An Amaising Story

This is the end of one dogs amazing life. Pictured here Miss Maisie Rose surrounded by her canine and feline family just hours before she passed away on Tuesday, December 3rd of this year. Her daughter Sasha in front, Scout and Milton, one of the Manx brothers in back.  It may be the end of Maisie’s physical life but her Amaising Story will live on. RIP Miss Maisie.  You will never be forgotten.

Maisie can you please tell your Amaising story?

“Ok Mama Jo.  Finally you are going to let me say something.  Actually I would have never thought I’d be in this position.  Telling the story of my life after it is over.  On earth that is.  I must tell you my story is kinda long since I lived almost 13 years.  So sit down and relax while I tell my story to you.

I’ll start by saying I take life in stride. I try not to get to serious about anything.   I like to keep life simple.  I was born where I died.  At the Sundog Ranch. I started life with many siblings just like me back in 2007.  A good year.  Here we are.  We were all the same age and perfectly fit for each other. We got along great!  When we were not eating or sleeping we played non stop. We learned about life.  You know….how a dog is supposed to be. I’m not sure why my humans, Mama Jo and Rockin’ Roy,  picked me to keep from all my other litter mates.  I guess the story goes Mama Jo who was the puppy chooser could not do her job right in choosing a puppy for herself.  One to carry on as a Sundog or more formally a Danehy Golden.  Then someone helped her decide on me.  I was actually supposed to go someone else.  Boy was that a big mess up.  But Mama Jo stuck with me and I got to live my life out at Sundog Ranch.Mama Jo says to be sure and tell you I have some gaps in documenting my life in photo’s.  There was a time when Mama Jo was not obsessed with photo taking.  Rockin’ Roy was probably taking pictures of me but he died and went away and Mama Jo can’t find my baby photo’s.  Which is a shame because I was so cute in my first year.   So here I am about 1 year old in this photo.  I think I’m in one of my favorite places to go in the world.  Lake Tahoe that is, judging by the pine cones.Here I am in Tahoe again on the best pier in the world.  The infamous Tahoe Tavern Pier to be exact. Looking at this picture I can smell the high mountain air again!  I cannot begin to explain how much fun me and my canine family had on this pier throughout my years.  Winter or summer it did not matter what time of year.  The pier was dog heaven. This is my canine family on the pier one year before I came along. Can you tell who is my canine Mama?  I’ll let you in on it. To the left is Kelsey born in 1997. She became famous as one of the first dogs in the nation to search for lost dogs.  Next to her trying to get into the lead with ears flying in the shadows is Yolo.  Next to him with tongue flying is his brother Lassen.   Yolo and Lassen were from Mama Jo’s first litter born in 2004. Story goes she could not let them go.  A common occurrence for a novice breeder which she was back then.  So finally bringing up the back is Mama Madison!  Can you see the resemblance to me?

Mama Jo says I am epic because my life spanned all of the Golden’s she has ever owned. Here is a good example of what I looked like as a young girl.  Pretty huh?  We were on a hike to a high mountain lake. Another favorite thing for all of us to do on vacation. We transformed to mountain dogs when we were in Tahoe. Mama Jo says I was the link between her American and English line of Golden’s.  A subject I care nothing about.  To keep life simple and non-serious I can’t be bothered with such complicated things.  No matter how old I get I keep the puppy spirit.    Eat and then play as long as you can until you need to go to sleep.This is me with my human daddy Rockin’ Roy.  With him and Mama Jo you could not ask for better humans.  If I remember correctly I was around a year old here.  We were on a trip and stopped at Mono Lake.  When my humans were not looking I snuck a few sips of the saline Mono Lake water.  That was a big mistake. Boy did I pay for that night. My humans blamed it on themselves for not keeping a closer I on me.   I tried to tell them in my canine language not to take life so seriously.  I got over it by the morning. This is me a little later in life teaching my offspring to relax the right way.  When in doubt go upside down.   Do not take life too seriously.I was a comedian of sorts.  When ever I has the chance to lighten up a situation and be silly I did.  Making people laugh brought me joy.  I did get in a little trouble for this stunt.  I opened the package that had been delivered before Mama Jo got to it. There were many things that brought me joy but non so much as swimming and retrieving.  It did not matter how cold the water was.  I was in it!I tried to follow the rules.

