Named after what they do best, golden retrievers love to, well, retrieve. There’s one particular pooch who has recently outdone himself, though. Meet Bruce, the 4-year-old golden retriever who’s an avid collector of sticks.
Like most dogs, Bruce had a favorite stick, but it got lost under a foot of snow during a winter storm. “He started his stick collection after a massive snow came into our area and left about 12 inches of snow on the ground,” explains Bruce’s human, Leo Icenhour. “At the time, he only had one stick and it was his absolute favorite. Well, it started snowing one evening and he left the stick out in our field. Over the next couple of days, he was in an absolute frenzy every time we went outside, relentlessly searching for his stick. He would dig like a madman and even bury his head in the snow trying to find it!” Ever since then, Bruce has been collecting new sticks during his daily walks, and he’s amassed over 50 of them!
From short pieces of driftwood to long tree branches, Bruce’s collection shows he loves sticks of all shapes and sizes. However, none of them compare to the original one he lost. Luckily though, the weather warmed up, and Bruce was able to find it again. “After a few days of sunshine melted enough of the snow, he finally struck gold while digging and found his precious stick,” says Icenhour. “I believe from that moment on he never wanted to be stick-less again, so he started the collection.”
Although Bruce is pictured looking proud beside his impressive stick collection, he isn’t actually allowed to play with any of them because of an accident that happened two years ago. “We have been through a lot with each other as he almost lost his life after a stick perforated his esophagus while we were playing fetch the day of his 2nd birthday,” recalls Icenhour. “From that point on, we started playing with a rubber stick for fetch purposes and Bruce started building his stick collection!” Bruce still appreciates the real thing though, and admires each stick daily when he goes in and out of his house. The fact that they’re display-only makes them seem even more special.
Check out Bruce and his museum of sticks below. If you can’t get enough of this adorable pup, you can find more photos of him on Icenhour’s Instagram.