7 years and counting…

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This expressive face and schtubby legs belong to Apollo. Go ahead, blink a few extra times and rub your eyes to make sure you’re not seeing things. I mean, you’re seeing a photo of the most majestic hambeast ever, so yes, technically, you’re seeing things. But a golden retriever with such little stature?!

Here, have another.

p_00009 Forgive the potato quality, and the lack of banana for scale, but this is one of his puppy photos from when we first adopted him back in 2010. He was 11 months old when I found him at the Willamette Humane Society down in Salem, Oregon, and aside from growing out, he hasn’t gotten any bigger. No, those paws really don’t extend out much further than his snoot. He had a sister, too. A cream colored one, called Artemis. Apollo and Artemis. Ack. I’m dead. We never had the pleasure of meeting her, but from what we were told, she was the alpha of the two and beat her brother in to submission when it came time to eat. Our poor little bugger was a whopping 30 pounds when he came to us. You can’t see it in the potato-photo, but he was thiiiiin. Malnourished, shabby-coated, and in desperate need of extreme love. Today, he’s a healthy 45 pounds. We managed to add half of his original self to get him looking less ghastly. Of all the problems he had when he joined our family, weight and nutrition were the easiest to tackle.

The anxiety this dog has is incredible. I cannot even imagine living with fear the way he does. It is debilitating for him at times. It exhausts him. It makes him soil himself (pee, if we’re lucky…). He was a mess when he came to us. In fact, he got worse as time went on, but I managed to bag him a spot in a great small doggy daycare for close to two years while I worked stupidly long days, and it strengthened his confidence enough that the mere sight of his shadow doesn’t make him evacuate his bowels anymore.

Despite all of his anxiety issues, he makes for a great companion.

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At first, Apollo didn’t warm up to the fellow as much as we would have liked. Oh, sure, he loved his new da and loved to rough house/play with him, but the moment I stepped out of the apartment, Apollo was frantically trying to get to me. He’d sit by the door and cry. He’d pace the hallway, poking his head into the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen… not sure where I had disappeared to. All these years later, sometimes I’m positive Apollo loves the fellow more. I mean, just look at that face! He is pleased as punch to be lying with his pop. He will still cry if I’m MIA, though, and sometimes when the fellow and I are outside and have kept the pup locked up in the house, we’ll hear him awoo-woo-wooing. It’s the saddest sound you’ll ever hear. Breaks my heart every time.

Apollo and I have definitely had our disagreements in the past. He doesn’t understand personal space. He doesn’t get why he can’t have half of what I’m eating, or why our “kibble” smells so much better than his. He can’t fathom why his food is the same thing, day in, day out for the last 5+ years. He longs for a hunk of steak and a block of cheese (me too, buddy, me too). He can’t comprehend why we let strangers into our house on a regular basis. He gets mouthy with me. Yes. My dog talks to me. Not in English, mind you. But he’s pretty good at voicing his unhappiness on a variety of topics. If his awoo-woo-woos break my heart, his guttural ahhhrrrrgggggs and high pitched squeaks when I ask him things makes me keel over from laughter.

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My original intention for this post was to remember the last 7 years with great fondness, to reminisce of all the good times we’ve had together, and incredulously hypothesize what the years to come will bring based on our track record. What it turned into was me sharing ridiculous photos of this furkid that has been around almost as long as the fellow and I have been together, and has been the best hiking buddy and adventure seeker since the beginning. Though I prefer friends who don’t crap themselves on the trail, he works just fine.

Happy 7th Gotcha Day, buddy. You’ll always be our sweet little Pukeface McGoggins.

Don’t even get me started on the vomiting issues this dog has…

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