Memories of Surf...
I never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine I'd be putting a memory page together for Surf so soon after Winger. Less than two months after Winger died, Surf died too.
I adopted Surf early in 1999 to be a companion for Winger. I bought into all the hype on the Internet's Golden lists saying two dogs were better than one, and half the work of one. (not true! It's a TON of work for one person!) Winger's breeders offered me Surf, a three-year old female who was Winger's sister from another litter. I remember them describing her on the phone. They said she was blonde and cute. She had her Canadian Championship but her hips always came back borderline-try again so she wouldn't be able to have pups. They kept her and spayed her for me so I wouldn't have to take her for surgery right after I got her. I remember I was so nervous for her surgery and I hadn't even met her or seen a photo of her!
I also met Surf in Duluth. Winger came with me so they met right away on the first day. I don't know if they were best friends instantly, but it sure didn't take long. I had a car then, and I remember at first, they'd stay way to their own sides of the back seat, but it wasn't long at all before they were touching, and then eventually lying all over one another. Getting Surf was probably the best thing I ever did for Winger. For good reason, he didn't trust other dogs. By the second day he learned to be comfortable with her and that she wasn't going to bite or fight him.
Surf just absolutely adored Winger. He was pretty fond of her too. They loved to wrestle. Sometimes Winger would put his entire mouth over Surf's little head. She wouldn't mind. She'd get even by licking inside his mouth. When they were younger, she'd grab his tail in her mouth and pull him across a room on his back! Little rascal!
My little Surfball could be just that, a ball. I could pull her up on my lap, turn her on her back across my legs and roll her up into a ball. People had doubts she was really a dog! Seriously I could do anything with her! When she was done on my lap, she's slid off to the floor, never moving, and she'd sleep wherever she hit the floor!
I learned that Surf could howl the first year I had her. I remember we were on the couch and there was a nature show on television. The man on the show made a noise by rolling his tongue, and she made a little whiney noise. So I repeated the noise and she howled!! From that day on, she could sing, talk, or howl on command! You can see and hear her howling here.
Of course howling and singing were really her only tricks. She never learned how to shake a paw. Honestly I think she was just too smart for such games. After Winger earned his CD (Companion Dog) title in obedience, I wanted to work with Surf. She would have none of it! She got bored or confused so fast, that instead of healing, she'd roll on her back and howl. Cute, but frustrating! It's wasn't long before I realized obedience was a lost cause! After all, she was obedient only to her brother.
So many people just thought she was a dumb, dumb dog. I know my mom adored her, but never thought she was too swift. Until they were outside on the porch one day, my mom and Surf. I guess, as the story goes, there was a huge leaf in the water bowl so Surf couldn't get a drink because the leaf was covering all the water. Surf, allegedly, put her paw on the edge of the bowl and tipped it a little until the leaf washed out, then she eased the bowl back flat and took a drink! My mom was floored!
Before I got Surf, I remember telling my mom that I was getting another dog. She was practically crying. She said I shouldn't, and that there would be no way she'd never love another dog as much as Winger. Well, HA! After she met Surf, Winger was practically invisible!! She just adored Surf. We moved in with my Mom for a year after school. She seemed to enjoy the dog's company even more than me! She'd let Surf get away with anything! Lying in her chair! Surf even ate my Mom's shoe once and she hardly seemed mad! Mom even came with us to Goldstock in Pennsylvania in 2000. Surf passed her CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test AND she passed her TDI (Therapy Dogs International) test too! During her CGC test I thought she was going to blow it for sure. The grass was all wet and when I gave Surf the down command, she just stood there and stared at me! After what felt like hours, she just flopped over on her side and played dead!! That counts as a down! At another point in the test, I was supposed to leave her in a sit and walk away. Well she sat, and then she turned and started scratching. She didn't see me tell her to stay, and she didn't care. She stayed in spot and scratched. That counted too! The tester was laughing so hard by that point! There are photos of her during the test here.
Surf was a good therapy dog. Nothing ever startled her. Elevators, wheelchairs, coughing, no problem. She could be gentle, and since she was smaller than Winger, she could put her front paws on a hospital bed to get closer to the patient. She was always willing to rest there forever if she was getting pet. She had THE softest head of any dog I've ever felt. Actually I remember going to the vet in Listowel a few times, and twice they said she had the softest head of any dog they've ever pet as well!
In my eyes, Surf was the most beautiful Golden girl the world has ever seen. But did she ever has a mischievous side! I had to crate her when I left the house for her entire life. Although there were times I figured she was mature enough to be left out, she'd prove me wrong chewing up my Doc Marten boots, $200 chainsaw proof workboots, several CD's (yes the case AND the CD's were chewed into bits), many nic-naks, books.. She chewed all the bobbles that tighted the strings off all my coats, jackets, and backpacks. I even found her chewing a battery more than once, a couple remotes, a smoke detector, and a package of sewing needles! I remember, when we lived in North Bay, I'd come home from work, and both of the living room arm chairs would be in the middle of the room, and the recliner was always reclined! Knuckleheads! She was a dirt eater, a poop eater, loved the litterbox before I learned to put it up on the clothes dryer, always stole cat food if she could reach, loved rolling in stinky bird poop, and would love to get muddy.
