Whoever said “It’s a dog’s life” didn’t know Cider. His enthusiasm for all things gets him in a heap of trouble sometimes. Baby animals are there to be licked, loved on and flea bitten until they fall over, start screaming or someone comes to their rescue.
All things able to be carried in a mouth are to be delivered for throwing so the process can be repeated over and over, ad nauseum. If you don't partake, he will give you either the 'magnum stare' or a very sad, pitiful face.
All bodies of water, no matter how big or small, are to be laid in, played in and enjoyed.
Cider was a Christmas gift from my youngest son and a friend, and has been with me for 10 or 11 years now. He has been my therapy against the devastating condition of empty nest and is the Prince of the house.
He is my 24/7, faithful, constant, bosom buddy. No matter how crabby I am, how scary I look, or how bad I screw up, he still loves me with his whole being.
When he was a pup, I did some clicker training with him. The accompanying book warned to only work a dog about 15 minutes a day, to prevent burnout. Well. Cider didn’t burn out. He has ADHD and all he wanted to do all day was play with the clicker. So he learned to crawl on his belly, turn around in the direction my hand indicates, back up, bring me items I request and put his toys away in the toy basket. Most of this was in 2 days time, as he is very smart for a dumb dog.
I used cheese as a reward. Unfortunately, the day after our incredible sessions, he was really sick. He laid on his pillow refusing to get up. Normally he is at my heels everywhere I go. I suddenly realized I had not vaccinated him yet for that year and I panicked that he might have distemper. The lethargy sure did suggest it. I called the vet whose receptionist said there was NO way he could see him until the following day. I told her it was important, I wanted him in first thing in the morning because he was VERY sick and VERY lethargic, which is NOT like Cider.
The next morning, as I was getting ready to take him to the vet, he drug himself out to the back yard and took a 10 pound poop. He suddenly felt worlds better! That’s when I thought about the cheese...I took him anyway, as he had a chipped tooth I wanted looked at.
We entered the vets office, Cider’s tail wagging like the rotors on a helicopter, as he skidded around the tile floor. The receptionist checked her chart and with a puzzled look over the counter said,
To which I replied,
“You should see him when he's feeling GOOD!”
Live and learn. Now he gets cookies for treats at least half of the time.
He still puts his toys away, and if I ask him to bring me a pillow and blanket to the couch where I am sitting, he will promptly bring me the tv changer, a checkbook, random tools, coins and sometimes a candy wrapper. That is to 'prime me'. Then he chooses which toy he wants me to throw. Once I accept the toy, he brings my pillow and blanket and I throw it for him. Yup. That clicker method is really something. It worked great
on for me.
Empty nest syndrome is the best way to ruin a perfectly good dog. Cider has his own chair at the dinner table.
He used to sleep on the bed, until a grumpy Randyman kicked him off, so now he has a bed of his own.
We wound up buying a crew cab truck so he had his own seat.
He has a basket of toys. He's very good about sharing them, but he lives in fear of every dog on the ranch stealing and gutting his toys. They are obsessed with taking the stuffing out. Otherwise, they last him years.
His favorites are stuffed animals, but he's not averse to the real thing either.
Which brings to mind the night we slept with the back doors open and he invited a skunk into the house. We even locked his doggy door after that.
Like most Golden Retrievers, he is a great family dog, and loves kids. He's a great babysitter.
Even the Maremma's know Cider is the Prince. They sometimes even pretend to be afraid when he tries to be tough. Most of the time, Cider wants to best Cletus. Cletus is willing to engage him playfully, but Bruno always sneaks up behind and jerks Cletus' legs out from under him, thus protecting Cider without injuring him or his pride.
Cider doesn’t know he is adopted, but he does know he loves water. I had a beautifully landscaped yard when we lived in California. Nothing was sacred. Not the koi pond, not the horse troughs, not mud puddles, not the whiskey barrel waterfall. He thought that had been placed there for his enjoyment, as his own personal spa.
Our surroundings have changed a bit, but not Cider.
He has spent his summers here enjoying his various personalities as the Alvord Alligator, River Rat and Wildly Wet Whiskey Barrel Bad Boy.
Yesterday was the most pitiful thing I have ever seen him do. The waterfall is dry.
Cider climbed in, all ready for a refreshing spa experience but it was still dry. He waited patiently for someone to fill it, to no avail.
He waited patiently.
He was certain help would come.
He tried so hard to believe.
Doesn't ANYONE on this ranch with opposable thumbs have a hose??
As you can see, it’s tough being a dog.
Good boy Cider.