I am Sunny, The Sundance Kid of Benchmark Alpacas at the Tin Roof Ranch, sometimes I’m Sunny Bo Bunny, Sun Dog, Bubba, Sunshine or even just Kid. I used to have a different name, but my Mom and Dad decided a new name was best, that old name kind of reminds me of some bad times and some not so great people.

image9I don’t remember much about my early days, but I remember doing my best to love the humans at my first home, but they yelled at me a lot. I tried to figure out what they wanted, but I was very confused. My second home was much the same and even worse, I was getting big fast and still was clueless of my boundaries and what was expected of me. So more yelling and the big one was very aggressive, if you know what I mean. I did the best that I knew how to figure out what he was saying and to be his best friend, but one day, I had enough, well, let’s just say we were off to the pound.

At the pound I met some new people, that’s one of my favorite things, and they were very friendly. I was bouncing around all happy, like any self-respecting dog. My “best friend” said that he wanted me “put down”, not sure what that meant and I am pretty sure the people at the pound didn’t either. They looked very confused, and I’m like, “Right, this guy makes no sense.” They talked back and forth and he said something along the lines of, “I don’t care what you do with him.” and without even a good-bye, he was out of my life forever. Turns out, since about the age of 9 wks. That was my first really good day.

The Pound was the best place I had been in nearly a year. Everyone was nice there, and I thought, “Could it get any better than this?” Then the most incredible thing happened. She looked like an angel, and said that she was here to pull the Golden for GLGRR. She signed some papers and loaded me into her car. The minute she walked into my life, I knew I was going to be OK.

My new home is great, but it brought some new challenges. Lots was expected of me. This place has cats and horses, livestock and livestock guardian dogs, and all sorts of stuff. It was overwhelming and I was still confused most of the time, but one thing is for sure, I was loved. It was the first time that I was on the receiving end of it and it was the best.

image10My new mom started my training right away, the first thing was the crate, and I hated the crate. But over time, I learned it was not the crate, but my crate. Now I have my own space. Another thing I hated was having my ears brushed, or my tail, or my feet touched. My mom worked slowly with all of that and made it fun. With every clip, I got a treat, now, I jump on the table when she says, “You want to get brushed?” Next were the Cats, this was all new to me, and looking back I did want to play a little rough. They are my friends now and we respect each other’s boundaries.

My training is ongoing. It hasn’t even been a year and I have done a lot. I graduated from both beginner and intermediate obedience class, and am looking forward to the advanced class. I have been to a cart driving seminar and think pulling stuff is lots of fun. I have earned my Novice Trick Dog title, Intermediate Trick Dog Title and currently am working on my Advanced Trick Dog Title. Tricks are one of my favorites. I also love agility and hope to do a lot more of it.

I recently joined the Dog Scouts of America and that opened many new opportunities for me and my mom. We go on hikes, are working on sign language, go to Dog Camp, and help our community every chance we get. Even though I do a lot, I still want to try that race where you run fast to get a green fuzzy ball and bring it back to your mom. I am a retriever, and green fuzzy balls are my absolute favorite, so count me in. As a matter of fact, count me in for pretty much all of it.

image11I know I talk a lot about my mom, but my new dad and brothers are great too. They also are helping me in becoming the best dog I can be. Sometimes they are not on the same page as my mom in my training, but she helps them better communicate with me and they do better. My dad is a little stubborn sometimes about following all the rules, but I think he would do better if my mom would say, “Do it this way.” and then gave him a piece of hot dog. It works for me.

My story’s a good one, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t always end up this way. To be best friends takes a lot of work on you human’s part. You may not know it from my story, but we dogs don’t speak the best English, or Spanish, or Ukrainian or… you get what I am saying. We start off life with a huge heart and looking for direction on how to be your best friend. Like people, we are not perfect and to be our best takes a lot of work, by both us dogs and you as our leaders. You make a lifetime commitment to us and I promise, and I speak for all of us, we will show you the unconditional love and loyalty that we are known to give. – Sunny Bear (Written by Bill Wood)