What’s Killing Our Golden Retrievers?


What’s Killing Our Golden Retrievers?
by Shaun Mullen

It’s not hard to see why golden retrievers are among the most popular breeds in the U.S. year in and year out. They’re cuddly cute as puppies and beautiful as adults. They’re great around kids, energetic, intelligent, intensely loyal and easy to train. In fact, they often train their owners.

But many American golden retrievers are also time bombs because an extraordinarily large number of them — perhaps one in four — succumb to cancer before living to their once typical 12- to 16-year life expectancy. I know this all too well. I have lived with and been acquainted with a dozen or so goldens over the years, most of them pictured in the photo montage above. I have midwifed their births, taken them to the veterinarian, helped breed them and cradled them in my arms as they drew their last breaths.

It’s hard to name favorites, but Ruffie (Medford Ben’s Ruffles was the snooty name on her pedigree papers) would have to be at the top of my list. Ruffie was special from the time she opened her tiny eyes. While she played with her litter mates, there was an unpuppy-like serenity about her which grew deeper as she matured. She in turn seemed to impart a Zen-like quality on her own offspring, who included Cody, the longtime companion of a good friend, and a sweetheart by the name of Luna. (That’s Ruffie and Luna in the arms of Yours Truly at the center of the photo montage.)

But despite careful attention to their diets, plenty of exercise, regular visits to the vets and the love and devotion of their owners, both Ruffie and Cody departed this world well before their time — Ruffie a victim of lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and Cody a victim of hemangiosarcoma (cancer of the blood).

Luna died at age three of lymphosarcoma.

There’s more…..


67 thoughts on “What’s Killing Our Golden Retrievers?

  1. Thanks so much for posting this, Rochelle. My beloved eight year old golden boy was diagnosed with nasal cancer last month and I am so sad about it. I was thinking of getting another Golden, but with all the health issues, I’m just not sure. The pain of losing your best friend too soon is awful. Why is this happening to the sweetest four legged babies there are? I have been reading your site for eight years now, and I know you have had more than your share of sorrow. Thanks so much for being here for all of us owned by Goldens!

  2. Just reading this article makes me feel sick. Three out of four of our Goldens that have gone to the bridge have succumbed to cancer.
    Our last Golden “Cody” lost his battle with this hideous disease at the age of only either.
    I fear so much for our present two, Hamish who will be 5 next June and Sophie who will be 4 in Feb, though we try to do all the right things, you feel so helpless.
    We love this breed so much that they will always be a part of our lives but to see them suffer from cancer and go to the bridge at such early ages, just rips us apart.

  3. Denise, I know what you mean. It is very scary. Darcy died almost a year ago and now Alfie must go under the knife due to a growth in his mouth. I can’t do anything more for him as he gets only organic, filtered water, no vaccinations, etc. But, then you also have to realize that 1 in 3 folks are getting cancer too. It is not just attacking our dogs.

  4. Our sweetheart Val (Valiant) is 11 years old and had his right
    hind leg amputated today – due to bone cancer – the vet feels
    that he can have quality life for 3-6 months – possibly a year –
    I hope we have made the right decision and not one just selfishly
    wanting to keep him with us – they discovered the cancer because
    he just quit using his left leg – did not seem in pain – but it turns
    out it his femur was broken in half due to the weakened condition
    of the cancer which we knew nothing of – he seems perfectly normal
    otherwise – We hope he can adjust to life without one leg – the vet
    feels he can. We lost a 14 year old golden to mouth cancer years ago. Can’t imagine life without a Golden!

  5. Pat, I do hope Val will be okay, and get another year to enjoy life as only a Golden can do. Amazingly, these dogs seem to handle anything, whether it be blindness, paralysis, you name it. They figure out how to still have their needs met, albeit in a different way, and carry on. We could all take a lesson from them in this regard.

  6. Thanks Rochelle – Val came through the surgery that day and the vet
    kept him overnight for observation – unfortunately the next morning
    the vet called and told us that they had lost Val that night. Needless
    to say we were devastated – we will miss the wonderful companionship that Val gave us – he was very special as all goldens
    are. When we get over the loss we will definitely have another golden in our home and our hearts.

