Happiness is Two Warm Golden Retrievers

It's a DoggyDog World

Charles Schulz said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” I agree with him. The happiness extends to full grown dogs … even two full-grown large Golden retrievers.


Casey, me, Amber, Photo by Linda Smith Pursley

I do some sitting for other people’s dogs, and for the past three days, it’s been with two six-year-old Golden retriever sisters named Casey and Amber. I don’t want to suggest by the title that I have a particular prejudice towards Golden retrievers. I watch other breeds and mixes of breeds, and I love all of the doggies in my life. Even so, there’s a lot to love about Goldens. They are gentle, even-tempered and loving, intelligent, loyal and playful.

From my very first meeting with them, they were eager to meet me and love me. It reminds me of Pixar’s Dug the Dog from the movie Up. (I’m pretty sure Dug is a Golden retriever.) Dug loves his master, Carl Fredricksen, from the moment he meets him.

Amber and Casey both nosed at each other in their eagerness to get to me and receive some attention, a theme that stayed through the three-day stay to come. Amber, the sister with the darker, deeper coat, pranced in place, her toenails clicking against the floor, and whined at me, while Casey mostly succeeded in pushing her sister to the side. Soon, I had Casey’s front paws on my torso. Some people would consider “jumping up” to be bad dog behavior, but I understood it as friendliness and love, mixed with a lot of enthusiasm.

In the foreground, a distracted Amber. Behind her, a distracted Casey and me. Photo by Linda Smith Pursley

Giving the dogs equal attention was a challenge. Casey had a habit of pushing her sister away in order to get undivided attention for petting and affection. Sometimes, I managed to sit in the recliner and pet a different dog with each hand. Casey often had a way of wriggling herself and pushing her sister to the side. Often, she did a full rotation and leaned her butt against me, and I would talk to them, saying, “I have Casey’s butt and Amber’s head,” as I petted each. Once situated this way, Casey liked to sit between my feet or even on them. I didn’t mind this foot warmer, and I supposed she wanted me to be able to pet her back and sides, which I did. Amber, pushed aside, would complain with her voice and, perhaps, giving up, lie down in another part of the room.

Casey, me, and Amber distracted with cuddles. Photo by Linda Smith Pursley.

I discovered one way to keep them both content was to sit on the floor between them. At one point, I had Amber’s head on my lap, and Casey lying with her full length against my right leg. I sat with them for quite a while, lavishing them with petting and affection. They were both quite happy and calm in this situation.

Casey, me, and a playful Amber who wants me to hold her paw. Photo by Linda Smith Pursley.

Both girls liked to give me their paws and let me hold them, and I sometimes serenaded them with a line or two of Beatles parody, “I want to hold your paw.” I’m not sure what they thought of my serenade, but they listened very seriously.

Casey, me, Amber, Photo by Linda Smith Pursley

Their owners had warned me that I would have Golden alarm clocks during my stay. That was another funny situation. Every so often, during the night, there were Golden noses on the edge of my bed until I whispered for them to go back to their own beds. In the early morning, bouncing and wriggly noses returned to the edge of the bed. As their patience for me to be up diminished, they were like children on Christmas morning. The noses were wriggling among my layers of covers — it was cold — to find my face and give me morning kisses. Later, front legs and paws joined noses on the edge of the bed.

So, I got up around 7:30 — as the owners predicted — and gave them breakfast and let them out. How could I be upset with all of that enthusiastic affection? Happiness is a warm puppy or a full-grown dog … or two.


My 10 Latest Pinterest Pins



  1. This lovely miniature horse who looks like he is ready to tango with that rose in his mouth.

I melt every time I see photos of miniature horses. All animals seem more adorable in miniature, even baby elephants, who, after all, are not very miniature, only small by comparison to full-grown adult pachyderms. This guy — why do I assume he’s a male? — seems particularly fluffy and huggable. I admire his somewhat Einstein-ish hairdo. I have never “met” a miniature horse in person, but my sister-in-law has visited a miniature horse farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and that seems like a lot of fun.

