A Golden Retriever Puppy – First Year in Review

golden retriever puppy

Scarlett O’Hair-a entered this world on January 1st, 2016 as a New Year’s puppy. When she came home in mid March, Scarlett quickly reminded me of the never ending puppy energy. We adjusted pretty quickly and she has been a wonderful addition to the family.

Scarlett makes me laugh every day and has really bonded with Olive. I love to watch them together. Even Bubba the cat has welcomed her, and that’s saying something. This year’s challenge is for Scarlett to complete therapy dog training so we can begin visiting hospitals and other facilities that can benefit from a furry love bug.

With all the pictures I’ve taken over the last year, I created a slideshow/movie to summarize our last year. Happy birthday, Scarlett!

Her Royal Furness – Ten Week Puppy Update

Thank goodness Scarlett is in good hands. I’m heading out of the country for my retirement trip and my breeders are keeping my puppy until I get back. In the meantime, she is learning how to walk on a leash. Susan and her husband have been doing such a great job and I’m anticipating a fully trained, well behaved dog when I finally pick her up.

Okay…I’m just kidding.

Puppy Scarlett

I know Scarlett and I have a lot of work ahead of us. Still, I appreciate their willingness to work with her on her leash and cat skills.

Isn’t she adorable?


Puppy Scarlett

Scarlett 10 weeks 3

Puppy Scarlett

Retirement – The First Month

A month…it’s been a month since I left my job…just a few days officially, since I entered retirement. I was on the books burning vacation time through the end of February. It’s unbelievable that I’ve been gone from the police department for a month. Time has flown by and I’m not sure I can even tell you how I’ve spent my days, other than that I’ve been really busy.

First of all, I haven’t missed my job for a moment. And…I’m actually a little surprised. The people I care about are still part of my life and I can easily stay in touch on Facebook, or by scheduling coffee or lunch. So, I don’t miss my friends and coworkers.

Here are some of the highlights of my first month:

  • Contribution: Volunteering is an area of my life I was hoping to expand and I just finished my two day training at the Denver Zoo. I’m now an Ambassador and looking forward to spending four-six hours a week contributing my time to a place I love with a mission I can support. The volunteers range from teens to people in their eighties. It’s a diverse group and we had a great time.

Volunteer Denver Zoo

  • Travel: In a few weeks, I’ll be leaving for New Zealand. It’s a trip that has been under consideration for the last five or six years and it’s finally time. We’ll be on a three week driving tour that will cover highlights from both the north and south islands. Airbnb has become our best friend as we do research on where my friend, Delia, and I are going to stay. While I love the wild places, the people are definitely the icing on the travel cake. We can meet people who love travelers and have the inside track on the best adventures.
  • Puppy Love: Scarlett O’hair-a has already made her blog debut. She’ll be coming home after I get back from the trip. In the meantime, Olive and I have been really working on her anxiety by attending training. She’s very smart and it’s been a joy to spend so much time working on her skills and visiting the Cherry Creek off-leash park. Olive runs her heart out and loves to play in the water. After the initial adjustment, I’m confident Olive will be thrilled to have a little furry sister.

Cherry Creek with Olive

The first week I focused on making sure that I was busy, then it was too busy. Once I get back from my trip, I think I will be limiting the number of scheduled days so I have more time to relax and play. I’m definitely doing more than I was before I retired. Exercising is going to move higher up on my priority list. The weather is continuing to improve and I’m looking forward to hiking the beautiful places.

Looking back, it’s been a great month. Some days I need to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. You mean I get paid to do whatever I want, including napping? Yes.

Retirement is good.

Puppy Love: Selecting Her Royal Fur-ness

At first there were three. Three of the cutest puppies I’d ever seen. How on earth was I going to select just one? I sat down on the floor and we opened the gate. Here they came, one and all. Her Royal Fur-ness was not going to make it easy. She wanted me to work for it.

After picking each one up several times, it became clear which puppy was mine. I held her close and she melted into me. She sighed loudly and relaxed as she tucked her head under my neck. Once I breathed in that puppy breath I knew it was her.

Let me formally introduce Lady Scarlett O’hair-a. Lady Scarlett was born on New Year’s Day and is a six week old English Golden Retriever, currently of Willow Downs.






Now, that is one cute puppy. Of course, I am biased. Lady Scarlett will be joining Olive, her big sister, and Bubba, her older feline brother, in the next month or so. Scarlett will be trained to become a therapy dog, visiting hospitals and other places where people can benefit from a bit of snuggling from Her Royal Fur-ness.

And, speaking from personal experience, she’s already a master at the snuggle. 

Puppy Update Five Weeks

Five week old Golden Retriever
One of the 5 week old puppies being socialized during a visit with my breeder’s mother.

My puppy is five weeks old and I will finally meet her on Valentine’s Day. What a perfect day to begin a life long relationship. 

golden retriever puppy

Now the big question…how do you select a new family member from a group of five adorable girls? Most of my dogs have been adopted from a shelter. This time, I’m selecting one from a litter of gorgeous puppies. Thank goodness I have a quality breeder to help us make the match. My puppy won’t be ready to come home for another month or so, but next weekend we’ll be formally introduced and I will be looking into her eyes, breathing in that fantastic puppy breath.

