RJ, Our Golden Boy

by Richard
(San Jose, CA)

We found him at the Humane Society, a ~10 month old Golden Retriever stray that someone found in Saratoga. We had to wait a few days before he was cleared for adoption. I wanted to give him a people name, Rhonda said no. The shelter named him Rory. After the adoption, his papers now said Rory J******, but we called him RJ.

We went through 32 weeks of obedience training with him, basic, advanced, rally and canine good citizen. He was a quick study and, of course, was the best in his class. Somehow, he even figured out that he couldn't go upstairs or in the living or dining room all by himself. Even in other people's homes. During parties, many were amazed that he left food alone.

At Bark in the Park a few years ago, RJ won the talent contest. Not many dog-related prizes, but we enjoyed a great dinner courtesy of RJ. He had a litany of tricks, the best one was balancing a treat on his nose before snatching out of the air.

He liked water, but not our pool. He fell in a few times but we did train him to get on the first step to clean his paws. RJ's favorite toy was the pool sweep, or as we called it, the pool snake. He would stalk it and grab the sweep hose as it exited the water, taking a snout full in the process. In streams, he liked to submerge his head to retrieve sticks to chew. He liked the rain, but not sprinklers.

We explored the neighborhood with RJ, making many more friends than we would have otherwise. Our favorite walks were with Dan and his two black labs, Emma and Rosie, where we solved almost all of life's problems over coffee.

Three weeks ago, during RJ's annual exam blood work, the vet noticed elevated liver enzyme numbers. They did an ultrasound and found a few anomalous masses in his liver. He was fine otherwise and we continued our normal routine.

Tuesday morning he could barely get up and I took him to the vet. Another ultrasound plus x-rays revealed an enlarged liver with voids inside. After a day with the vet, he stayed at home that night and went around to visit some of his favorite humans yesterday.

They say having a dog is work. RJ, it wasn't work, it was our pleasure for almost 11 years. You will not be forgotten.

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