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Miss July 2011 - Goldie
Living for Goldie
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raditionally, inheritances worked this way. Father passed tools on to son. Mother passed china on to daughter. But a dog that stands to inherit a vehicle? To John and Fay Bond it made perfect sense. “When I die,” says John Bond, “Goldie is getting my golf cart. It’s in my will.”

Goldie is the Bond’s 7-year old Golden Retriever mix, and for showing humans how to prioritize between the here and the here-after, TownDock.net names Goldie Miss July – the Pet Of The Month.

Goldie, John and the golf cart
Fay sitting with Goldie where they came into each other’s lives (more on that shortly)

They’re a familiar sight. Most evenings, Oriental walkers strolling the banks of the Neuse come across a threesome – two humans and a tan dog -in a green golf cart. That would be John and Fay Bond… and Goldie.

Goldie also can be seen darting across neighborhood lawns, nose down, tail high. At a promising clump of brush, she might poke her head into the tangle and lift a front leg – pointing. “She loves to chase rabbits,” John says, noting she rarely catches them. Goldie might also take a break from the yard-hopping to stroll ever-so-leisurely down the middle of the street.

On the road: the view from the back of John’s golf cart
Goldie leads the way. Here, she is leading participants in the 2011 Croaker Parade. Most evenings, her route isn’t as grand. She prefers sniffing for rabbits over chasing tossed candy.

While Goldie enjoy enjoys these evening strolls, her cart-to-curb-to-lawn-to-shrub freedom comes with a downside. While most motorists know that Oriental is a dog town – canine citizens are as likely to lie in the middle of the road as they are to avoid it – some drivers are less atuned. That makes the Bonds uneasy. Hence the “CAUTION: LOOK OUT FOR DOG IN ROAD” signs hung on the front and back of their golf cart.

Driver beware

One way to read this sign is literally, as in, “don’t hit the dog that might come darting out from behind this cart.” The other meaning might be “take good care of this dog,” as in “take care of this creature, and she will take care of you.” Given how the Bonds have made Goldie part of their life, an argument could be made for either interpretation – caution or care.

First, the sign as a cautionary message.

John and Fay are practical people, used to solving problems with common sense solutions. Every year, on the second Sunday in August, they host a community watermelon party in their front yard. That calls for slicing watermelons. Lots of watermelons. To avoid doing it all by knife, they developed a guillotine-like implement to split melons and feed the crowd. A simple, rational answer to the challenge.

And so it went for Goldie’s golf cart outings. Want to protect the dog riding in your golf cart? Simple. Put up a caution sign.

Fay Bond slicing watermelons with her melon guillotine. Each year, she and John invite the town to come enjoy a slice or two of watermelon raised on a Bertie County farm.

Practicality, however, wasn’t an issue the day the puppy showed up.

In the spring of 2004, John says a “Vandemere hound dog” had a litter of 11 puppies on the Oriental street of the same name which is just one block over from the Bond’s home. One day, John says, the mother trotted across the Bond’s yard, with a puppy in tow. She deposited it in the Bond’s garage.

This led to a dilemma. The Bond’s didn’t have a dog at the time. Nor did they really want one. “We’re more cat people,” Fay notes.

What to do with the unscheduled visitor? John, who didn’t have or want a dog at the time, took the puppy into town. Unable to adopt her out, he brought the puppy back home. That’s where Fay discovered it by the front steps. She was charmed.

Fay and Goldie where they came into each other’s lives.
Goldie, not long after her mother placed her with John and Fay (Bond family photo)

Flash forward 7 years. The puppy has grown up and John and Fay can’t imagine a life without Goldie. They mean that literally.

“Goldie has kept me alive,” John says. Fay says she sees that every day. “It’s Goldie that gets him out of the bed in the morning. Keeps him out of his chair. Gives him something to do.”

John’s favorite chair. It’s not clear what he’s telling Goldie here, but she’s responding with an eagerness that implies one of two things…. food or golf cart.

A big part of the daily ritual is preparing Goldie’s food.

Goldie enjoys a healthy appetite. That’s a delicate way of saying that, in addition to regular dog food, she savors processed cheese. Especially when that dairy product is placed on top of a slice of bologna. Or better yet, served with some chicken. Or a barbecue rib. Or, for that matter, anything else the Bonds happen to be eating.

There’s only one inflexible food rule. Before Goldie can eat, grace must be said. John says “the blessing is probably different each day,” but it runs along the lines of, “Thank you God for letting Goldie live with us. Please keep her safe this night so she won’t get hurt.”

Then, with the good words spoken, Goldie tucks in to her meal.

Sometimes John and Fay go out of town, to places where the golf cart sign might not hold as much sway as it does in Oriental. On those occasions, Goldie has to stay behind and Mary Cassasa drops by to care for her. Goldie typically falls into a funk, says Mary and “cries when John’s gone.” She notes though that that initial depression eventually fades and Goldie rallies. In particular at feeding time.

Come meal time, Mary will put Goldie’s food in the bowl and set it down. Goldie will get excited. But then, just as the retriever is about to start her dinner, she’ll stop, refusing to dig in. It’s as though something is missing — not in the bowl, but in the air.

“She won’t eat,” Mary says, “until I pray. So I gotta say something.” That ritual observed, Goldie then chows down.

It’s not always about the belly. Here, Goldie gets a pat on the head. with her is Bella Gibson.

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