|Meet Merin: 13-Year-Old Golden Retriever Earns CGC (From this month’s CGC newsletter.)|
|From Merin’s Owner: Sharon Bollinger and family|
|Our Golden Retriever, Merin, is now 13 1/2 years young. We have had him since he was 15-months-old when he was released from the Canine Companions for Independence program from which he was being trained to work with a handicapped child.
Merin injured his leg while playing with a fellow dog also being trained for CCI and didn’t show improvement over the next several months. When it was time for him to be “released” from the program, my husband and I happily agreed to take Merin as a beloved pet under the condition that we would go through whatever rehab it took to get Merin back in the best shape possible with his injury.
Merin has served a tremendous purpose right in our own home, being a beloved companion to each of our five children. He is smarter than smart. But when an opportunity came up to use him to read with Autistic and low level readers in the schools, my heart jumped. What a perfect way for Merin to get back to work! He still has that spark, and a genuine love for people, all people. He is old and wise, and has so much to offer young students who need acceptance and love. Merin passed the Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors and now looks forward to going into the schools where he will give as much love as he receives. Bark on, Merin! You ROCK!!
We are just back from a cruise around northern Europe. Our participation and activity level doesn’t match that of many of our fellow passengers. There’s entertainment every evening, dancing before and after dinner, singers, a magic show, cooking classes, and much more. We like to read. This is one reason we use this cruise line, Oceania Cruises. They have really nice libraries of hardback books. The libraries include some magazines & paperbacks but not many.
I don’t usually want to do any “heavy reading” when I’m on a cruise. This time I took a book on The Token Economy by Alan Kazdin. Though I find it interesting, I only read about 2 pages of it. Much of the fiction I found was dark, brooding, and murderous so I read the lightest books I could sort out. Because I miss my dogs, most of them had dogs in them.
The Darkest Evening of the Year, by Dean Koontz, was the one I finished the day before we disembarked. It has a Golden Retriever on the cover. It was compellingly written but full of people deliberately damaging and killing each other. I wouldn’t recommend it for that reason. The story does, however, include a plot thread about the dogs and that led me to read the quotation below:
“Dogs’ lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”
I haven’t taken the time to analyze why I love my dogs, I just do. I’ll continue as long as I’m lucky enough to have a dog in my life.