It wasn't long until he joined Buffy outside. Spike grew...and grew...and grew.
Sarah, Spike, and Buffy
Spike With His Teddy Bear
Spike adored Buffy. Buffy tolerated Spike. We often got THE LOOK from Buffy. You know, the one that says, "And why did you do this to me? I was perfectly fine by myself." Spike pestered her to death...but never in a dominant way. She was most certainly "The Boss," but he drove her nuts. Either he wanted to play or he just had to be near her at all times. There was no escape for poor Buffy. :-)
Spike and His Buffy Pillow
Spike was also a chewer, especially of wood. I think he may have been a termite in a previous life. ;-) He chewed the wood deck. He chewed the wood trim around the back window. He chewed sticks, branches, 2x4's, trees, and anything else he could find - wood or not. He destroyed I don't know how many pair of shoes. Toys lasted less than a day. We awoke one winter morning to a yard of fresh fallen snow...oh wait, that wasn't snow. It was the stuffing from two giant, fluffy, chew- proof L.L. Bean dog beds we bought - so Buffy and Spike would have something warm and soft to sleep on. I'm guessing there was no sleeping that night. And for the record, L.L. Bean, your beds are NOT chew-proof. From then on, their beds were Dollar Store rugs or blankets that had to be replaced every month or so. Strangely, we rarely got mad at him. He was just so darn cute and comical, it was hard to ever be angry with him...or at least for very long.
Spike and One of His Many Shoes
Spike and Sarah
There's just nothing like fresh, cool dirt...according to Spike. We had no landscaping in the backyard. No flowers. No special trees. No potted plants. Just dirt beds. Spike was NOT a "pretty yard" kind of dog. One summer day, an unexpected water leak in the backyard proved to be a great source of fun for Spike. He was such a mess, even Buffy ran for cover in the hollow of an old stump!
This was one of his finer moments...
Spike was many things, but coordinated was not one of them. He was the only Golden Retriever I've ever seen who had to be taught to swim. While Buffy was a pool rat, and a very spoiled one (see below), Spike mostly enjoyed sitting on the pool steps and observing all the action from afar. However, anytime Buffy was floating on her raft, he couldn't resist swimming/or actually half sinking all around her, as he tried to join her on the raft. He could never quite get the hang of climbing on...nearly drowning himself, as he swam in circles around Buffy, until one of us rescued him. :-0 However, Buffy had it down to an art. She would even drag the raft to the pool and get on it herself. We spent one summer keeping her slathered (is that a word?) in sunscreen because her coat was shaved too short and she would blister as she floated for hours. In all his clumsy glory, Spike still considered himself quite the stud
...a very cool dog indeed.
Spike loved to play...oh, how he loved to play. Buffy did too, but not 24/7. When she wouldn't cooperate, Spike would pick at her until she either gave in or snapped his head off. She could put him in his place when she wanted to. Funny thing is, he was so massive, he could have torn her to shreds if he wanted to, but he rarely snapped back at her. Such a good-natured and sweet boy he was. One of his favorite things games was to convince Buffy (translate into harrass her until she finally gave in just to get it over with) to play with him, then he would run off with the toy and hide in a corner so she couldn't take it back. Most of the time he would plop his front feet and head up in a chair to keep Buffy away, but he was also fond of squeezing himself behind the gate.
Being outside dogs, Buffy and Spike didn't spend much time in the house. The few times we let them in (usually when Rick wasn't home) *snicker*, Spike would head straight for Sarah's room, grab a stuffed animal off her bed, and come back...always with this monkey. I don't know why it was his favorite, for there were many others to choose from. If I'm not mistaken, Ayla now plays with this same monkey - a precious keepsake from Sarah's and Spike's youth.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Spike. He was one of the most beautiful Golden Retrievers I've ever seen...inside and out.
The inevitable time came when Matt and Sarah grew up, moved away, got married and began lives of their own. Spike and Buffy remained at home with Rick and I, but life just wasn't the same for them without Matt or Sarah around. Nothing ever stays the same. Seasons of life begin to shift. Things change. Everything seemed to happen at once...doesn't it always? Rick and I decided to build a house in the country, the health of both my parents began a downward spiral and Matt and Sarah were no longer at home...not a good combination for two very lovable, playful, active dogs. We did the best we could at juggling all of the changes taking place. I'll try and make the rest of this very long story, short.
Rick and I moved into our new house. We built a large pen for Buffy and Spike, though it was nothing like the fenced acre they had before. We really couldn't let them roam free, as we are close to the woods, we have cattle, and the highway is near...but my heart broke at having to keep them in a pen. You've heard, "when it rains, it pours"? It came a monsoon. My dad passed away (cancer), my mom was ill (cancer), she passed away 17 months after my dad, Buffy had to be put down (cancer), and Sarah was going through her health/infertility struggles.
In the midst of all of this, we were still trying to balance everyday family/life/job/ responsibilities. You can imagine that Spike, being alone now, was feeling somewhat neglected...and rightly so. We simply did not have time or energy to spend with him. He deserved much more than what we had to offer at this time. For a while, we made do, letting him out and giving him extra attention when we could. His needs were always met, but living in a pen with plenty to eat and drink, and having a big cozy doghouse certainly did not = being loved on, as he so deserved. Whenever Matt, Sarah and their families came to visit, Spike was in a state of bliss, for that meant companionship, love, and attention.
Spike Playing in the Pond
Loving on Sarah