  7. Pat, I am so, so sorry. I know what kind of pain you are in. Unfortunately, I went through so much with Darcy wondering what to put her through and what not to. I probably will question myself about it forever, even though it is tremendously unhappy to do that.

  8. I just lost the love of my life O’Reilly whom had been my heart since six weeks of age: I lost, he lost his battle with cancer (heart based tumor that spread rapidly to his stomach and spleen) on November 18, 2007. He was diagnosed with it on July 7, 2007. WE have to do something. This is not normal or right that our breed of Goldens are afflicted with such cancers that take them from us as early ages.
    All the memorials and holes left in our hearts…it has to stop.
    What can we do??? I am so lost without my boy, my world will never, ever be the same. I had no one, no family, nothing…he was my world and this is wrong.

  9. My golden, nugget was just diagnosed with a form of cancer in his leg, which they fear will eventually spread to his lungs. He’ll go under the knife friday to have his front, left leg amputated. They hope he will pull through and be able to live a more normal life. But the life expectancy currently could be anywhere from 3-6 months.

  10. Kelly, I am so sorry you have had to experience this with Nugget. I do hope he pulls through and gets much more quality time with you. It is amazing how dogs seem to handle ambulating on 3 rather than 4 legs. They are far better at dealing with all of this than we are, that’s for sure.

  11. the vet thinks my dog abbey 9 yrs old has cancer in her leg. he isnt sure yet but if she does we will prolly have to get her leg of or put her to sleep which i dont want to do. i hope she will be okay

  12. Like all of you I lost my sweet Dudley to Lyphoma 5/12 /2007 -He was just three years old, a pup. I am still not over it. He was so sweet and I did eveything I could -spared no expense. Almost lost my job, my family was scared for me , lost so much weight from the concern and worry -my Vet saw the deep pain and my struggle, to help me he often came to my home to treat Dudley and finally he can one last time to sleep him in my arms when I knew the Cancer was taking him down a very dark place. My back yard looks like a pet cemetary with all the markers honoring my old freinds and my pup Sir Dudley.
    I can not bring myself to get another Golden, for the fear of Cancer. I look at pictures of Goldens and see some out around in our neighborhood, all I can do is cry. My co -workers found a dog by the side of the road and gave it to me , he is a cutie but he is no Golden, but he is healthy. And Sonny will just have to do until its safe to get another Golden, I wonder when that will be?????

  13. Man!! I have two goldens, my big babby, Romeo And my sweet girl Julliet. I hate to think that they could get cancer. I had no idea this was going on. I have bred them an just hade puppies today. I was looking on the net for three leged goldens, because jull had a puppy with three legs. Trying to decide if we should put it down or keep it for our selves. I don’t have the heart to put it, sorry him down so we will keep him. It makes me sad to think I could have to watch one of my babbies die from a horrific desease like cancer. Rome is 4 Jull is 5. Please tell me how do i keep a check on this to make sure they dont have or get it. I know I can’t stop it but I dont want one of them to suffer for god knows how long befor we catch it! PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!

  14. That 3-legged Golden will be just fine. I do hope you keep him. I have detailed stories of other challenged Goldens at our site. Just go to http://landofpuregold.com/challenge.htm

    As far as cancer prevention goes, there is lots you can do. Just go to http://cancer.landofpuregold.com and do some good reading about choice of food, titering vs. vaccinatations, no use of chemicals indoors to wash floors, no pesticide use in or outside the house, the use of filtered water, etc.

  15. Wow, I’m so sorry for everyone who has already been through this struggle and wish you all the happiest dogs ever!

    I took my 4 yr old pup in for a simple health cert. today so he can fly with me, and the vet showed me a growth inside his mouth. I’d usually be extremely optimistic and figure it’ll turn out benign, but the vet, with all her experience, couldn’t hide a tone of something troublesome. So far, I’m freaking out, I’m still pretty young and figured I’d have this guy til I was 40ish… I really hope I still get to. Appt. scheduled for Monday, and results should be in a couple days later… think good thoughts for the young JakeBrake please.

  16. My dog Abbey who is 9 does have cancer we decided not to get her leg taken off because my parents thought it would spread faster. I’m only 13 n i love my dog so much shes my best friend. The tumor in her leg is about as big a a sofball. She started not using her leg around Easter and now its august. Shes still eats n does everything she usuallt does but she sleeps alot. Maybe because we have her taking these pills which i think are helping her. shes sitting there right now looking at me ha ha.

