Murdock's caretaking instinct has come out. - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums

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Old 11-15-2012, 08:59 AM
Maverick James's Avatar
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Murdock's caretaking instinct has come out.

First the setup......

For about the last 3 weeks, I have been feeling ill. Up until Tuesday, it seemed that a cold had developed into a case of broncitis. Over the weekend I had a coughing spell so severe, that after a trip to urgent care and an x-ray, it turned out I cracked a rib. Then overnight Saturday into Sunday morning, while trying to protect my ribs, I managed to pull and abdominal muscle. Monday, I had a couple of meetings that I could not miss, so finally on Tuesday, I got into see my primary doctor expecting to obtain some painkillers and after reviewing the x-ray from urgent care, it ends up, I have pretty bad case of pneumonia.

If you have ever had a severe case of pneumonia, you know what fun (not) dealing with it is and If you have never had it, just know that those of us who have had it, are praying you never get to have first hand knowledge. I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

Anyhow, on to the reason for my post.

One of the things we have been concerned about with Murdock is the lack of feeling like Murdock is bonding with us. At 6 months, he is still pretty young but he has hardly ever cuddled and when we have tried to cuddle him, he usually gets away the first chance you give him. He very seldom seeks our attention like coming up to you wanting to be petted or just wnting to be with you.

In the last few days though, his caretaking instinct has seemed to come out in full force. He will hardly let me out of his sight and if he does, all I have to do is let out just the tiny bit of a cough and he is right there.

At night, my wife and Murdock have been going upstairs to sleep in the bedroom. Normally, we use a child gate to confine him to our bedroom overnight. But, because of my medicine schedule, irregular sleeping and the cough, I have been camped out on the couch in our great room. The other night they went to bed but Murdock kept standing at the gate whining. My wife thought maybe he needed to go potty even though he usually doesn't go out after 9:30pm until 5:00am, but once they came back in and went back up to bed, he just went back to stading at the gate whining. My wife got back up, opened the gate and while she was putting her clothes back on, Murdock went over to the upstairs railing that over looks the greatroom and laid down all content. We quickly figured out that his whining was because he couldn't see me. Since then, she has moved the child gate to the top of the stairs and all has been fine.

In the morning, my wife gets up at 5am, takes Murdock out to go potty and then gets ready so that she can be on her way to work by 6am. After they come back in, Murdock comes over to me and sniffs around my face. I can only assume he checking to make sure I'm still breathing and then lays down on the floor up against the couch.

This morning, he jumped up on the couch and attempted to lay along side of me so that I was sort of spooning him, but there wasn't enough space for him between me and the edge of the couch, so then he tried to squeeze in between me and the back of the couch. My wife grabbed an ottoman and pushed it up against the couch and immediately he laid down on it facing me and all was well. She got ready for work and put food in his bowl, but all the while he just stayed in his place on the ottoman with his head down and his beady little eyes wide open staring at me.

I must admit, his intense attentiveness this morning has sort of freaked me out and I think it has done the same to my wife because she has already called twice for really no reason.

It will be interesting to see if as I recover, his indifference returns. I bet it doesn't and now that the bonding has happened, good or bad, it is here to stay.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:20 AM
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Aww...what a good little caretaker!
I don't envy you your pneumonia at all...I've done the same thing with coughing so hard I think I cracked a rib, or at a minimum pulled a muscle and it is NOT fun.
Hope you're feeling better soon. Take care of yourself, and enjoy all the attention from Murdock.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:21 AM
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What a sweet story. I am so happy that Murdock is being so attentive and bonding with you and your wife. I agree that it is probably here to stay and would be interested in hearing more about how he reacts when you recover.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:52 AM
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Sending you wishes of a fast recouvery! Apparently you have a good nurse to take care of you, so that should do it
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:59 AM
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It is these very special moments that warm the heart! I have a 5 year old independant golden, who was 'there' when I needed him most, bless his heart. Nothing like a 'hug' from one who loves with all their heart.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:09 AM
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I think every dog has the mothering instinct to some degree. I was equally amazed when our husky, Romeo (who passed on last year) normally very stand-offish, not a cuddler, did the same. My wife had become ill with a severe bout of bronchitus. I was sleeping in our spair bed room as she was up a lot in the night. Romeo normally slept on his mat in the kitchen, & would come & get us when he wanted out. Romeo moved into the bedroom, & never left my wife's side, accept to go outside for bathroom duties. When she was up, he was up, if she went to the kitchen, he went to the kitchen etc. I got the flu a couple of years later, so my wife took the spair bedroom for a week. I expected Romeo would follow her, but he stayed with me while I was ill. We moved his mat to the foot of our bed, and he stayed there, until we lost him, just over a year ago.
Hope you're feeling better soon.

Mike D (Bella's dad)

Last edited by mddolson; 11-15-2012 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:05 PM
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awwww that is so adorable. I feel for you! I had that same darn thing back in October. I was coughing so hard I was vomiting. NOT fun! I'm sure I cracked a rib or something because my chest has been killing me even though the coughing stopped a good month ago. Hope you feel better soon!
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:20 PM
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What a touching story. It's that empathy that makes so many Goldens good therapy dogs. Hope you're feeling much better soon. I do think that each episode we share with our dogs strengthens the bond, so that over time it becomes stronger and stronger.
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