He loved to relax on the soft rug and wait for some movement of a family member. Then he was up on all fours with his tail wagging and ears rotated into alert position. We learned his body language and I guess he learned ours too. He would go to the back door and put his nose to the handle to indicated that he wanted "out." Smart boy. Or at least that is what we were able to learn. He may have thought we were slow learners...but we tried! ha!
This boy was as sweet and gentle as they come. He was a huge old boy...and had a few extra pounds from time to time. But he was our sweetheart. He would let little children poke him, pat him, and rub him...and he would just stand there. He loved it.
Mikey had attention span issues...especially when food was involved. Our daughter once said that Mikey needed a sign that said..."Will sell soul for food." He was highly motivated by any kind of food. Well most food. He had some that he did not like. We tried to be very selective about his food intake...but he would usually sneak a bite or two from someone after we finished dinner. We would say he is definitely a southern dog. He loved little bits of our barbecue, cornbread, etc. Sometimes he would lay on the floor under the kitchen table...just waiting for crumbs to land as we ate dinner. He was had such a positive outlook. He was always hopeful that a yummy bite would make its way to his mouth.
The picture above and below show Mikey when he was losing mobility in his hind legs. I know he had to be confused. How could he understand that he could no longer walk...when just a few weeks ago he was trotting up the driveway and jogging around the yard. We too had trouble understanding it.
Mikey had a very rough two to three weeks at the end. He got to the point where we could not get him up to go outside to do his necessary business. It was devastating to him and us. The time came for us to make a very difficult decision....one where we had to put our selfishness of keeping him with us aside. Oh the tears! I do not cry like I did...but sometimes I still get very lonely for our Mr. Mikey. (We had so many terms of endearment for Mikey.) Of course he will be in our hearts forever.
I wake in the morning and sometimes I almost think..Where is Mikey? When we come home and drive up the driveway I start to think that Mikey will bounce around the corner to greet us. We had some big storms last week and hearing the thunder reminded us of Mikey. He would try to climb up in his papa's lap for reassurance that the heavens were not falling. Oh and speaking of sounds...He especially did not like fireworks. No. No. No.
Mikey's ashes are home on his hill with us now. Some of you may question this. But my parents had Sam, Mikey's brother, cremated when he passed away a couple of years ago. So we got the idea to do that too. When we lived on the farm we buried our previous dog. And then we moved, and had to leave Duke. My guys felt like they were abandoning a family member. But it had to be. This time, we chose to have Mikey cremated. I think my guys get a degree of comfort knowing that Mikey is back home. His ashes are in a beautifully carved wooden box.
Not knowing that the ashes would already be boxed...hubby ordered a memorial container for Mikey's ashes. So, we just put that container on the huntboard and have his box of ashes on another chest. Hubby had these words engraved on the memorial..."The most gentle soul we ever knew." (I hope that after I am gone someone can say that about me.)
Mikey's mother was Lady. His father was Major. Our son's middle name is Michael. We came up with Lady Sheila's Major Mike E for his registration papers. So he became Mikey! And a sweet Mikey he was.
One of his early vets called him Mike. Mikey would not respond. I reminded the vet that his name was Mikey. So the vet called him Mikey, and Mikey responded. Mikey knew his name...even if that vet did not. ha!
The house sure is quiet and clean these days.
We are not getting some of our daily exercise because of a little game Mikey loved to play. Those of you who are dog parents know about this game... It's called...Let the dog in. Let the dog out. So you can Let the dog in again. Day in and day out. ha!
Mikey gave all of himself to us. He held back nothing. Every day he was pleasant...and ready to do his job of being a companion to a couple of empty nesters! We miss him so much.
While Mikey was not a trained therapy dog...he served as a therapist in our house. Hugging a huge furry pup like Mikey can cure what ails you. I used to rest/rub my feet on Mikey when I was sitting in my blogging chair. Mikey loved the massage and I loved the warmth from his body. Sometimes his therapy was just being there with his person. It was a win win for human and dog.
Hubby washed all of Mikey's dog toys, and his favorite old blanket. They have been put in a tub with Mikey's name for safe keeping. We just are not ready to give anything away just yet. I guess we are hanging on to the memories.
Mikey's favorite old blanket was about a yard of fleece that our daughter gave him one Christmas...because Mikey loved fuzzy things. Toys, towels, blankets, etc. Mikey carried that blanket around like a two year old with his security blanket. If the blanket got messed up during the day, then at some point Mikey would bring the blanket to us to lay flat next to his papa's chair.
Mikey was the kindest soul we knew! If more people could have some of the character traits of goldens...the would would be a better place. :-) In fact...more people would adopt the "golden rules" as their behavior style. Love. Be kind to one another. etc.
As I talk about goldens...it reminds me of a book that my brother gave me. It is about Trixie, the golden, and the quality of life that she gave to her humans.
Trixie was a service dog, but had to have surgery and could no longer perform her job. She had to retire, at which time she was adopted by a family who loved her so very much.
Unfortunately Trixie died, like all of our fur babies seem to do. It is a wonderfully sensitive book about a loving golden retriever. If you have, or had, a golden, and fell hard for the breed... you will love Trixie and her antics.
I have absolutely no affiliation with the book, the writer, or the publisher. I just want to share this with you in case you might be interested.
Life is Good by Trixie Koontz, and Dean Koontz.
I am keeping my interest in goldens going by following a group of golden retrievers that were rescued by an Atlanta, GA area rescue, Adopt a Golden Atlanta organization. The dogs were in horrible shape when they were brought from Turkey. They were bathed, groomed, treated for medical issues, and now they are being adopted one by one. They even went back and rescued another fifteen goldens. If you would like to follow the story you can find them on Facebook.
Also,The story on USA Today.
Plus, Another group of goldens from Turkey.
To be loved by a dog, is very, very special.
Thanks for visiting,