Cola was a great all round dog affectionate, friendly to everyone and other dogs and never a problem in any way. She was extremely birdy and came with amazing natural hunting instincts. At the retriever club even as a young pup we used her to retrieve the birds that much older dogs missed. When after the hunt test we were running the longest mark from the master hunt test about 125 yards I brought my puppy to the line the judge said that I shouldn't run the dog on something that it wasn't prepared for or trained for and that I should set up the dog for success not failure. I ended up running her and she ran the mark in field trial style, straight line to the mark and straight back and did not cheat on the corner of the water. The judge went and got the old timers and professional trainers to watch. Anyone who watched her run was thinking field champ. 
I moved back up north and took her pheasant hunting. The first season I didn't do very well but it wasn't Cola's fault she was doing fine but I didn't know how to hunt with a retriever. In the past I had always hunted with English Setters and it had been a long time. Cola quartered naturally and anyone who saw her commented  about how well she worked. Due to my lack of experience we got few birds that season although we hunted long hours on many days. She must have gotten upset with me not getting any birds so the first bird I got was a cripple that had gotten away from another hunter and was still running wild in the field. She tracked it down, chased it down, caught it and brought it back to me. The second season was much different now that she had taught me how to hunt. To start the season I took her to the Pheasants Forever youth hunt. In that part of the country Golden Retrievers aren't thought of as good hunting dogs and at first they weren't sure that they wanted to let me guide. After noticing that she had a Tritronics collar they decided to let her hunt and sent one of their experienced hunter/trainers with me to watch. After the hunt when I said Golden Retrievers make the best pheasant dogs I got no objections and she has guided for many youth hunts. In pheasant hunting there is no other dog to compare with her. When we come to the end of a field she will go into the trees and drive any birds out to me. When the Golden Retriever was created they mixed in Bloodhound for the nose and they did a good job because she has caught the sent of a pheasant at a distance of approximately 200 yards. She has also caught a pheasant on the flush. At a tower shoot in Florida afterwards when we went into the brush and wooded area around the tower to clean up any cripples I came in late and a pointer was pointing a bird in a large thicket, about 10 yards in diameter. They said no other dog could get it out and asked if I wanted to try. Cola came up behind the pointer and paced back and forth smelling the air until the pointer's owner called his dog away. Then Cola went up to the thicket got down on her belly and crawled in. A little while later she came out with a live rooster. The best thing about her is her typical everyday hunting she covers the ground well and quickly, her extreme birdiness makes it easy to tell when she has caught the sent of a bird and allows me to always be in the right place to make the shot and no cripple has any chance of getting away.  Her desire to retrieve is so strong that when I take her to the shooting range she tries to retrieve the clay pigeons that they shoot. She's done all this and more.
Now it is written in stone.


Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

   When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together. . .


A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?" "This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked. "Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open. "Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked. "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?" "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there". The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in." "How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog. "There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked. "This is Heaven," was the answer.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."

Nothin to do but roll around heaven all day.