About Us

Something we get asked a lot is – “What is ammo?” or “Why Ammo Golden Retrievers?” We chose the name “ammo” to honor our best boys:  Amos and Mosby. 

 

Amos (the “am” in ammo) is hands down the dog that first got us noticed. He is a fun, energetic, flashy boy who easily became our first MH dog at a very young age, as well as our first VCX and ADHF. Amos earned those titles all before Mosby (the “mo” in ammo) became our first MACH. 

 

But we wouldn’t have even purchased Amos (or any of our other goldens) if it wasn’t for Mosby. I wanted a puppy from Amos’s litter because Amos’s sire was Mosby’s grandsire; Amos was Mosby’s half-uncle (we thought it was adorable to call him “Uncle Amos” when we first brought baby Amos home). The truth of the matter is, Ammo Golden Retrievers simply would not exist if it wasn’t for our best boy, Mosby.

 

The full story is that is all started with a cat. Yep, you read that right – a tuxedo cat named Tucker. I have never been a cat person, but when Brian and I first met, Brian owned the most adorable, sweetest tuxedo cat named Tucker. If I was a betting person, I would say Tucker had been a golden retriever in a past life. He loved to snuggle, get belly rubs, eat treats, and play fetch with balled up pieces of paper. When Tucker passed away very suddenly in late September 2011, we were both devastated. Brian and I were engaged to be married at the time, and living in a small condo in Maryland. While we had every intention of getting a dog “someday”, that timeline was moved up in the wake of our grief. Tucker had taken a piece of our hearts, and we were ready to purchase a puppy to help it heal.

 

I absolutely did not want a golden retriever. The goldens I knew growing up had been big, hairy, light colored dogs that (while very sweet) lacked personality. As a little girl, my Gram and Pap had told me all of these wonderful stories about their German Shepherd, Fritz, and I had managed to trick my mom into letting me have my very own German Shepherd, Heini, when I was in high school. I wanted another shepherd, or at least a herding dog, but that didn’t seem practical for our tiny condo. Brian, on the other hand, had grown up with his sister’s golden and was pushing for the breed. 

 

While I was pulling up breeder webpages for border collies and Australian shepherds, Brian managed to stumble across a photo of Megan Baker’s Pete in his efforts to sway me to get a golden. Pete didn’t look like any of the goldens Brian and I had known in our childhood, and we both thought he was stunning. We pretty quickly came to the agreement that we wanted a golden that looked just like him, and it just so happened that Fireside Goldens in Virginia had two litters sired by Pete that were born just a couple weeks prior to Tucker’s passing. We learned that there were still males available, and after a quick call to Susan one of those boys was reserved for us. We were one of those people, telling Susan we wanted “just a pet” and to maybe do some therapy work with him someday.

 

We picked Mosby up on 11/11/11; I can still vividly picture the day. We were listening to the Zac Brown Band album on the drive down to Virginia, and “Chicken Fried” seemed like the perfect soundtrack for the views of the countryside. When we arrived, Pat brought out the 3 leftover puppies from the two litters into their yard, and while we had a choice, Susan wanted us to take the puppy that would become Mosby. He had a little stye on his eye, which is why no one else wanted him. I can still see him following Pat around the yard, Susan giving him a bath in their sink and trimming his nails while he sat on her lap at the dining room table, and Pat being so impressed that we brought a crate to put him in for the ride home (that crate lasted until we drove down the road, when I quickly took him out and let him spend the rest of the drive on my lap). The Rascal Flatts album played on the way home, and I goofily changed the words of their song “Mayberry” to “Mo-berry” in Mo’s honor. I remember driving past a Tyson Foods chicken plant, and Mosby immediately sat up in my lap with his nose going a mile a minute; we both laughed. Thanks to an accident outside of DC (What? Traffic in DC? Shocker!), it was dark when we arrived back home, so we stopped at Little Caesars for a hot-and-ready pizza for dinner, and I took Mosby outside to pee in their parking lot. Despite a really long, boring day in the car, he was the perfect angel puppy back at the condo.

 

Neither of us could have ever imagined how that day and that little puppy would change our lives. Every single decision we made for the next 8.5 years was made with that dog in mind. We went from spending our weekday evenings on the couch watching television, to going to dog training classes. Instead of spending weekends visiting art museums, we started going to dog trials. Gone were our days of planning international vacations that would involve long flights; instead, we planned road trips to see the states so that Mosby could come (and come he did; Mosby made it to 30 different states and Canadian provinces in his 8.5 years here on earth). We bought our first house for him so that he could have a yard (.25 acres), and our second house for him so that he could have a larger yard (1.8 acres and a pool), and our third house for him so that he could have an even bigger yard (5.1 acres and a lake).

