Wriggling golden bundles of love awaited Heather and me when we arrived at a home in the Somerset area of southwest Calgary. The mother was an average-sized golden, and the father was a very big-boned fellow.
Heather chose the puppy that would be named Julie. Right from day one, Julie exuded friendliness and greeted everyone with boundless energy and a licking frenzy.
Julie went everywhere with Heather—except to work, of course. They made the 8-hour drive to the cabin at Wakaw Lake where Julie rode regally in the boat. They went through the drive-thru at Tim Horton’s near their home in Calgary where Julie enjoyed a timbit. Julie liked it even better when Heather’s friends came to the house. Julie once ate an entire plate of wings before anyone else got one!
Everyone in the neighborhood saw Heather taking Julie on regular walks, or, was that Julie taking Heather for walks? As Julie grew, she became stronger and stronger. There were a few mishaps, including when I went to take Julie for a walk one day when Heather was working. Julie couldn’t wait, and when I turned my back to lock the front door, she gave a mighty tug. I don’t recall flying backwards off the step, but I do remember Julie standing over me and licking my face. Blood poured from a cut on the back of my head that required three stitches. Of course, I forgave her because she was still a big puppy and just being Julie, but I had my first concussion. After that, I let someone else hang on to her leash.
When we started building our home on the acreage, Doug took Julie to the site on several occasions and let her loose. Julie roamed and explored. She found the pond—and it just happened to be the day after Heather had paid to have her groomed. One day, Doug heard her barking and barking. When he investigated, Julie was standing over a dead coyote. Fortunately, she never found a skunk, badger, or porcupine. Doug and I liked Julie’s golden personality so much that we acquired Hayley dog.
In 2008, Julie went on the longest car ride of her life—all the way to San Diego County, California, to her new home. She loved climbing the hills around Encinitas and liked to play fetch by the ocean. The family later moved to San Marcos where Julie got to know all the neighbors.
My favorite memory of Julie is when our newborn granddaughter arrived home from the hospital. Julie understood that she now had a sister and brought a stuffed toy to the baby. They became great pals over the years.
When Doug and I visited, Julie seemed to remember us. She wagged her entire body, brought us her blanket or a toy, and, yes, licked any patch of bare skin she could find.
As the years passed, Julie started to show white in her golden color. She was ageing but still very loving. The walks became gradually shorter although she was always eager to go. She just sometimes forgot that the way home was as long as the way there and would be short-of-breath by the time they got back.
In the early summer of 2017, Heather reported that Julie was not doing well. She was finding it increasingly difficult to eat. She didn’t seem to be in pain but spent more time secluded under her favorite tree in their yard. On August 19, 2017, Heather phoned to tell us that Julie had passed away. She was 13 years and almost 4 months old—a very good age for a big dog. Right until the end, Julie kept wagging her tail and licking.
Julie: You brought many hours of happiness to your human family. You were our friend and companion. We love you and miss you.