california, Dog, Family, Hiking, holidays, Uncategorized, writing

Happy Gotcha Day, Owen: Ten Years of Love and Adventure

It is extraordinary for me to think that we are upon the ten-year anniversary of Owen’s adoption from the Pasadena Humane Society. On January 8, 2013 we signed the adoption documents, and two days later, on January 10, we brought our sweet boy home. And the years flew by.

Owen as a young pup

Owen, the pup who seemed so shy and timid when in his kennel at the humane society, turned out to be a bright golden blur of energy. He was full of mischief and smarts and would invent games for himself, but he was also extremely loving. His favorite place to be was with his people- and people in general- whether it was in the cozy of our living room, on a hiking trail, or at the dog park.

In the last couple years, our Golden retriever has started to become a grey retriever. The increasing white fur on his beloved face reminds me that he is aging quickly, and while his playfulness has not diminished and he is still very active, the fact remains that he is slowing down. Last April after our Bark Ranger trips to Joshua Tree and Yosemite, he was admitted to Access Veterinary Hospital for a three-day stay in the pet intensive care unit following a bad bout of pneumonia. It was touch-and-go for a time, but thankfully, he did recover. And while I know that he can’t stay with us forever, I am thankful for the time that we have with him, no matter how long God intends to bless us. In just the span between his April discharge and his 10-year gotcha day, Owen has splashed at Malibu Dog Beach at Leo Carrillo twice, he’s hiked Brown Dam several times, as well as Icehouse Canyon, Bailey Canyon, and Echo Mountain. We celebrated Easter and dressed him up as a bunny to match his lagomorph siblings, Halloween as Dug and Russell from the Disney movie “Up,” and we were thankful to have him for the winter holidays. We returned to Yosemite, and he got to explore a new trail and play in the snow. He’s enjoyed many Starbucks pupaccinos and has dined at Cracker Barrel and many of our favorite restaurants that have dog-friendly patios.

We celebrated his gotcha day with a special outing this past Saturday. The afternoon started off with a stop through the Starbucks drive through on the way to the onramp to Interstate 210. Owen had a large pup cup, which he thoroughly enjoyed- drooling a bit onto my daypack. We then drove over to the Icehouse Canyon Trailhead just off Mt. Baldy Road. The Icehouse Canyon hike has become Sami’s current favorite, and Owen just loves being outside exploring. The colors of fall and the twiggy trees carry the beauty of the season in this canyon, and we even saw a tiny bit of snow. The creek is full as a result of the recent rains, but not so much that the hike was unsafe, at least up until Monday’s deluge.

After hiking for a bit, we decided to turn around. We knew we were not going to make the saddle, and that was okay. We just wanted to spend some time outside and together. But it was getting to be time for some dinner. After some discussion and debate, we ended up at The Lazy Dog in West Covina. Owen has visited the Thousand Oaks restaurant and enjoys the attention and treats. Saturday was no exception. He was treated to a chicken bowl- his favorite- off the pup menu, and of course, he helped himself to french fries that ended up on the ground. In all, it was a good day for our boy, and it turned out to be a happy celebration of his ten years with us.

Emily’s graduation prep day back in 2021. Owen and Penny were part of the celebration.

It has been a happy ten years with Owen. Our family has seen much change over the course of those years- the kids growing up, Jacob and Emily graduating high school and moving forward in their educations and eventual careers- and Owen has been able to be a part of those celebrations. He’s also seen us through the more difficult times: a global pandemic, the death of my father, our struggles with mental health. But through it all, even through a heart-breaking move, Owen has shown me a valuable lesson. That home is more than a building. Home is with those you love best. And that it doesn’t take much to be the happiest guy. A few treats and an adventure meant to be shared with your favorite people (and bunnies) is all you need for a joyous life.

Happy Gotcha Day, Owen.

We have been beautifully blessed by Owen as well as his first canine brother, Maxwell, and his bunny sibs, Penny and Henry. They were all adopted at the Pasadena Humane Society. Shelters and rescues are great places to find your new best friend. Petfinder can help you start your journey, as can your local humane society website.


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