She loved to swim too. I think she was even harder to get out of the water because she didn't fall for bribes as easily as Winger. She'd just stay in the water forever, swimming in circles, following Winger around, and when she got bored, she'd doggie paddle just to splash, and then she'd swim to the shoreline, put her head under the water, blow some bubbles, and then she'd dig under the water in the sand or muck. Here is a short video clip of her playing in the water just a week or so after Winger died. Whenever she dug in my backyard, I knew she'd bring me a treasure. She had a good nose that one! She only dug to eat fresher dirt, or bring me something she smelled that was buried. I have little plastic army men she found, she found plastic baby toys in one yard, and even a dog tag from a dog who lived there before us!
Surf was a BIG snow eater. Ice was even better! Often by the end of winter I'd have to take her outside on a leash because she was so obsessed with eating snow and ice until she was a Surfsicle! She would be half frozen. I remember on many occasions bundling her up and putting her in front of mom's fireplace to thaw out!
She wasn't near as crazy about retrieving as Winger was. Sometimes she's beat him to the ball, but she'd only bring it half way back to me. Then she'd lie down and put it beside her leg, and then she'd turn her head and chew her other leg, so Winger could think he was stealing it from her. Then Winger would run it back to me so I could throw it again!
Surfie, Surfina, Surfsicle, Surfyupalis, Surfie-girl...
Lisa, November 19th, 2005
Surf, "Surfie" as I called her so often, and so affectiontely wagged into my life so innocently...she had that sly way of looking at you...like she was worth all your love and attention and she wouldnt have to do anything to earn it but look cute! She loved to lay in the sun and Lisa caught us more than once when they lived here on my lap in the big chair.upstairs.
Winger wouldnt be far from Lisa downstairs in her office but Surf loved the sunshine and lazed away the days. She was picky, never started to eat before Winger had checked her food out for her, she would never come in from outside when called until she could follow her brother,and she always picked on him or was ready to wrestle in a loving manner if he initiated the play.
She was a light in my life that I can not extinguish...I was shocked she was sick and shed tears throughout her illness and since. Surfie made me laugh, and her smile was so unbelievable...who would think a dog could smile? Who would think they both would let silly me put antlers on them at Christmas and take photos? I will miss sending them birthday cards, I will miss sending Lisa cards from them!
And Surf's howl had to be heard to be believed.... one of my happiest moments was when she first howled when I asked her to, not Lisa. Wow, I knew I was accepted then.
To think she followed Winger into death, since the shock receded, seems only fitting for they truly belong together.
Lisa and all of us her family will forever share memories of all they(Winger and Surf) gave to us, the Verkley family.I have many photos of them I will always love to look at with joy, my grandbabies will always be remembered with so much love...they were a treasure to live with, to visit and to have as guests...even though I know Lisa, I once said they would have to stay in the garage when they visited but once you met Winger, adopted him into the family and then along came Surf...well their love just snagged you before you had a choice in the matter. And in they came and in they belonged, mind you if there was a way to leave all that golden hair outside the back door.......
To all the golden people I have met,( I still can't believe i went to Pannsylvania for a holiday a few years ago with Winger, Surf and Lisa to spend a few nights with it seemed hundreds of other dogs and their family members). to her online canadian golden friends, to her friends and their goldens who visited here in Listowel., I am very honored to have met you all! It has brought such joy to a mother to read how Lisa, Winger and Surf have impacted Your Lives and helped you so much with your pets.
I am so very proud of her love and drive and work for the goldens and their families everywhere and the expense she has put into it, time, effort and financial.. I am so proud of her for her great love she gave to her babies and that she has always shared them with one and all.I actually was trusted to babysit the dears...Winger would always wait by the back door for her til he got hungry, Surf would stay with him til she figured out it would be warmer somewhere else and came to check in.
These retrievers are so well named for they are truly well named...golden. I will miss their wagging tails at the door when Lisa comes home for Christmas,, their licks and slurps and yes their hair. I have not seen Lisa since a couple weeks before Wingers death, due to distance, though we hardly miss a day on the computer...and it will be difficult.to see her without them. Just hope this new puppy adopts me as his grandma too...and yes I hope puppies shed Lisa...need some more of that fur.
The Rainbow Bridge is blessed to have 2 fine furred siblings hanging around for their Lisa. Loved every minute, will never forget you...you both gave me much...sorry Surf, its hard to pay tribute to you without so much talk about your brother too BUT you were a great team! FOREVER AND ALWAYS....Grandma
I think we all need to stand back a ways just to see that we all make a difference to someone. I just read your announcement on your Canadian Goldens and there it is. Last count 54 different dog lovers wanted to tell you that they care. That in my book is a huge number of ordinary people who were touched by you. Take a minute and let that sink in. You are not alone in your moment of grief. You and your Surf and Winger touched others. Be proud and happy with that. Surf was Surf. She was a follower and not a leader. She could out last anyone who was petting her. If you were ignoring her she just nosed in and asked for your attention. Surf was kind of an invisible dog. If you were not petting her she would just be. She was not into retrieving balls or toys. She was not aggressive in any way except when she figured you were ready to pet her, then the nose was right there. Even in eating she would always wait for Winger to start then she would eat her meal. She was a companion dog. A big companion to Winger and to Lisa. When her companion passed on it took the life out of her. She may have gotten some bug but I think she passed away from a broken heart. Surf was part of a great couple. One can't really think of one without the other. Sad that it had to end but in the end they are together again. Yes we will miss them but we must remember the good times, all the people the three of you touched, Lisa, Winger and Surf. Your website says it all.