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Photo provided by Abby McCorriston

Home Is Where Your Golden Is

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

My mom told me she would never own another big dog again. Too much shedding, she said. This was about three months before she was helping me haul a brand new crate into the house from the back of my SUV.

His name is Bear, around 75 pounds of muscle, hair and most definitely way too many peanut butter biscuits. He is everything and more to myself, family and his friends.

Photo by Abby McCorriston

Although this is our third golden retriever as a family, and I have loved every single one of them dearly, Bear is by far the most special to me. Mostly because it took some serious plotting, scheming and one heck of a business formatted proposal which was swept under my father’s office closed door very sneakily. I made sure to include there were worse things to be obsessed with as his daughter, and I’m convinced that was the key to my success! It explained all the reaons why my life was incomplete without Bear in it, and how strong of an asset he would be as an addition to the family.

This was of course after I had covered the entire interior of his office with Google images of golden retrievers, just to really make my point clear.

To make a long story short, Bear is currently finishing his second kong full of peanut butter beside me right now, on the leather couch my mom also said he wasn’t allowed on.

All of the quotes which claim a house is no home without a dog sound cheesy, but it was all true. Although we did have two purse-sized dogs, which are closer to the equivalency of squirrels, a big dog was what we needed to feel the warmth of friend you could never get mad at.

I now have Bear to thank for remasking my entire majority of black wardrobe in glimmering golden hair, taking me for his own walks down off-the-beaten-path trails, and for never missing a night where he chooses to sleep with his back paws across my face. It sounds less than romantic but I honestly couldn’t imagine life without it. 

Golden retrievers aren’t just there for you, they keep you sane. Research has shown humans are mentally stimulated by their interaction with dogs.

The first research on dogs and mental health was done thirty years ago, in which Alan Beck, director of the Centre for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, and Aaron Katcher, researcher at the Devereaux Foundation in Pennsylvania, conducted a study which found there is decrease of blood pressure, slowing of heart rates, regular breathing and muscle relaxation when a human interacts with a dog or domestic animal.

Since this first study, there has been several areas of research regarding the power of animal-assisted therapy and the ways our dogs (and animals) make us feel needed, lower our stress rates, increase our self-esteem, protect us from our anxieties and above all they are prime examples of teaching us to live in the moment. Comfort, loyalty and companionship, laughter, lack of judgment and an unconditional love these animals bring to our homes and daily lives are the most important reasons we have to thank our furry friends. A friend like Bear is a being I believe everybody deserves to experience. 

For all of you dog owners and lovers, I already know this is exactly how you feel too. Some days, I don’t think we as humans even realize how lucky we are to have these four-legged beings rule our homes! So please hug your fur babies; we are just as lucky to have them as they are to have us.

As mentioned early, as Bear being my third golden, I’ve grown so much appreciation and respect for the specific breed of golden retrievers themselves. 

Stay golden.