A letter to Carol, head of Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue, regarding the two foster dogs we brought home yesterday.
Rhett and Ruffie behaved angelically all the way home, so still and quiet were they that we didn't notice that Rhett had also worked his way out of his harness. So when we got home, with the car backed in to the driveway up against the back gate, I opened the hatch prepared to catch Ruffie and deal with Rhett later. Instead both dogs bolted, one to the left and one to the right, and then raced together down the driveway and off down the sidewalk as if they knew where they were going.
Fortunately they were curious enough to explore up and down people's driveways, and my exceptionally nice next door neighbor, her daughter and daughter's boyfriend helped us corral them.
Once they were safely in our backyard we released the beagle, who wanted desperately for them to pay attention to her, to follow the proper dog protocols, but they were not interested and ignored her completely. They are still ignoring her this morning. They seem to know that she is not to be messed with, despite her size, so if they pick up something she wants, they drop it again as soon as she shows interest. You said that Ruffie is the softer of the two, but neither of them is a very dominant animal.
They have seen the cat, and are curious about him, lying down by the cat door to stare at him, but they're not barking or scrabbling at the door. I think if the cat ever decides to make an appearance he'll just be treated to a round of heavy sniffing and then left alone.
Rhett and Ruffie have been very gentle with the kids so far. Despite racing around the yard and around the house, at least until they settled down, they never knocked into anyone, and were very respectful of the boys. Ruffie walked right up to the toddler and sniffed him, which delighted the toddler. The toddler, keep in mind, is very new to toddling and therefore not always steady on his feet. Of course, we have taught both boys from the beginning to be gentle, but there is only so much you can expect from small boys in the gentleness department. Based on the dogs' reaction to the beagle and the kids I don't think there's any reason to worry about them being aggressive towards anyone or anything. I think they'd probably do well in any home.
They really are a bonded pair. Even in the backyard they stick together, separating only briefly. They actually remind me a bit of sheep with the way they will trot around shoulder to shoulder. We're going to take the on a walk with a coupler today or tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.
Ruffie especially likes to pick things up and carry them around. He can't be trusted with stuffed animals, but I think he will be quite content to leave them alone if there are enough sturdy dog toys to be carried. Both dogs have very soft mouths and will let me take things from them without any trouble.
I think their last owner let them on the furniture, or they're testing their limits here, because they've jumped up on the couch a couple of times. They're both so big that even if I were inclined to allow Golden Retrievers on my couch there wouldn't be room for the people with them there, so we're training them out of that trick. They get off the couch as soon as we tell them too.
I think you're right that they're not really eight years old, or if they are they have really marvelous bone structure, since I don't see any evidence of arthritis in either of them, which is surprising given their size and supposed age.
I'm going to trim their nails this afternoon and they have appointments for baths on Monday morning. I'll send you pictures when they're all clean and brushed. I think you really need new pictures for Petfinder because neither dog looks as old in real life as they do in the pictures you posted.