Here I am teaching my daughter Sasha how to do it.  This is before she could catch up to me.   Even though Sasha was my daughter we became competitive together.  Here we are at the Sundog pool making the best of a hot summer day.  There were no rules against jumping at Sundog.   I was the first of my canine family to figure out jumping across the water to the ball was much faster than going down the stairs and swimming to it.  Nobody could catch me.

This photo of me retrieving made Mama Jo very proud.  She won her first blue ribbon for it at Cal State Expo Art Show one year.  After this she became even more obsessive about photography and kept winning ribbons.I was not afraid of the big waves at the Ocean.  Here I am at Coronado Beach in Southern California living the good life.

The Truckee River was a favorite place to swim too.  Here I am desperately trying to bring a big stick to shore but my brother Yolo over powered me.  I held on till the bitter end.  I almost went under.  I had to give up.  Yolo weighed a lot more than I did and had a relentless competitive streak.   I accepted defeat.  No need to take life so serious.This is me and my canine family loving a snow melt meadow pond in the high Sierra. I can’t tell you how may times Rockin’ Roy threw the stick that day.  We could not get enough. As you can see Yolo and Sasha are ahead of me.  Now I had Yolo and a very athletic almost full size daughter to compete with.   I did not let it get to me.  Being in the snow brought instant joy no matter how cold it was.   Cold weather to a Golden Retriever is a piece of cake.  We have double coats. Sometimes it even snowed at Sundog Ranch.   Such a wonderful surprise.  When it snowed at Sundog it was automatic fun. Here I am blazing a trail through fresh power watching birds fly over the Lake Tahoe.  Mama Jo often drew the line at me wanting to swim when there was snow all around.  Especially if it was quiet and calm and geese were floating by.  Not sure why because the water looked perfectly fine to me.  I would have had a great time going after the geese.  Something about wet dogs in the cold never dry.  Anyway fresh powder was light and easy to blaze a trail through.   After trail blazing or swimming we walked home or went back in the truck.  Next to swimming and blazing trails the truck was the place to be.  Being in the truck meant you were going somewhere good. Sometimes when we were dry we were allowed up front were the humans go.  Look who is behind the wheel. Me and my canine pack were lucky to be allowed on furniture.  That was under certain conditions.   We were not allowed up until we were clean and dry.  In hindsight I did not know how lucky I was to have such good humans. You could have called us spoiled.  We played for hours in the day and then when home got to sleep on the couch.  Sometimes in front of a crackling fire.  Very often with Mama Jo or Rockin’ Roy by our side.   Another favorite place I found joy was at the Napa River.  Rockin’ Roy was crazy about this place.  All the dogs were too.  Here I am taking a dip at sunset.One time Rockin’ Roy and his friend Jimmy took me on a real duck hunt.  Mama Jo got to go as well to see what it was all about.  Of course she had to bring her camera.  She had to take this shot of me covered in river mud, curled up in the pickle weed taking a quick nap.  Hunting is serious work.  Not exactly what I am used too.  But I was never trained.  I tried to let Rockin’ Roy know I could handle the gun fire.  But he did not believe me. That one trip out to hunt was my last.   If we ever visited Napa during hunting season I had to stay behind on the pier or in the cabin.  While Rockin’ Roy, his human friend Jimmy and Jimmy’s trained hunting dog, whatever her name was, went out for the morning hunt.  One time when they got back to the pier the boat was filled with treasures. Rockin’ Roy let me take one up to the river cabin.  I handled it like a good hunting dog.  I did not let puppy Sasha have it.   Who knows what she would have done with it.  Unfortunately Mama Jo does not have any photo’s of me hunting other animals.  On land I was an phenomenal hunter of jack rabbits, quail and wood rats.  No gun needed.  I fed myself and my offspring just like dogs learned to do from the beginning of dog time. I loved spending time on the Napa pier anytime of the day.  Even if I was not waiting for the boat to come back.  The water was always moving and birds were everywhere.You may think I lived the life of luxury for a dog.  Always going to fun places. Living with my pack and good humans.  But let me tell you about all the hard work I did as a mama. Here I am with one of my three treasured litters. I felt calm and loving when my babies fed.  