“Don’t touch the dog!” My mother would say when I was growing up. She had this idea that all dogs were dirty and carried diseases. So I never touched or played with dogs. If I went to a friend’s house and they had a dog, I wouldn’t run away or avoid it. I would simply try to push it away when it came near me. If it touched me with its wet nose, or licked me, I immediately wiped it off and would wash my hands once or twice to wash away the germs it just passed on to me. I wasn’t crazy about them. Yeah, sure I saw puppies on TV or in person and thought they were adorable and cute, but I wasn’t the first person to go over and pet it.
I do remember being fascinated with the Golden Retriever in the Air Bud movies. He could play basketball, football, baseball and was so well-behaved. I knew I loved Golden Retrievers, but never saw one in person. Never did I imagine that I would have one some day.
Fast forward to 2013. I graduated from The United States Naval Academy and commissioned as a 2ndLt In the United States Marine Corps. After completing 6 months of training at The Basic School and moving to North Carolina where I got stationed, my husband and I decided that he would finish his degree before he looked for a new job. We talked about getting a puppy (even though in the back of my head I questioned if I really wanted one).
The Marine Corps mascot is a bull-dog, so I figured we could get one of those. Bull dog puppies are extremely cute, but they have a history of health problems and were not that cute past their puppy phase. So, jokingly, I said, “What about a Golden Retriever?! we could teach him how to play Hockey!” we both laughed and decided to do some research. Besides, Golden Retrievers are probably the happiest looking, and most beautiful creatures on this planet.
We found a breeder near Charlotte, NC and paid a visit after multiple e-mails from Kary (the breeder). We got to meet 4 puppies that weekend. It was sooo hard to choose one. They were all soo little, soo fluffy, and soo playful. There’s something about Golden Retriever puppies that makes you smile from ear to ear. Their little puppy bark, waggly tails and facial expressions fill your heart with happiness. We ended up choosing the puppy that I held in my arms like a baby, and looked up at me. His eyes met my eyes, I smiled at him and he laid there for a little while just looking back up at me. I immediately fell in love!
Unfortunately, because he was still only 6 weeks old, we couldn’t bring him home with us that weekend. We’d have to wait another long week before we could finally bring him home. When we left the farm, I washed my hands with hand sanitizer because my mom always told me that dogs were dirty.
A week later we drove back down to pick up our little guy. I was sooo excited to hold him in my arms again and to finally take him home. And we did. We brought him home. He slept most of the way, but that’s okay. He was just so beautiful!
We played with him, gave him his first bath,
cleaned up his accidents, stayed up late at night comforting him because he cried and cried until he fell asleep. And of course, I constantly washed my hands after touching him because my mother always said that dogs were dirty. We named him Oshie. Which we still have to explain where we came up with that. I’ll let my husband explain it.