Jake’s Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Home Visit
By Scottie McGowan
I have been a member of the Home Visit Team for years, and have always enjoyed having my Golden Retrievers accompany me on visits to show potential adopters what friendly and clever dogs they are. We had three Goldens, Jake, Morgan, and our Home Visit Diva, Crystal. When our beloved Crystal went to the Bridge, one of the boys had to step into service.
Jake was the first to do a Home Visit. Unbeknownst to me, this prospective adopter had a Cockatiel. By the time I left his home with our high-prey-drive Jake in tow, the bird was in therapy. Jake was done with home visits. Morgan, on the other hand, attended meet & greets and hung out at a friend’s home with numerous other daycare dogs including an obnoxious little Jack Russell Terrier. So Morgan became quite well socialized, and his home visit training went smoothly.
When Morgan and I did a Home Visit, Jake stayed home alone. But one day he suckered me into taking him with us with that heart-wrenching “Home Alone” look. Bad idea. Nevertheless, off we went to do a home visit with an unsuspecting couple that lived in a big, beautiful, well-kept home. And, they had an adorable Golden puppy confined to the kitchen with gates at both entrances. Morgan, Jake, and I cheerfully walked in the front door to greet this lovely family.
What follows is my official report.
See below to read the exciting outcome of this very special and hopefully never-to-be-repeated home visit.
RECOMMENDATION: I highly recommend approval for this couple to adopt a RAGofAZ Golden. They passed every test with flying colors. (Names are changed to protect the traumatized.)
The Not Housebroken Test: Jake did the “Poop on Beautiful White Carpet” test as soon as we walked in the door. Sam didn’t miss a beat when he ran to get a rag and some carpet cleaner. (Jake NEVER pottied inside). Sam and Mary were very convincing when they said it was no big deal.
Is the Pool Fenced?: Before moving outside to the yard, I assured them that Jake would not go into the unfenced pool without permission. But Jake was serious about his role as he jumped in to inspect the pool and announced that it was dog worthy after two laps. (He NEVER went in the pool without permission) Again, Sam was on the spot with a towel so we could dry Jake enough to go back inside the house. Mary kept saying that it was alright; they are previous Golden owners and understand.
Handling Two Dogs Test: There was some apprehension when their lonely puppy begged Morgan to play with him. Morgan is a solitary man and doesn’t play. Puppy kept jumping up in Morgan’s face until Morgan said, “Enough!” with low growls, a raised tail, a threatening stance, and lips curled. Puppy didn’t take the hint. Sam and Mary responded calmly by picking up said puppy and returning him to the safety of the gated kitchen.
Sam and Mary displayed infinite patience during our interview when Morgan repeatedly knocked down the gate to the kitchen. Sam chased the puppy until he caught and returned him, again & again, to the kitchen. Then Sam made the right decision to stand guard at the gate. However, there are two gates to the kitchen; while Sam fixed one, Morgan took down the other.
Catch Me if You Can Test: My two dogs ran off in opposite directions. Sam was visibly confused about which one to check on, and he finally assessed that Jake was the most significant threat. But while he was checking on Jake, Morgan took down that kitchen gate again. Sam did seem a bit rattled at this part of the test.
I decided that this couple has the right stuff to own a Golden. Therefore we (thankfully) skipped the Seek and Destroy Something of Value part of the test.
Postscript: Sam and Mary were sure to lock the door, turn off the lights, and close the shades when we left. Jake was forever banned from doing home visits. Morgan went into remedial training by being sequestered in a room with that Jack Russell. I had a glass of wine to lower my blood pressure and try to figure out what was I thinking when I decided to take two dogs (especially Jake) on a home visit.