We have been fostering Brooklyn for about 2 months, and she's now earning straight A's on her foster report card. To help her polish her social skills, we've gone out of our way to expose her to other dogs. She is doing great. While she still tends to rush right up to strange dogs, her body language now conveys enthusiasm and playfulness, and she gets only neutral or positive responses. It also helps that her interactions have become much less vocal! She and our dog Cooper have bonded into a sub-pack-or maybe a dog gang. I call them 'The Golds.' Cooper sometimes likes our foster dogs and sometimes does not, but Brooklyn is the first foster with whom he has truly bonded. It has been a learning experience for us, because we've never before seen dogs act in concert to the extent these two sometimes do: two dogs with one will. Watching them gives us some hint of why wolf packs are so effective. I do think, though, that Brooklyn won't do well with just any other dog-it will take someone like Cooper. She is big, strong, and energetic, and would definitely try to take over the 'hood if given a chance.
Speaking of energeticŠ Brooklyn is remarkably peppy for a 7-year-old dog. She has just two speeds-walk and warp 9-and when she first came to us, she had just two postures: sleep and wiggle. However, she has finally figured out that we prize calm, relaxed behavior in the house, and she's generally able to control her energy and direct it productively. That pensive expression we caught in one photograph is appearing more often. She (and Cooper) went totally supernova just once in the last week, when a door-to-door salesman came calling. Both dogs went into a high-speed twirling maximum-happy-greeting dance when I opened the door. I believe the salesman was trying to sell used politicians, but he gave up in the chaos and left. Hmmm! Do I senses a patent opportunity here?
Brooklyn's weight is down to 77 pounds (pretty close to ideal), and she looks almost gangly. Her health is excellent, and fur is growing in to cover the areas we had to shave to remove mats. She still doesn't have much undercoat and, as a result, dries after a bath in half the time Cooper does. She is much easier to groom now that she does not wiggle constantly.
Finally, let me emphasize that Brooklyn is an extremely loving dog. She absolutely adores adults and children and wants desperately to please and be part of the family. Now that she is learning to control herself, she is attentive and responsive. She's getting that nice, relaxed 'loose lips' facial expression more and more often. She is really a wonderful, wonderful dog. Of all the Goldens we have fostered over the years and sent on to permanent homes, I have real regrets about parting with only two: I slap myself on the forehead, thinking, 'That one we should have kept. Why did we let it get adopted away?' Brooklyn will surely join this select group when some lucky family adopts her.
Brooklyn is a 7-year-old girl with a pretty face animated by enthusiasm for life. This dog loves the world and loves people—she is the ultimate extrovert. She has decided that GRR foster care is a good substitute for heaven and that she likes heaven and her foster family very much indeed. And we like her. Brooklyn is good-natured and compliant. She knows her name and basic commands (she calls them suggestions) such as SIT, OFF, DOWN, and COME. She will obey promptly if she thinks you might have some food for her. (!) She has good house manners, never chews anything inappropriate, and mostly stays off the furniture. She is good with young children, too.
Brooklyn was a yard dog in her former life, and we had to shave off gobs of fur to get rid of her mats, so she looks a bit ragged right now; but when her fur grows back she is going to be beautiful, with a good figure and long feathering on her chest and legs. We are told she has had six litters. I call her our 7-year-old mother of 40. (Zow!) She has come through her trials in excellent physical condition, though, and has no difficulty jogging a mile with me.
Brooklyn has a surprisingly high energy level for a Golden who’s almost at official “senior” age. She loves to play, always vigorously and often noisily—which can be mistaken for aggressiveness. No such thing!—she and our dog Cooper drink out of the same water bowl at the same time, and she doesn’t guard food or toys. I stuck my hand in her mouth when she was chewing on a toy and she did not mind at all, leaving all five fingers intact. Pity the poor toy, though! She rapidly de-stuffs toys, leaving the innards scattered over the floor. Brooklyn and Cooper get along extremely well, in part because he is bigger and calmer than she is, and can absorb her impetuousness. When they’re rough-housing, he defers to her; otherwise, she defers to him.
Brooklyn MUST have exercise and lots of attention, so she’s likely not the best dog for a less-active household, and she may be too rambunctious for toddlers. But if you, like me, enjoy high- energy Goldens and like having all that pep and go around the house, you’ll agree that Brooklyn is a wonderful dog. She is one of the best we have ever fostered!