Pet Tips 'n' Tales

A Boy and His Dog

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Boy+Dog+Summer+Swimming=Life Long Lessons and Memories
for both Matthew and his faithful, playful Golden Retriever, McCarthy.


There is no doubt about it, a childhood spent with a dog companion provides a magical connection and the creation of life long memories.  Having a pet teaches children responsibility and compassion, allowing them to grow into caring adults, parents, and spouses.

Matthew, 11 years old, remembers the first time he saw his Golden Retriever, McCarthy, as a puppy.

"Five years ago, a very special puppy arrived into the world.  We named him after a town in Alaska," said Matthew. "McCarthy stood out from the other two-week-old puppies like a shining star. He was far more adventurous than his litter mates.  While the others slept he "swam" across all the other puppies to retrieve a toy.

When he found the toy, he put it in his mouth and swam back over his brothers and sisters to his special spot and slept with his prize. His "retrieving" instincts were evident from the very start!"

What amazed Matthew was that, "McCarthy did this blind!  Puppies are born with their eyelids sealed and it takes 10-14 days after birth before they open their eyes."

McCarthy is always on the move! "As a puppy he wouldn't stay in the same spot for more than 5 seconds except when sleeping or eating dinner!" laughs Matthew.

"The same can be said about Matthew as a baby!" adds Matthew's mother, Susan.

"When McCarthy fetches a ball or toy he rolls on it before bringing it back.  We have no idea why he does it!

McCarthy turned 5 years old this summer, or 35 in dog years, so we gave him a special birthday dinner. One of his favorite dinners, (actually, if it is food it is his favorite) is kibble curry. I chop his kibble salmon treats up with vegetables, cooked eggs and hot water."

Last year, Matthew and McCarthy entered a dog talent contest. It was wonderful seeing a young man show a crowd how much he loves his prized dog.  They won 4th place in the Look-a-Like contest and 1st in Best Trick for McCarthy's famous "treat flipping trick".

"His trick amuses everyone!" said Matthew. "When my dad goes to a drive-through coffee kiosk, McCarthy loves to go with him because the ladies there give him treats. To thank them, McCarthy performs his trick. One woman asked him do it again and filmed it with her camera!"

"Matthew has a real connection with all animals, but especially with McCarthy," said Matthew's father, Jim.  "McCarthy must think Matthew is a popsicle because he loves licking him!  Maybe the dog thinks Matthew is his cross-species brother because, when they put their heads together their hair is exactly the same shade of golden-red!  We live beside Dorena Lake and the two of them spend much of the summer swimming side-by-side."

"Saying that my dog LOVES swimming is an under-exaggeration!" exclaims Matthew.  "McCarthy is the better swimmer, by far! I am a good swimmer, but he is amazing. He swims so fast that he leaves a wake! He even swims over obstacles and once swam over a log!

McCarthy retrieves virtually anything; a ball, a stick, anything! No wonder his breed is called RETRIEVER!

He loves the ocean! For McCarthy Sand+Ball+People+Water+Space to run= Perfect. The beach is one of his favorite places," adds Matthew. "My dog sleeps with me. When I am reading, at bedtime, McCarthy gently places his furry-golden head in my lap. McCarthy is our only pet besides some long-gone goldfish that were extremely boring."


"Never leave a pet in the same car as a drink with a straw! My dad once got an Italian soda and McCarthy saw him suck on the straw," explains Matthew.  "When dad went into a store, McCarthy tried to suck at the straw - he's so smart. When dad came back the straw was out of the drink," laughs Matthew!

According to CatsWalk Newsletter, "A news report from Los Angeles claims that Israeli scientists have created a detector that looks similar to a body scanner, but the unit has concealed boxes holding specially trained mice. When the mice sense traces of drugs or explosives, they run to a side chamber where they trigger an alarm. Researchers claim the mice are more efficient than bomb-sniffing dogs."
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