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At A Glance
August 9, 2012: Please welcome Grady to the RAGOM family. Grady is a handsome, well-behaved gentleman who just turned 7 three weeks ago. He was given up by a family who'd had him since he was a puppy. They loved him very much but could no longer keep him.
Like so many of our big strong Golden boys, Grady is terrified of thunder and fireworks. When he's nervous, he seeks out a tight spot--under a table, between a couch and a wall, etc.--to make him feel secure. Grady's family included a 3 1/2-year-old boy who has a learning disability. He is non-verbal and does not understand many directions. The child liked to crawl on Grady and did not understand that Grady needs space during a storm when he's feeling anxious. The family feared that as the boy grew bigger, he would get rougher, and Grady's stress might trigger an incident. They made the loving choice to rehome him, so he would never be placed in that situation.
Grady is a happy, broad-chested, 67-lb boy with a beautiful gold coat and blond undercarriage. His most distinctive feature, though, is his short, feathery tail. It's not clear why his tail is so short, but we know it's been this way since he was a puppy. One thing's for sure--he won't be sweeping anything off the coffee table with it!
Aside from a touch of arthritis in his elbows, Grady is one healthy boy. He's energetic and loves to play with other dogs. Though he cannot be off-leash at a dog park while in foster care, we got to see his interaction with other dogs when I brought him to a fellow volunteer's house, where he spent a couple of days while I was out of town.
Grady is a bit socially awkward when first introduced to strange dogs. He is so happy and eager to meet them, he can be too exuberant, which sometimes is not appreciated by the other dog. So far he has been satisfied not to be the top dog in any pack we have introduced him into. He has been properly deferential to my resident Golden Retriever and has avoided confrontation with my smaller dog, who has bullied him on many occasions. I believe Grady's skills will improve with practice, though for now, he needs to be slowly introduced to new dogs. Face-to-face greetings should be avoided.
Grady is a Velcro dog who wants to be with people all the time. He follows me from room to room, content to lie a few feet away or stand next to me with his head in my lap. He naturally gravitates to everyone for petting, even people he doesn't know. With his great people skills and even-keeled temperament, Grady would make a good therapy dog candidate.
What does Grady's ideal home look like?
Kids? Yes, as long as they're old enough to understand and respect his need for solitude when he's anxious. Grady loves kids. The family's little boy used to hang on him, and Grady even seemed to like it. He was "beyond gentle" with the boy. The only time he didn't want to interact with him was during storms.
Cats? No problem. Although he is interested in my cats and likes to sniff them, he has not chased or threatened them in any way. I think we can safely call him "cat friendly."
Fence? Optional. Grady needs exercise, but if his home does not have a fenced-in yard, the dog park would probably be an option (provided his social skills continue to improve). He was a champ when I took him for a bike ride and really loved running next to me. It's not known whether Grady would take off if he had the chance, so he should be kept on a leash outside.
Another dog? Also optional. He doesn't need another dog in the home, but he does enjoy playing with them when he gets the opportunity.
Crate? Not needed. Grady has full roam of my house and has proved to be trustworthy. He is completely housebroken and is not destructive. He does respect baby gates.
Car rides? Loves them. Sometimes he doesn't want to get out of the car after arriving home.
Training? Yes, he could use some more. He knows "sit," but does not seem to know "stay" and needs a lot of coaxing with "down." When using just a flat collar, Grady pulls on a leash. He does better using an EasyWalk Harness. Obedience training is in order, and it would make Grady an even more wonderful dog than he is now.
Grooming? Daily. He has a thick coat, curly in places, which should be brushed frequently. He could stand a visit to a professional groomer for a trim here and there, particularly around the ears and feet.
Storm anxiety? Definitely an area to work on. A storm blew through on the first night Grady was at my home. I put a Thundershirt on him and gave him some Rescue Remedy (a combination of flower essences that can have a calming effect). He rode out the storm under my desk, appearing nervous but not overly so. I'm hopeful that these and other calming techniques will help him not to be so stressed.
Companionship? Yes, please. Grady is extremely people-oriented and would like not to be separated from those he is bonded to. It would be much better for Grady not to be left alone all day--especially not to be alone when a storm arises.
Grady's family sent along a very sweet letter describing how he came into the family, how he got his name, how much they loved him, and why they needed to let him go. "We want Grady to have a home where he does not have to be separated from his family for large amounts of the day," they wrote,"so everyone is safe. We hope he is matched with a family who will have endless amounts of love to share."
I have promised Grady that he will have a family of his own, surrounded by people who will make him the center of their orbit. He is a fantastic dog who deserves no less.
If you would like to be that person or family for Grady, please contact your placement adviser.