  17. Amber,
    Your parents are not being very sensible. The tumour will not spread faster if the limb is amputated, it may have already spread to the lungs. We usually take a chest xray first to check this – if no signs of Mets. then we would go ahead with the surgery, if there are signs of the tumour in the lungs then no amount of surgery will really help. Leaving the leg on will only increase the chances of it spreading elsewhere in the body.
    As cancer in G.Ret – they do have a higher predisposition to it than other breeds – seems to more so in the States than her in the UK. I can’t say that we see more cancers in this breed than others. The fact of the matter is that when you breed animals for certain traits, unfortunately undesirable traits are bred in too. Many pedigree dogs have there own problems eg: GSD – bad hips, digestive probs, WHWT – skin probs, Pugs – eye probs, breathing probs etc etc.
    Go with a crossbreed – there are plenty of them out there needing good homes and they will probably be the healthiest dogs you will come across, not to mention being loyal, loving etc
    I know this won’t help people that have lost there beloved pet, and I feel very sorry for them.
    At the end of the day it is a man made problem (as always) and we are ultimately to blame.
    Matt VN

  18. We put Abbey down today i am so sad but her tumor got so big it started bleeding and so we had to put her down and my dad said the vet said it was wayyy past her time to go.

  19. Amber, I am so, so sorry. I know just how sad you are. It’s because of the amount that you loved Abbey. That’s why their is pain. I know that Abbey is now painfree, and for that she is surely eternally grateful.

  20. My 5 1/2 year old Golden, Beau, died suddenly two weeks ago. He seemed to be fine on Saturday evening when he went to bed, but he woke up on Sunday and could hardly walk. We took him to the emergency animal clinic (which is a great place). We thought he had eaten something and had a blockage. They were starting to give him barium to see where the blockage when he suddenly died. The vet said they tried for 25 minutes to revive him. They did a necropsy and found that he had a tumor on his heart.

    My heart is broken. We had no idea that he was sick. We also have two Brittanies and he played with them up until the evening before he died. He ate Science Diet, got lots of exercise and was well-loved. Beau is the only Golden I have ever had. I always said that he was the sweetest dog God ever put on this earth. Is this a common problem for Goldens? If so, what can be done to prevent this? I still cry whenever I think about him (like now). At some point in the future, I would like to get another dog. As much as I love this breed, I’m afraid to get another one.

  21. Cathy, my heart aches for you. Pain from such a sudden loss is just horrid. Of course you are crying when you think about him. I still cry when I think of my Darcy’s death from cancer, and it has been over 2 years now.

    I cannot deny that there is much cancer, but it is in many breeds. There is much that goes into finding dogs with better genes, or more longevity in their lines. Also, what we provide to our dogs with respect to a non-chemical environment, both indoors and out, is important. And, the food we provide can be critical.

    I have to say that Science Diet is one of the worst foods, and I only say that just in case your other dogs are on that. I have home cooked for years now as it is just too scary to consider doing otherwise given the recent scare and how much more we have learned about diet.

    You need to go to my site and do some reading about food, organics, supplements, cancer, etc. The site has over 1000 pages and there is far too much for me to go into here.

    http://store.landofpuregold.com (check out the types of treats that are best for our dogs)

  22. My golden retriever Bailey Had a huge cancer lump on her side when she was four years old. we got it removed early so she is better know. Right know she is five years old happy and healthy. The vet said to to watch out if she is to get another cancer lump.

  23. My 6 year old golden’s littermate was just diagnosed with a rare form of cutaneous t cell lymphoma. The suffering and sorrow breaks my heart. At first, it seemed like anaplasmosis,but the cancer progressed with lightening speed as puzzled vets worked against the clock. It terrifies me that cancer can strike our goldens so fast and forcefully.

  24. We lost our Tucker to cancer. He survived surgery for hemangiosarcoma on his left front leg but it appeared again on upper right shoulder three months later. This time it was inoperable. After watching him deteriorate over the next several days we put him down yesterday. He was 13 years old. The fun and joy he brought to three generations of our family counting us parents, our children, and our grandchildren can not be measured. Each of us has our Tucker stories. We will have another Golden. Just cant imagine life without one. I tried to locate the breeder where Tucker came from but struck out. I think it was called Golden Nugget Kennels located near Princeton NJ. If anyone knows what became of them please let me know. Thank you very much.

