Gracie became part of our family for a number of reasons.  BrightSide wanted a puppy, one that would grow up with the kids.  A family dog for play and snuggling.

Sure, we specifically chose a golden but not so much for the retriever aspect.  We just wanted a big, goofy dog to love, so it wasn’t a game changer when Gracie didn’t seem to grasp the whole fetch concept.  Did I think it was weird?  Yeah, kind of, since I figured retrieving was in her blood.

But things turned really weird once Gracie started this pseudo fetching thing.


Playing fetch with Gracie looks something like this.  A grown adult (aka me) cranks up the voice two notches, hitting fever pitch excitement like someone who’s just won the lottery.  I’m holding my hand where Gracie can see it, using my best “You’ve won first prize!” voice as I amp up the excitement.  “Look at the ball!  See the ball?  See the ball??  That’s right, it’s a ball, you want the ball?  You want it?  Okay – go get it!”

Up until this point things are going fine.  Gracie sees the ball, she wants the ball, and when I throw it Gracie goes bounding after the ball.  That’s when the train jumps the tracks.  Sometimes Gracie pounces on the ball and starts gnawing.  Sometimes she’ll scoop up the ball and run with it, but never actually with a goal of bringing it to me.  So the instinct to chase is there but breaks down when it comes to returning said item for a second throw.

Lately, though, Gracie’s begun pseudo fetching.  I’ll be sitting on the couch, minding my own business, when up trots the dog carrying who-knows-what in her teeth.  It’s never something she’s supposed to have but, to be fair, Gracie does bring it directly to me and releases when I tell her to drop it.

Some interesting items Gracie’s (voluntarily) retrieved:

  • an empty tennis ball can (yes, I see the irony)
  • BrightSide’s glasses (delicately held, partly slobbery)
  • a notepad from the kitchen counter
  • a ziploc bag holding spools of thread
  • one slightly gnawed pen
  • a medical bill (I have no idea how this didn’t dissolve in her mouth)

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by her reverse retriever behavior given the other crazy unusual tics Gracie exhibits.  She is definitely her own dog.