I was volunteering at the shelter, taking pictures of the dogs and listing them on Petfinder.com. I saw his picture online; he was at a shelter in a nearby town. I had always wanted a Golden Retriever. They had him listed as a Golden Retriever mix. Something about his photo just spoke to me, haunted me, I can't really explain it. So the next day I called and asked if he was still there, then we all drove to see him. As soon as they brought him out to the lobby he flipped onto his back and exposed his belly for us to rub, sealing the deal in two seconds flat. I considered that a sign of intelligence.
Once home, we started to realize what kind of life he had lived before. He was the polar opposite of our spoiled Beagle. He didn't understand what a dog bed was or that it was okay for him to lay on it. He didn't want to go inside the house. He was an outdoor dog and wanted to stay that way. He can be stubborn as an ox. We compromised and allowed him to stay in the attached garage. On one of the few occasions he actually was inside he quietly stole a muffin off the kitchen counter while everyone was in the room and nobody saw him do it. He's very sneaky. If you made a sudden move when trying to pet him he would drop and assume the fetal position. He was obviously mistreated at some point. His list of issues stretches on for a mile.
Over the past four years we've worked on some of them, but he's always going to be an odd bird. That's okay though, because even though he has a host of quirks, he's proven himself to be the best farm dog ever. Loyal to a fault. Would do just about anything for a belly rub. And most recently has become Willa's boy toy. Every morning when I head out to do chores he tags along and joins Willa in the barnyard. She has a crush on him like a school girl. I swear he goes at it like he knows he's her babysitter. They romp and play and carry on. Then eventually he wears out and I let him resume his position guarding the porch. She's in love, he's just doing his job. He's deep, complex, mysterious and such a good old boy.