After a feed I would end up sound asleep with my babies sleeping around me. I took my job as a mother seriously even though I tried not to take life in general so seriously.  I made sure sure to produce and deliver as much mama milk as possible to every Golden pup I raised. On my last litter I birthed a very small pup.  I was concerned about him and would never dream of ignoring him like some canine mamas do.  Mama Jo helped me with him and he survived to be a big beautiful loving dog named Captain Duck Morgan.  He did have one other issue besides his tiny size at birth which you can read about in my 2/2013 post titled “Ahwahnee One Eye”  If you know about Danehy Goldens you know we have a theme for puppy names each litter.  You can probably guess.  The theme for puppy names that year was American Indian.   Due to me and Mama Jo’s hard work Captain survived. This is my very handsome boyfriend and the father of my three treasured litters of puppies. Including Sasha’s White Magic.  His name is Black Jack Casanova or Jack for short.  You are probably wondering how Sasha got the “white” or light color gene as Jack is true Golden color.  As far as I know the light gene came from Jack’s father named White Dove Sonny Casanova.  When the puppies were old enough I felt confident to leave my puppies to go for a sniff around the property.  Especially if there was snow out!Mama Jo would try to get me to wean my puppies early but I always found a way to get to them.I felt they needed the important antibodies in my milk. Even into their last week at Sundog Ranch.  My job as a mama ended at about 6 years old.  Mama Jo does not re-home retired breeding dogs.  An accepted practice among many breeders.  So I got to be a Grandma!!  How lucky was I?  I learned being a Grandma was even better than being a mama.  Much less work!  I had to adjust to not doing all the hard work in the beginning.  Like being responsible for feeding and cleaning up the puppies.   I decided to step in for help with the puppies socialization and play in the last three weeks of their lives at Sundog.  The “Head Game” was super important and fun.  I would lie there growling and the puppy would have to come and put their head in my mouth no matter how scared they were.  I would gently mouth them but never hurt them.  I taught them trust and respect of their elders.  You can read more about it in my post “The Head game” taught the puppies how to live joyfully with other dogs, the big dogs.  I taught them to enjoy a simple life in my own special way. What can I say?  Being a Grandma was the best. It made my day when we big dogs were allowed to the outside yard to play with the puppies. I was always a hit at our annual Puppies and Potluck party.  At least I thought so.  I got as much attention as all the puppies did.  At least I thought so.   Here I am in front with (from left) my mom’s friend Cheree and Dublin from Sasha’s 2016 litter, then (sister to Dublin) Fiona in the middle, Mama Jo and Sasha.  Mama Jo and Rockin’ Roy had many parties at Sundog.  Puppies and Potluck was the best party of all.  At least I thought so.Mama Jo says I must show more pretty photo’s of my self.  I really don’t care but she took pride in all the dogs she produced. With our canine help of course.  Here I am looking beautiful near a Sundog Redbud bush.  It must have been in the spring time since the grass is tall and green, wet with aroma.  I can still smell it. Here I am on “our” bed.  Confined inside, contemplating my simple life on a rainy day. I had many days like this.Here I am a little mad trying to be serious.  Which was not easy for me.  I was trying to tell Mama Jo to put the camera down and pay attention to me.  I needed love at that moment.  I’m glad Mama Jo did not ask me to be a therapy dog.  Other than being a mother and grandma I was more into receiving love than giving it away. Another one of my claims to fame was being well behaved for group photos throughout all my years.  Remember I told you Mama Jo thought I was epic?   Because I knew and lived side by side with all the Golden’s she ever raised.   If you take a look at all these group shots below you will see what she means.  All I really care about is that in all except 2 of these group photos I was looking at the camera like I was supposed to.  When your human mama is a photographer you better get used to group photo’s.   Of course every picture tells a story but I’ll keep these group photo stories short for now.  Just the facts. I may not get the years right but I will try.  Tahoe Tavern Pier 2010

From left, Madison 10 yrs, sister Kelsey 12 yrs, Yolo ham face 6 yrs, Me 3 yrs, Mr. Lassen 6 yrsSame trip, different pose.

Lassen, Me, Madison, Yolo and Kelsey who refused to look into the camera that day.

