When I first met Lucy, she looked all of her reported ten years old. I had seen her picture at a pet store, advertised by the local Golden Retriever rescue group. I called them, and they had the man who needed to give her up bring her by to see if I was interested in either fostering her or adopting her. It was heart-wrenching, as he clearly loved her and did not want to give her up, but was forced to due to his life's current circumstances.
Her hair was stiff and broken; she had some spots that were sort of bare. He told me her took her to the beach a lot and she loved the ocean water, but it played havoc with her skin and coat. Ear mites constantly aggravated her, and she had a little bit of a "shuffle" to her gait. I wasn't so sure I was up to the task of getting her into shape, just to lose her in a couple years, given her advanced age.
That was six years ago. Today, Lucy is a very, very happy sixteen-year-old Golden. Her coat softened up and grew back in no time. She still has that shuffled gait, which is just recently starting to slow her down. But not to where she has given up her daily (slow) walks around our neighborhood, where she is happily greeted by many human and canine friends who love her, too. And while her senses of sight and hearing are diminishing, she is still a true Retriever: she can smell "people" food, raccoons, and cats anywhere in her vicinity, and still likes to "retrieve" my daughter's stuffed animals in order to trade them for a treat!
If you are afraid of adopting a "senior" Golden - don't be. The reward far outweighs the risk. The unconditional love, loyalty, and obedience Golden's offer is incredible. When Lucy entered our home, she entered our hearts. I am so blessed that God has let her stay longer than I thought! I pray she has more happy, healthy years with us!