trail that smells like poop, or the next neighborhood that smells like pop…I mean poop!

Most people look like they’re in control of their dogs when I pass them. They make me jealous…because I don’t look like that. Ginger’s in control of me…and pulls me along at a breathtaking pace as I try to ACT like I’m in charge by yelling out when we pass people…”Mush! Mush! Get along little doggie!”

Ginger the Sled Dog thinks we’re training for the Iditarod; I’ve tried to train the sled dog out of her by pulling on her leash and saying, “Ginger! You’re blond! You’re not a Husky! Calm down, girl! It’s all right to be blond! Don’t listen to the jokes people say about us! They’re not true! You can change a lightbulb all by yourself…and I know you get jokes the first time I tell them. You laugh right on cue! You don’t have to act like Balto!”

May (Jazz Trip) 003But it doesn’t make any difference. She still thinks she’s an Alaskan Husky. They say dogs are color blind…so maybe she thinks her pretty blond coat is really black and gray. She sees herself differently than I see her…and maybe that’s a good thing. It keeps her young…and pulling like a sled dog, instead of moaning about her bad hip.

Next time we go for a walk, I think I’ll call her Balto–just to give her a thrill!  She deserves it for pulling me along in life…leading the way through the twisty maze of my neighborhood and keeping me safe from ducks, geese and the occasional demon cat who stalks us and hisses as we pass it. I hate that cat…and I know Ginger has kept it from tearing my eyeballs from my head. So I guess I can humor my dog and let her continue to believe she’s a sled dog! Mush, mush!


19 thoughts on “Color-Blind Retriever

  1. I read somewhere that dogs are not color blind, they just do not see color as intensely as we do. My golden, Rommie, is the reason why I got out of bed every morning the first year after Joe passed. As much as I wanted to stay in bed with the covers over my head, I did not want to smell pee and poop!

    Rommie was a sled dog and then the vet told me about a Halti and life is good now.

    • Golden’s are great! I’m glad you have one too. When Ginger was a puppy we trained the heck out of her to get her to be well-behaved (and it worked, except for heeling). Even with the choke collar, she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm and would just choke to death as she continued to pull us. Sigh! Now she’s 8 and I don’t have the heart to train an old dog to do new tricks. I’m glad she’s excited about her walks because she does have super bad hips…and I’d rather see her energetic than in pain.

  2. Brilliant! I love energetic dogs. I grew up with a husky, beagle mutt we called Chestnut Chewbacca Bacon–Chessie for short. She was a blast.

    • Love the name! Any Star Wars name is good with me. Now I want another dog just to name him Chewie (never mind. The urge passed as fast as it came. Whew!)

  3. My dog is a crazy crazy English setter and she’s never in control. She’s used to being able to run free in the woods so when she has to be on a leash, it’s like trying to keep a cartoon on a leash. It’s much more fun that way. 🙂

    • We have trails out in the foothills of Boise and most people always run/walk/bike out there with their dogs unleashed…except me (Ginger gets too excited to meet other dogs and people and doesn’t listen to come back to us. She embarrasses me…so has to always stay on the leash. The good thing is that she doesn’t get ticks from nosing around all the sage when I’m semi-in-control of her). I let her loose in the park across from my house when no one else is around and Ginger gets her racing dog-sled desires out of her then.

  4. Wow, you are kind of like the dog whisperer–you really channeled her! I feel as though I know Ginger intimately now. And I was also thrilled to see how often you worked the word “poop” into your post (it’s the little things I find so special…). You are a blogger after my own heart. 🙂

    • Haha! Thanks, Carrie. I feel very special now. My boy likes when I work that word into a post. He’s 11, and boys like things like that! He was a little sad I didn’t work pictures of him into my post. He thinks he’s a Hollywood movie star whenever I do throw a goofy picture of him in somewhere (it’s hilarious). Him and Ginger vie for the attention on my blog. Sigh!

  5. Oh what fun. My sister and her family had a golden—Annie. Such a sweet dog! They lost her a few years ago after a long happy life. Good memories for all.

    • Yes, ‘golden memories.’ I keep telling Ginger she must live forever (and she always smiles and then licks my hand, wondering where her treat is).

  6. ah ginger. I was just telling morganne about her yesterday. We are excited to maybe get to visit her very soon. seems like we haven’t seen her since she was a puppy.

  7. Thanks for the award, Elana. I’ve got this one before, but might do a little write up on it a little later (when I get time to find more sites). Good luck in your studies. College is stressful; I remember just aching to read a novel, but never having time with all my studies. Now that I’m out, I’d love to take a college class–haha. We always yearn for that which we can’t have.

  8. I have never had a golden, but we do have English setters. They like to have things thrown for them, but then they play keep-away. Which can get very exhausting. Your golden is beautiful, and I have a soft spot for dogs who don’t fully measure up to the expectations of their breed. It makes them that much more ‘human’.

    • Thanks, Kate. I like dogs with some idiosyncrasies too (as long as those don’t include jumping up on me or leaving large amounts of drool on me every time they pass–St. Bernard’s are OUT!)

  9. Pingback: enough walking | My Pet Dog Max

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