Hidden Lakes press

Hidden Lakes Press

Information for Recreation in Colorado and the Rockies

Golden Retrievers

It's a sad fact that dogs don't live as long as we do. Melvin succumbed to a splenic tumor just as Chester had. Chester lived 11 years, Melvin only a couple months past eight years.

Through a friend in Evergreen we learned of a litter of pups in Midland, TX, sired by our friend's Kinsale Clipper. After talking with the breeder and reviewing a video of the pups, we made a trip to Midland to pick up our next golden. Many breeders request that puppies from the kennel carry the kennel name. Kim Cain's kennel is registered as Mystic Goldens.

The theme for naming puppies from this litter was clipper ships. While searching for information on clippers I discovered that one famous ship, The Cutty Sark, is preserved and is anchored in the River Thames in England. It was said to be the fastest of the clippers that transported cargoes of tea. That seemed like a good name for my new puppy. I registered him as Mystic's Cutty Sark Captain and his call name was Skipper.

At three and one-half months Skipper discovered backpacking and camping. After that he thought home was just a place to stay between trips.

Summer of 1993 found us together on the Flat Tops to gather information for my first book, A Hiking and Camping Guide to the Flat Tops Wilderness. For each mile that I hiked Skipper probably did two miles. On a trip in August we followed a trail that crossed the Devils Causeway, a narrow glacier-carved ridge. My friend Randy Smith held Skipper while I went up the ridge that was no more than four feet wide with a 500-foot drop on each side. Skipper thought he just had to come to me while I stood on the most narrow part of the ridge. As he approached me I commanded Skipper to stay before reaching me. His obedience work paid off, as he stopped and waited for me to get to him. Training not only makes a dog responsive, it can also save the animal's life.

Skipper was a confident dog. As is true of all retrievers Skipper never passed up a puddle of water.

He crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 30 June 2003 at home in his sleep.

Goldens Page 4