 

Most people saw Brian as Mosby’s handler in all the performance venues we competed in, and they saw their connection and bond. But what many people didn’t see was how deeply bonded Mosby was to me; he was my dog and shadow. When Brian would wake up early in the morning, all of our other dogs would rush to the door so that he would let them outside. Mosby? He would jump up into the bed and snuggle and sleep in with me. When a delivery came to the house and all of the other dogs would jump at the windows and bark, what was Mosby doing? He would run through the house to find me and jump on my lap so that I could protect him. Anytime we were at the dinner table or sitting at the bar stools in the kitchen, Mosby was glued to my side (though my philosophy that he deserved the last bite of everything may have had something to do with that one). He was a homebody at heart, just like me. When we used to get ready to leave for agility class, he would just stand in the house watching us and try to avoid having to get into the car – even though he was always happy when we got there! And working from home as much as we do, Mo could always be found napping under my desk at my feet. I am not sure when I will be able to work without feeling the emptiness beneath the desk now that he is no longer there. 

 

In addition to all of the big memories (our road trips to Nova Scotia, Acadia, Vermont, the Outer Banks, Asheville, Wellfleet, etc.; the day he earned his WCX, SH, MACH, competed in the finals at DockDogs Worlds, and all of the competition and training days; the many vineyard and brewery trips in his fancy collars), there are so many little memories and details about him that are etched in my brain:

 

  • How he slept in the cubbies in our bed above our heads when he was a puppy,

  • The way he smiled and looked so happy when his face was in the wind,

  • His “poop dance” or “helicopter twirl” (because you can’t just poop anywhere in any position, you have to get it just right),

  • How much he loved barking at squirrels out the window (thanks Dad and Gail for that one!),

  • The time as a puppy when he drank a huge mixing bowl full of water at Mom and Scott’s house and then was just randomly leaking pee all night,

  • Or how about the time we drove to Florida to visit Brian’s parents and within seconds of getting into the house he peed on their brand new carpet,

  • Speaking of peeing – all of the times he embarrassed us by squealing and excited peeing when meeting a stranger (very distinct memories of him doing this to Lori, our nosework instructor, and Joy, our condo neighbor),

  • Oh nosework – that time he got so excited about finding the hide and all the treats Lori was giving him that he accidentally swallowed the scent container!

  • The look of expectation on his face every time we went through a fast food drive thru,

  • His love of rolling in the yard (especially when wet),

  • How much he loved pooping in the sand at the ocean,

  • The sound of him barking at Brian at agility trials when Brian was in his way,

  • The way he would come running up behind us and sticking his head through our legs in order to get pets and attention,

  • How he loved to dance, and give high fives and high tens,

  • His scary play growl when tugging, and how we used to joke that if someone was breaking into our house we would just need to play tug with Mosby to scare them away,

  • The gentle way he always got to the ground to play with puppies and small dogs,

  • How he could hear the sound of a knife on a cutting board or popcorn popping from a mile away, but somehow could never hear us when we were calling him to come in from outside,

  • All the times he refused to get out of the pool at dock diving competitions, and they had to use the pool skimmer to corral him back to the ramp,

  • The time he opened the door with his nose and tried to run away while at Lydia Mountain cabins outside of Charlottesville, VA, 

  • How he loved to curl into a little ball to sleep in all the dog beds,

  • The way he used to scope up mulch into his mouth when he was a puppy on his way back inside the condo, and hold his mouth really still to try and hide the mulch from us,

  • His mooch-y face when we were eating pizza crust, popcorn, peanut butter crackers, bananas, or pretty much anything,

  • How when he was a puppy he used to bark at this Buddha statue we bought, and even as an adult dog would sometimes see that Buddha and still bark,

  • The way he loved watching the Discovery Channel, especially any show with lions or other African wildlife,

  • All of the times he pulled me to the ground while on leash – usually to get to a pool or water (that time at Hog Dog when I was trying to take a photo with him was especially memorable),

  • How he always barked at horses,

  • The way he had to nest in every dog bed, couch, carpet, etc., but then was never satisfied when he laid down on the nest he created and would get up two seconds later,

  • That one hunt test where it was freezing and pouring rain, and Mosby nailed the land-water-land-water flier that was a swimmer by jaws-ing that duck down (!!!!) only for him to refuse to come back on the next (very easy) mark, and instead taking a poop on the island where no one could come and get him,

  • How he only wanted pets and attention on his terms, and would lick your face obsessively to both get attention or tell you to stop giving him attention,

  • The way he would jump up into the bed at night because he wanted to sleep next to you, but if you pet him he was gone,

  • The look of joy on his face when he was playing with his jolly balls,

  • How he loved to open presents,

  • The time that I thought Mosby ran away because I let him outside and then couldn’t find him, and I was running around screaming his name, only to find out that Brian had left the gate to the pool open. He snuck into the water and then was holding really still on the ledge when I started calling for him in hopes that I wouldn’t find him,

  • That Mo is the only dog that would routinely spill my wine, including one time where he and Amos were playing on the floor in front of my chair, and Amos got too rough so he jumped into my lap for me to protect him and the stemless wineglass went flying through the air, landed on the hardwood floors, and somehow didn’t break!

