Friday, April 17, 2009

Golden Retrievers: Again With Feeling

About a third of the daily visits at Kiko's House are people who stumble through the door by accident. What I mean is that they were doing a Web search on Duane Allman, Triangle of Death, Aston Martin or some other subject that interested them and happened on something that I wrote.

Far and away the most frequent of these accidental visitors are people who learn -- often the hard way -- that golden retrievers seem especially susceptible to life-shortening cancers and read my essay on this mystery that was first posted in 2006 and has been republished periodically since then.

Some of the comments these readers leave are heartbreaking. Wrote an Anonymoose:
"I lost my beautiful Golden, named Jessie, this morning to what they assume was a cancerous tumor that was very aggressive. She seemed her normal self yesterday but today the ruptured tumor took her life. I miss her greatly because she was such a great friend and had a wonderful disposition. The best temperament of any dog I've ever had. I don't think I can go through this again so I may never get another dog, especially a Golden, because it is too painful."
And a woman from Brazil:
"I lose my beloved golden at the age of 10 years and 6 months old last Thursday. His name was Kevin and he had a liver cancer diagosed in the day of his death, when he had to do an emergency surgery. As I just could not believe a thing like that I began to try to understand what was going on,and found this site with this sad informations. Goldens are incredible dogs, mine was very,very intelligent and even at 10, always happy and so especial with everybody. I was thinking to buy another one because Kevin gave us the best time with a dog we ever had, but now I changed my mind and still crying for him, I am thinking this will not be a good idea. Thanks and forgive my English."
An oft-asked question is whether you should consider buying or adopting a golden retriever since it is obvious that despite the claims of some kennels that their goldens are disease free, cancer is rapidly overtaking the breed. My answer is always the same:
If you and your family are able to steel yourself to the possibility that your golden retriever may succumb at a relatively early age, then go right ahead.

Otherwise, fuggedabout about it.

There are millions of dogs in the U.S. who live lonely existences in animal shelters. Many of them are mixed breeds who are less predisposed to disease because of that. Many of them will be euthanized.

Please consider adopting one of these critters. Their love will be as unconditional as that of a goldie.
A version of my original post is here.

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