The trainer is meeting with me in the next couple of weeks to talk about the process of integrating her into the family and training her to be a therapy dog. This puppy comes from a long line where many of the dogs have become therapy dogs. She and I will be in training for the next year or two. I’m really looking forward to having a strong bond with her, just like I have with her big sister, Olive.

Here were the puppies at week two. It’s amazing how fast they grow.

Two week old golden retriever puppies

Count on more pictures and stories of our journey as we travel life together. Awww! I can’t wait.

Cherishing the Love of a Dog


She’s been born. She, who is yet to been named, is a cream colored golden retriever puppy, just a month old. In a few weeks, all of us eager owners will select a puppy to join each of our families. Soon, I’ll be driving to Illinois to meet her for the first time and to bring her home. A home where she will be trained and treasured. A home with Olive, her big sister, and Bubba, the cat king of the household.

As I was googling the latest in puppy training techniques last week, I found a video of Oprah Winfrey talking about her dog Sophie. It struck a chord. Oprah equated having the love of a dog to the unconditional love of God. I believe it. I’ve been the lucky recipient of this kind of furry love for all of my adult life.

This new little (soon to be big) dog will be traveling to a place where she belongs and is a valued part of the family. She will contribute more than I can ever return to her. She will be happy to see me whenever I come home, hike with me, make me laugh and be there with me when I’m sad. I will cherish every moment and am so grateful to be loved by my dogs.

There is simply nothing like it, here on Earth anyway.

Happy Dance

Sadie joined our family one late night, several years ago, a few days before Christmas. A friend of my son was experiencing some difficulties and the people caring for his dog, Sadie, called telling Travis if we didn’t pick her up immediately, they were taking her to a shelter. Her owner was aware that we were looking to add another furry family member and had spoken to Travis previously about adopting her. What a wonderful Christmas present!

While Olive is afraid of everyone, Sadie loves all the attention from people and other dogs. While she was an unexpected addition, she fits right in. We both love to dance. Sadie dances for bones and I dance for chocolate. 🙂

Olive’s Christmas Gift


The first time I met her, she was only four months old. The Denver Dumb Friend’s League counselor brought her into the room where I was sitting on the floor waiting. It was time. My loving golden retriever, Bailey, had died from a stroke several months before. There was an emptiness in my family that I was hoping to fill.

The counselor told me the puppy was very shy. She set her down on the floor and I picked up the little shaking dog, holding her closely on my lap. I stroked her soft fur, quietly cooing to her. I set the puppy down, concerned that a shy dog might not adjust well to my yellow lab, Courtney. As my questions were answered, the puppy eased her way back to my side and leaned against me. It was meant to be.

It’s been more than five years since Olive came home. As I cleaned house, prepared food and wrapped presents for our Christmas gathering, Olive followed me around. She looked out the window with my cat, Bubba, waiting for the guests to arrive. As soon as the first car pulled up, she ran upstairs to hide in the bedroom until the last guest left for the evening. Despite all the training, Olive is still painfully shy.


She never needs much; food, a walk and someone to throw her favorite ball. In exchange, Olive brings joy to my home. She is always happy to see me. If I’m sick, she hovers within reach just in case I need a hug. She sleeps at the bottom of my bed, keeping my feet warm. So, today I’m giving Olive her favorite gift, play time with her favorite ball, just the two of us. 

Wishing you, your family members and furry friends a Merry Christmas and your favorite gift, whatever that may be!!



An Olive World

About two and a half years ago, I adopted a new member of the family. Olive is identified by the Denver Dumb Friends League as an English Pointer mix. I’m not quite sure what she is mixed with, but she is a beautiful dog. She has a personality so big, it fills a room.

Olive jumps straight up in the air showing her excitement as I get ready to throw her latest toy. She’ll chase the cat around and then sleep on the bed next to him. Sometimes it’s as if she understands exactly what I’m saying to her. You’ll have to believe me when I tell you about her personality, because you will probably never see it.

Why? Olive is terrified of people. While I’ve done almost everything I can including dog agility and obedience classes for at least half of her life, having her stay at a local kennel to work with trainers and getting her out in the world with dog lovers at the dog park, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. She loves the dog trainers now, but she is scared of everyone else except for me and my son. If you see her at the park from a distance, you’d never know that just getting closer will turn this confident, full speed dog into one that hides behind things shaking in terror. That is just sad, because seeing her love of life brings me such happiness.

I wouldn’t trade Olive for the world. She actually adopted me. I’ve never had a shy dog before and she was trembling when the adoption counselor brought her into the room for me to visit. I picked her up and held her close on my lap, she was only four months old. After talking to her and petting her for a few minutes, I set her down. She slowly worked her way over to sitting down next to me and leaning against my leg. It was one of those moments when you know “it’s meant to be.”

So why am I telling you about Olive?  It is because there are people I know who are afraid just like Olive. They may not be specifically afraid of people, but are afraid to share who they are and the amazing talents they have been given. I’ve been there, done that.

“I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

“What if people don’t like it?”

“I can’t draw.”

“I can’t write.”

I read a book once that asked me, “If you could be anything, what would you be?” One of my answers was a writer. The Crosswinds newsletter that I talk about in the first post of this blog came as a result of that self reflection. Can I write? I’m certainly not the best writer but I think I can do well enough to share my heart.

What are you afraid of sharing with people today?