  25. Paul, I am so, so sorry for your loss. Hemangiosarcoma is one of those cancers that we have had no luck with stopping. It is quite a devastating diagnosis to get. But, getting to 13 is actually a major accomplishment these days in the Golden world. Sadly, just today I provided money to a person dealing with a diagnosis of cancer, but her Golden is less than 2 years old.

  26. Today we found out that our Parents Rescue GR has a heart tumor. I just saw her 1 week ago & she was her happy go lucky self. Then in 1 day she went south in that she just wasn’t chasing the squirrels in the yard. She did vomit her breakfast up but plenty of dogs do that every so often. Then later in the day a new symptom of a little dry cough. My mom said they took her to the vet since Ahnie was just off her game. The vet couldn’t hear her heartbeat & that was due to fluid built up around her heart. Vets took off a 1/2 cup of fluid off her heart area alone & then drained her abdomen of fluid. She had put on about 8lbs of weight in 1 day. Cardiologist found a tumor on her heart & said there were only 2 options 1. take her home, love her, keep her quiet & watch her for fluid build up,. 2nd option is heart surgery is the other option but since this is a known spreadable tumor then there is much point.
    We have had good luck with our goldens so her only being 7 years old is a really shocker. Our 1st Golden was off the streets & already 3-4 years of age & he lived with us for 10 years. Our next 2 goldens 1 came from a poorly in breed litter of dogs & he died of Cancer at 12 & our field/show breed Golden lived till she was 16 & tracking down as many dogs from her hunting line so many lived the 14-17 years. The current 2 goldens are both rescues dogs. Ahnie the younger heart tumor dog is 7 years old & Lucy is 11years old.
    I didn’t know that there was so much cancer in goldens at a young age. I did know it was very prevalent in the Flat Coated Retrievers but not in the goldens.
    We are all so shocked that this healthy Golden went down so fast. We love her so very much.
    Does anyone know of a Data base for goldens that track breed lines & cause of death. I wonder if this would help in breeding healthier dogs?

  27. Yesterday, 7/23/09, we lost our precious 10 1/2 year old golden, Savannah, to a very aggressive hemangiosarcoma at the top of her heart. Her symptoms only become severe on Tuesday with very labored breathing, extremely pale gums and difficulty getting up. An x-ray at our local vetshowed an enlarged heart and we were referred to the Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiologists Associates in Leesburg, VA. I called and got an appt for Thursday. Nana had a great “golden” day on Wednesday, doing all her favorite things–skooching around on the bed, chasing squirrels, playing with her daddy’s old work glove and her favorite baby and ate a good dinner. Wednesday evening about 6:00 she just ran out of steam totally–almost like hitting the wall. We were up with her the entire night trying to ease her labored breathing and keep her comfortable. We made it to the cardiologist appt. on Thursday (yesterday) and her condition was grave by the time we got there. The echo-cardiogram showed a large tumor at the top of her heart. The cardiologist was honest with us about our options and very professional and compassionate. We were treated like royalty. He did ask for a blood sample to help in research on this deadly disease striking our lovely goldens. We readily agreed, hoping in some small way Savannah can spare another golden and their family from this devastating disease.
    Since we live 45 miles from the cardiology clinic, we decided to bring her home to our regular vet to euthanize her. She did make the trip home and was able to say goodbye to her best friends at Doggy Daycare and her Grandma and Granddaddy Big Dog, though she was tired and couldn’t move. She said good bye with that soulful “golden” look that only those big brown eyes could express. We even opened the van doors in the driveway at our house and gave her a good whiff of her front yard. Our hearts are broken, and I’m not sure the hole that remains will ever be filled. She was without a doubt the best friend we have ever had—BAR NONE!!
    Thanks for reading and sharing your stories, too!

  28. Jerri, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I can tell by your writing that Savannah lived the life of a queen. She did everything that was expected of her and more, and if she could, she would have remained by your side for so much longer. These Golden souls do change our lives forever, and when they leave us, we are never the same. I know I am still struggling over my Darcy and it has been over 3 years since she left me.

