I’m here to tell you a story about a dog. Not just any dog. This is a story about the legendary golden retriever named Ludo.

Ludo was born on June 28th, one day before my own birthday, in the year 2015. His natural parents — also dogs — were a beautiful, furry couple. He had great genes. My wife and I discovered Ludo online while, appropriately enough, looking for a dog. In a sense, Ludo is a 3rd-generation Cummings retriever. After the smashing success the missus and I had with Maverick and Moxie, we knew we’d get another gold. We did. We got Ludo.

Ludo was named after a character in the movie Labyrinth, whose name was also Ludo. Ludo, the movie character, was a woolly behemoth with a gentle and playful disposition. The behemoth was named after a board game on the main character’s bedroom shelf. The word which named the game which named the character which named my dog is Latin, and it means “to play.”

We knew kind of early that Ludo was different. As a baby, Moxie’s favorite habit was sleep. Ludo loved to chew. On everything. Including Moxie.

As he grew, Ludo displayed signs of rebellion. He would talk back, literally, when scolded. He still does that. When Mrs C tells him, in her gruff voice, to stop chewing on her brother’s face, Ludo barks back at her in the most hilarious way. It’s wrong, yes, but we laugh. The consternation on his face when he thinks he’s right is adorable.

When it came time to trust Ludo, we did. We freed him from his baby cage and let him wander around the house when we were gone. That quickly became a problem. Maverick and Moxie had learned fairly early that chewing things up around the house to show dissatisfaction for our absence was wrong. Ludo wasn’t getting that hint.

Despite my wife’s protestations, I released Ludo several times from his trappings to roam free. Several times I lost something I wish I could get back. Like, a couch. Mrs C was right; he wasn’t learning.

Still, I continued to trust him. To give him chances. Surely, sense would kick in. It didn’t. So, the last time he ripped apart a piece of furniture:

I locked him up for good:

That last picture went viral among my friends and family. So much so that memes were invented and hilarity ensued. The hashtag #FreeLudo was everywhere. This was just before Christmas of 2016.

About a month later I was having a beer with my dear friend Dylan when he handed me two items as gifts. One was a copy of the fabulous book The Ask. The other was a sealed envelope, very light in weight.

Inside the envelope was a stack of bumper stickers. On the bumper stickers were the words #FreeLudo and the URL for my blog right below. I literally cried laughing.

I’ve passed the bumper stickers around to friends and family, so if you’ve seen it around and wondered what it meant, welcome. This is the story about a hashtag about a dog. A dog in jail.

Ironically enough, about the time I received the bumper stickers from Mr Andersen I also bought Ludo a new wire crate to replace his 5th-generation plastic one. In his desperation to escape he had ripped the interior of the original crate to shreds. When I brought the new crate into the house I treated it like it was Ludo’s new gift; his very own home. He fell in love with it.

He never fights about it anymore. When we go to put our coats on, he joyfully runs and lays down in his den. Ludo has a great place to hang out when we leave and my furniture feels safe again. Win. Win.

But “Free Ludo” has become a part of our lexicon now and it’s not going away. Neither is he. He’s a 3rd-generation angel.

He still bites his brother’s face, but his brother doesn’t mind. He still talks back to Mrs C, but Mrs C doesn’t mind. Ludo is still the most energetic and anxious dog I’ve ever had.

But I don’t mind.

Ludo is free to be Ludo, all day long.

