We met Isa on a Saturday morning, late in April 2013, when her Golden Bond foster family met us at a favorite brunch spot with tables outside. This established a consistent pattern for us. Her happy, gentle manner was an immediate joy. She was an eight-year old couch potato with the excited manner of a puppy. She loved walks to the park, seldom retrieved anything we threw, and loved to race alongside other dogs as they pursued balls, sticks, and Frisbees. (We wondered, now & then, if she had a bit of Australian Shepherd in her DNA.) Her curly, blond coat and evident joy when she met someone new drew people to her at the park, on walks through the neighborhood, or on the patio of a café or pub.
Jane was ecstatic to find that Isa also relished brushing. Isa would flop to her back and extend her legs for long grooming sessions. She’d assume the same position most every night, early in the morning, or anytime we came home with the added bonus of a lengthy bit of wriggling. Very hard to know if she wanted to scratch an itch, celebrate the occasion (we just got back from a walk!), or simply understood that her goofiness would make us smile.
Isa trended anxious when she first arrived. If we rolled over at night she would leap up, pace the room, thump her tail into any solid object that could be imagined, and continue until after we held stock still for at least a minute. She would finally slump back to the floor with a large sigh. She settled in after a couple of months and began to ignore most of our early morning restlessness (‘ignore’ meaning some mild tail thumping rather than pacing & whapping). Although Isa became mostly immune to small, random noises in early morning hours, she remained fully aware of the alarm. An alarm meant breakfast and the ever-present tail whumping against the floor or thumping the furniture and walls ensured that we wouldn’t oversleep.
We had our last days with Isa in early September 2018. She had begun to slow down some (no more long runs) but continued to be a joyful, nudging presence at home and happy to walk in mid-day shade, later at night, or during the cooler mornings. We know that a 13-year old Golden is a gift and wanted so much more than the five years we were able to enjoy her squeal every time we came through the door. We took some comfort that our last day was at home, all of us together, and that Isa – despite the struggle of her sickness – seemed at peace.
Isa was adopted in April, 2013