This is Mama Jo with some new members of the family. Muddy and all leashed up on the Mckinney trail in Tahoe 2011

Me 4, Yolo 7 , Lassen 7, Sasha 1, Nevada 7

As you can tell by this photo we lost Kelsey and Madison. So sad.   Mama Jo let me keep baby Sasha and we inherited Nevada.   Nevada is Yolo and Lassen’s sister from the 2004 litter.  Unfortunately Nevada’s humans said they could not care for her anymore.  Mama Jo always takes back any puppy she breeds if something awful like this happens.Sundog Ranch 2011

Same Group. Same ages.  Yolo ham face in the middle.

Sundog Ranch 2012

Same group.  Different time and pose.

Can you tell who is who now?

Sundog Ranch 2014

Sasha 3, Yolo 9, Me 6, Lassen 9, Nevada 9 and a guest appearance by Shasta age 9.  Sasha is sister to Yolo, Lassen and Nevada.  Shasta is almost as lucky as us Sundogs.  She lives with other dogs at the Napa River cabin.   Sundog Ranch 2017

Sasha 6, Sitara 3 months, Me 9, Fiona 1

As you can see I skipped a few years.  We all had a tough year in 2015.  We lost Yolo, Lassen and Rockin’ Roy all in that same year. I guess it took Mama Jo awhile to get back into group photo’s after that because I could not find any.  Anyway we were blessed to welcome more new family members, Sitara and Fiona to the Sundog Pack.Nevada Street Bridge in historic Downieville, Ca. 2017

It was a hot day can you tell?  We got to go swimming in the Yuba River after this.

  Here we are the same group.  Later in the year 2017Sundog Ranch 2019

Me 12, Scout 1, Fiona 3, Sasha 8.

I guess we skipped a couple years. We were three for awhile after we lost Sitara.  Sitara went to her forever home with wonderful humans.  But look who we have in her place.  Introducing Scout. The first male to be kept from a litter at Sundog since 2004.  Scout loves me and respects me even though I am 12 times over his elder.  All that socialization I helped with when Scout was a tiny puppy worked. Cohasset Road 2019

Half way through our morning run.  Can you tell it was already hot. Straight to the horse troughs once we got home.Sundog Ranch 2019

Me 12, Scout 1, Sasha 8, Fiona 3 and Kobi 5.  Kobi was our guest that week.  He is Sasha’s baby from her first litter in 2011.

This is probably the last group photo before I passed to another world.Which brings me to the subject which I don’t like to talk about too much.  Things got serious and complicated in late 2019.  All of the sudden I had all these health problems.  Mama Jo was doing everything she could for me.  But I had to have my left eye removed.  I had been in pain but did not want to let it show.  Then finally my humans noticed.  I recovered like a champ. I made another trip to Tahoe.  And was able to do fine swimming with just one eye.I even kept up with the young dogs.Earlier this year Mama Jo and Charlie took us on a big trip with the RV down the coast to Southern California and back home on the east side of the state in the deserts.  Charlie is our newest human friend and caregiver.  She helps Mama Jo.  She loves us almost as much as Mama Jo!When down in Southern California I got to go back to my favorite beach of all.  Coronado dog beach.I lead my new pack of light Golden’s along that beach.  I showed them the ultimate joy you could have here.This photo was taken just a couple weeks before I passed on.  I could still swim in the Truckee River.  I even retrieved a stick or two.  I don’t think I look to bad.  Going on 13 years.This is flat out one of the last photo’s, besides at my passing, Mama Jo took of me.  Taken 3 days before my passing.  I think it is significant as I am with Scout.  Besides Fiona’s newborns the last Sundog I will live to meet and help raise.  Scout will carry on my legacy.  I taught him to be a good dog.  To not take life so seriously.   And let’s not forget the 3 litters of puppies I delivered and 4 litters I helped socialize.  I even lived through the birth of Fiona’s recent litter during the bomb cyclone and another huge Thanksgiving party at Sundog.

I’d like you to remember me this way.  At sunrise taking life in stride, not too seriously.   And at last I must say goodbye to Mama Jo and the Sundogs. I am off into the sunset on a new adventure.  Hoping to meet up in heaven with Rockin’ Roy, Kelsey, Mama Madison, Yolo, Lassen, Nevada and all the good dogs who left before me.

I will never forget my wonderful life at Sundog Ranch

Adios Amigos!