  • The way he splashed at toys in the water,

  • How he was our only dog who understood who “mom” and “dad” were. I could give him packages and ask him to “take it to your dad” or Brian could tell him to “go find your mom” and he always would,

  • When he swallowed a bully stick whole as a baby puppy that was probably 6” long,

  • While earning his CCA, how one of the judges remarked “he is really proud of his tail, isn’t he?”,

  • How much he hated our Maryland neighbor’s one-eyed Boston Terrier (probably the only living thing Mosby didn’t love),

  • The way he used to always jump up on counters when we took him to stores (a bad habit he picked up after getting treats for doing so at a PetSmart or Petco one time),

  • How happy he was when he was swimming, and had bumpers, and did I mention he loved water?

  • His sniffy start lines at agility (pretty sure Brian would call him for 10 second while his nose was in the dirt, then out of nowhere he would start running super fast like nothing happened),

  • How he would put himself to bed - upstairs in our master bedroom - if we were staying up too late past our normal bedtime,

  • The way he loved to play with the springy door stops as a puppy,

  • How he would dig through the toy box to find just the right toy, and then coming over to you with the toy in his mouth. The second you touched the toy he would start play growling,

  • The way he would open R2Trash2 (our automatic trash can) with his nose to smell the trash - he never took anything out of it!

  • How he was our only dog who could ask for the water dish to be refilled, even if it meant flipping the dish upside down or laying by it for hours until we noticed,

  • How he would run/dream while asleep, more than any other dog I have owned,

  • The way he would run ahead of us as we were walking him down to lake, and then stop and turn his head back as if to check and make sure we were still coming,

  • How when he was running agility, if he would take an off course obstacle he would just stop running the moment he realized he went the wrong way and turn around and look at you with this goofy smile on his face as if to say “huh? How did that happen? No idea how I got over here!”

  • How he loved the snow! So much so that he would play in it until he had snowballs all through his paws.

  • How he had to take a poop on every single walk - even if he had just pooped in the backyard. It didn’t even matter if the walk was entirely on a paved surface with no grass in sight; he would happily poop in the middle of a sidewalk! We used to joke that he would have done just fine living in Venice, Italy.

  • The way he used his head and nose to nudge your arm and hand when he wanted pets and attention. All of the other dogs use their paws and scratch at you or wack you for pets, but Mo never did that,

  • How in the middle of the night he would come up to my side of the bed and sit and stare at me until I would move over to Brian’s side of the bed, then be would immediately jump up and lay on my pillow,

  • For probably over two years he has a wart on the outside of his eye on his eyelid. It just was getting large enough that we were thinking about having it removed. Well, it was winter in southeast PA, and there was a huge snow storm that crusted into ice. Mosby, of course, was outside rolling in the snow. When he finally came in, I freaked out because there was blood near his eye - turns out the ice had removed the wart for us!

  • As easy as it is to remember the older, sweet, perfect Mo, when he was young he just absolutely refused to come back inside the house once he was let out into the yard. Luckily we found what we called “crack cookies” which were the Wet Noses carob and mint dog treats. They were the only thing he would come back inside for! Eventually the company either changed the formula or stopped making that flavor, but luckily he was conditioned to come back inside when called by then!

 

Mosby was a dog that you could look into his eyes and see his beautiful soul. He was so expressive, gentle, and sweet. We regularly told him that he was the best boy, and we meant it. So much happened in the 8.5 years that he was with us, some of it good and some of it downright awful, but Mosby was the rock that helped us through it all. Our hearts are so incredibly shattered by losing him, but that is how you know you did it right. Every dog deserves to be loved so greatly that they leave behind a trail of tears. We take comfort in knowing that Mosby’s impact and legacy extends beyond just our lives; we believe it is important for everyone to know how greatly he has impacted the lives of others.

 

If you met Brian or me after November 2011, you have Mosby to thank for having us in your lives. That may sound weird to all of our friends that we have met at concerts, but we wouldn’t have started going to concerts if it wasn’t for Mosby. Remember how we started the road trips for Mo? Well, we first visited Nashville as part of a “Mosby trip”; we first went to Florida to go Dock Diving in Apopka, and then stopped for a weekend in Nashville to break up the long drive home. That trip to Nashville is what started our love of live music and concert addiction, and we likely would have never visited the city if it weren’t for us changing our lives to drive everywhere for Mo. 

 

We would have never gotten involved in dock diving, nosework, rally, hunt tests, or agility if it weren’t for Mosby. Everyone we have met through our dogs wouldn’t be in our lives. If you own an Ammo puppy, or have had your life touched by one of our dogs or an Ammo golden, know that it wouldn’t have been possible without Mo. Every puppy we have ever bred would not exist if it wasn’t for Mosby. His name may not be in their pedigrees, but he is the reason we have bred, and will continue to breed, each and every litter. 

 

Thank you, Mosby, for taking our lives down this wonderful, unexpected path. We love you more than you could have ever known, and I would still pick that sweet puppy with the stye on his eye over and over and over again. We will always love you, and you will always be our best boy. Until we meet again…