Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Valentine's Day Gift

Today on Valentine's Day, I pay tribute to one of our dogs, Cowboy. Two years ago on Valentine's Day, I was asked to foster a senior Golden that was picked up as a stray, and was on his "last day" in a shelter in West Virginia. Here was fate again....Carl and I just happened to be off work the next day and could meet the transport that was bringing him to our part of Virginia; so that made it easy to say "yes."

When we first saw him, he was leashed to a tree in a backyard. He stood up and started happily barking at us, as if to ask where we'd been. With the leash in hand, he walked right to our van and put his front feet up on the open side door, a signal for us to help him in and to get on with his adventure! Of course a couple of people suggested we name him something associated with Valentine's Day. But I named him "Cowboy" for a couple of reasons--He had on a rope-like collar, and with bow-legs bent because of age, a few missing teeth, all reminded me of an "old" cowboy--The name just seemed to fit him.

As we got to know Cowboy, I thought he was sweet old fellow (aren't they all?) and I thought it was a bit endearing that when he wagged his tail, it went in a big circle that never seemed to stop going. We found him to be a happy, big goofy Golden with a little bit of laryngeal paralysis that causes him to have a raspy old dog bark that is always telling you when he wants something--If his barking doesn't get your attention, then he'll grab your hand, your shirt, or whatever he can and pull you to what he wants, which is usually something related to the kitchen.

I've no idea what Cowboy's past was like, and of course we have no idea how old he really is. But what I do know, is that we couldn't love him anymore if he'd been with us his entire life. I feel that with Cowboy and all the other senior Goldens, that when I look into their eyes, we have been given an extraordinary gift to love, and to be loved unconditionally in return--For me, it's the perfect Valentine's Day gift!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!


  1. Kim,
    What a beautiful post.
    Happy Valentines Day to you and your extened family.

  2. how lovely! happy valentines day :) xxx

  3. What an endearing post !
    Old "Cowboy" lucked out, the day he found you up there in that Virginia countryside, he knew instantly he was back in the saddle again :)
    Thank God for people like you, who open their hearts and homes, to forgotten and needy animals !
    Happy Valentine's Day :)

  4. What a sweet post,and Cowboy looks such a darling.Thank goodness he 'found' you.A lovely happy Valentines story!

    Bellaboo :)

  5. This is the most beautiful Valentine post. We never met you, but we love you Cowboy!!

  6. Happy Valentines Day Kim,
    What a sweet, lovely post. I so admire what you do. How you open your home and heart to these wonderful dogs that are in need of so much love. It sure takes a special person.
    I hope you have a wonderful day filled with love

  7. Perfect post for Valentine's Day!
    Hugs to all.

  8. Ah, that's a lovely story Kim. He is so lucky to have found you two and just in the nick of time by the sound of it. Hope you had a lovely Valentines day. Sue x

  9. I love coming to visit your heart of love. Cowboy is a gentle soul that loves you in return.
    He is so precious.
    We have a happy heart everytime we come to visit you.
    It is like coming home.

  10. What a wonderful post.
    Happy Valentine's day to all of you!


  11. awe....cowboy is the most handsome golden oldie! i was attracted to him right away in your video (i know that sound :)
    what a perfect love story....what a lucky dog and how lucky you are to have rescued him! thanks for sharing that wonderful story....
    ( i would love to hear about each dog and their story..)

  12. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Cowboy!

    Thank you for sharing that sweet story. He sure looks like a loving fellow. I went back and watched your video of all the Goldens and saw Cowboy waiting patiently for his dinner. All your dogs are dear. What's the story with the barker That is a cute chicken in your kitchen.

    As kks said... have you done a history on each of your animals? Those would be neat posts.

  13. oops... forgot to say...

    yes, I'm very glad that the chickens have started to lay again. We have gone from no eggs to around 5 a day.

  14. Oh, he is just the sweetest!!! Love his eyes and I just know that you and he have bonded in an unspoken way that only dogs understand, and dog lovers. Glad you took him in! Tender story

  15. What a lovely story. We have a golden cross and another rescue dog, aren't they great? :-)

  16. I just came over from Max Dog's blog. What a wonderful place you have here. Your story about Cowboy has warmed my heart.
    I will be back to visit on a regular basis now that I've found you!

    Emma Rose

  17. What a lovely post. It really doesn't take much to make them happy, but, what we get back in return can't be measured.
    We rescued a senior dog four years ago and the transformation is truly amazing. He went from being beaten and mis-trustful, especially of men to being the life of the party. He's 14 now and still going strong!

  18. You guys have a wonderful gift to be able to do such a great thing. My heart would break in a million pieces! When my aunt passed away we inherited her mini poodle Pierre, who was nearly 15 at the time. He passed away last April just shy of 18 years old. We had him only three years, but I was still so sad. He had gone completely blind and had become incontinent, and had even started relieving his bowls in his bed. It was his time, but I loved him.

