LoveLine Golden Retrievers' home is located on our family farm in western Douglas County Georgia. LoveLine Goldens have access to acres of open fields and woodlands and spend hours each day running through the woods, fields, pastures, and lakes of the farm. Each dog also participates in a dog sport, work or service that is found suitable for its temperament and personality. Our adult dogs must be at least 2 years of age and must undergo numerous health screens before they are accepted into our breeding program.
I could sleep soundly at night because I was confident that Phil would alert to any intruder that might enter our property. I have walked outside at times only to find Phil in a frenzied battle with a huge copperhead shake. Phil was a vigilant guardian for our family. He loved us and was willing to lay down his life for us.
Phil was a most pleasant companion. He never failed to make his head available for a pat or rub no matter where your hand or foot might be. He was compassionate. He could read your emotions. He was content to just be with you when you needed a friend. Phil would also offer a friendly grin when he knew the mood was fitting. Just give his cheeks a scratch and his lips would peel back and expose a very teethy grin. And of course Phil was always up for a game of fetch with a tennis ball. Even as age crept up on him, he could still give our most fit of athletics dogs a good run for their money when the chase for a tennis ball was on. If you took a peek into Phil’s dog house, you would usualy find at least 4 tennis balls that he had stashed away to keep from the other dogs and to have on hand when time to play came. But Phil’s all time favorite toy was a squeaky toy. On many a night we would be awakened to the sound of what sounded like a small animal in distress... only to look out the door to see Phil on his back, legs in the air, repeatedly chomping down on his squeaky toy. He was notorious for sneaking into the puppy yard to search out any squeaky toys the puppies may have left unattended. And not a day would go by on our farm that we did not hear the distant barking of Phil as he had treed a squirrel, cat, raccoon or opossum, or his echoed barking from inside a hole which he had dug in hot pursuit of a mole or chipmunk.
His amazing speed enabled him to be a very productive predator. There were frequent gifts on my back doorstep, or at my feet, deposited there by Phil after he returned from a chase or a hunt. His prizes included squirrels, raccoons, birds, rabbits, snakes, lizards, and large parts of deer. He was proud of his catch and always wanted to share his successes with me. Phil's life was in no way uneventful. He probably endured more near death experiences than any dog we have ever had. His nose was scarred from the dozens of encounters with copperheads and water moccasins. His teeth were broken from the chewed up bottles and sticks; on at least 2 occasions we had to have Phil sedated to remove the stick that was stuck in the roof of his mouth between his back molars. The most memorable near death encounter for Phil was the time that Gary tossed a Chick fila chicken biscuit out of the back of his truck....after it had been simmering in the summer heat for about 2 weeks. Within 2-3 hours Phil began to have seizures every 30 minutes. By 6 PM, he was having seizures every 2-3 minutes. Our vet was going to meet us at the clinic (of course this was on a weekend!) but he was driving from the opposite side of Atlanta....at least a 1 1/2 hour drive on a good traffic day. By the time we arrived at the vet, Phil was in a continuous seizure. We did not think he would survive. But, miraculously, after overnight fluids being flushed through his body and a steady drip of Phenobarbital, the seizures ceased. But Phil was not the same dog. He hardly recognized us. When we brought him home, he seemed as if his memory had been completely erased by the seizures. He could barely walk. He stared blankly at a tennis balL...and at the other dogs. And he would not leave my side. He spent 2 days glued to my leg or laying on my feet. But gradually his memory seemed to return. Each day we recognized more and more of our old Phil until after about 3 weeks, he was completely back to normal!
Phil was best known for his contribution to the Loveline Golden Retriever breeding program. Having great OFA clearances, very strong bone structure and a very strong heart, Phil became the Patriarch of our Loveline family. He sired about a dozen of our Loveline litters, as well as many litters with bitches from outside our kennel. He consistently produced 9 puppies per litter. It was always amazing to us that he could be so consistent! And those puppies were beautiful and usually quite sizeable. In Phil's prime, he weighed in at 85 pounds and 25 inches at the withers, so he was small, but he produced nice size pups. And even though his coat was a strawberry blond color, his puppies would range from very light blond to deep cinnamon golden. And we have yet to hear a negative comment about any of Phil's progeny. If you have one of Phil's puppies, consider yourself blessed. It most probably will be the best friend you could ask for. But in 2011, due to age and health issues we had to retire Phil from his role as Loveline's primary stud dog; when a bitch was in heat, Phil would starve himself for the full heat cycle. As our number of bitches on the property increased, this became a serious matter for Phil. Then during the last time that we bred Phil, he developed severe back problems which caused him to become lame in his right front leg and his left rear leg. We did not think he would recover; but once again, he miraculously began to regain his strength and the use of his legs. During the last 3 months of Phil's life, I would say that he was the healthiest that he had been in years. He challenged Biba again for the tennis balls; he ran with the pack in the fields after deer. He was Gary's constant companion on the farm. Phil was a great friend and the most loyal companion I have ever known. We will miss you, Phil.