Elsa 4Born on 5th January 1977 she was just eight and a half weeks old when we picked her up from the breeder and took her home. A pale gold bundle with tiny white whiskers ,she looked just like a tiny lion cub so we called her Elsa, the name given to the lioness in the iconic film, Born Free. When very young, her needle sharp little teeth would occasionally nip in play but as she grew, her nature was gentle and there was never an ounce of malice – a typical Golden Retriever. She wasn’t really allowed on the furniture apart from her chair. She did like to chew though – you can see the bare patch on the seat cushion. We lost clothing, books, records, carpets,  – anything she took a liking to. And then at six months she stopped and was never an ounce of trouble again….until the day she ate a grass snake! That made her very poorly.  Elsa 5


She came everywhere with us – to the pub, to the shops and on holiday.  and that’s me age 21




When the children came along she was so protective of them and as they grew she was their best playmate. She was never far away, and appeared in almost every photograph of them.  For reasons we couldn’t fathom she took to one particular son over the other children and liked to sleep at the foot of his bed (much to the annoyance of the others who thought it unfair that their rooms were never chosen).

Below is the last photo we ever took of her – Christmas 1988. Early in January, just after her 12th birthday she went out into the garden. It was an icy cold day and we found her lying on the grass; she’d had a heart attack. Only afterwards when the Christmas photos were picked up from the chemist, did we notice how old she had got to look. We all missed her terribly and it was along time until we felt ready for another pet.

Elsa 1



  1. I adore dogs and Elsa looks the ideal family member. Golden Retrievers are such beautiful dogs, both in looks and nature. We always had dogs when the boys were growing up and when they come home now they still ask when are we going to get another dog! I think all children should grow up with pets, if possible. The only downside is when they die. We had the most delightful Flatcoat Retriever and still miss her. Fabulous photos, too. Elsa was obviously a very much loved dog.


  2. What a lovely story about Elsa – I bet she adored your children. I absolutely adore dogs and have wanted one for many, many years. I was brought up with dogs and our last dog passed away when our eldest was about 3 – so nearly 30yrs ago. We have a cat and 2 rabbits at present and I’m now thinking I’ll never have another dog as one of our granddaughters is terrified of dogs 😦 – I’m hoping she’ll grow out of it though.


    • That’s a shame about your granddaughter. I had a friend whose daughter was terrified of Elsa. She did grow out of it but it was a shame because Elsa was the most gentle, nice natured dog.


  3. A lovely story, my partner and I got a puppy together when we were still at university, she was our first dog together and when we had our daughter Jay helped raise her and keep me sane through the baby stage, we all loved her so much and when we finally lost her it felt like such an huge loss. They really are family members, the best friends we ever have, especially when you are a kid.


  4. The love of our fur babies: one of our children. Elsa looks lovely. My kids gave their Poppa one of our dog’s puppies, a few years before your Elsa. Same colouring as your Elsa, and same name. Poppa Joe loved her so much. I have six grandchildren but I always say 7, as I am also granny to a wee dog.


    • Son and daughter in law have a pug (DIL’s really) and a cat but my other children don’t have any pets, though elder son has had a cat, rabbits and a chinchilla in the past. Not really the same as a dog!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. They steal our hearts don’t they. I’ve vowed never again until that wondering comes over me, and the idea of ‘we could always just have a look.’
    Elsa looks beautiful. X


  6. What a lovely girl.
    You never forget them do you?
    I’m still not sure about having another dog. Losing Smudge at the beginning of the year affected me quite badly and I don’t know if I could go through it again.


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