  29. I lost my Golden, K.C. to cancer in March and I am still heart broken. I don’t go a day without a tear. I plan to get another golden someday. But it is so heartbreaking. I relive the day of her death almost daily. She was with her family until the end. I didn’t know about cancer and goldens and feel I failed her. If I had known to look for certain signs. She was 11 1/2 when shed died. Her birthday would have been in two days… We shared a birthday, I spent the past 11 years at Pet Smart so she could pick a present…

  30. Sheila, I am so, so sorry. I understand about broken hearts and tears. My own have not stopped for my Darcy and it has been over 3 years. It takes a good period of time to work through the grief of losing a child, and that is what our Golden’s role often is in our lives.

  31. hello
    I am Rachel Irwin I have a service dog that is a seizure alert dog,
    I am disabled with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and we just found
    out Shane my golden Retiever has a tumor on his heart and fluid
    draining into his body he may need the fluid taken off his heart
    again this is life threatening he needs medications for the
    rest of his life.please make your donation for Shane Irwin
    to Desert Care Animal Hospital
    15664 Main Street #130
    Hesperia,Ca 92345
    fax 760-949-3130

    Thank You
    Rachel Irwin

  32. I always felt fortunate when talking about our pup Barkley (his pix was on our office wall) and had heard many stories about goldens and their cancer battles…but I was still sadly surprised when at age 13 Barkley was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma with mets to the liver….We had him about 4 more weeks but then he could no longer stand and had lost 1/3 of his weight..It was more painful than we were ready for … We did adopt delightful brother and sister golden pups about 6 weeks later when the silence of the house was “deafening” and we knew we needed to hear the clicky click of the tags…Lucy and Harry suddenly occupied the time that was spent grieving…we found out that we could talk and refer to Barkley without crying our eyes out..these two were just what we needed at the right time…sadly Harry had a lump at 16 months of age…about one year after we adopted him..we decided to treat him aggressively with surgery (x 2) radiation as well as chemo as this was an aggressive atypical spindle cell sarcoma …I just knew that we would not lose another pup to cancer so soon…surely the treatments would work…we were good people–took good care of our pets and people (we were in human health care)so of course this outcome would be good for our quirky pup named Harry…sadly one year after treatment the monster named cancer returned with vengeance and we had to say goodbye to Harry 3 months later..two months shy of his 3rd birthday…One thing I noticed while waiting for Harry during his daily radiation visits was that each and every one of those 15 days in a row I met a new golden and their family registering at the oncologist’s office….most with that same gleam in their eye that their dog was the one that was going to beat the dreaded C….and I hope they did…

  33. Carol, so much pain. It just knocked me out to read about such a baby having to deal with this disease. We try to do everything, and I am so mindful of vaccinations, chemicals, food, you name it. But, we cannot battle genetics. Of course, despite that, I cannot imagine not having a Golden in my life.

  34. god bless all of you. I just found this site. I am crushed. Me and my sisters golden retriever was taken to the vet today cause he has a little ball in his mouth, and a huge sludge looking thing under his tounge and we were told it is a tumor, but they don’t know what type. They are being nice enough to finance the whole thing even if he needs surgery, but they won’t guarantee that he will make it. What should I do?

  35. Is cancer in the mouth usually benign, or malignant? It’s red looking, a ball on the side of his mouth, and the sludge pushing his tongue out of his mouth. It’s a scary sight.

  36. It was a month ago today that my Bailey went in for surgery to remove her front leg. She’d been diagnosed with osteosarcoma a week earlier. Sadly, she was one of the ones who didn’t make it. She died shortly after surgery, likely from a blood clot that stopped her big heart from beating.

    I miss her more than words can convey. There’s a dog-sized hole in my heart…I’m sure everyone here recognizes the pain of losing a Golden.

    Is there any research being done on cancer in Goldens? I’d like to support it if so, in any way I can.

  37. My dog was diagnosed yesterday with nasal cancer. Her name is Holly. She is the mayor of the neighborhood and the Queen of the cats (we have 5!) They all love her madly. As do we. The children are crushed and I never thought I would be so heartbroken. I am a cat person but this dog has penetrated my heart in a way that I’ll never get over. Sweet and gentle. Loving and shy. There is no other dog for me -never. I am touched by everyone’s story but it makes me terribly sad as well. Good luck to all. I hope we all find a way through.