  19. Lovely post and bless you and your hubby for caring so deeply for these beautiful goldens!

  20. Love the name, love the post - old gold is the best gold.

  21. that is a super post. Its great to hear all about your babies...

    Gill in Canada

  22. I found you through KKS some days ago and I've been reading your blog in bits. I have to tell you that you are my parallel sister. I could only takes bits at a time because I ended up in tears missing my Nick and my Achilles.

    We never intended to start our dog days with an "Olden Golden." In 2005, all we knew was that we wanted to rescue a dog. My husband was partial to Goldens, so we went through the GR Rescue. Except they'd only allow us to rescue & adopt and older Golden because we had a parrot. (Long story.)

    So, that's how Nick came to be our first "baby" boy in November 2005. He was 12 1/2 and the love of my life from the very first instant. Words cannot describe my love for him. I never imagined it would be so powerful.

    We lost him to cancer on July 10, 2007. I'm crying as I'm typing, even though it has been almost 3 years since he left me, with absolutely no instructions on how to go on without him. He may not have left any instructions, but he did give us a sign to rescue more Olden Goldens. I didn't think I was ready, but my husband felt the house was empty without a dog greeting us at our door.

    So, on August 9, 2007, we came home with TWO Olden Goldens, Achilles and Milo. In honor of Nick, we will always have an elder rescue pup.

    There is a place in my heart, in all of our hearts, that will never heal when we lose our dogs. But, the love of another grateful dog goes a long way towards renewing your spirit and bringing joy. And we had two!

    Achilles was 13 and Milo was 9 1/2. Achilles was my shadow. He died June 6th last year. Again, a bit of my heart died with him. He was 1 month short of his 15th birthday. I missed that boy so terribly that it physically hurt. More so than myself, it was Milo who truly pined for his Golden bud. He became a depressed, withdrawn dog. We thought waiting and giving him some time would work. It didn't.

    So, we decided to adopt another doggie to help life his spirits. Well, the rescue had other ideas for us. 7 weeks later, we came home with Laverne & Shirley, age 10, on July 25th. Now we had three! Milo didnt' know what to do with himself.

    L & S came from an extremely neglectful and abusive home. They were severely overweight, Laverne being the heaviest at 129 pounds. Their ideal weight is actualy 55 to 60 pounds. They are still on the weight loss path, but you wouldn't recognize them if you knew them this time last year.

    I'm sorry for this very long comment, but I wanted to finally tell you how much your blog has touched my heart, my soul. I've been unable to write any of this before because every time I tried, my throat would swell and I began to cry. Reading your story about Cowboy was beautiful. You are living a dream life, my dream life. I only wish I had the space and capacity to adopt more Olden Goldens.

    Thank you for being such a tremendous mama to these creatures. I love your blog, and I love your furbabies. Thanks for sharing a little of your Golden life with us.

  23. Cowboy looks sop happy in that last photo. I love how you describe the dogs especially the Senior Goldens xx

  24. I can't think of a better post for Valentine's Day and I can't think of a better home for Cowboy. He's home on the range!

  25. Thanks for visiting my blog. I really enjoy reading your posts. Cowboy sounds like he was very lucky to have found you - he knew right where he belonged!

  26. Woof! Woof! My mom had tears reading your Valentine post. It is so lovely. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  27. Kim,

    You can ask as many questions as you like, I don't mind.

    I have a Canon Powershot S5IS, it's 8 mega Pixels and is probably out of date by now, but does me fine, I have had if a couple of years now!!


  28. Kim, what a fantastic post about a wonderful old dog that came into your life and brought sunshine along with him. And I could just sit here and get all teary-eyed knowing that Cowboy has found such a loving home with you!! I love dogs so much, I can not bear to think of them suffering. It is such a delight to know that cowboy can spend his last days in a home filled with laughter, love, and a helping hand when his old legs can not lift him up!

    Give him a hug from me, will ya! Debby

  29. Awwww, he's so sweet!

    Shirl x

  30. Kim, thank you sooo much for commenting on Martin's blog. I know that all the comments helped boost his spirits! Thanks for being such a great blogger friend. Means a lot to me. give your "pups" a hug from me, I wish I could do it myself! :-) Debby

  31. Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)

  32. Awww that was a wonderful post. It's a bit late, but we hope you had a wonderful Valentines day!

    Much luv and extra kisses for Cowboy,

  33. Hey Ms. Kim,
    Cowboy is a special senior rescue. It doesn't matter how old he is or what his past was like What matters is what his life has been like while living with you.
    - TBH&K

  34. What a great tribute to Cowboy. Senior dogs need love and care too, so bless you for giving it to him and to others. Purrs and tail wags.


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