Donna D'Amico's Home Page

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."

(Roger Caras)

Gage, a Golden Retriever
(05/91 - 09/06)

Jake's It's About Time, AAD, JM, EAC, EJC, EGC, EAC-V, EJC-V, MX, AXJ, JV-E, CGC

Weaving © 1999-2010
Ann Clayton Photography

The crowd roared with laughter. "Get him all riled up" they said at the agility seminar. Well he's certainly riled up now! A fast and furious push-shove game followed by a tug of war with his leash has worked wonders for his motivation, but now that we are at the start line how do I get him to let go of the leash still firmly clamped between his jaws? "Out, drop, give, leave it", I try every command I can think of but nothing works and the judge is still waiting. Finally in desperation I call over the leash runner and ask her to pull out the leash as I pry apart his jaws. Success! And Gage goes on to qualify in Elite Titling with a clean run in excellent time for an 8 year old veteran.

Next run, third run of the day for this dog and the sixth for me. I'm pooped, so no tug of war this time, no way. But it's cool out, he's having a great time and he wants to play. Before I know it, as I wait for them to call his name I find paws around my neck and a Golden Retriever nibbling softly on my nose, "talking" loudly with furiously wagging tail. We're at the start line, but there's a short delay. As we're obviously going no where for a moment Gage invents his own game, chasing his tail round and round till he falls in a heap. Not one to let an opportunity pass, he rolls on his backbone with absolute abandon, all 4 feet waiving frantically about in the air totally ignoring all pleas of "whenever you're ready". Finally, covered with grass and weeds after his great back rub, I coax him to his feet. And again he goes on to qualify, this time in Elite Jumpers with seconds to spare.

Gage is having a wonderful time at the agility trial in Carson City, Nevada and so am I. This dog never fails to make me smile. I am, however, a little worse for wear. I've got scratches on my neck and shoulders from his dew claws (he gives mighty hugs) and there's a bruise on my jaw from that hard head of his. And I have a hunch that the tiny nick on my nose is from one of his teeth (he gets carried away with his kisses on occasion). But running Gage is an absolute delight and I am eternally grateful that his owners allow me to share an occasional weekend with this absolutely wonderful animal. It's an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.

When he's not playing in agility, Gage's favorite activity is sitting in his living room window, watching the world go by. He shares the house with five Shelties, another Golden Retriever, his cat, Harley, and the two people he loves most in the world, Jake and Kathie Leggett.

Update - 2006: Gage passed away peacefully at 15 with Jake and Kathie at his side. The memory of his smiling face never fails to bring a smile to mine and tears to my eyes.


© 1999-2010 Ann Clayton Photography

   My Canine Companions  
 Dog Training Articles Index  Canine Lymphoma Articles Index  Separation Anxiety Articles Index  Dog Stories, Poems & Art to Warm the Heart

Top of Page

Site Map

Photographs are under copyright by the photographer. Articles are the property of their author. Neither may be used without express written permission.

E-Mail:, a Golden Retriever by Donna D'Amico,


© Copyright 1997-2010, Donna D'Amico. All rights reserved.

Last revised: 11/2009