Our handsome Goldendoodle, Cody, came to us when he was 15 months old. He was born on November 21, 2006. In mid January we decided to do some research and see what type of dog we wanted. Our son wanted a Golden Retriever, but due to allergies in the home, we decided that wasn’t an option. As soon as we heard about Goldendoodles, we knew that this was the type of dog for us. We weren’t in a rush to purchase our dog, but we had a lot of fun looking online at all the great Goldendoodle photos we came across. One morning we were looking online and we came upon Cody’s photo…we instantly fell in love! He was older (what we wanted) and we knew that the shelters around here in CT did not have any Goldendoodles available, so we thought that we would pursue purchasing him from the breeder who had him listed online!
Were we smart to look for a dog online like that? No. Don’t judge a dog by his sweet photos – they’re ALL cute! Were we smart enough to ask various questions to the breeder where Cody was raised? YES! We asked a million questions and all the answers seemed to be spot-on. Should we have been suspicious? Yes, but we were so in love with the photo of Cody, we didn’t even think something could be wrong or that we could have been lied to – which we were. Why am I mentioning this? I want others to know that you do need to do your homework. You need to take the time to find out all you can about the breeder…where your dog will be coming from…what the facility is like…what others think about this place and the condition of both the facility and their dogs. It is important that you see photos, not just of the dog, but of where he/she is coming from!! Find out about your dog’s parents and their health. I’m not saying that by asking you will get the truth – we certainly didn’t, but you need to be persistant. You are looking to add a life to your home…you don’t want an animal with lots of baggage and problems like we got!!!
With all that said, Cody has turned out to be the most wonderful dog in the world! He fits into our family like a glove. He is gentle, loving, playful and extremely loyal!!! Here’s a bit of what we had to endure and experience though before getting Cody to this point…
The ‘breeder’ whom we aptly nicknamed “Mr. Puppymill” refused to send Cody to us when he promised. He said he didn’t want to make a trip to the airport “just for one dog”, so we had to wait…and wait…and wait. He kept rescheduling the dates which not only hurt our kids (since they would get excited to finally be getting their dog), but it also caused problems with my husband getting a day off from work to drive 2 hours to the airport to pick him up! Finally the day came and Mr. Puppymill called us to say he dropped him off at the Kansas airport. He also told us something that should have been disclosed to us up front! He said that Cody never had a leash on, so not to take him out and leash him until we were in the house. He then proceeded to tell us that Cody was an outside dog. He was outside 24/7 and that he was in an enclosure with another dog. He went on to tell us that he had plenty of food to eat, but also that he had access to one building only. How sad we were to hear all this! One of the things we specifically told him months before was that we were looking for a dog we could take with us on family outings and walks. We wanted a dog who loved to be around people. Come to find out, Cody was the complete opposite! By that time there was nothing we could do but deal with what came our way. We paid for this dog, he was not a rescue dog from a shelter, but we figured that we would deal with whatever problems came our way and deal with Mr. Puppymill later.
So…we picked up Cody from the airport on February 25th. He was shaking, scared and the terrified look on his face spoke volumes. We did all we could to make him feel loved, right from the start. We had to take the lid off his crate to get him out of it for the first time. He didn’t want to budge. This lasted for over 2 weeks. He refused to eat, drink or go outside to do his business. He wasn’t just scared from traveling from Kansas to CT on a plane, he was afraid because he never ever had human contact. We were foreign to him and he thought we were out to hurt him! That totally broke our hearts!!
We called a dog behavior specilist in our town and she came out right away. She said that she had never seen a dog as shut down as this dog was. He wouldn’t take any food from her hands, and he wouldn’t even look at us. He had no idea what treats were either.
Here is a photo of my husband trying to get Cody to come back in the house. We purchased a harness for him and were able to take him outside that way, but for the first month, we had to carry him…all 50 lbs! He wouldn’t budge on his own. Finally he got used to walking down the few steps of our back porch to the yard to do his business, but every single noise outside that he’d hear, caused him to stop what he was doing and run for the house, pulling whoever was behind him at the other end of the leash!
