I wanted to share a story from one of our sweet clients in Virginia:
At our house, we call Christie “Berthe’s Witch Doctor.” It’s a term of endearment because we think of her as magic of the best and most soothing sort.
This is a story with three Goldens, all from Rolling Oaks, as the main players.
Luca, born in 2001.
Berthe, in 2008.
Archie, in 2013.
In June 2013, our beautiful, happy, generous Luca died suddenly. He was the kind of Golden who played jokes on us and who put up with Berthe whose only real love was Luca and who has always been our dominant girl.
Luca died and Berthe was bereft.
She wouldn’t touch their toys. She wouldn’t chase her ball. She wouldn’t play. She didn’t smile or even bark. She ate, but joylessly and always on schedule. She wasn’t interested in treats.
After 2 months of that, we decided she needed a pal. She had wrestled daily with Luca with the kind of joy only two Goldens can show. They had even wrestled the day he died.
October 2013: Enter, Archie.
We watched them carefully. He tried sidling up to her.
He tried just sleeping a few feet away.
He tried wrestling.
We thought she was going to kill him, and I am not exaggerating.
Finally, in tears, I contacted Barb. I told her we were going to have to do something — maybe even give Berthe up — because Archie was truly at risk. We never just left them alone, but she could set into him in a flash.
I didn’t know what to do.
Barb listened and then asked if I might be willing to talk with Christie who was certified in homeopathy. “She works with people usually,” Barb told me, “but she has also helped our dogs when they’ve needed it.”
I might be a natural skeptic, but I was willing to try anything.
So, Christie and I talked. She asked me to tell her about Luca and about his death. And, she asked me to tell her about Berthe and her response.
We didn’t talk about Archie, really. He was simply a catalyst for all Berthe was experiencing.
Of course, I knew Berthe was grieving. What I didn’t know was how long she would grieve and how that grief could be acted out against a puppy who presumed to snuggle up to us and to her and who walked around shaking Luca’s toys, and more.
Christie sent me nine little salt-like tablets and gave directions and told me to watch and wait and wait and watch.
She taught me about Berthe’s grief.
She asked for patience and gave us hope.
The little tablets did, I believe, help calm Berthe. More than that, they gave her time to process grief. In the next few months, Berthe went from hating Archie to tolerating Archie to playing with Archie to (today) letting Archie tell her what to do!
Archie, in the meantime, had developed a fear of any new dog that acted aggressively. Again, Christie simply asked us to wait and give him time and space and a lot of love (easy to do, that last).
In the end, we have two happy, healthy, well-adjusted Goldens. They are especially united in their job of chasing deer away from the yard and gardens.
And, like so many Rolling Oaks Goldens, they are show-stoppers.
Almost a year after I had contacted Christie, I woke up to the sound of toys squeaking in the next room. Archie was on the floor by my bedside, so I knew what had happened:
Berthe was playing with the old toys. She was shaking them and dancing around with them. Archie jumped up, and they played together.
Christie even helped where our veterinarians could not, when Berthe began limping, and x-rays revealed bone distortions in her front feet. I can’t even recall the remedy now, but I do recall that on her next wellness check, the doctors x-rayed her again and told us she was not only doing fine but that the bone growth seemed to have reversed itself — gone back to normal. I believe that’s when Chuck began saying Berthe had her very own Witch Doctor.
Everyone who sees Berthe and Archie stops to tell us how beautiful they are — especially our stunning Archie who is this way because “Berthe’s Witch Doctor” stepped in and made a little magic.
Thank you, Christie. Thank you, so very much!
Diana & Chuck
& Berthe & Archie & (in spirit) Luca