Back when we were living in Indiana, we were not very happy, for so many reasons. One of the things I found myself doing a lot was scouring the pages of Petfinder– after all, who doesn’t need a good pick-me-up. And then one day I found her- Candy, a beautiful white and caramel Olde English Buldogge. I’m not being pretentious, it’s a variation of the English Bulldog breed, created in the 1970s, but you can read more about that here. In the current story, we decided we had to check out Candy the following weekend, and come Saturday, we headed off to the pound…
only to find out that Candy had already been adopted. But her sister, Brandy, was still available. Truth be told, we looked at pictures of Brandy already, and she was not much to look at. Additionally, the pound labeled her “a cat killer” and we had two cats to consider. Since we were there already though, we decide to check her out.
They took us to a back room, as Brandy had kennel cough, so they kept her separated from the gen pop. As they released her from her crate, she stumbled towards us, with her broad chested heavy gait, brindle coat shining, 7 remaining teeth showcased in an open mouth smile. We were instantly in love- and the photos taken of her in the shelter must be the only poor photos of her in existence. To further gain our loyalty, she plopped next to a cage full of kittens, who batted at her through the bars as she panted happily. Some cat killer! We decided to come back for her on Monday and found ourselves the proud owners of a pedigree 8-year old breeder Olde English Buldogge with kennel cough. For a $95 adoption fee, this was a real deal.
We renamed her Golde (olde, but a Golde- we are extremely clever and creative) and found ourselves fostering her, as she was too sick for the pound to release her to us. This turned out really beneficial for us, as she needed daily steroid shots and constant vet care, covered since we were her foster parents. We adopted her during Thanksgiving break, so if you’re familiar with the academic calendar, I had a lot of free time. I force-fed her food and water, while watching a lot of dog movies, and eventually, she ate on her own. The first food she was enthusiastic about was a can of Vienna sausage, which remained her favorite treat.
Golde clearly came from a horrible home environment. First of all, she was a breeder dog, churning out puppies as fast as she could (the situation was so dire that Mr. Sweetspot had to Photoshop her nipples out of the Xmas card!). As soon as she was deemed too old, she was turned into the pound (with her pedigree, which is how we know for sure she was a pedigree dog). We were told that prior to living with us, she had lived outside, which is not something that breed can do, resulting in her being an absolute horrified shaking mess anytime a storm came around. When we uttered the phrase “No” in a calm voice, she would cower in a corner, trembling, proving to us that her previous owners were less than kind, and that she clearly deserves to be spoiled for the rest of her days as reparations. Did I mention she was already 8 years old? The average bulldog life expectancy is 9-11, so these really were Golde’s golden years (see what I did there?).
With us this lady got a second lease on life. She stayed with us for 3 years in Indiana, then moved to New York. Over the years, she’s made a lasting impression on friends and family. As she was an old lady, resulting in a needy bladder, we took to traveling with her, including visiting my family for the holiday’s. My mom continues to refer to her as her “grand dog” and loves her dearly. My husband’s nephew joyously stuck his fingers in her mouth as a mere toddler, going “Smush, smush”. Golde put up with it happily, she loved people, she loved attention and she was proud of her breed specific squishy mouth.
She admired our boy dog Gumbo, reverently observing him being “a real dog” on walks, making sure to sniff every spot he peed, acting like, she too sensed the importance of it, and peeing there herself. Gumbo was cool with her, except for when playing with him, she fell dead like in a pile of leaves. He became very concerned- what had he done? He proceeded to sniff her cautiously… and she jumped up -Ha Ha! It freaked him out to where he never played with her again.
She made dog friends quickly, adopting her breed specific stance when spotting a potential buddy. Even if she could only do one lap at the dog park, she was adored by all. She had mothering instincts, be it human babies (aforementioned toddler digging in her mouth) or puppies. When our human friends got a bulldog puppy, the two girls met each other. Golde stood up, and fell into mom mode, offering her nips to the pup. As she started sucking, we humans stood in an awkward silence… but now I see it as how sweet and giving our girl was.
Golde was by no means a perfect dog. Food was her weakness, and left unattended she would cause serious damage. She has, throughout her life: broken into, and consumed a 20lbs tub of dog food. She ate and puked, ate and puked until we came home and stopped the cycle. If you held something edible in your hand and gestured- bye bye it went as Golde snatched it from your hand the moment it was head height. Most notably, she broke into our fridge and ate all the food…on three separate occasions. Dare you think I exaggerate, the girl was very methodical. First she went after the good stuff. Then she tackled food in containers. Last, she went through the produce bin. It wasn’t enough for her to determine she didn’t like celery after one bite- she would bite and spit out every individual piece to have her curiosity satisfied.
With us, she got a second lease on life. In 2016, six years into our relationship, she went deaf in her left ear. While slightly inconvenient (losing stereo meant she had no idea where sound was coming from) it didn’t affect her much. In 2017, she went completely deaf. She still seemed to have a good quality of life, but her barks became more demanding as she couldn’t hear herself. She kept trucking along, meanwhile we kept telling ourselves that this would, surely, be her last Christmas.
The 2017 Christmas was in fact her last. Golde celebrated with both families, and then came home for her 15th birthday, which was new year’s day. She was one of the oldest living bulldogs, very healthy for her age. In February 2018, while still in good spirits, no matter how much she ate, she remained miserably thin. We began to worry that the time was near.
Golde passed away February 24th, 2018. She woke up with a swollen belly, and drank a lot of water. We both assumed she ate something she wasn’t supposed to- after all she’d done so many times in the past. Within 40 minutes she was dead. It was a peaceful death, following a great life. She rests under birches on our property, and will be greatly missed.
This magical creature was at the end of her life expectancy when we adopted her, but spent the next 7 years with us. She was a wonderful companion, and we have no regrets. I know she’s currently eating Vienna sausages with Carface, because all dogs go to heaven. She was a gift we’re incredibly grateful for and will not be forgotten soon.