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Advice for seniors considering another golden

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Hello, I have just recently joined the forum and I need some advice for seniors who may wish to share their lives with a golden retriever again.

Here's our story: We have just lost the most wonderful dog we have ever known. Her name was Champagne, she was a purebred American and she died at 14 1/2 years old. We are experiencing the grief that only golden retriever owners can know. I am 69 and my wife Annette is 68.
In 2006 Annette, who had already been dealing with serious pain management issues was in a serious car accident after which she required several surgeries on both shoulders. In October of 2007 our lovely yellow lab cross died unexpectedly at the age of 7 from cancer. Jack was an incredibly powerful dog but was as gentle as he was strong and we were totally shocked when we found that he didn't have long to live. Some time early in the new year of 2008 Annette told me that she wanted another dog. I was very hesitant at first because I just wasn't sure if she would be able to handle the responsibilities considering her physical condition. She told me that caring for a new dog would distract her adequately and improve her mental health. It didn't take me too long to agree, with the understanding that I would handle the leash training and walking, and basically take care of its outside activities while Annette took care of it inside the home, grooming etc., and as much as anything they would keep each other company while I was running our home business. I insisted that rather than taking in a rescue as we have done every time in the past we should look for a dog with a temperament similar to Jack's and that a golden retriever would be a logical choice.
Annette agreed and we brought Champagne home in August of 2008. It was the best pet decision we ever made. We had known a bit about goldens but looking back with 20/20 hind sight I now realize that we had no idea just how incredibly beautiful inside and out, loyal, trusting, joyful and intelligent they can be. The affect on Annette's mental health was immediate and long lasing and the past 14 years have been some of the best years of our lives.

Now we are older, Annette has continuing health issues while I am in pretty darn good shape physically. I am often mistaken for a guy in his early fifties rather than his late sixties. I don't have quite the energy I had 14 years ago but not too far off, but what I have now compared to before is a lot of time. I am retired and occasionally agree to fill appropriate woodworking orders when they come in from old and trusted customers.

So here's the question: assuming that we arrive at a stable place in the near future where we have come to peace with Champagne's passing, should we get another golden at our ages? Right now we both realize that it's early days and we won't make a rash decision when emotions are running high, but I find that the thought of doing this again alleviates some of the immediate pain. I have visited the websites of the main breeders close to us in Ontario in anticipation of possibly getting another golden and just doing that makes me feel better. We have a 4 acre property bordered by vacant lands which are accessible to us, we have huge spaces for tearabouts and obedience training and our home and property are better suited than ever before to have a another dog. If we did get another puppy, and it would be a puppy, I would have a plan in place for someone to care for it if for some reason we were both incapacitated (or worse) with financial provisions for the dog's care.

Neither of us is seeking to replace Champagne, that just wouldn't be right, and an injustice to her, but we would be looking for another unique relationship with a dog whose temperament we can be reasonably sure of from the beginning. We have read a lot on the internet about seniors with dogs, a lot of it positive, but there is very little in the way of first hand experience.
Can anyone out there offer us some advice? Has anyone been in similar circumstances? How did it go or how is it going? What should we be aware of if there is something we haven't considered? We want to make as informed a decision as we can some time in the near future because if we do go ahead we will both be all in, just as Champagne was every day of her life with us, and we would want to do the very best for the dog. We would really appreciate what ever feedback we can get.
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First, so sorry to for your loss of your girl, 14 1/2 is an amazing outcome and it sounds like you gave her the very best of lives. Losing our first golden was one of the hardest things we have ever had to endure. It's a special kind of pain.

I am 65, my husband is 70 and we got our puppy right after Christmas 2021. We lost our first Golden Riley the summer of 2020 and we waited a while and then had to wait some more due to the 2020 puppy famine before we got River. We are both in decent shape physically but I wouldn't say anyone would mistake us for being in our early 50's (don't I wish). We do a fair amount of hiking so we are not in bad shape.

We are so glad to have River!! We have not had any trouble handling her in spite of the fact she is much, much more feisty than Riley ever was. She has opinions about many things. Our first priority was to get her in a puppy class and work really hard on impulse control and leash manners because we did not want to get jerked around or knocked over. My only regret is that we got her in the dead of winter and it was much more taxing getting her house trained and keeping her exercised. We had a particularly cold and windy winter and getting her outside to potty and to walk, not fun. At the end of the day we would get to about 8:00 and say, "Is it time for bed yet?" 馃ゴ馃ゴ. She has been perfect in the crate since day one which helped a lot but we were TIRED!!