*Originally posted in February 2017

53 thoughts on “#FreeLudo

  1. Every single one of those photos is precious — as is your story. I am a lover of goldens so much so that I named my property (a thing you do in Virginia) Golden Hill. My second golden was so good she was the classroom dog when I taught in the Montessori school — she came every day and a 5th grade boy said to me once: “When you are having a bad day or if someone hurts your feelings, you just pet Candy and everything’s all right again.”
    Imagine my shock when, some years later, I rescued an older golden named Bridget that was the most aggressive golden I could imagine. She bit a family member (who did not hold it against her) once, attacked and killed wildlife on a regular basis (snakes, muskrats, etc), and had to be kept leashed around all other dogs that came here (a lot considering I rent my cottage on airbnb 180+ nights a year and allow dogs).
    This is not to say Count your blessings that Ludo ate only the sofa, but maybe to say there are aspects of dog personalities that we don’t control. I am so happy you all have found the happy place where you reside at peace and without random stuffing scattered about the living room 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Something about blogging and goldens, eh? I keep running into more bloggers with ’em! Our first, Maverick, was so amazing. So well behaved. Then Moxie came along and had an even BETTER disposition. We thought it was a golden thing, and Ludo would be better yet. Boy were we wrong! 🤣 Still, he came along and is a great dog, now. And you know what? Marvel is LESS well-behaved! So, who knows. Just gotta love ’em and nurture ’em. Thank you, Patricia!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I lub Ludo!
    We have a Ludo too – his name is Bronx.
    I love the #FreeLudo story, so funny, love that everyone got behind it.
    And of course I love all the photos of all your gorgeous pups!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jay! Bronx is a golden? Are there pics on your site? Golden or not, dogs are simply amazing and I couldn’t imagine my life without ’em (even if they did cost me nearly $1000 in the last couple of weeks, with another $1000 to come 😮). Thank you again for reading!


      1. No he’s not, he’s a little guy, he just has the same spirit! Gentle and playful but with a bit of a mischievious streak. Expresses love for his brudder by getting in his face too much. Barks back while smiling and wagging his tail.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I hate doing it, too. To this day, Ludo is the only dog I’ve had that I wish had a cell phone. All day long at work I wanted to text him and tell him everything was okay! 😭


  3. We had an adopted chesapeake bay retriever…..Ginny just showed up at Dad’s one day and adopted him. a week after realizing her “real family’ had moved away and left her behind, Dad formally adopted her (he took her to the vet). She regularly brought home other dogs for dad to adopt…mostly goldens. He ended up with six goldens before Ginny passed away…kept them all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As a proud parent of some Dalmatians I know that some dogs just want to have their own spot.
    I’m glad Ludo has his and is happy in it.
    Oh, and I know about the talking back too, and I know how hard it is not to laugh sometimes, but some dogs are just born clowns.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post! I’m still laughing! Zoya used to talk back too, and we couldn’t help but laugh. We never wanted to break her rebellious spirit, it’s one of the things we love about her. Lucky for us, she never chewed at things.

    Ludo’s picture behind bars is so heartbreaking. No wonder there was a big Free Ludo movement. I also loved the picture of him getting an attorney.

    And of course the rest of the pictures are lovely. Will you please kiss their heads from me?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Omg, the couch! Ouch! Too funny :-), even if your budget didn’t think so. I love Goldens, many friends have them so I have heard all the stories about chewed shoes and worse (like couches). Maybe the best story was a Golden who just loved the dirty underwear of his teen boy, so much so he carried them in his mouth all the time, down the street and to the school, much to the mortification of said teen. Life without dogs? Not even going to try to imagine it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved this and I love Ludo! Great story! When my own golden, Sawyer, was a puppy, he ate my brand new Harmony remote control. He also ate my last ice cream sandwich, wrapper and all. He’s much better now. He lays right under the Christmas tree without even as much as a glance at the presents or ornaments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are so rambunctious but learn so well! In time, what was once their obsession becomes completely irrelevant (if we teach it). I had a dog once (my first, Mickey the mutt) chew up my best friend’s Oakley’s. I thought it was justice; he didn’t have no $100 to waste on sunglasses. 😉 My favorite story was when I came home one day to find all the bologna and hot dogs gone and the fridge wide open. “You left the fridge open!” I said to Mrs C, when she got home. Then one day she was doing dishes and King (black lab/german shepherd mix) sauntered into the kitchen and started rubbing his paw along the side of the fridge until it caught in the groove and popped the door open. She was aghast. He just wanted a snack! 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a wonderful story! We had a Golden once who ate our remote control and our coffee table. She was a rescue and only felt safe in her crate, we quickly learned, or else her anxiety got the better of her. Ludo is such a beautiful boy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Suzanne! I know some folks are against crating up them boys, but you’re right … sometimes that IS the only place they feel comfortable. The new crate was Ludo’s “home.” He loved it there and it changed his life. When he made the transition from furniture demolisher to calm couch puppy we had to convince him, at times, NOT to crate up. And the look on his face when we first started crate-training Marvel! 🤣 “Dad, why is mom making the puppy go into MY home?!” Hilarious. Having any one of them is a joy. Having two of them is ascendant. Having three of them is … well … let’s be honest … a pain in the ass! 😁


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