Gone to the dogs

Golden Retriever owners gather in Golden, CO. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Severns Avery.

My husband Chris and I are back in Colorado for the winter. When living in Maine year-round, we were astounded by the staggering number of events held during the winter months. Mainers had certainly cracked the code on how to make it through the long winter months.

We saw an event advertised we thought might be comparable to some of Maine’s wonderful winter gatherings. It wasn’t as lighthearted as the costume parade at the annual Toboggan Championship races at the Snow Bowl. Nor was it as delicious as Pies on Parade. But it was a doggone good time!

The Golden Retriever Rescue in Golden, Colorado asked owners of Golden Retrievers to come to Golden to pose for a picture under the city’s historic “Welcome to Golden” arch over Washington Street.

With my 95-year-old dad in in tow, we set off with high hopes that this event would live up to our expectations. It didn’t disappoint.

It was a beautiful day – sunny and almost 60 degrees with a nice breeze. We found a spot with a great vantage point and waited. At first one or two dogs could be seen walking towards the rendezvous spot. Then there were 10 or 20. Soon there were hundreds and at the end of the event it was estimated more than 1,000 dogs and their owners were present.

What was so astounding about this event was for a moment all those who gathered forgot their problems, the political strife, and the division in our country. We were united in our love of dogs. We bathed in the joy and delight of four-footed fur bundles romping, frolicking, strutting sniffing, and licking everyone and everything in their path.

This event was a great reminder that it doesn’t take much to take your mind off your troubles. Participation is the key to contribution and contribution is a path to joy. We could have easily stayed at home and not gone to the event. We could have told ourselves that it would be too crowded or that we couldn’t go because of Dad. We would have been so much poorer if we had stayed home!

My father has talked about the event non-stop. He was astounded as he watched the progression of dogs moving towards him as he sat in his wheelchair. The golden retrievers were exceptionally well-behaved and there was barely a bark during the entire event. We couldn’t help but smile as two toddlers rubbed the belly of a golden who lay down on the pavement. Hundreds of people took photos with their dogs and then volunteered to take pictures of others.

It is easy to be cynical these days – about life and about retirement. Goldens in Golden proved that the world hasn’t gone to the dogs after all.

Kathryn Avery

About Kathryn Avery

When Kathryn Severns Avery’s husband, Chris, began contemplating retirement in 2014, she knew they had to quickly come up with a multi-faceted plan. They spent the next year discussing, sometimes heatedly, what they would do once he stopped working. On paper their plan looked exciting. They would head from Colorado to the 1891 sea captain’s house they bought and renovated in Rockland on Maine’s midcoast. But the reality of planning and implementing retirement was much different than expected. Kathryn has worked in radio, television, marketing, and public relations. She is the author of five books and has written articles on interior design and crafts for national and regional publications including Romantic Homes, Log Homes Illustrated, The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Homes and Lifestyles.