Golden Retriever helps author find love
Daniel Perdios, a soon-to-be Wareham resident and two-time author, described himself succinctly: “I’m the Golden Retriever guy.”
He recently released his second book, titled “A Golden Retriever & His Two Dads: An Adventure on Cape Cod.” The book tells the true story of how Perdios’ dog Willy introduced him to his life partner, film producer James Egan, and their later adventure spending the summer of 2008 on Cape Cod and working on the set of a film.
The book is dedicated to Willy.
“I don’t even think I’d be here without my Goldens. My experience with my Golden Retrievers — it’s been an amazing life with heartache and joy,” Perdios said.
Perdios’ first Golden Retriever was one named Nicholas, who he raised from puppyhood.
“It was love at first sight,” Perdios remembered.
His Golden Retrievers have long been a source of solace, companionship and practical help for Perdios. He said that the love of his dogs helped him work through his grief after he lost a partner to AIDS in the 1980s, and that his current dog, Morgan, is a service dog who helps him navigate the world. Perdios has significant hearing loss stemming from complications of HIV.
He adopted Morgan from Los Angeles, and said he was in “rough shape.” Perdios worked with a police officer who specialized in training canine officers, and, over two years, they transformed Morgan into a certified service dog.
Perdios said he knew adopting Morgan would be a challenge, but “I was willing to do it. I wanted to pay back what Golden Retrievers had done for me.”
“Golden Retrievers are full of love, and they want to share it with people,” Perdios said.
His Golden Retriever, Willy, even helped Perdios find love.
One afternoon, Perdios and Willy were spending time at a coffee shop they frequented. Because Willy was well-known to everyone there, Perdios let him wander around, saying hello to various patrons and exploring.
“Then, he came upon this table and started begging! Sitting there, dangling the paw, [and] I thought, ‘I can’t let that happen,’” Perdios said.
He went over to “retrieve his Retriever,” and found that the man at the table was far from annoyed by Willy’s begging. In fact, he asked to join Willy and Perdios at their table, and from there, the pair’s relationship blossomed.
When they met, Perdios lived in Palm Springs, and Egan lived in Los Angeles — more than two hours apart by car. The pair dated long-distance for some time, but Perdios said he was considering ending the relationship when Egan told him he had to go to Cape Cod for six weeks to film a movie.
To Perdios’ surprise, Egan asked if he and Willy wanted to tag along for the summer.
Perdios agreed, and the pair spent their summer on the Cape for the shoot of “Wild About Harry,” which will be re-released this fall. The film is based on the experiences of the director, Gwen Wynne, who was raised by two gay fathers in Dennis, Massachusetts, in the 1970s. The film’s stars include Josh Peck and Stacey Dash.
Perdios worked as an assistant to the prop master during the shoot, meaning that he was responsible for finding and preparing props like musical instruments, tennis racquets, food, and, memorably, 200 pink tennis balls.
One day, Perdios was asked to bring burned bacon to the set. He arrived with what he thought was a plate of horribly burned bacon, but, to his surprise, he was asked to go back home and burn it even more.
Perdios said that in the scene, the actress Daisy is watching her father make breakfast. She walks over to inspect the pan, and says, “That’s disgusting, you burned it!”
“And I realized that I was helping the actor,” Perdios said. “She was really able to say ‘That’s disgusting!’”
Perdios said he initially had a hard time figuring out whether some props were actually from the 70s. A fellow crew-member gave him a useful rule of thumb: “If you’d never wear it again, it’s probably the 70s.”
Perdios said that the summer was complicated not only by their new relationship, but by his own health concerns, an unannounced visit from his family, and Willy’s own health issues. Many of those storylines, Perdios said, are fairly universal: The anxiety of introducing a new partner to one’s family or worrying about health issues are part of many people’s lives.
The book is also a travelogue of the couple’s Cape Cod exploration.
“The film was an adventure for him, and the tour of Cape Cod was an adventure for me,” said Egan.
The pair traveled all over the Cape and Islands during that summer, visiting the Four Seas Ice Cream Shop where Jackie O ate, the Nantucket grave of the man who wrote Jaws, even a store that only sold bird-related items — a first for Egan. The pair even met up with John Waters, a friend of Egans’, who took the couple’s first picture together.
Perdios briefly discussed the summer in Cape Cod in his first book, “Rescued by Goldens,” which tells the story of Perdios’ three Golden Retrievers who he says saved his life and helped him overcome physical disabilities, despair and grief. He said many readers told him they were fascinated by his outsider’s account of the workings of a film set, and, at the start of the pandemic, Perdios decided to put the full story to paper.
For more about Perdios and his first book, go to www.RescuedByGoldens.com.