We love having her, I can't imagine life without her. She keeps us entertained and training her has been a good hobby for me since I retired and have plenty of time to spend on her. If I was in your place I would find a breeder and get on a wait list ASAP, you can always decline but it took us well over a year to get our girl. We were more than ready and not getting any younger.
 

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We are a bit older then you, my husband not mobile enough to walk a dog anymore, but since I was the one who was the driving force behind getting another dog I pretty much assumed I would be the "keeper of dogs" here as always.
I must say that another pup would probably kill me at this point, carrying a squiggly pup down icy steps isn't for the faint of heart.
BUT, I would never walk every day if I didn't have a dog, I certainly wouldn't be chasing the ball on the back 40 and retrieving when the retriever doesn't :)
So physically strenuous yes, keeping your healthier then you would be otherwise, and mentally on the ball :) also yes.
At this point in our lives it's more important to have a plan B, so If you break a leg, will you have somebody to take over for a while ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First, so sorry to for your loss of your girl, 14 1/2 is an amazing outcome and it sounds like you gave her the very best of lives. Losing our first golden was one of the hardest things we have ever had to endure. It's a special kind of pain.

I am 65, my husband is 70 and we got our puppy right after Christmas 2021. We lost our first Golden Riley the summer of 2020 and we waited a while and then had to wait some more due to the 2020 puppy famine before we got River. We are both in decent shape physically but I wouldn't say anyone would mistake us for being in our early 50's (don't I wish). We do a fair amount of hiking so we are not in bad shape.

We are so glad to have River!! We have not had any trouble handling her in spite of the fact she is much, much more feisty than Riley ever was. She has opinions about many things. Our first priority was to get her in a puppy class and work really hard on impulse control and leash manners because we did not want to get jerked around or knocked over. My only regret is that we got her in the dead of winter and it was much more taxing getting her house trained and keeping her exercised. We had a particularly cold and windy winter and getting her outside to potty and to walk, not fun. At the end of the day we would get to about 8:00 and say, "Is it time for bed yet?" 馃ゴ馃ゴ. She has been perfect in the crate since day one which helped a lot but we were TIRED!!

We love having her, I can't imagine life without her. She keeps us entertained and training her has been a good hobby for me since I retired and have plenty of time to spend on her. If I was in your place I would find a breeder and get on a wait list ASAP, you can always decline but it took us well over a year to get our girl. We were more than ready and not getting any younger.
Thank you so much for your response, it's very encouraging at a difficult time. I do believe that getting tired (maybe very tired!) might just be a reasonable price to pay for what you get in return with a golden. And thanks for the tip about the winter, presumably a lot of exercise in the yard for River would have been less strenuous for you in the long run. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We are a bit older then you, my husband not mobile enough to walk a dog anymore, but since I was the one who was the driving force behind getting another dog I pretty much assumed I would be the "keeper of dogs" here as always.
I must say that another pup would probably kill me at this point, carrying a squiggly pup down icy steps isn't for the faint of heart.
BUT, I would never walk every day if I didn't have a dog, I certainly wouldn't be chasing the ball on the back 40 and retrieving when the retriever doesn't :)
So physically strenuous yes, keeping your healthier then you would be otherwise, and mentally on the ball :) also yes.
At this point in our lives it's more important to have a plan B, so If you break a leg, will you have somebody to take over for a while ?
Thanks for your reply. Yes, definitely we would have a plan B. We want to have all our ducks in a row if we set out on another canine adventure and it would be essential to have that in place before we started. We have already approached a couple of people about it. Thank you.
 

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It might be worthwhile to consider getting a rescue, IF you can find the right fit. My wife and I are around your age, a little older and a little younger. We have 2goldens, one is a year old and one is 8. This past year we rescued a 9 year old Jack Russell chihuahua mix who鈥檚 owner had to go into a nursing home due to dementia. This little dog is totally devoted to my wife which was a perfect fit for us since she lost her dog, a basenji about a year ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It might be worthwhile to consider getting a rescue, IF you can find the right fit. My wife and I are around your age, a little older and a little younger. We have 2goldens, one is a year old and one is 8. This past year we rescued a 9 year old Jack Russell chihuahua mix who鈥檚 owner had to go into a nursing home due to dementia. This little dog is totally devoted to my wife which was a perfect fit for us since she lost her dog, a basenji about a year ago.
Thanks for your reply. A rescue would probably be off the table but we may feel differently at some point. I think we are reasonably opened minded about this. Our relationship with Champagne was so intense partly because we bonded through the puppy stage which was beyond delightful.
 

