Hi ya'll ... I used to post regularly, hope ya'll recall. Haven't been around due to life getting in the way in some big and not-so-great ways. Been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, and in certain instances the "new normal" kinda sucks ... but thankfully none of it revolves around our pets!! But MADE time to stop by on this important day ... Buddy's first anniversary, his official "Gotcha Day"!! Buddy is the over-sized adult Golden Retriever we adopted from our local shelter one year ago today. He had been an abandoned stray who looked and acted like he had been strictly an "outside dog" where ever he had been, before they apparently got tired of him and set him loose with no collar or tags. He was naturally sweet-natured but very neglected, overweight and nervous and he had little in the way of training. One year later he is a FABULOUS dog, we love him dearly!! He's slimmed down and is in much better shape from a diet/exercise program. His once dull and matted coat is now shiny and flowing. He has responded very well (and very fast!!) to positive-reinforcement training and is no longer a "counter surfer", never raids the kitchen garbage anymore, and has almost completely gotten over his separation anxiety. He has gone from a sad and somewhat nervous Golden to the happy, "smiling" dog that every Golden should be. He gets along great with Riley, our Westie puppy who is now a little over one year old, and also is absolutely wonderful with our cats. The only thing left over from Buddy's "old" existence is an odd protective streak ... unusual in a full-bred Golden Retriever. When I walk him, he seems rather aloof toward strangers and does not like them to get too close to me. Buddy behaves around strangers and will allow them to pet him, but if they get too close to me his hair stands up on the back of his neck and he does a low growl. He has NEVER shown any sign that he would ever actually hurt anyone, he just seems pretty clear that he doesn't want stangers getting too close his new "Mamma". He's OK with women, but exhibits this behavior around any strange men. On walks together Buddy is similarly protective toward his "baby brother", our Westie puppy Riley. From his previous behavior of cringing only around strange adult men, the shelter personnel and our vet had concluded that Buddy had been beaten by an adult male. He's gotten over that fear for the most part except that he still won't let any strange men within 10 feet of me. He HAS to get to know them on his own terms first. But I guess that's OK. It just surprises people from a Golden, since many Goldens are slobbery-friendly and never met a stranger. Buddy just happens to be a far more reserved gentleman, thankyouverymuch. Anyway, just wanted to let ya'll know of his progress in the past year. Read some of the posts, all the regulars are still around!! Stopped by the Rainbow Bridge section and am very saddened to see that some pets have joined my previous babies at the Bridge .... like xpanex's sweet Bailey, smkie's beautiful and wise Mary, shockingly Madison's best pal and "pillow" Reggin, who was far too young. I am so very sorry for all the losses since last being here. Much love to all from Buddy, Riley, and the cats!!