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Advice for seniors considering another golden

3094 Views 46 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  LucyNoble
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?" 🥴🥴. 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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