In honour of National Golden Retrievers Day on February 3rd, I’d like to say a few words about my good old pal, “Duke”. Way past puppyhood, Duke continues to be extremely active and young at heart. He still enjoys chasing and fetching frisbees in the park and remains notorious for being gentle and loyal to his neighbourhood friends. 

Like most Golden Retrievers, Duke likes being with people and when he’s out and about, he loves splashing around in the water. He appreciates his leisurely coastal strolls and the chance to hit the beach early in the mornings. I guess, what makes him a natural swimmer is his webbed feet and thick water-repellent double coat.

He’s also an excellent hunting dog because of his good sense of smell. In fact, last summer, he used his incredible tracking abilities to rescue me one afternoon from a small river. Santon Burn used to be one of my favourite spots for having a ‘cool-down’, but unfortunately, standing just 12 inches tall, being stocky and top-heavy has its disadvantages when it comes to paddling in water. Anyway, I’m so thankful that he picked up my trail and saved my life that day. Because of Duke, I stick nearer to home now and have a much better time sniffing out those fairy folk around the bridge.

This year, however, I was able to repay Duke, when he got into a spot of bother with an ear infection. I noticed one morning that he appeared to be shaking his head a lot and his normally cheerful temperament seemed to be absent. Further investigation of Duke’s unpleasant and painful predicament led to the discovery of a build-up of thick fur causing a blockage. After seeing his vet and getting the problem sorted, I suggested that he invested in some ear powder and applied a pinch once a week to keep his ears healthy. Take it from a Frenchie, we may snore and snort a little, but we are also incredibly smart!

By the way, I’m not actually French either despite everyone calling me “Frenchie”, and Duke is from Scotland, the result of a ‘mix’ of golden Retriever, Tweed Spaniel (extinct), Irish Setter and Bloodhound. Of course, there are different types of Golden Retrievers, with 3 main varieties, but not all of them are as handsome as Duke though. With his almost pale white wavy fur, his four-legged friends compare him to an arctic wolf straight out of a Hollywood movie.

Duke and I do have a great deal in common, mostly because we are companion dogs and love the contact we have with children. Yeah, OK, Golden Retrievers make great therapy dogs whilst us Frenchies tend to be a bit temperamental. Duke, on the whole, is generally well-behaved and easy to train, whilst I’m a little territorial and like being the centre of attention.

However, it’s true, ‘every dog has its day‘ and so without no further ado, in honour of Duke’s special day, I’d like to congratulate my ‘pawsome‘ pal on being one of the most popular breeds in the world, and for simply being the best!

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