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Chumlee's thread - a Senior? Already?!

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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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This made my heart so warm. I'm so happy that Chum continues to do so well. Sending love, hugs and a zillion treats to my favourite forum senior. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe 2022 xxx
 

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It is great to hear Chum is doing well and yes it’s such a blessing to be able to spend the holidays together ! Your update made me feel so happy at same time teary eyed cuz Chumlee face reminds me so much of my first golden! Sending love and wishing another happy and healthy new year for Chumlee!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #124 ·
I started this thread in the middle of a blizzard four years ago. Today we are in the middle of a blizzard called Kenan which is blanketing the northeast with over a foot of snow in many places, so I thought it would be a good time to make a short update on Chumlee's thread.

Until today we haven't seen a lot of snow in our area this season. Plenty of arctic temperatures for the whole month, but very little snow. Like most Goldens, Chumlee LOVES snow. It makes him so happy. Just as the storm was starting, DH and I decided to take Chum for a walk in the woods behind our house. Chum was overjoyed! A nice roll in the snow, taste-testing some snowflakes and a mini bout of zoomies that were fun to watch. Some of the areas were a little tough but he was determined to keep up with us. We had to help him over a couple of fallen trees, but overall he was quite independent. Pretty impressive for a 16 2/3 year old!

After 20 minutes he came inside and promptly conked out for a long nap. Later this afternoon, with much more snow on the ground we went out for a short jaunt in the yard. He ate a little more snow and had another short zoomie session. A very, very
Snow Dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog
Dog Snow Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog
happy day for Chumlee!

I might have mentioned it once or twice before, but I just LOVE this dog 🥰
 

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Bless your amazing boy, he's absolutely incredible!.

Keep smiling and enjoying life precious Chumlee, we love you x
 

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Discussion Starter · #128 ·
Another blizzard, another short update for Chumlee's thread.

On 2/21, Chumlee officially turned 16 3/4. Did I mention that we are celebrating absolutely EVERYTHING now?;)

Steak and shrimp kebabs for dinner, and 2 (or maybe 3) bags of new treats. Low calorie, of course. And a mini vanilla cupcake with peanut butter frosting. DH and DS were silently rolling their eyes when they thought I didn't notice but they obediently sang happy birthday with me because they knew they wouldn't get any kebabs and cupcakes if they didn't. Honestly, much like Golden Retrievers, those 2 would do anything for food.

Chum is still doing well. Maybe a little less sure-footed than earlier, stumbles a little more, but overall he is doing good.

The neighbor's cat has practically moved in with us. He's kind of drawn to Chum but mostly keeps a respectful distance. And Chum feels like a hotshot that he can send the cat scampering away with just a glance in the cat's direction. I really believe the cat is keeping him young. Please don't tell Chumlee that I shared this, but I actually saw him sniffing the cat a little and trying to initiate some play! :D

So thankfully, nothing big to report, just grateful for our "boring, quiet" life with Chum and trying to enjoy each moment.

Going outside soon to play in the snow with the old man.

And in case I haven't mentioned it lately..I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dog!🥰
 

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Another blizzard, another short update for Chumlee's thread.

On 2/21, Chumlee officially turned 16 3/4. Did I mention that we are celebrating absolutely EVERYTHING now?;)
. . .
And in case I haven't mentioned it lately..I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dog!🥰
We would never guess LOL !!!
Happy Birthday from us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
A short update on Chumlee.

Chum was looking and smelling a little, um, frowsy despite my attempts to clean him so I took him to the groomer last week. She is so kind and gentle with Chum and he likes her a lot. He mostly lays down in the tub while he gets bathed because standing still for long periods tires him out. It's more work for her but she really enjoys Chumlee and has told me she'll do anything to make him happy (and of course I give her a handsome tip, too). :giggle:

When it was time to pick him up, she texted me to let me know and also told me that Chumlee now had a girlfriend!! For those of you following his thread you know that he has always been dog-reactive to most dogs, except an occasional female, but certainly has never, ever had a canine friend!

We drove in the yard and the groomer's husband was strolling around the yard with Chumlee and his new girlfriend, Willa. She is a chubby and very friendly cocker spaniel. We were so happy watching Chum enjoy himself with her. Also with them was an odd Chinese Crested wearing some kind of pajamas that Chum was pointedly ignoring (and who could blame him! 😆). Willa and Chumlee hated to say goodbye and Willa even tried to climb in the car to go with us. 🥰

Anyways, I just had to share Chum's happy news. I may have to send him to the groomer the next time Willa goes to be groomed. 😄
 

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Oh Chum it's great you have a lady friend, made me smile so much just thinking of you and Willa!
 

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How great is this! It's never to late to fall in love, right Chumlee?
 
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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
I could be just a teeny tiny bit biased, but .....have you ever seen a dog who is THIS gorgeous at 17 years old?!!

On May 21, 2022 we celebrated Chumlee's 17th birthday. To say we were thrilled, grateful and overjoyed is probably an understatement. He was truly "King for the Day" with loads and loads of attention from his faithful admirers, ribeye steak, belly rubs galore and a small cupcake with peanut butter frosting to celebrate. And of course, the neighbor's cat attended to keep things interesting. A pretty fantastic day.

Overall he continues to do pretty well although he has some myelopathy issues in his rear legs that flare up from time to time. He gets several short walks every day to keep as mobile as possible. A couple of weeks ago he lost a nail on his rear foot from stumbling on the stairs and it made him lame for a couple of days. A course of antibiotics kept him from getting an infection and now he seems as good as new.

I'm trying very hard to stay "in the moment" and enjoy our time together. Every single day is a gift. 17 1/12 and counting.
Plant Dog Window Dog breed Carnivore
Plant Window Dog Building Grass


And have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dog?!!! 🥰 💕
 

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Chumlee looks fantastic! Hearing of your sweet boy going strong at 17 gives me hope. Best wishes for more happy days ahead.
 
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17!!! He looks amazing and happy. I wish you many more days like this!

Is there a lot of longevity in his pedigree?
 
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Happy, Happy, Birthday x 17 gorgeous Chumlee, it's heartwarming to hear you're doing well and looking fabulous in your photos. Sending love and hugs from your number one fan in the UK xxx
 
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