In July of 2021, GCGRC announced an essay contest for our area’s Junior participants. The purpose was to engage the next-generation of leaders in the dog fancy and in order to make it significant, we offered a grand prize of $3000!
We are excited to announce that our judges selected a winning essay titled “My Best Friend and Teammate” by Jenna. We have a winner from the GCGRC 2021 Essay Contest! Jenna, from Michigan, wrote an essay from the heart which we simply loved. Congratulations, Jenna!
My Best Friend and Teammate
All my life, I’ve lived with a Golden Retriever. Well, not fully. The hardest part about owning a dog is having to say goodbye. In 2017, I said goodbye to Buddy due to cancer, a twelve-year-old Golden, in 2019 I lost my two-year-old Golden Tucker due to acute leukemia, and now, we have a two-year-old Golden Retriever named Teddy.
Do you see a common trait between Buddy and Tucker? Cancer. You may be wondering, “how does cancer even apply to what you’ve learned owning a Golden Retriever?” It has taught me to love and spend every second I can get with my dog. It has taught me to appreciate the little things in my dogs and in the humans in my life. Losing a dog to cancer makes you appreciate what you have because you realize how short life truly is.
Another thing I have learned owning a Golden Retriever is patience. Patience in the rough times, patience when teaching new tricks, and patience in those moments that you just cannot seem to pry their mouths open to get the three socks that are hidden within. Before having a Golden Retriever puppy, I would have said that I was a very impatient person but teaching my young dog a new trick has made me more patient not only with him, but with the people around me.
Owning a Golden Retriever and showing them in 4H has taught me to be responsible. Before finding out about dog sports, dogs in the house were just pets. After participating in dog sports, my pets turned into teammates, and I love and appreciate my dog more than I did before.
Having a “bigger” breed has helped me give back to the community by dog walking, dog sitting, and dog training. I teach my relative and friend’s dogs crucial tricks like “stay” and “come”, and some fun ones like “spin” and “figure-8”.
Currently, Teddy, our two-year-old Golden Retriever, is in training to become a therapy dog. My mom and I have decided to give back to our community by volunteering at local hospitals and schools once Teddy passes therapy dog training. He, like most Golden Retrievers, has the perfect temperament to become a therapy dog.
Finally, given these experiences, I plan on running fundraisers to find out why cancer is happening in dogs – old AND young. We need to find out why our beloved pets are dying of this horrible disease. Also, with the practice I have in training dogs, I also want to help in Michigan’s K9 Search and Rescue team-working with dogs and helping people. Nothing can get much better than that.