Hoover (July, 1998- October, 2010)
Hoover joined our family as an incredibly adorable but mischievous puppy in September, 1998. He enthusiastically ate the corners off the cabinets, linoleum from the kitchen floor, rungs from assorted chairs, and all brands of underwear. He immediately recognized Carl’s feet as great ambush targets. This was especially noteworthy because Carl had just come home from the hospital after his foot surgeries; random acts of puppy craziness were particularly exciting for someone walking around the house on crutches. In addition, house training was not one of Hoover’s strengths in his youth and adolescence. “Hoover the Trouble” phase, however, ended abruptly after our other Golden Retriever – sweet, calm, and well-behaved Farfel – died. Hoover suddenly became sweet, calm, and well behaved; we’ve always suspected that Farfel’s spirit found a new home in Hoover and changed his life course. And it may also explain why he always peed like a girl.
Hoover was a classically beautiful, “calendar-ready” Golden, who loved every person he ever met. Simcha looked up to him, and always took his advice about where the best smells and sticks were to be found. Gershwin wanted so much to be his friend. Although Hoover was undiscriminating in his love for people, he was not equally impressed with cats. Every day, repeatedly, Gershwin would lie down next to Hoover and try to snuggle. For years, Hoover gave him a stern “get away from me” look, growled, and then got up and moved away. Gershwin never gave up and, in the end, Hoover accepted the inevitable and gained a regular, if somewhat pushy, sleeping partner.
Hoover had many wonderful skills, including being able to open the lid of the garbage can with his nose and taking things off the counter (and leaving bits of them near Simcha, so she always got the blame). He could “gimme five” and, when we put a treat on his nose, could flip it in the air and catch it before it hit the ground (thanks to Spiro, Becca & Kayla’s patient tutoring!). Hoover also could get affection from anyone. He had several effective strategies. Sometimes he would just sit beside someone who was standing up and gradually lean against them, just at the height of their hands, and lift up his head until – before they knew it – they were patting him. Or, if people were sitting down, he would just lay his head on their laps. And any two people hugging would find that Hoover somehow managed to get in the middle.
Hoover had a special friend in Hannah. He never tired of playing with her, which frequently involved being shepherded from room to room, as well as running after tennis balls and assorted other objects. He would do anything for this energetic small person, in his gentle, patient, and tolerant way.
Hoover was the most optimistic creature we’ve ever known. Wherever there was food being prepared, eaten, or disposed of, Hoover was there, smiling, waiting, just in case something was dropped or spilled. Every move toward the door was a potential walk. Every car ride was going to end up somewhere fun. He had a huge heart, a joyful spirit, and was a wonderful companion. We will miss him and never forget him.