I first meet this sweet golden retriever in June of 2009 I had stopped off at my Uncle’s place to say howdy on my way down to central California to see friends I hadn’t seen for ten years.
Strawberry’s birthdate is June 17, 2009
His female had just had a litter of puppies and they were just a couple of days old, they were all so cute. My Uncle told me if I wanted a puppy to let him know, I said, “ok”.
There was a puppy that was not faring well, it was sick and so I told my Uncle that if this one survives I’d take it. I went down and bought some formula and a dropper bottle, I needed to feed it a drop at a time because it just was not nursing at all. My Uncle came home from work to find me weeping with the puppy still in my hands all I could say was, “it died”. He went and found a box and put a hand towel in it for the puppy and I gently put the pup in the box, we walked into the kitchen set the box on the kitchen table and stood there quietly, reverently for a time.
I remember this one pup who was the biggest, roundest, and reddest puppy in the litter, bulldozing all the other puppies out of it’s way to nurse.
The day I left for California my Uncle asked me if I wanted one of the puppies, I couldn’t say no, even thou I didn’t think I would take one, but I was undecided. He let me know that I had a bit of time to think about it, that he intended to sell them so I didn’t have a lot of time to decide but a little time, I said, “ok”.
I landed a temporary job that would last me through the summer at a hotel and was having a blast with my friends running around on atv’s exploring old gold mining sites that very few people knew about. Oh… that’s another story. It was around the end of July when I got a message from my Uncle telling me if I wanted a puppy I needed to let him know, he and the boy’s had picked out the perfect puppy for me and they had already named her and if I didn’t like the name I could change it. I gave it 24 hours and thought about it before I called him back.
I finally made up my mind, I would accept the puppy and I was curious about the name, about her.
Strawberry is the first puppy I had ever accepted sight unseen.
I called my Uncle and told him I would take her and then came the questions, how did she get her name? What does she look like? How did you chose her? Uncle told me they (he and my cousins) chose her because I prefered females, she looked more like Buck (her daddy) than any of the other puppies, she was the first pup to figure out how to escape from the play pin. My Cousin named her Strawberry because she got busted right in the middle of Uncles strawberry patch eating away and he could not get her to stay out of them, she also really liked the garden. Uncle didn’t go into a great deal of detail on that though. I think at that point I should have rethought my decision! Instead I asked him if he could hold her until the middle of september, my job would be over after Labor Day weekend and I would be heading back up there, he said, “ok”.
After Labor Day I said my goodbye’s to my California friends and headed north, back to my Uncles house where I finally met Strawberry. She was beautiful, I fell in love with her immediately she wasn’t so sure about me, she would hang out with me for a little bit and then she would start crying and get very agitated. You see, she was three and one half months old by then and was having severe separation anxiety, I decided the best thing to do was to take her camping so we could bond.
After a week at my Uncles Strawberry and I went camping on Mt. Shasta for a week.
Strawberry was at Glass Mountain with me but none of the pic’s turned out.
I think the trip went well we were definitely bonding. I think Strawberry had to try tasting or eating everything she came across she was having so much fun and so was I. She woke me up every two to three hours to let her out of the truck to go potty. After a couple of nights of this I thought, I would just leave the door of the canopy open so she could go in and out as she needed, the weather was beautiful so I had no concerns with rain or snow and I hadn’t seen any sign of predators close to camp I felt safe enough.
At that time I had a GMC 4×4 with a tall canopy on the bed of the truck that I had set up to camp in. I had a place to sleep and a coleman stove set up for cooking, a place for cloths etc…
I found a round of wood that someone had cut and used it as a step to make it easier for Strawberry to get in and out That way she wouldn’t have to wake me up for that, I had all my bases covered I needed a good nights sleep.
The first night of the new set up I had to show Strawberry it was alright to go out by herself, she was a little unsure about that. The second night she had decided it was ok and came and went as she pleased, at some point during the night when I was sound asleep she went out and I woke up with her pouncing on my head and licking me so excitedly telling me, “Did ya miss me huhuhu did ya miss me”!
We hiked and explored, played tug of war with my underwear and even went hunting for some Matsutake mushrooms and then it was time to leave, the weather was changing. I had no radio or phone service, but I had been in the mountains long enough to know that at this elevation it could snow at any time, especially this time of the year. We pulled up camp and headed off of the mountain, it snowed that night.
This is Strawberry’s and my beginning story, I think she came into my life to teach me about parenthood the reality!
This is Strawberry now.
I survived her puppy hood! 😀