How a Golden Retriever and Something-Very-Stubborn Cross from Kentucky Found a Home in Rochester
By KL Snyder  |  Photography by Kelvin Andow

Four years ago during a March visit to Kentucky, Kay Rydeen of Rochester spotted a dog, all zoom and golden fluff, dashing around a parking lot at the entrance to a hiking trail near Daniel Boone National Forest. The dog was alone; a busy highway ran alongside the lot; Kay was concerned.

The nameless canine, soon dubbed Boone, must’ve sensed Kay’s caring. Boone followed down the path, not tagging behind but conspicuously keeping track, crisscrossing the trail in wide sweeps, scampering among trees, splashing through streams and with each pass, checking in with Kay. “She zigzagged like rickrack,” Kay says, “and the whole time, she smiled.”  

Not my daw-awg

Kay told her hiking companion, “This is a nice dog. We need to find who she belongs to.” 

Kay asked everyone they met, “Is this your dog?” Each reply, delivered in a charming Southern drawl, brought discouragement. “Not my daw-awg.” 

A mile into the woods, the trio stopped at an ex-forestry station turned community center. The women went in. Daw-awg waited outside. Staff members hadn’t heard about a lost dog but gave Kay the number of the local shelter. No word there either, except “people dump dogs on this trail all the time.” Nor was the shelter, a kill facility, a suitable solution for Boone. 

A sympathetic stranger

What to do? Kay told the center workers that although her own two dogs were allowed at the cabin she’d rented, its owner wouldn’t approve the addition of an unknown stray. On hearing that, a woman offered to keep Boone on her porch for a few days while Kay looked for a good outcome. Kay accepted. 

Boone dissented. Demonstrating the ancestry Kay describes as “a cross between Golden Retriever and something very stubborn,” the 50-pound dog dug in her paws and resisted all encouragement to get into the woman’s car. She did not budge, until Kay slid into the car. Then Boone jumped in, and Kay slipped out the other door leaving behind one miffed canine.

“We tried.” 

Such a sweet (yet willful) dog surely has an owner desperate to find her, Kay thought at first. She drove around looking for lost dog signs. She checked with area veterinarians. She called the shelter again. The woman providing porch space put Boone on Facebook. Not only did no one claim the dog, Kay says, “nobody would take her. We tried.”

After several disappointing days, the time came for Kay to go home. Because she couldn’t leave the smiley dog to an uncertain and probably evil fate, she decided to bring Boone to Rochester where plenty of people would be eager to own her.

Just try and make me get in 

Back at the porch, another entering-the-car drama ensued. Kay and the kind porch-owner dealt with Boone’s sit-down strike by (1) hoping her ornery genes didn’t include her teeth, (2) choosing which end of Boone each would grasp and (3) hoisting her like a sack of potatoes into the back of Kay’s SUV. 

Now she likes rides

Before the trip to Minnesota, Boone visited a veterinarian who concluded that she was a year-old Golden Retriever and Chow Chow mix, with the personality of a Golden. She’d been spayed but was infested with ticks. She needed a bath and got one. 

Ready now for her ride, Boone met Kay’s Shelties, Skye and Finn. The doggy threesome hit it off, but again and throughout the drive, Boone balked against getting in the car. With no one to help in the tussle, Kay had to invent another technique. Treats failed. But the Boone Boost succeeded. It involved setting Boone’s front paws, one at a time, on the backseat, then lifting and pushing. (Kay has an update on Boone’s attitude: “Now she LOVES to go for car rides.”)

The best-laid plans

Back home, the goal of finding an adopter fizzled. Kay and her husband Scott could’ve found takers—if they’d looked. You know the ending. 

“She was smiley,” Kay says. “I liked her smile.” Scott did, too. And that (and obedience class) was that. 

Rochester freelance writer KL Snyder wishes happy endings for all dogs’ tales and tails.