We had one of "those" dogs. Golden retreiver "Kirby" (like the vacuum cleaner.) He passed away 2 years ago from cancer on March 12, 2004.
We didn't even know he was sick. He was still chasing squirrels and taking cookies off the counter the morning he died.
Among the memories we have of him are :
the time he jumped into the back of a pickup truck driving down our road
the time he stole hamburgers off the neighbor's grill
his interactions with a skunk and another with an oppossum
the time he jumped into the open back of the UPS truck that was starting down the road at our place in the middle of the national forest
his ability to open cupboard doors and take out food including green jello on my off white carpet - of course mixed with doggy spit (also all over his head and faced, yet he looked over at the cats and the other dog when I caught him, like - it wasn't me!)
another encounter with an entire bag of flour on my navy blue carpet
the time he broke the table at the groomers
the time he broke out of the cage at the kennel overnight and ate all the pig ears off the counter. (The owner said she loved him and he was welcome back but he would need a maximum security "cell" for his next visit.)
his love of beer
his hate of cigars and cigarettes. We don't smoke but if anyone came over and smoked in the yard, he would bark at them and when they threw the cigar or cigarette down into the grass, he would go over, aim and pee directly on it.
Monday morning garbage days when he checked out the neighbor's garbage on the cul de sac behind our house
The Thanksgiving "Tur-duck-en" that he removed from a locked down cooler and ate (this was his last Thanksgiving.
The old vet's office who called hours after he was fixed and said they couldn't take him anymore because he was trying to break out of the cage and had us come pick him up too early.
His excitement every time it snowed and how he could play outside in the snow for hours.
How he would jump in the pool to swim then get scared and have to get helped out but jump right back in.
The way he would eat a McDonald's ice cream cone every time on the way back from the vet. He licked down the ice cream and waited for me to pull the paper off the cone and ate the cone in one gulp. The drive through people would always ask if wee needed napkins when I told them not to fill the cone too full, because the ice cream was for the dog, and I would say no - he never got a drop on th car's leather interior.
the day we picked him up from 3 weeks of Doggy Boarding School and were told he was an excellent student and had learned all the commands - but that he only did them when he wanted to.
Yet - everyone loved him. My father-in-law who doesn't like dogs loved him. The neighbors loved him. The kids' friends all wanted to take him home. He was like Tramp from Lady and the Tramp. He took care of our older dog (a mutt) as she got old. He would nudge her along. The night before she had to be put to sleep, he knew and tried getting her up and around. When we had to put her down, he was devistated. Went into a depression - we got him a puppy. A golden - 6 weeks old - Honey. He became her mother. We thought he would teach her his bad ways, but he didn't. He let her nip at him, try to nurse (unsuccessfully of course) and he played with her like she was his own. He was getting old and she played hard and he went down hard on his leg and tore the equivalent of the ACL in a human and for about 3 months had a hard time walking, but it never stopped him.
Every time we took him to the vet, we had stories. One time he told me that God would reward us for keeping him, because most people would have given up. He swore God would never give us another "bad" pet. So far he is right - Honey is an angel and it took two years, but this Christmas eve morning my husband surprised me with another golden puppy we named Holly. Holly is even sweeter than Honey, if that is possible. We tried to gate her into our little bathroom when weh left the house but she figured out how to climb out by getting onto Honey's back, so she has the freedom of the house with Honey and hasn't gotten into anything at all yet.
BUT......we miss the "bad" dog. He was fun. He was challenging, but so smart and so lovable. My girls are good and cuddly but just a little dull. Just like people, all dogs have something to offer.
One Friday night when he was 9 his abdomen swelled and we called our vet. He had us take him out the the emergency animal hospital. They did an ultrsound and he spleen had ruptured and he was full of cancer. He had to be put down. My husband had a really hard time. He had brought him home as a surprise when the kids were in 1st and 3rd grade. Kirby never came home and we never got to say goodbye, but he left us plenty of memories.