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Discussion Starter #1
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.....:eek:

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. :crying: 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. :eek:

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
 

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Oh goodness, I have a lump in my throat, I'm just so happy that Chumlee found his way into your family. He's always making me smile and reminds me so much of Barnaby with his silly antics!

Welcome to the Senior Forum gorgeous Chumlee, I will look forward to reading about all your adventures, Uncle Barnaby enjoys reading all your letters too so if you want to take sock stealing to the next level just let him know:wink2:!

I hope you have many happy, healthy years ahead, big hugs and cyber socks flying over x:smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Another blizzard and Chum is loving it!

So today we are just wrapping up another huge snowstorm. I think this one is officially a blizzard because of the blowing and limited visibility. Another 16 inches of snow. I really think we've had our share for this winter and would gladly send future storms to other parts of the country! :)

Chumlee loves the snow but this one was a little hard to walk since now we have over 2 feet of snow! These are a couple of pictures of Chum and my backyard this morning. If I get the motivation to shovel off the deck and the hot tub, I think I'll have a soak and enjoy the winter wonderland instead of fussing about it. And Chum loves to hang around while someone is in the hot tub hoping that they will toss a snowball to him :D
 

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Enjoy the snow Chumlee, I love your photo!.
 

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So we are just wrapping up school vacation. My son and his girlfriend have been keeping busy playing in the snow and Chumlee has been tagging along. His girlfriend jokes with my son that she only started dating him so she could hang out with Chumlee. :D

They went to one of Chum's favorite places to walk but the snow was pretty deep. DS's girlfriend told my son to grab a shovel from the back of the truck and the two of them shoveled a huge, long path for Chumlee so he could enjoy himself - love that girl! They've also taken him to the beach a couple of times so he can really run. I think Chum will need a rest after all this activity!

Chum also made out really well on Valentine's Day, scoring a comfortable new bed. I think I spent three times more on Chum than I did on my DH and DS, but please don't tell them or I would be forced to deny it. ;)

In short, Chumlee is doing well and loving life! Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dog? :heartbeat

Here's a picture of Chumlee enjoying his new bed.
 

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Oh Chumlee you are looking wonderful, what a great bed!. It seems you have an admirer, your brothers girlfriend sounds lovely. Of course I'm your number one fan in England though!. I hope you are still stealing those socks, maybe you should have hidden some in the snow.

Im so glad you're doing well, you really give me a huge smile. Hugs to you gorgeous boy and please say hi to your mum from me x
 

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I don't know how I missed this thread before but I'm loving it!!! Obviously he was waiting especially for your family!

Don't you worry Chumlee - age ain't nothin but a number!

That bed looks super comfortable, and it sure looks like he was enjoying the snow - does he think it's a tasty snack like my pups do?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That bed looks super comfortable, and it sure looks like he was enjoying the snow - does he think it's a tasty snack like my pups do?
I'm grateful to say that Chum does not chew on his bed, however none of his stuffed toys have any stuffing left! My house resembles a grisly murder scene with puffs of stuffing strewn around and empty sacks of plush fur. I've tried to get him toys without stuffing but he won't play with them. I think he gets great satisfaction in ripping holes and strewing stuffing around... :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've been wondering if I'm seeing signs of hearing loss in Chumlee. After all, he is nearly 12 years old. He occasionally fails to respond when I call him. It made me worry.

Then the other night as I cleaned the kitchen, I picked up 2 elbows of cooked macaroni and cheese off the counter and dropped them into Chumlee's bowl. Soft, noiseless, cooked macaroni....

The reaction was immediate. From UPSTAIRS (!) Chumlee heard this and came charging down the stairs to clean them up!

So when he ignores my call, it appears that Chumlee is exercising his "selective hearing" rather than experiencing senior hearing loss. Case solved. :D
 

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Haha, the stuffing is the best part!. The selective hearing made me smile as I seem to remember a certain Mr B doing something very similar :wink2:

I hope you all have a great weekend together and thanks for the cyber socks Chum I received them earlier x:smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
An interesting encounter

I feel like I am stuck in a pattern - I'm stuck at home in ANOTHER blizzard, so I'm updating Chumlee's thread. Hopefully the blizzard pattern is nearing the end for this winter, anyway...

Yesterday, in advance of the impending snow storm, I took Chumlee for an extra long walk, knowing that we probably wouldn't be going out today in the middle of it.

As I've mentioned, Chumlee is dog-reactive so I have to be very selective about the places where we exercise. One of our favorite places belongs to a friend. It is a large (5+ acres) fenced area with woods and fields which he uses to train his beagles for rabbit hunting. I always text him and get a response before we go and it is posted as private property so I feel ok with letting Chumlee off leash.

Chum was so excited and energetic. He ran and played and had an amazing time. We played a few games of 'hide and seek' where I hide and Chum finds me. It definitely keeps him on his toes when I "disappear" :p:

Near the end of our walk, Chum raced up ahead out of my sight. As I came within sight of him, I froze. Chum was standing face to face with an enormous Malamute! :eek:

I thought I was going to faint with fear, waiting for them to begin fighting. I felt sick to my stomach but mentally I began to gear myself for breaking up a fight. I've watched so many videos and read so many articles about this to try and prepare myself just in case.

Instead, of fighting, they did lots of butt-sniffing and greeting!! I stayed back and watched their body language. Both dogs looked surprisingly relaxed. The other dog's owner appeared and I shouted to her to leave the dogs alone - don't approach. She complied and we each continued our walk in opposite directions. Chumlee and the other dog (almost) played together for a couple of minutes, then each of them turned away to follow us!

