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Chumlee's thread - a Senior? Already?!

14853 Views 175 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  Sankari
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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I'm happy to say that I think Spring has finally arrived! It seems like every time I update Chumlee's thread there has been a blizzard going on!

Chumlee is doing well but he is definitely mourning the loss of his precious snow. There was a huge, tall pile of snow beside the deck where we shoveled. Chum loved to lay on top of this pile and roll with a look of bliss on his face. Now his big snow mountain is reduced to a small, low patch and will probably be gone in a day or so.....poor Chum.

He also seems to be getting a little sassier as time goes on. The other day when DH was eating Chumlee's favorite sneak food, Cheez-its, Chum was gated upstairs to allow my floor to dry. In frustration, Chum gave his "demanding bark" because he couldn't get near the Cheez-its, so DH obediently walked over to give him some - across my wet, freshly washed floor! :doh: Um, dear, that's why Chumlee was gated!!

So Chum is hard at work re-training both of us to do his bidding, now playing the "Senior Card". And we're allowing it because like most parents of seniors, we think he has kinda earned it. :eek:
 

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Wonderful update, I just love that he's now playing the Senior card!!. Big hugs flying over to you Chum and I hope you're still stealing those socks and make sure you keep your humans well and truly under your paw! xxx
 

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Bless your heart for giving Chumlee his forever home, and understanding that his 'special needs' just made him even more special. There is something wonderful about the senior years, we allow them to choose, to decide
'this' way, not 'that' way from time to time, and yes, even accept that 'selective hearing' as perhaps that is how it is 'meant to be'. They have earned the 'right', the privilege of living life on 'their terms', so sweet, so gentle, and so very loving and giving. They are simply amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
All the snow is gone from our yard and Chumlee is dejected about it. That makes one of us! :D

Other than missing the snow, Chum is having a good Spring with lots of walks (and lots of ticks, too). I have heard that this may be a bad year with a huge tick population. Ugh! Chum is taking his NexGuard so we should be ok.

In our latest adventure, Chumlee found a porcupine during one of our walks at our friend's land. Fortunately for all of us, it ran up a tree before Chum could get close enough to get a mouthful of quills. Chum was standing on his hind legs with his front feet against tree, barking and daring the rodent to come down. He looked incredulous when I insisted that he leave the porcupine alone. "Are you kidding me, Mom?! I just KNOW I can catch him!!" :rolleyes:

I've also been thinking a lot about joint supplements lately after reading a recent thread about them. I feel a little ridiculous that I never thought much about them before now. I'm thinking that Dasuquin is what I will probably order. Anything to help the odds of my boy staying active and comfortable. Anyone have any thoughts of what they have used for their seniors?

P.S. Chumlee sends lots of hugs and clean cyber socks to his favorite person "across the pond" :smooch:
 

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I'm laughing at the image of Chum and the porcupine!. I'm glad it turned out well, love that he's just so curious! Hugs and socks received, thanks Chum, I'm sending you a big hug and a cracker and cheese back! xxx
 

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I like the "senior card"! They really do train their humans well, don't they? I can't believe that your snow lasted this long. We've been snow free for almost 2 months but now it's raining and I'll take snow over mud any day. Tell Chumlee to back off the critters, porcupine quills don't sound like fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
It's been ages since I updated Chumlee's thread! No snowstorm this time. Instead it's in the high 80s with high humidity. Yuck! But I'll definitely take this over snow any day!

