Golden retriever walking in a lake

A Fluffy Reunion

Follow along with Willow's holiday back at her breeders.
I'm sure this will resonate with most families; finding childcare for your children seems much more straightforward than finding someone to care for your dog while away! I think part of the problem is that we can prepare our children for our going away, letting them know how long we will be gone and that we are coming back. However, we cannot prepare or inform our dogs of the same.
Luckily, we didn't need to worry about where Willow would 'holiday' without us for two weeks. For the first time since having Willow, we sent her back to her breeders (Anna) in Kent because we felt she would be more comfortable there as she would get to be around her mum (Goldie) and her sister (Bonnie) again. We were also more comfortable leaving her, knowing she would have the distraction of two dogs whom she could play with, which would make her time go quickly, be more enjoyable and possibly make her miss us less, or so we thought.
As soon as we arrived, she immediately recognised the driveway and house despite this being her first time back in 2.5 years. Once out of the car, she ran straight to the side entrance and into the back garden. Waiting eagerly for her at the patio doors, peering through with tails-wagging, were Goldie and Bonnie. Willow needed a minute to figure out what to make of it all. She was confused seeing Goldie, Bonnie and Anna and didn't know who to say hi to first. After lots of sniffing and playing, we made our quiet exit.
Over the next two weeks, we received countless photos and videos of Willow, Bonnie and Goldie wrestling, rolling, swimming, sleeping and chilling together. She was having the time of her life, so much so that by the end of the holiday I began to worry she wouldn't want to come back home with us! When watching the videos and looking at the photos, we noticed Willow was at least an inch taller and had a much thicker/fuller coat, especially around her tail and hind legs, almost like fluffy pantaloons, compared to her mum and sister. Anna was just as shocked as us and couldn't believe the difference between the three of them. She told us that only one of Willows's siblings looked like her; the rest looked similar to Goldie and Bonnie. As it turns out, the reason behind the difference was a raw food diet. Willow and her identical sibling were the only ones fed a raw diet, whereas the rest of her litter and her mum were on a dry diet.

We had sent Willow off to Anna's with a whole box of Natural Instincts special diet (as Willow had put on some weight whilst training with treats), rabbit ear, and beef jerky treats. I told Anna she was welcome to try them out on Goldie and Bonnie. She told me the Natural Instinct rabbit ears were particularly helpful in aiding one of the dogs with an upset stomach. I've always used them to treat Willow's upset bellies, as the hair on the ears seems to settle the stomach. By the end of our two weeks away, Anna was so impressed by Willow's health, coat and energy that she had decided to transition Goldie and Bonnie from dry onto raw food. As for Willow, when she first saw us arrive to collect her, she played it cool as a cucumber- but that only lasted a few seconds before she bounded over to us! Acting is clearly not her forte. She then did her zoomies around our legs and tried to wrestle us to the ground for cuddles and sloppy kisses.

Whilst back at home, Willow has had the task of training Luna, a rescue pup who has a habit of getting over-excited when playing with other dogs and, unfortunately, does not know when to call it quits. Cue Willow and her policing/mothering skills, and Luna is nearly transformed. 

More to follow next time!

By Abigail Hutton-Tufano