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I鈥檓 56, just retired last November. We lost our Lab in March, and finally felt ready for another dog. We got our Golden pup two weeks ago. He is six months old and very calm and sweet and has excellent house manners.
We have had a bit of a learning curve with potty, because Buffett is so subtle about needing to go outside. So that鈥檚 been keeping me moving a lot to prevent accidents. Along with the usual walks and playing.

My job was fairly physical, but I will say that I鈥檓 ready to go to bed pretty early since getting the pup 馃槀 We had intended to get an 8- week old but we had the opportunity to have this sweet guy, and I鈥檓 actually relieved to have avoided all the young puppy work this time around.

My last dog was also acquired a little older at four months and rock solid potty trained from day one. So maybe don鈥檛 rule out an older puppy when you decide it鈥檚 time to fill the dog space in your lives.
 

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I am 74 and my wife 73. We have had 3 previous goldens over the past 30+ years. We (I) decided to get another due some medical issues (cancer) as a "therapy dog". We live near the beach so walking him is not an issue. I am not as spry I as I once was but he has been the greatest joy. He is now 10 months old and we had some issues when he was 6/7 months but that was due to being on vacation in too small of a place. These days he (and I) are doing great with 2 walks (runs) per day. He might outlive me but I feel we made the right chose
 

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Good morning ,
MY wife and I are a couple years younger than you. 6 Months ago we go our pup Bella.
She is definitely keeping us on our toes . Going on longs walks hurts an arthritic knee sometimes and I would say I couple times I thought 鈥渕an did I make a mistake鈥, Those doubts were brief , if anything the pup has helped us , we stay more active ! We live in Florida , so pool time helps with the exercise they need and deserve .
FOR us it鈥檚 worked fabulous ! we are thinking of getting another ..
 

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Lots of great input on here, I thought I would pop back in, just to say we also took in rescues in the past and when deciding this time, at our somewhat advanced age, on getting another dog, rescue with unknown past and issues, didn't seem like the right choice.

If there had been an older pup available (6-8 month) preferably from a breeder who has changed their mind on keeping dog as a future prospect (breeding or showing) would have been my first choice, barring that when pup became available we took the plunge.

I will say though that puppies are like babies, we soon forget how much work they are, and since it has been at leas 25 years since we had a pup, the work was somewhat of an eye opener, the fact that Addy came from a reputable breeder, so pretty much house and crate trained at 8 weeks, that was a very pleasant surprise.
 

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I smiled reading your post. My husband and I lost two of our beautiful dogs in late 2017 when we were 77 (him) and 66 (me). So in early 2018, we brought home an 8-week-old Golden boy and then added an 8-week-old Boxer pup in late 2018. We couldn't live without them and we are having a ball doing Agility and Nosework with both :) But we are healthy, take care of our horses at home and keep staying active with all of the "kids". It's never too late if you feel good and have a safety net if needed. Go for it and enjoy giving and getting that unconditional love.
 

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I'm so sorry about the loss of your sweet Champagne. She sounds like a wonderful dog who was such an important part of your family.

I also just wanted to say that I loved your post and how thoughtful you are being about this - and also I LOVE all the responses!! I'm a bit younger than you, but I have several friends closer to your ages in my training group (hunt training) and they have ALL had new puppies in the past year or two, along with their older dogs. All of them also do obedience or tracking or scent work, so obviously a pretty active group. But you sound like you'd be up to it physically for sure.