I have no idea if the Malamute was male or female - it had so much hair! But from the size of it, I'd guess it was male. I was so thrilled that my dog-reactive Chumlee didn't try to fight! He acted like a regular, ordinary Golden!!

For those of you with "ordinary", non-reactive dogs, this probably sounds dumb, but it was such a huge relief to see Chum behave nicely with another animal. The rescue group that I adopted him from had warned me repeatedly that I would always have to be on guard and I have taken their words to heart.

I have seen Chumlee play respectfully with a small female beagle who wandered into our yard one day, but I wasn't sure if it was just a fluke or not.

The behaviorist we visited a couple of years ago said that Chumlee's re-activeness was most likely anxiety-related rather than true aggression.

I called my friend when I got home and it turns out his wife had given her friend permission to use the area recently but the person was supposed to call first - she didn't. Anyways, we are the only 2 people they have given permission to use the property and I think we have it straightened out now so it won't happen again.

I wouldn't have wished for the encounter with another dog to occur, but now it gives me a little sense of relief that I don't have to be QUITE as paranoid as I have been. I will continue to be watchful, though. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
'bark, bark' What's that, Chum? Timmy's in the well?!

When we go for walks, I have Chumlee dragging a long lead so that I can get hold of him if necessary (like when he ignores a recall...) Occasionally the lead gets stuck and Chum has this very demanding bark (like Lassie's special "Timmy's in the well" bark :)) he uses that lets me know he is stuck so I will go and fix the situation.

Lately, however, he has used his "I'm stuck" bark to trick me! I obediently turn around at the sound of that bark and walk back to him, only to have sneaky Chumlee dart away gleefully! It seems he just isn't ready to leave yet! I asked DH if Chum ever pulled that trick with him and DH admitted he had been fooled more than once.

It makes me think of another thread when posters asked themselves "Are you smarter than a golden retriever?" I guess my answer would have to be "No, not this time!" :rolleyes:

Anybody else have a clever, sneaky senior? (or youngster? :) )
 

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That's cute and clever, I think Chum has definitely been talking to Barnaby! :wink2:
 

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How did I miss this! I'm not on a lot and usually glance over topics picking and choosing and when I saw Chumlee -- well I had to start from the beginning. He is so handsome and now with a little sugar face he can charm his way out of anything. His story is so much like that of Harley. Harley had a bad start in life and lucked out when a neighbor stepped in and asked the owner to consider rescue. He was probably 2 at the time and then he was adopted by a family with another golden and two small children. Well that didn't work because he stole food from the kids and didn't get along with their golden so he went back into rescue. The rescue then said no children and he prefers to be the only dog, yep dog reactive. When his foster Mom brought him over, he walked into the kitchen and carried a bowl of water into the living room, then climbed on the sofa and looked out the window while we talked. I mean talk about making yourself at home. When we let him outside he ran around the yard like it was his. He was perfect except that like you I had to be on high alert walking him. Oddly enough he liked the small dogs on the block but mid-size or larger he looked for a fight and he was a solid 89 lbs. so I always had 2 leads in case he snapped one.
Your area is beautiful. Maine always strikes me as being something special. I even have to get my garden seeds from Pinetree in Maine!
I look forward to Chumlee's updates.
 

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Ha ha ha - I had a senior dog with selective hearing as well... my GSD mix when he got to be older gave up "coming when called" but he had no problem coming for dinner and yes I do think they tend to get sneakier! lol I think they feel like they've "earned it" once they get to a certain age.

Good for him and the interaction with the malamute! I think it helps when it's anxiety and both dogs are either on leash or off - that way they feel the playing field is "equal"... I know it can be that way for Fitz.
 

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How did I miss this! I'm not on a lot and usually glance over topics picking and choosing and when I saw Chumlee -- well I had to start from the beginning. He is so handsome and now with a little sugar face he can charm his way out of anything. His story is so much like that of Harley. Harley had a bad start in life and lucked out when a neighbor stepped in and asked the owner to consider rescue. He was probably 2 at the time and then he was adopted by a family with another golden and two small children. Well that didn't work because he stole food from the kids and didn't get along with their golden so he went back into rescue. The rescue then said no children and he prefers to be the only dog, yep dog reactive. When his foster Mom brought him over, he walked into the kitchen and carried a bowl of water into the living room, then climbed on the sofa and looked out the window while we talked. I mean talk about making yourself at home. When we let him outside he ran around the yard like it was his. He was perfect except that like you I had to be on high alert walking him. Oddly enough he liked the small dogs on the block but mid-size or larger he looked for a fight and he was a solid 89 lbs. so I always had 2 leads in case he snapped one.
Your area is beautiful. Maine always strikes me as being something special. I even have to get my garden seeds from Pinetree in Maine!
I look forward to Chumlee's updates.
I didn't realize your Harley was dog-reactive. It sounds like he and Chumlee have a lot in common. They even look like twins - both of them devilishly handsome. :) It takes a lot of work to manage a reactive dog. Chumlee has taught me a lot. Thank goodness Harley found you!

In the other thread about "Chewy the rescue dog" I kept thinking about how much he looked like Chumlee and Harley and how wonderful it would be if he went to live with you to steal a spot on your sofa! :D
 

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Hi Chum and Mum, hope you're having lots of fun!
 

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Enjoyed reading the story so far and look forward to hearing more. Thanks heavens the snow has finally stopped eh? We are loosing the last of it here and soon it will be down to the cottage for six months or so.
 
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