Life with a Golden

On October 18, 2019, Logan and I traveled to Clarksville, TN to pick up his long-awaited Golden Retriever puppy. Since then, I have received a handful of questions on my Instagram page about Mr. Walter Moon.

Why a Golden Retriever?

Logan’s choice! Ever since we started dating, he’s always talked about a Golden Retriever. I knew it was only a matter of time until there was one in my life… And frankly, he is the best dog! He has been the easiest puppy and is so smart. Sometimes I can’t even believe how fast he learns. Golden Retrievers live to please, so he is very obedient.

Who was the breeder?

We ended up using Lori Falkinburg of Falkinburg Goldens as the breeder. We did a lot of research on Golden Retriever breeders beforehand and were very picky when we finally chose. Lori was very knowledgeable about the breed and her pedigree. She truly cared about giving us a healthy and happy puppy. He is such a good dog and we owe it all to Lori and her breeding!

Why did you shop and not adopt?

This is a question that would always come up in conversation when discussing him. While I support those who choose to adopt, our situation did not fit adoption. We were looking for a specific breed, temperament, and bloodline. While there are many sweet dogs that come from shelters, there are also many risks. Not knowing the dog’s medical history, personal track record, bloodline, and in some cases, age, can be a liability. I believe that adopting is okay and shopping responsibly is okay too. We knew exactly what we were getting when we chose Falkinburg Goldens for a puppy.

How do you control the shedding?

Starting out, my expectations were very low. I expected it to be out of control. So far, it’s been manageable. Not easy… but manageable. Once he lost his puppy coat, the shedding was a breeze. Before then, we were vacuuming everyday, lint rolling my clothes 10 times a day, wearing certain colors that wouldn’t show fur and certain fabrics that didn’t pick fur up, using cups with lids so his hair wouldn’t fly in. He is six months old now and we brush him a couple times a week. I vacuum once a week and use a lint roller probably twice a week.

What was the buying process like?

It’s not like the movies where you go to a backyard and pick out a puppy that you immediately connect with. We first had to meet Lori, her adult goldens, and the litter. She asked us questions (why we wanted a golden, how active our lifestyle is, our future plans for the dog) and we left references, so she could make sure we were responsible and knew what we were getting ourselves into. We spent about three hours visiting with her and her dogs. All of her puppies went through Volhard Temperament Testing, so it was important for us to meet her to discuss our needs in a puppy so she could match us with the right one. She let us know a few days later that she chose us for her last boy she had left! We were able to come back to Clarksville two weeks later to pick him up, sign a puppy contract, ask any questions, etc.

Where does his name come from?

It has been in our life plan to get a Golden Retriever, but it wasn’t until two years ago we talked about the name Walter (we are planners! lol). When October came, Logan said I could be in charge of the name. I wanted a name that was two-part and could be easily made into nicknames. I also really love old names. We liked “Moon” as the second part because we could do so much with it (moon prints, space themed fabric, moon embroidered bandannas). Moon is also what the real Christopher Robin called his father, A.A. Milne, because he couldn’t pronounce the name “Milne.” We considered Oliver Moon, but that had already been used in a children’s book. So, we went back to Walter!

How is he doing?

Very good! He does well in an apartment because that’s just where he sleeps. We make sure he gets plenty of exercise, both physically and mentally. Golden Retrievers aren’t barkers, so he doesn’t make any noise (you’re welcome, neighbors!) He also never whines unless he’s thirsty or needs to go potty. We socialize him at a doggy daycare and he loves that place more than us I think. We also take him everywhere! Parades, gyms, outdoor restaurants, J. Crew, work, Rock City – all places with a lot of distractions to test his ability to listen and remain calm. He will start basic obedient training very soon, but already knows sit, stay, come, shake, and lay down. He doesn’t beg for food because we have a strict “no human food” policy. He’s not a fan of being on furniture anymore and prefers his own space now that he’s getting bigger. He thinks every dog is a friend, but had to learn the hard way that most are not. We hate when big dogs jump on us, so we never let him greet others that way. We taught him early on to only chew his toys, so he hasn’t chewed anything of ours (fingers crossed!) Like I said, he’s a very good boy!

Didn’t you mention he will be a therapy dog?

Yes! His sweet and calm temperament would be a waste if he wasn’t used in hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to comfort people.