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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It was just about a year ago to the day that we put in our deposit with a breeder and 'went public" with our puppy search. My 9-year-old daughter was heartbroken when her pet chicken died--appropriately on Yom Kippur--and the prospect of a dog was exactly what she needed.
My 12-year-old son? Dog. Okay. Whatever.

I filled out the breeder questionnaire, and if I could have filled out an order form, it would have looked like this.

Female. Petite size. Short Coat. Medium golden color.
Medium drive, equally willing to play fetch or lay on the rug and watch me type. Smart, but not overly ambitious.
Calm, confident, friendly and outgoing (but not bonkers) with friends and strangers alike.

But a dog isn't a car or a pair of sneakers. So I mailed my check and I hoped for the best.

11 months later, I not only got everything I wanted, I got so much that I didn't even consider. I got the Perfect Puppy

My daughter loves her (even when she jumps sometimes) but my son has been the revelation. He's taken ownership of her in the very best way, and there's nothing that a tween-age boy needs more than something to get him out of his own head a little. And Tessie's been that and more.

She never ceases to amaze me in ways large and small, from riding happily in the back of the car for 2,000 miles this summer to her patience and preternatural calm with Ali, the three-year old she sees at the bus stop every morning.

And thanks. Thanks to all of you who helped me find our amazing breeder, Sharon Wilson at Caymen's, and offered advice on everything from puppy picking to sock eating. I hope your puppy is almost as perfect as ours.
 

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what a gorgeous photo and a heartwarming post!
 

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IKE- Canine Blood Donor
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I can't believe it's been a year since you were researching your Breeder and looking for Tessie. Time's flown. The pic of your daughter with Tessie is adorable. We've been blessed twice...with a pup almost as perfect as yours. :) Golden's do tend to come in 2 varieties...Perfect and Near Perfect.
 

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What a great post. You had such angst during the early part of your puppy search...for a while I think you thought you'd never find her, remember?

Here's to Tessie! :yipee:

Your post was truly a "Comment Full of Love" :)
 

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PS - There's a great article in the Times from yesterday about how dogs can draw kids out of their shells. The article is about disabled kids, and I know your kids aren't autistic or anything, but the principle is largely the same. There's something about a dog's unjudgmental attitude that makes us all feel a bit safer in her presence.
 

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Winchestersonfieldville
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That post nearly made my cry. You are a beautiful writer. My heart is overflowing. I'm so glad you found the furry family member you wanted and more. Dogs have a way of bring just that extra bit of love a family needs. Beautiful picture! I'd love to see more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I can't believe it's been a year since you were researching your Breeder and looking for Tessie. Time's flown. The pic of your daughter with Tessie is adorable. We've been blessed twice...with a pup almost as perfect as yours. :) Golden's do tend to come in 2 varieties...Perfect and Near Perfect.
Thanks everyone.
FWIW, that's my son in the picture. His shoulder length hair is his token act of rebellion.

For my son, who's really smart and a think-too-much, worry-too-much type, having Tessie has brought out his nurturing side. She was a little tiny thing when we got her and he felt the need to protect her and show her the ropes.
He really does worry about her. When I'd let her off leash anywhere but the fenced-in yard, he was worried that she'd run away. But everytime she'd wander away five feet and come right back with her tail wagging convinced him of how much she loved him.

There was a funny moment when we picked Tessie up. My daughter ran right up to her, but Ethan kind of hung back and my wife tried to get him to pick her up. Sharon, the breeder and I just looked at each other and were thinking the same thing. He just needed a little bit of time. By the time we got home, they were friends for life.
 

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IKE- Canine Blood Donor
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What a great pic of your son and baby Tessie. I hope you have it framed and prominently displayed. You caught a truly Kodak moment. Is that snow on his eyelashes and Tessie's paws?

As for the hair, it's the style again. My previously 'neat and tight' 16 year old nephew now has near shoulder length hair. His girlfriend has a pixie cut. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That was my wife's mother's day present.
That picture was taken between Christmas and New Year's. We'd had Tessie about a week, and she was about nine weeks old. And yes, Boy-O is wearing a t-shirt.
 

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That is a sweet heartwarming story. I remember your search for your furkid and when you finally found her. That picture of her and your son when they met is just beautiful.
 

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Jester & Piper's Mom
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All I can say is...your post and pictures just made my whole day....:p:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Very sweet story about beautiful Tessie. I never cared about hair or clothes (I admit to a bit of eye rolling), tried to save the angst for the bigger issues.
Just to make it clear, I couldn't care less about the hair or his clothes or whatever. It's a little bit of generalized rebellion, I guess. It's tough to be 12, even more so today. I'm happy to report that my son seems a lot more happy, confident, responsible, and, well, grown up than he was a year ago, and I'm inclined to credit our 50-pound ball of fur and love for that.


All I can say is...your post and pictures just made my whole day....
Well, likewise. Your post made my day too.

For those of you who don't know, Jester, Cindy's dog is Tessie's uncle (his brother Tank is Tessie's dad.)
She, and all the people who were so impressed with Jester, helped steer me to Caymen's. And when I was about to bail on a family trip to Sun Valley because of our new puppy, Cindy and Jester stepped up and watched her for a week.
We'll never forget that act of generosity.

Tessie sends you both kisses...after she's freshened her breath by nibbling on the basil plant.
 

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What a beautiful picture of your son and Tessie.
It brought tears to my eyes.
I gotta quit going on the forum at work!!!
My co-workers think I do nothing but cry :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
And while I'm glad that everyone seems to be enjoying the pics and the stories, I think there's a take home lesson too.
I'm well-aware that a lot of this is luck, but I did do a lot of homework. I asked lots of stupid questions to GRFers, other dog owners, and breeders. I found a really good breeder, who was much more interested in finding Tessie a good home--she was dubbed Jersey Girl while she was still there--than in selling me a puppy.
While we never had any thoughts of showing her, she's got a very nice pedigree, filled with dogs with a) health clearances b) long life-spans. The championships were nice too, but really a bonus.
And beyond that, I spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of dog we needed, with the emphasis that temperament was much more important than appearance. And I made a lot of effort to communicate this to Sharon.
As I said, I realize much of this is luck, but Tessie has been very healthy, and very happy, manageable, and people-focused from the day we got her.
I remember a post from a dog owner who got her puppy within days of Tessie. She was overjoyed that, for the first time ever, her little dog wasn't acting like a "terror."
I honestly don't think Tessie's had five minutes of being a "terror" since we've had her.
 
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