After the first week we brought him to the vet for a check-up. They told us to give Cody that first week to get to know us a little bit. It honestly didn’t make a difference…but we waited and gave Cody his space. When we did bring him to the vet’s office, we found that several things came on the plane with Cody…things that we were promised he wouldn’t be shipped to us with!! He had a horrible case of roundworm, ear mites galore, and ticks that were embedded in his skin. We felt so horrible for this poor little guy! We immediately dealt with everything that needed ‘fixing’, and we gave him medicines for the round worm, and cleaned his ears daily. The next day we brought him back to the vet for a complete grooming overhaul and tick removal. The only thing we could do that was humane, was to have him completely shaved. So…here he is at home just after being shaved and cleaned up. He ended up laying in the corner of our kitchen day after day…night after night. Any noise we made made him jump with fear.
The only place we got him to eat was out on our back porch. He was so used to eating outside. We endured the bitter cold of winter out on that porch with him each day. He would eat a couple of bites and then run to the corner in fear. Eventually we figured that feeding him out of our own hands was the best thing for him. So, for 2 months, we ended up feeding him on the floor of our living room. We bought him a big fluffy dog bed which he found to be quite comfortable. That was his ‘home base’…he felt somewhat safe there, so that’s where he stayed after we were able to coax him out of the corner of our kitchen.
He still wasn’t walking around the house on his own. He would only get up to go out after we clipped the leash onto his harness. He had no idea what all the toys we bought him were for. He never ate a treat, so even if we put a treat on his bed and walked away, he wouldn’t eat it. All these things took him time to get used to. The hardest part for us was just seeing him looking so sad all the time. He never wagged his tail, and he looked like his heart was just broken into pieces.
Eventually we moved the bed closer to the middle of the room. He realized that we weren’t such bad people, and that we did all we could to help him feel better and feel loved. Finally, he would get up and walk around a bit, but he still felt that his bed was a safe place, so he ran to it often.
The best thing for Cody was time. We would spend hours sitting with him, petting him and showing him all his toys. We never smothered him…we always gave him his space, but he knew that we’d always be back if we walked away. He also decided that going outside with us wasn’t such a bad thing. He learned to walk out by himself (on the leash) without too much effort. Still, no tail wagging, but one day in early April he gave me a kiss on my hand. It was the first lick and it meant the world to me!!!
Over the next two months, not only did his hair grow, but he grew to love us as well. Finally one day at the end of April, he wagged his tail!!!! It was a short wag, but it was definitely a wag! I can’t even begin to tell you the joy and excitement our whole family felt!!!! After that day, it continued to wag more and more. Now all he has to do is see us walk into the room and it starts wagging like crazy! You have no idea how that feels. Here are a few photos from April and May…
Cody’s hair began to grow in nicely and we were so excited to see him feeling happy. In May, he was feeling comfortable enough to start playing inside the house. This was all so new to us. He was usually a very quiet dog who would just lay around and sulk. Well, the comical side of Cody was coming out and we fell in love all over again!!
In mid-May we had to take him to get his teeth cleaned. Besides all the bugs and mites he came to us with, his teeth looked like that of a 10 year old dog who had never had his teeth cleaned! The Vet couldn’t believe how bad they were. So…we took him to the vet for the day and they cleaned and polished his pearly whites until they were as good as new. What a difference!! Here he is coming home from his groggy visit…
Cody loves going on walks in the neighborhood with us now. It was something he had to learn to do, after getting used to his collar and leash. Now when we ask if he wants to go for a walk, he gets excited. We also were able to bring him to the nursing home where my Dad is. Cody was so well behaved and the residents all fell in love with him – especially my Dad who has Alzheimer’s! What a blessing Cody was to my Dad…it’s amazing after seeing the condition Cody came to us in, isn’t it?
One of Cody’s favorite things to do (besides run and play in the house) is lay down and get his hair brushed! He will lay down for an hour and let you comb or brush every inch of him. He never had the pleasure of being pampered until he came to live with us. We’re glad to oblige!
Cody also loves to go lay down in our classroom. We are a homeschooling family which is beneficial to Cody since we’re home most of the day. He enjoys going to school with the kids to watch them learn. If he behaves he even gets a bone now and then. Yummy!!! Milk bones are his favorite.
So, as you can see so far, Cody has adjusted to life in our home. He has grown to love us as much as we love him. He follows me whereever I go and it makes me so happy to know that he wants to be with me. We know that Cody still has a long way to go. He is still fearful of certain things, but as he meets more and more people, he grows to fear them less. We look forward to many happy years with him. He’s the best thing that happened to our family in a long time!!!! We love him soooo much!