We are snowbound today in the Northeast in the throes of Snowstorm Niko, expecting over a foot of snow so I promised myself that today is the day I will start Chumlee's own thread to record some of our journey together.
I can't believe how hard it is to bring myself to start a thread in the Senior (gulp!) forum! Ok, so Chumlee has been a Senior for at least couple years now. It's just that I prefer living in a state of denial and pretending he's only 6 or 7.....
On the other hand, I know how fortunate I am to have a nearly 12 year old golden! I've read so many heartbreaking stories here on GRF chronicling many young dogs taken much, much too soon.
So without further ado, here is the story of Chumlee.
The beginning of Chumlee's life is not 100% clear. Chumlee is a rescue dog and I have only the rescue group's account of his life up until 2011.
Chumlee was born in upstate New York. He had at least 2, possibly 3 families before he came to live with us. His first family had 2 young children and the story was that he was likely not socialized or exercised and that little landshark puppy Chumlee played too rough with the children. They surrendered him to a shelter when he was almost 2 years old.
He was neutered and adopted very briefly and returned to the shelter, then promptly adopted by another
family with 3 young children. History repeated itself; Chumlee was too rough with the very young children. And somewhere along the line, probably because of poor socialization, he became dog-reactive. Rather than work with him, this family surrendered him to the same shelter after a couple of years, saying he was wild and unmanageable.
Enter Peppertree Rescue, who took him into rescue with the shelter's blessing. Finding a foster home with all of his dog-reactiveness wasn't easy and finding a forever home for him was even harder than that! Despite everything, Peppertree refused to give up on him. They found a trainer to work on manners and they discovered that he was quite an anxious guy but very smart and biddable! He stayed with them for nearly 7 months as they worked to earn his trust and help him become an adoptable pet.
In June 2011, we lost our 18 year old cat and then a mere 10 days later we had to put our nearly 16 year old dog down. To say that we were heartbroken seems a little inadequate. Suddenly we had no pets. At all.
Our house was empty and just too quiet.
For a couple of months prior to losing our pets, I had been looking online at a picture of a handsome GR - he made me smile - but saw in big letters that he had to be the ONLY PET because of his reactiveness to other animals. I couldn't stop thinking about him but knew he wasn't the dog for us since we had a dog and a cat.
After losing our pets, I kept thinking about this adorable GR but I was sure he must have been adopted already. I finally contacted the rescue group to inquire about him. To my shock, he was still available!!
We adopted Chumlee in August 2011, driving 5 hours to bring him home with us without ever having met him in person. I just knew it was meant to be.
Chumlee will be 12 years old in May. We have officially had him longer than all of his other families combined! He has brought joy and silliness back to our house. Chumlee's favorite things are going for long walks and carrying my son's dirty athletic socks in his mouth after stealing them out of the laundry. He is also a skilled surgeon and has performed countless "squeaker-ectomies" from stuffed toys. His favorite "sneak foods" are Cheez-Its and pizzelle cookies, although, like most Goldens, he loves ALL food!
I will try to update this thread often and I know I will be asking for advice from other past and present parents of senior goldens. And I'm trying hard to get over my hang-up and fears over Chumlee getting older.
My new mantra: "Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is precious and special for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older." by Louise Hay