The Dogs in My Life Part III: Ranger

By Judy Penz Sheluk

Ranger with Judy, fishing in Collingwood

In my previous posts, I shared stories of my first dog, Sandy, and my second dog, Einstein. Neither of those stories had a happy ending, though they did come with a message, and hopefully, a lesson that can be shared.

You might think that after our heartache with Einstein that my husband, Mike, and I would find another breed. But we both love Golden Retrievers, and so this time we were determined to do things differently. We were going to do our research.

This was in November 1992, long before the Internet and Google, so we bought books, read lots, and went to dog shows. It was at one of those shows that we met Liz and Bruce Russell, owners of Gowrielea Goldens. As luck would have it, a litter was due in January 1993. We went to the premises, where we were able to meet the mother, as well as several other Gowrielea Goldens. We’d found our breeder.

Gowreilea’s Forest Ranger was born on January 23, 1993. Every Sunday for the next seven weeks, we went to the Russell’s to watch Ranger and his siblings grow. Week eight, Ranger came home with us, pretty much house trained.

Obedience school followed, and Ranger thrived on learning his commands. He was a gentle, bright boy who loved his soft toys and could be trusted alone in the house (though he did like to sleep in his crate with the door open).  In fact, his only real fault was a propensity to pull on his leash (not sure if there were gentle leaders and harnesses then, if there were, we weren’t aware of them). He also had “selective” hearing when off leash, but only if water was nearby. That dog loved to swim.

For more than nine years, Ranger was a terrific dog and wonderful companion.  He particularly loved a cottage Mike and I rented every October in Collingwood, right on Georgian Bay. It was while we were vacationing there in 2002 that we realized something was very wrong. We cut our vacation short and took Ranger to our vet, only to discover he had a large, inoperable tumor. He died in November, in our arms, in his own home, just two months shy of his tenth birthday. At the time, Mike and I truly believed we’d never have room in our hearts for another dog, let alone another Golden Retriever.

Then we met Copper. Stay tuned for Part IV!

In non-dog related news, my most recent audiobook, LIVE FREE OR TRI, is now available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. And yes, one of the short stories take place in Collingwood!

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12 thoughts on “The Dogs in My Life Part III: Ranger”

  1. Loved all your Golden Retriever stories – they truly are a special breed. My current pooch is a rescue who was born on the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. He came to me afraid of men and shying at every unknown noise, but like your guys, he loved pleasing me when we trained and he has been a blessing. He’s a mixed flat coated retriever and Australian shepherd – he looks like a black golden retriever and is very much a water dog so he loves living on the beach and swims year round regardless of water temps. Duff is 13 now and I know he’ll be gone one day and I’ll grieve awhile saying no more dogs, but then …. perhaps I’ll get a Golden next.

    1. Thanks for reading my posts, Skye. Your rescue dog sounds very special. Dogs come into our lives when we need them, even though they think they need us! I appreciate your comments.

  2. I love reading your dog stories. For all of us who have pets, we know it is part of the process to love them as long as we can, mourn, and do it again. Thanks for sharing, Judy.

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