Chumlee celebrated his 12th birthday in May (I think I made another thread instead of adding it to this one). Life was going along wonderfully and I was finally beginning to relax about Chum's aging when WHAM! Chum came up lame and could no longer leap up on the bed! :(

I went into full-blown panic mode, fearing that this was the beginning of the end. I turned into a little bit of a crazy person and definitely over-did it by "helping" Chum do everything. I couldn't stop myself. I think I ordered about $200 of joint supplements, too. I noticed my DH and son exchanging "she's completely gone off the deep end" glances but ignored them. Eventually, thankfully, Chumlee got better and is now leaping on and off the bed at will. Just a pulled muscle apparently. Well, ok, so MAYBE I over-reacted just a little tiny bit. :eek:

DH wonders why I haven't gone crazy over his sore knee like I did over Chum's lameness. Ummm, help yourself to Chum's joint supplements, dear....:D

Chum has been having a good summer. Plenty of BBQs, Cheez-Its and a nice walk each morning during the coolest part of the day make him really happy. We often walk near a seafood shipping company. Some of the workers heard how much Chumlee loves the snow and several times when they saw us, a mound of shaved ice magically appeared on the ground for Chumlee's rolling pleasure! We all get a huge laugh watching him leap around and celebrate his frozen treasure.

Next week I hope to get a little time off to go to our camp to relax and let Chumlee swim. My favorite place on earth. I'll be sure to post pictures.
 

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Happy Belated Birthday Chumlee!! I don't think you're crazy for catering to your boy. Everytime Harley had surgery on his leg I would take the bedroom apart and put the mattress on the floor -- easy for him to walk on bed but not so easy for me!! I really think he thought something was wrong with me not him.


the story about the "ice" from the fishing company really took me back many years. Many years ago there was a company that made ice that was about a half mile from where I used to live and it was on my walk with my wild golden MacGyver. They used to dump the "ice" on the side and there would be a hill of snow in summer and MacGyver would climb it and begin to dig in. He loved it, but people liked the ice for their cooler and would complain when they came for ice and saw this big golden digging in the ice. That's nice they do that for Chumlee.


Did you see that Helen updated Grady's blog about a month ago -- I was happy to see that Grady is still up to his antics!


I'll be watching for Chumlee's "vacation" pictures.
 

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Oh Chum, I'm so sorry that I missed your birthday, I think as you are a senior now you should have another one, so Happy Birthday Chumlee!!!!, plus you must receive extra treats and presents to celebrate as well. Love that you got your fix of ice rolling in, just shows what a perfectly "cool" dog you are, hugs, rubs and socks flying over to you x
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Another long span in between updating Chumlee's thread. I had trouble logging into GRF for a while and have just gotten around to remedying the problem.

Chumlee continues to do well. I feel so superstitious typing that, as though I'm daring the Fates!

Chum got to our camp twice this summer and enjoyed swimming and chasing sticks. We really limited how many times we threw his sticks, but he was pretty insistent. My young great-nephews enjoyed seeing Chumlee in the water because their dog absolutely refuses to swim. They DIDN'T appreciate the repeated showers they got when when he came out of the water and shook all over them! :D

I'm not sure how many more trips to camp are in Chumlee's future since he came up lame for a couple of days after each trip. We'll have to wait and see.

DS graduated from high school in June (I still can hardly believe it) and summer was busy with jobs and friends. At the end of August, we hosted 10+ boys for a backyard sleepover to say goodbye to summer and to say goodbye to the boys before several of them headed off to college. These are the boys my DS has been friends with since elementary school and we have watched them grow up. They had a huge campfire and we had several tents set up in our backyard. Chumlee insisted on staying outside with the boys. He loves them like we do. They played some football and badminton and ate lots and lots (and LOTS) of food. I don't want to think about how many hotdogs and Cheez-its Chumlee consumed that night. :uhoh: Everyone had so much fun and behaved so well, including Chum, that I was sorry to see it end.

So we are settling into Fall and Chum has been enjoying lots of walks and rides in the car. He has been doing well except the one hiccup around Halloween when DS left a bowl of candy on the coffee table and Chumlee scarfed down 5 or 6 pieces of candy, wrappers and all! :doh: Off to the Vet. Thankfully it wasn't chocolate, but he had an upset stomach for a couple of days as the wrappers passed through his system. After a few days of boiled rice and hamburger he is back to himself again.

