Great Gatsby the Goldendoodle

A week and a half ago we became the honorary owners of Gatsby the Goldendoodle. Golden retriever, poodle.

This is him after our hike and after he plunged into the black algae very low San Diego River. He has two speeds: Off, or HYPER!


He’s 8 months old. His previous owner had an illness and couldn’t care for him, and he was on Craigslist and the lady who was taking care of him in the interim decided we’d be a good match. YAY! He’s very puppy-ish but learning so fast. He knew SIT but that’s it. But, I didn’t watch every season of The Dog Whisperer for nothing!! He knows (well, not 100% of the time but a lot of the time), “Off,” “Lie down,” “Back up,” “drop,” and “Shake.” If you give him chicken tidbits, he will learn!

He LOVES being with his humans. Everything we do is fascinating. Tape measure? Fascinating. Swiffering the floors? Fascinating. Blowing your nose? Fascinating. Maybe we should have named him Spock! He wonders why he has four legs while we have two, and why, when he tries to talk, only a bark comes out. So he tries his best to talk to us.  Today after our hike, we went through the Starbucks drive-thru and Gatsby got on my lap and tried to tell the voice box his order.

He thinks the younger two kids are just overly large puppies he’s supposed to play with, so they have to act more alpha and tell him not to be so mouthy, which actually teaches the kids some assertiveness. He barked a lot in the very early mornings at first, b but he’s more used to our schedule now. He didn’t bark at all this morning after Cadillac left for work at 6 am.

These are the boys after a hard day of playing. Gatsby’s favorite backyard game is to have Cadillac pretend to chase him. Then he runs at full speed in figure-8s around the yard, leaping over the Jacuzzi, around a bush and over a cooler. I think he has a career in agility ahead of him.


So far Gatsby’s gone on five hikes and rides in the car well. He’s played with several neighbor dogs, which scared him at first, but he got into it. He also went over to my in-law’s house all day over several days while I was in NYC. He behaved IMPECCABLY. Nobody wants to mess with Grandma!

The cat’s has had an interesting reaction. The dog, of course, believes the cat is his long lost best friend who eats way more delicious food than the dog gets, which produces even more delectable treats the dog will dig out of the litterbox if he has given a nanosecond. The cat is not so sure about this floppy too-happy creature. Yet, if the dog actually ignores the cat, the cat meows loudly until the dog pays attention, so the dog says, “HEY, KITTEH! KITTEH! LET’S PLAY!”  at which point the cat will growl. I mean, if you don’t want the dog to bother you, WHY YOU MEOWING, KITTEH? Also, before, the cat rarely slept inside. But now he gets up on my son’s high bed and sleeps there so he has an advantage over the dog, who can’t get up there. I’m pretty sure he’s laughing and, like, flipping the dog off in animal language. Now, if we  humans MEOW, the dog immediately starts looking for the cat. 

Little Girl’s been getting allergy shots for nearly a year and is at her maximum dose, which means she’s at maintenance level. She was allergic to everything that had a pulse or grew leaves, basically, but she’s so much better that her allergist wants to try her off all meds and “cautiously” calls this a cure (no jinx, knock on wood).  Goldendoodles are supposed to be good for folks with allergies, if they inherit the more poodle- like hair and don’t shed as much; but our allergist says that dog allergies are individual, unlike other allergies. So you might be allergic to one specific dog and not another, regardless of breed.

Anyway, we’re all really happy we can have a doggie now. I’m happy that I can have a companion while the kids are gone and a hiking buddy and a watchdog. Now I’m not ever really alone!

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

4 thoughts on “Great Gatsby the Goldendoodle

  1. I am a “lurker” reader – been reading your blog for the past few years. This entry is one of the funniest ones you have written to date – I love the interaction descriptions between the dog and cat as well as your family. I can see the promise of a book in your coming experiences with this adorable dog, your cat and your family. Thank you for giving me a wonderfully tear filled laugh!

  2. Gatsby. I am in tears that he found such a terrific family and an awesome new name. He deserves so much after all he went through. I knew the instant I looked in your eyes (that sounds silly…like it should be in a romance novel, but you know what I mean) that he would be with a person who would treat him like a member of the family and cherish him forever. And your charming family won my heart instantly.

    Hard to say what moment sealed the deal….. Your son and his open, quizzical nature, your little one, who was a tad shy, but very sweet, or the minute your oldest girl curled up on the floor with Gatsby as if she had known him all his life.

    So crazy how this universe works sometimes. And Gatsby, who thinks everyone should be his friend, came along for me at the right time. I was going through a really hard time during this period. He gave me purpose (finding him a forever home), focus and faith that love (for animals, for each other, for our community) is always present- even if we momentarily forget it is there.

    Much love to your whole family for the chance you took on this beautiful boy.


    1. Oh, thanks so much, Susie! I must apologize– WordPress sort of lumped this comment in with the “spam” comments and I didn’t open that filter until now. Gatsby is doing wonderfully. He just adores the kids, and all kids– his favorite thing to do is hang outside the school at pick up time, and get ALL the kid-love he can! Everybody just adores him.

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