Jay – JJ (Jaden) GH-1094


Hi everyone!

My foster family calls me Jay or JJ now and I think it has a very happy ring to it. I will still respond to Jaden, but prefer my new monikers. As you may recall, I came to my GoldHeart foster home in late November, and wow has my life changed for the better. 

I am ten years young, and prance about like a puppy at times and love chasing and chewing on balls. I am a beautiful lighter red color and everyone remarks how handsome I am. I was just 65 lbs at intake, but am finally adding a few needed pounds and probably should stay under 75 lbs. While some would say I had a life of abuse and neglect, please don’t worry, I have never let my living conditions get me down, after all, I am a Golden Retriever and I am now starting to get my Golden groove back! I am not a velcro golden, but very curious about this new world of living in a house and all it has to offer. I love to put my head in your lap, and may attempt to jump on your lap (you see I am not really sure how to get on furniture), but I try sometimes and my foster mom has put pillows around the bed’s edge so I stopped jumping on it – I learn quickly!

I came from Pennsylvania, where my original owner kept me in an out-building with another male Golden…my son. I really felt bad leaving him behind. My owner did take me for runs and did play ball with me when I was younger. However, one time when we went to the pond to swim and play fetch, I ran away with my ball, so that fun stopped and I only got out of the outbuilding (with no heat or a/c) a few times a day. I either was kept on lead or tethered for those infrequent breaks from the outbuilding. Not a great life. Otherwise, trips away were to the stud farm. Being a stud dog is really not a lot of fun, and I learned not to trust humans completely with time, and being handled filled me with anxiety. Not to worry, I saw a doggie shrink after arriving at GoldHeart (think the proper word is behaviorist) and I now know my foster parents adore me and treats come frequently when I listen and trust them. My go-to position is down and over for belly rubs, and maybe early on it was my way of saying, don’t hurt me, love me (you see my past owner hit me with an open hand when I jumped up to say hello). I was a physical mess when I arrived too — my coat was matted head to toe and I was very thin, and I had two types of parasites (round and whip worms). It is not surprising that my parents figured out my secret — I will eat poop. As gross as stool eating (aka coprophagia) is to you humans, it’s actually a common habit of many dogs. So picking up when I poop and being sure I have a ball to play with help deter this habit. I did great with grooming and also got neutered and had my teeth cleaned on December 5th, and my pre bloodwork and I checked out fine. I have been a very healthy boy except for those darn worms. I have one more round of Panacur in early March, and then Sentinel (monthly preventative) should keep me parasite free!

I am good at sit, down and over. I am learning wait and come (I like when they whistle for me), and I am a very strong leash puller, but not to worry, I do just fine walking with a freedom harness. I like that my foster mom can walk me with one of my foster sisters at the same time. I have a soft mouth and take treats gently. I do have a lot more energy than most dogs my age, and my family thinks I act more like a six year old. I do fine meeting humans of all ages on our walks, but have not come face to face yet with any strange dogs. I do ok just walking by them though.

I have amazed my foster parents with my ability to respect most things in this wonderful place they call a house. Sure I have chewed up a few soft toys, and shredded some paper a few times, but give me my Chuckit! balls and I am a happy boy! I have my own room here (well it’s the bathroom and I have to share with my humans), where I can decompress and process the world around me and feel safe — this is where I chose to hang out most of the time, even though I have access to the house much of the time now. They have gated off one door so I can see out and warn them if there is someone coming to the house, or a dog walking by –yep, I found my voice and I like it! I have been fully reliable in the house since neuter, and am fine for up to 8 hours overnight. I do ok in the car, but need more practice to know that going places is ok, so I do get a little stubborn when it is time to get in. During the day we are often alone for 4-6 hours and we do just fine.

While I am now a happy grooving golden about 95+% of the time, I have worried my foster mom and dad, visitors, and fur siblings at times. First, I’m the alpha in our canine pack — and I live with a 10 year old female golden and a 12 year old lab-chow mix. I hear them call me a “bull in a china shop” because if I want to get to something, I will just roll right through everyone, even knocking the girls aside (thank goodness they are ladies and let me). However, my comfort level can sometimes change quickly and I show it by growling (rare now). Not to worry though,  my family and frequent visitors handle me well (sometimes it’s about resources, jealously or the interactions just become too much for me to process). Often, I just need to be told “Stop JJ,” or I get to go to my safe place and after I calm down, we can happily engage later. I just passed the 6-week mark from neutering and my hormones have finally settled down and I think that is helping. Time and consistency are wonderful helpers too. I have also been on Cosequin Max plus MSM to help the slight arthritis in my back hips/legs — stud life caught up I guess, and I also had my Thyroid tested and its fine – phew! 

My shrink, who came on December 20th identified some potential stressors and assigned strategies for their removal. She said to keep the girls away from me – but guess what, we all hang out together most of the time now and we are getting along great and they rarely stress me, but occasionally I let them know I’m boss, so given a choice, I definitely want to be the only dog in my forever home (or in a home where I can be top dog and am not challenged by any fur siblings and they let me have all the balls). Just to be safe and keep me happy, we still eat and sleep in separate rooms (me in my bathroom, and they in the bedroom). I do talk with happy groans, but you can definitely tell when I give the mean growl. I rarely do this now, and I really want to be a good boy.  The fear in me always seems to occur when I am uncomfortable or tired, and too much new is happening around me. Keep in mind that I lived a mostly solitary life for 10 years, so everyone is very patient and loving with me now and that will need to continue in my forever home. Having a behavorist – positive trainer come visit with my new family after arrival is probably a good idea too. If feasible, a few visits to my forever home before staying overnight may also help with my transition. As my shrink told my foster mom…she is concerned that moving me to another new environment too soon (i.e., before Feb 1), without benefit of time to adjust, de-stress, and learn new ways of responding, could set me back, and you can bet I don’t want that to happen!

I have tried to be completely honest about my quirks, and hope someone will take a chance on me because I have so much love to give and will surely make you laugh and smile. If you are an Approved GoldHeart adopter, where I can be the only dog (no cats or young children),  and you have a physical fenced yard, and the patience to help me gently transition into your home, and keep my golden groove on, please contact my foster mom at lovesgoldens13@gmail.com to meet me. I am being fostered in Chester, MD.

If you are not yet approved by Goldheart, and are in our SERVICE AREA, please complete an adoption application at https://goldheart.org/adopting-a-golden/adoption-application/. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee that must be received before the approval process starts. The approval process can take 6 weeks or more since we rely on an all-volunteer support network to process your application, conduct the home visit, and check references. If approved, you can then inquire about JJ, or any other available dog that is looking for a forever home. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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