This photo is taken from tumblr.com.

2. These birds who seem to be made out of rainbow sherbet and cotton candy.

When I first saw these birds in my Pinterest feed, I thought “Can these be real?” I have seen lots of different tropical birds with striking color patterns but never any with this array of rainbow pastel colors. I soon learned that this is Photoshop art, because the original photo also appeared in my feed.


3. The original more natural photo of the “rainbow” birds.

Even knowing that the rainbow birds have been Photoshopped, I still appreciate both photos. The natural birds still have that sweet pose where they are cuddling and perhaps grooming one another. The rainbow version is well-done and represents fantasy birds we might like to design if we could customize them.

I don’t know if I would want to own a bird. I hear they are high maintenance pets, and it probably wouldn’t work with my life right now. I do enjoy watching others care for their birds and especially enjoy varieties that can speak. If you can, check out an Indian ringneck parakeet named Bowie who is a YouTube star. He has an adorable Elmo-like voice, especially when he says, “Tickle, tickle.”

My mystery novels and stories seem to be populated with more and more animals. Jack Donegal has his beagle, George. Grace Darby has her Corgi, Shelley. Ellen Danforth, Jack’s friend and neighbor, has an orange tabby cat named Van Gogh. Several works in progress have more and more animals, not always cats and dogs.


4. This mysterious, fog-ensconced castle somewhere in Germany.

Some people might find this scene creepy due to the fog. To me, it’s a peaceful scene, beautiful but somewhat mysterious. It could be a scene from a fairy tale or a historical adventure or mystery.

This photo is taken from inspirationlane.tumblr.com.

5. This photo collage that is a conglomeration of things I like.

I wasn’t sure whether to pin this one on a board I have for “Music Boxes” or one called “Vinyl and Victrola.” It’s an interesting image that could work as a writing prompt, perhaps, for a fantasy story. It seems to have a steampunk feel to it. The old record player is beaten and rusty and seems like an old attic find. The white blurs might suggest motion, but they also seem to suggest dust. It makes me think of an old dusty thing brought to life and attracting life by mysteriously drawing the butterflies.

This photo is from Rex Gray’s flickr.com.

6. This classic sea green 1952 Pontiac two door hardtop car.

I like the looks of a classic car. Car design in past decades, with a few exceptions, seems to be more creative. The color is fantastic. Most cars I see on the road today are neutrals like black, white, gray and tan. Although not labeled so, I believe it is a Chieftain Catalina. I like the curvature of the fenders, the elongated back end and the chrome details.


7. This lovely lavender lady in a field of lavender.

I added this pin to a board called “Romantic Photography.” There is something pleasing about this woman out in nature, in a flowing dress that matches the natural environment around her. She carries a backpack stuffed with lavender. What will she do with it? Press them in the pages of a book? Make soap? Make sachets? I’ve even seen recipes for baked goods using lavender.


8. This golden retriever and pelican who just want to cuddle in spite of the fact that they are completely different species. 

I have to wonder what led up to this Kodak moment. What made these two animals decide to become friends? Did they play together before they curled up together for a nap? How exactly did they know the other had friendly intentions?


9. This vintage Coke bottle

It looks Victorian to me, but it may not be that old. I saw similar bottles online that were made in the ’70s for a 75th anniversary of certain bottling plants. It still makes me think of Gibson girls in old Coca Cola ads.


10. This romantic shabby chic dollhouse miniature scene.

I’ve always liked miniatures. I inherited that from my mother. My female friends tell me that I am very girly, so I like very feminine things like this scene. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to design the home spaces in my fictional worlds in 3D. It’s funny that the home spaces in my fictional worlds in Action Men are mainly man caves, but those are fun too. There may not be much shabby chic design there. Instead there are video games, antique but masculine toys and quirky things like bubble chairs and couches made from car parts … not to mention a robotic device for playing fetch with the dog.

Are you a Pinterest collector? What do you like to collect on Pinterest? Which of the things in this list interested you the most?