I think it is so important to think about this stuff. I also think that these pups do help keep us healthy - they get us up every day, they get us out walking, they make us play (try to NOT smile or laugh when throwing a ball for a Golden or watching her leap into a lake or pool). I feel like if you physically can handle it, it will only be a wonderful thing in terms of lifting your spirits. A new pup won't ever replace Champagne, but I can tell you from my experience, it is possible to love another so much. I didn't think it was possible until I got my new pup after losing my heart dog - and just magically, I loved her too, just as much. It was like my heart just grew a little bit to make more room. So in that way, I can reassure you, you will never regret getting another. I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We are a bit older then you, my husband not mobile enough to walk a dog anymore, but since I was the one who was the driving force behind getting another dog I pretty much assumed I would be the "keeper of dogs" here as always.
I must say that another pup would probably kill me at this point, carrying a squiggly pup down icy steps isn't for the faint of heart.
BUT, I would never walk every day if I didn't have a dog, I certainly wouldn't be chasing the ball on the back 40 and retrieving when the retriever doesn't :)
So physically strenuous yes, keeping your healthier then you would be otherwise, and mentally on the ball :) also yes.
At this point in our lives it's more important to have a plan B, so If you break a leg, will you have somebody to take over for a while ?
Thanks, I dream of staying active with another golden - great health-wise for me and the dog. Perhaps we all should have a back up plan at any age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm 71, retired, and got a new puppy this past May. I run (slower that I used to) and bike, so this helps with my wild, energetic puppy. The way I see it, we keep each other young and healthy.
I'm 71, retired, and got a new puppy this past May. I run (slower that I used to) and bike, so this helps with my wild, energetic puppy. The way I see it, we keep each other young and healthy.
That's great - it's a wonderful two way street. Love your photo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I鈥檓 56, just retired last November. We lost our Lab in March, and finally felt ready for another dog. We got our Golden pup two weeks ago. He is six months old and very calm and sweet and has excellent house manners.
We have had a bit of a learning curve with potty, because Buffett is so subtle about needing to go outside. So that鈥檚 been keeping me moving a lot to prevent accidents. Along with the usual walks and playing.

My job was fairly physical, but I will say that I鈥檓 ready to go to bed pretty early since getting the pup 馃槀 We had intended to get an 8- week old but we had the opportunity to have this sweet guy, and I鈥檓 actually relieved to have avoided all the young puppy work this time around.

My last dog was also acquired a little older at four months and rock solid potty trained from day one. So maybe don鈥檛 rule out an older puppy when you decide it鈥檚 time to fill the dog space in your lives.
Thanks, getting an older puppy is something we had not considered. I have assumed that since most of the reputable breeders have waiting lists that we would have to take a puppy somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks not 6 months. I will be contacting our closest local breeder soon and discuss that with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am 74 and my wife 73. We have had 3 previous goldens over the past 30+ years. We (I) decided to get another due some medical issues (cancer) as a "therapy dog". We live near the beach so walking him is not an issue. I am not as spry I as I once was but he has been the greatest joy. He is now 10 months old and we had some issues when he was 6/7 months but that was due to being on vacation in too small of a place. These days he (and I) are doing great with 2 walks (runs) per day. He might outlive me but I feel we made the right chose
Thanks for the reply. I am so glad to know that so many folks who have owned goldens early in life have cared for them again. Small wonder, they are so great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm so sorry about the loss of your sweet Champagne. She sounds like a wonderful dog who was such an important part of your family.

I also just wanted to say that I loved your post and how thoughtful you are being about this - and also I LOVE all the responses!! I'm a bit younger than you, but I have several friends closer to your ages in my training group (hunt training) and they have ALL had new puppies in the past year or two, along with their older dogs. All of them also do obedience or tracking or scent work, so obviously a pretty active group. But you sound like you'd be up to it physically for sure.

I think it is so important to think about this stuff. I also think that these pups do help keep us healthy - they get us up every day, they get us out walking, they make us play (try to NOT smile or laugh when throwing a ball for a Golden or watching her leap into a lake or pool). I feel like if you physically can handle it, it will only be a wonderful thing in terms of lifting your spirits. A new pup won't ever replace Champagne, but I can tell you from my experience, it is possible to love another so much. I didn't think it was possible until I got my new pup after losing my heart dog - and just magically, I loved her too, just as much. It was like my heart just grew a little bit to make more room. So in that way, I can reassure you, you will never regret getting another. I hope this helps.
Thank you, that was a really nice reply which really does help. So glad to know that your new girl has touched you as well - I sometimes think that these guys are sent straight down from heaven to help us all out here on earth!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I smiled reading your post. My husband and I lost two of our beautiful dogs in late 2017 when we were 77 (him) and 66 (me). So in early 2018, we brought home an 8-week-old Golden boy and then added an 8-week-old Boxer pup in late 2018. We couldn't live without them and we are having a ball doing Agility and Nosework with both :) But we are healthy, take care of our horses at home and keep staying active with all of the "kids". It's never too late if you feel good and have a safety net if needed. Go for it and enjoy giving and getting that unconditional love.
Thank you, you clearly know the territory - it's very encouraging.
 
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