I guess that's it for now. We are just enjoying Chumlee and savoring his senior years. Now I have to get ready to make breakfast. Chum knows that Sunday morning means a cooked egg will appear on top of his breakfast. If I wait much longer to start cooking, I'll definitely get the "stink eye" :)
 

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So glad Chumlee continues to keep everyone on their toes!, he maybe a senior now but it's good to hear that he's still got his stealing instincts. Glad you all enjoyed your summer with your son and his friends, the years really fly by don't they!.
 

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Chumlee is a very handsome boy! Lucky to have landed in such a wonderful forever home! Bless the rescue for not giving up on him! Sounds like he had wonderful summer, enjoying himself, way to go Chumlee!!
Wishing you all many more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Another update. Not a ton to report but I have a few minutes...

Chumlee had a great month of November. It's trickier to safely go for walks in the woods during hunting season, but Sunday is a no-hunting day so we took lots of long walks at his favorite place, our friends' fenced land. Picture attached.

We had huge wind storm early in the month and we lost our electricity for a few hours. All of our smoke detectors are hard-wired with a battery back-up. Despite replacing all the batteries just a couple of months ago, our detectors started to 'chirp' when we lost electricity. Chumlee went absolutely NUTS! He acted so frightened by the chirps, leaping on and off our bed, trying to hide in the closet, trying to crawl under the bed, etc. I've never seen him so unhinged! His eyes were huge and it was hard to get his attention. It was so sad. :(

Anyone else noticed that their dog is frightened of electronic noises?? We've gotten the smoke detectors checked by our electrician so hopefully that won't happen again.

Lastly, Chumlee discovered a mouse had been in my car!! He was fascinated by a corner in my hatchback and wouldn't leave it alone. When I looked to see what he had found, I saw the evidence of a mouse, but thankfully not the mouse, itself! :eek:

I'm pretty freaked out imagining a little mouse riding around in my car with me and told DH that I'm trading my car in. He's trying to "talk me off the ledge". He pointed out that Chumlee loves my car and has worked hard to "customize" my car with all his fur. :)

DH assured me that it would be much cheaper to set a trap for the rotten little rodent, so we (he) did. Now, I have to go to an appointment but DH isn't home so I have to go check the trap ALL BY MYSELF!! Ugh! I don't know if I hope that I caught him, which means I have to dispose of him or if I'd rather have the little critter still there, unseen, still "riding shotgun" with me. :uhoh:
 

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Both my two bridge Goldens were totally freaked by the chirp of the smoke alarm and Tawny shared that fear with Eva. We had a storm one time in Texas that kept flicking the power off and making the detector chirp and whine. It started a life long fear of storms and then even the beep tone of some microwave ovens in Honeybear to the point it was almost a relief when she went deaf in her old age. I had to buy and then return 3 counter top microwaves until I found one with a beep tone that did not turn her into a frantic terrified dog desperate to get out of the house.
 
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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Another blizzard has just screamed through Maine, giving me some extra time to update Chumlee's thread.

The weather here has been brutally cold - not great for taking walks, much to Chumlee's dismay. I also had a health scare which has limited the time I can spend outside walking. Doing better each day, though.

I tried to remedy the lack of formal exercise by adding some extra length to Chum's tie-out. He loves the extra access he has to the yard and is doing lots of running and romping in the snow. He also developed a silly new game all by himself! We have 2 sets of steps on our deck. With the extra length to his tie-out, he can now reach the "wrong" steps - too far away from the door for me to let him in. (And I can't safely go outside a lot right now.)

I tried to convince him to go off the deck and come up the "right" stairs for me to let him in. Nope. He stood there and barked at me. In desperation, I got the broom and took a couple steps outside and waved it at him. This thrilled Chum to pieces! A new game! He spun around and leaped off the deck and came flying up the "right" steps. Now, each and every time he goes out, we have to play his new favorite game! Silly boy. :)

Chumlee's New Year's Resolution is to stop killing his stuffies. He got a couple new ones for Christmas and I can see the internal conflict he has in this picture ....:D

That's it for now. Stay warm, everyone.
 

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