P.S.  Let me know how you like my story.  Mama Jo says I should write a book.

33 thoughts on “An Amaising Story

  1. Im speechless, she lived an excellent life, an her story was told beautifully. She an Black Jack will be forever missed. Thank you for sharing. Im just a crying away again.
    Black Jacks mama


  2. Oh Jo I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of Maisie, Bailey’s sister. We have such wonderful memories of the instant bond that the sisters made when we stopped in at you ranch several years ago. Remember Maisie jumped into our car with Bailey when we were leaving.
    Bailey is doing well but we have shortened her walks to 2 miles but has no health issues with the exception of thyroid that she has been on meds for since she was 7.
    We pray that she continues to age gracefully because life without her is just to sad to think of.
    Kay Rodriguez


    • Thank you Kay. Yes I remember that day you came and Maisie jumped into the back of your car. I came across that photo recently. It is exactly what Maisie would do something silly. Like say “I wanna go home with them” I’m so happy to hear that Bailey is doing well. I know she is the love of your life. She is so lucky to have you and Mike for humans. I still remember you coming to pick her up years ago as an eight week old puppy. Her puppy name was Sugar Pine. Good to hear from you. Jo


  3. Oh Masie, you lived a full and beautiful life! Thank you for sharing your story. Mama Jo has so many wonderful memories and your spirit will live on at Sundog Ranch. Please keep an eye out for my Honey Bear! Enjoy all the tall grass and sunshine! Best thing now, you can swim ANYTIME you want!


  4. I agree with your mama jo miss Maisie. You should write a book. I already told your mama years ago there should be a sundog book. I would do lots of smiling and some crying while reading it.


  5. Loved reading Arya’s grandma Maisie’s story….thru my tears. And, yes,I do think a Sundog book is in your future, when you find time. You have a flare for writing with love about your beautiful fur babies. Maisie was definitely met with lots of love and familiar faces at the Rainbow Bridge. Until you meet again…

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 💕
    (Attributed to Dr. Seuss)


  6. Just a quick word of thanks for Maisie’s progeny. Our golden, Shandy B Dandy, was named Lola at birth and Maisie was her Mom. Shandy is still active but lost her lifelong mate, Famous Seamas, a month ago. Shandy has a swimming pool and walks about twenty-thirty miles a week; she knows her way around Chico. She just developed a hitch in her giddy-up this year and medication appears to assist her in that regard. Shandy’s best friend other than Sip and Dan Flanigan is Siobhan, a rescue cat. They get along famously except when Shandy helps herself to Siobhan’s food.


    • Oh so great to hear from you Dan. I’m sorry for the loss of Seamus. I know he meant the world to you. I still remember the time you were here and told me about how Seamus had an accident in the truck. So great he was able to live a good life. Great to hear that Shandy doing well. Them Being fit and active is the key to long life. I know if a great vet chiropractor /acupuncturist if she needs one. Take care and keep in touch. You are welcome to come up and visit with Shandy anytime.


  7. Dear Jo,
    I always love your stories and dog photography. It’s obviously such a joy for you and that joy is spread to us as a result of your love and care for your Goldens. I had a wonderful Golden Retriever, Sadie. She was a fantastic backpacking buddy and taught my Sheltie everything about smelling the water a mile away, swimming and biting the water for fun, retrieving rocks from underwater, digging cooling dirt beds after those long, hot hikes.The bouldering lessons were a bit of a challenge, though, due to those short legs! 🙂 Every animal we have has their own spirit and personality. They remain so previous in our memories. Thank you for sharing. Sandy


  8. The love you have for all your animals; fills my heart with joy and love.
    The fact I’m in tears because I feel the love, life and heartache in her story.
    May Miss Maisie Live on in your heart and on Sundog Ranch!!


  9. This is beautiful. My Layla Bug was her sister from the 07 litter. She was my light and my laughter. We lost her a year and a half ago to cancer. Thank you for everything that you do.


  10. How beautifully written! I am sitting in here in tears, this touched my heart very deeply especially since I lost my cherished dog of 12 years just a few months ago. I loved the story and the photos.
    You were one very lucky dog to be so well taken care of by Mama Jo. What a fantastic life of love and adventures you lived Miss Maisie Rose!


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