Home and Kitchen Diaries

Goldens make our hearts full

It was love at first sight….
Her caregiver said she was the most behaved of the others

Satchi in the library (Photo from the author)

This is being drafted on National Pet Day, April 11, when Satchi, our almost two-year-old golden retriever, is napping on the veranda while the voice of soprano Katherine Jenkins caresses her floppy ears.

My family and I are so besotted with Satchi that when I feel the slightest twinge of melancholy, all I have to do is ask my husband Rolly to let her loose in the house. She runs excitedly and bounds in a single leap on his bed, her preferred station. First, she moves quickly in circles, next she tries to claw the bedsheet with her paws before finally lying on her belly, claiming the spot as hers and hers alone.

I coo to her, rub her ears and sing “Belly belly rub!” with my grandchild Kai. That’s Satchi’s cue to lie on her back and present her belly for rubbing. We don’t mind if the dog scent clings to the bed and to us afterwards. To me it is the scent of love.

Kai hugs Satchi while the dog gazes longingly at the books.

Indeed, it was love at first sight when we came to bring her from Moonbay Marina Villas in Subic where she was born to our home in Baguio. She was already six months old, the seventh of seven offspring, when she was turned over to us. My brother-in-law named her Margarita and nicknamed her Satchi. Her siblings had names like Jack Daniels and other forms of alcohol. Her caretaker told us she was the most behaved of the others.

Satchi was quiet throughout the land trip. My daughter Kimi, who was driving, pulled over in two gas stations so the dog could sip water, but she declined. She remained quiet and calm on my lap all throughout the ride. I ran my hands through her golden fur.

Back in Baguio, she appreciated the ice cubes given her and sucked on those. We still hadn’t heard how her bark sounded like. But my sister, Pinky L. Susi, told us that this breed didn’t make for good guard dogs. They were too sociable.

Pinky’s daughter Bianca shared with me the responsibilities of a pet owner and her experiences of growing up with Oreo, a male golden that recently passed on in March this year.

Oreo the puppy and her human Bianca L. Susi

She said, “The trait I liked most about Oreo was his loving nature. He won the hearts of my neighbors, especially the children, whenever I took him on walks. He allowed himself to be petted. He was a big fan of attention. At home, he would express his kalambingan by lying down next to me while I worked or asking me for treats with his puppy dog eyes.”

I asked Bianca how they kept Oreo cool in Antipolo. Our Satchi thrives in Baguio’s temperate clime and doesn’t mind being outdoors when the thermometer dips to 10 and below degrees in January.

Bianca said, “We had a water pitcher and an electric fan designated for his use. His drinking water used to be in the ref next to ours. On extra hot days, Nanay would allow me to open my aircon and let Oreo take his afternoon naps in my room.”

 ‘Oreo chewed on the first 11 pages of one of the books from my Nancy Drew collection…’

Lucky us to have natural airconditioning for Satchi! But she went through a restless phase when she gnawed on soft objects (Kai’s pink plush unicorn, my rubber slipper) and slobbered all over them. One rainy night, we brought her in and she was supposed to sleep on Rolly’s bed. During the night, she was able to pry off the bookshelf my copy of Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story and nearly tore through the hardbound spine. After a thorough scolding, the incident never occurred again.

Bianca told of something similar: “Oreo chewed on the first 11 pages of one of the books from my Nancy Drew collection when he was still a puppy. That experience made me dislike him even if I knew that it wasn’t his fault as puppies were naturally that way. However, I learned to love him and eventually felt attached to him, especially when he would sit beside me every time I played the piano and walk me to the gate every morning from grade school to high school when my school bus arrived.”

Our Satchi’s morning routine is to sit near the feet of Kai while she’s having online classes. Earlier in the morn, Rolly supplements her doggy kibble with sliced apples, cucumbers or singkamas which she eats while in a demure sitting position. Unless she sits, no treat.

In the afternoon, unless there’s a downpour, masked grandpa and grandchild take Satchi for a walk. Like Oreo, she’s friendly with the neighbors, including their dogs. When one of the smaller mutts tried to hump her, Rolly pulled her away and took the quickest path home.

Although we’ve let our older dogs cross the Rainbow Bridge and observed a time of grieving, we still cannot wrap our minds around the scenario that Satchi’s turn will eventually come.

Bianca dealt with her loss this way. She said, “Oreo suffered from heart, liver, and kidney problems. He passed away on March 22, a Monday night. It was my final examinations week. The first thing I did was to email my professor to have my exam rescheduled. I needed time to grieve. I spent the rest of the night scrolling through Oreo’s pictures on my phone. Letting go and moving on was difficult, but I found comfort in knowing that he lived a beautiful life filled with classical music and love from the humans around him. Even in his final days, I made sure that he felt loved and cared for as we attended to his health needs and spoiled him with hugs and kisses.”

Kimi, Satchi and Kai enjoy as Baguio fog rolls in.

About author


She is a freelance journalist. The pandemic has turned her into a homebody.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for Diarist.ph’s Weekly Digest and get the best of Diarist.ph, tailored for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *