Since our dear, darling, magnificent Golden Retriever passed away. And this is the first time I could really write about him.
He was born on August 8, 2000. In Gilbert, Arizona. It was my first summer here in Arizona. I’d met the man I knew I was going to marry. I had just moved into a house that I built. I was about to turn 30. I built the house knowing I would have a dog. My first.
Robert (said man I knew I was going to marry) got me Tucker for my birthday. My birthday is early September, but he got me a card stating that he would get me a dog. And then we found Tucker. We brought him home on September 28, 2000. Our good friends got his female litter mate, so he had a built in best friend and sister. To this day, that still makes me very happy.
I’d never had a dog. We grew up with cats. I researched before we got him. I read Dogs For Dummies. I read a book about choosing the proper breed for your lifestyle. I did a lot of research. This was a big decision. We were nervous. Robert and I had only been dating for a scant three months at this time. I knew, though. I wanted Robert, and a dog.
He was perfect. He really was. We did the Petsmart training thing when he was a puppy, but that wasn’t enough. We sent him to training camp for three weeks where he would learn how to be a dog to stupid humans. It worked. He was wonderful. He was so loving, and a good snuggler, and just a big furry ball of love.
I feel silly saying that everyone loved Tucker, but it’s true. Even people that didn’t like dogs loved Tucker. There was something about him. He was expressive, and funny, and sweet.
Did he have any bad habits? Sure. He learned that human food was often tastier than kibble. So he would stare at you until you gave some up to him. He would NEVER take it on his own though. There was a time when he wouldn’t even eat human food unless you either put it in his mouth or his bowl. Food on the floor? Hmmmph, he wasn’t picking it up for you. He wasn’t a Hoover.
He also loved to swim. And would come inside afterward, and shake in front of the television. Which, to this day, makes me laugh out loud.
That’s Tucker’s first picture. At his first visit to the veterinarian.
We would take him to the dog park and he would invariably greet every single person and canine that came into the gate. He mostly wanted the humans. If you had a hand, he wanted to feel it on his fur. It was funny. We’d look around the park and he would be near some bench full of humans asking for a pet.
Even though he was a retriever, by breed, he would not retrieve balls. You would throw it, and he would practically point to it and say “you, human with the thumbs, you dropped that over there.”
Yes, we spoke for our dog. And had conversations with him. With each other. There were rules. Which I’m sure only Robert and I understood.
And every night, when I went to sleep, I would include him in my nightly “good nights”. “Good night Tucker, I love you.”
And I still say it. It’s been 74 days. And I still say it. Every night.
It’s hard. Right now Robert is out of town for work, and it’s tough being alone. I miss Robert when he’s gone, but it was okay, because I had Tucker.
He was our baby. And so good with children. Children could literally fall on him, and he wouldn’t move a muscle. He might nudge them or lick them to make sure they were okay, but he didn’t care about himself. It is a regret of mine that we weren’t able to give him a baby to love, but we kept him among children of friends. He loved them.
This next picture was taken on Thanksgiving, 2009. We always have a big Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. And late that evening we were all sitting in the family room talking. Well, Tucker was looking for a spot on the sofa. And there really wasn’t any room for him. So he came toward Robert and me, who were sitting on the hearth, and jumped onto the ottoman. I’d never seen him on the ottoman in the five years we’d had it, it was pretty funny. I call this his “Mom, Dad, make them go home, I’m in a turkey coma and want to go to bed” face.
Then he just decided to sleep amongst friends.
One thing that I’m very happy about, with regards to Tucker, is that we took him on a road trip last February, and he got to see his sister who moved to Austin. And he got to see snow, which didn’t do much for him. He also saw the beach, which he thought was a litter box.
I could go on forever about him. He was a huge part of our life for the past eleven years. And we will never forget him. He was well loved, and well cared for, and more importantly, he loved and cared for us, and taught us so much about being human.
Good night, Tucker. We love you.