  38. Tracy, your day may have a similar cancer to what took my Golden Darcy 4 years ago. My heart is heavy for you. I am a dog person with 1 6lb, 17yo rescue kitty, who rules the world. I probably will not have another cat, even though this initially feral rescue has been friends with me after my Darcy died. I think she believed I needed looking after. Who knows. I cannot figure out cats at all. With kids, you may need to bring another dog aboard. I am sure everyone loves Holly as much as you do.

  39. I am totally gutted, i took Bracken my 10 year old Goldie to the vet on tues because he had trouble walking and i thought he had sprained his leg whilst playing with my other goldies, the vet gave him an examination and found out he had mouth cancer, there were no signs of this he was eating well and his normal lovely self. The vet said it was an aggressive type and his quality of life wouldn’t be good. he had n’t even got to exam his leg.Sadly Bracken was put to sleep,my dogs and i am missing him terribly.I didn’t realise how many dogs got this awful disease, I feel all your pain.

  40. No sure what to do. I just found out my 3 year old Golden has cancer in right front leg. The Vet was shocked. They have recommended amputation. She is only three. We have 4 children. This pup has brought me a lot of comfort after surviving Iraq but I am a bit torn on how to move forward. She is the best friend I have had but I want to think of her best interest. Any advice is appreciated.

  41. We lost our 3 year old golden to cancer last week. He had a tumor on his back near his tail, after surgery removed it, it kept coming back and bleeding. Soon he was not eating and was too weak to stand up. We had to make the horrible heartbreaking decision to let him go. We have his sister as well and can only hope that she doesnt get this terrible disease that is breaking our hearts.

  42. Oh, Kristi, I wish I could express in words how sorry I am for your loss. I can well imagine how heartbreaking this is for you and your family. Losing a baby to this dreaded disease is horrid.

  43. Frank, our beautiful 9 year old Golden Retriever, passed away last December. He was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous tumour on his hip, in the fall of last year and was given between 4 and 6 months to live. However, the tumour ruptured/bled out on the 10th December, and Frank collapsed, and we could not bear to see him suffer, so the vet came to our house the next day, to put him out of his suffering.

    Frank was such a wonderful dog and behaved like a pup all his life. We will never forget him, and he will live in our hearts forever.

    Golden’s have such wonderful temperaments, but the breeders really do need do something to try and find out why so many are dying prematurely of cancer related illness.

  44. Julia, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I wish we knew how to arrest all of this cancer, which is scarily so prevalent in our beloved Goldens. Sadly, it could be 10-20 years before we make real changes in altering this course.

  45. My 8 year old Golden Retriever Prince (English blood lines) is 8wks post Rhinotomy for a 2 inch long Squamous cell carcinoma removed from his nasal cavity. We are still in the early stages of recovery but we are hoping for the best.
    It is sad to hear that so many goldens are affected and I wish everyone the very best.

  46. Hi Rochelle, Its 10 wks post op tomorrow and Prince is doing well. He is still on antibiotics the vet isn’t ready to take him off them yet. We have another check up in a few weeks and will see then if he is taken off them. When I saw him the day after surgery I was amazed at how well he was doing Prince has taken everything in his stride he is such a good boy. The vets have been really happy with his recovery. His hair is still growing back on his face and you can hardly see where he had the surgery.
    Its been a long 19 wks and we aren’t out of the woods yet but we are taking it one day at a time.
    Will keep you posted

  47. Kim, I just saw your post. I am beyond thrilled for you. Prince is lucky that so many folks love him and want him to do well. Each day more is a gift, of course. So, please do treasure them. They are truly priceless, as the saying goes.

  48. Hi I thought I would give you an update. Its been 17 weeks post op and Prince is doing well. I’ve just came back from the Vet and he is now off the antibiotics. We have everything crossed that nothing happens we just have to wait and see.

  49. Your posts to this site have given me a place of shelter for my grief. Our wonderful golden Gracie just died yesterday from hemangiosarcoma in her heart and lungs. It was literally causing her heart to break open and now mine is broken into a thousand pieces. She was almost 12. I know goldens are overbred but I don’t know if I can get another breed. Outside of her horrible allergies, she was the perfect companion for our family. Absolutely full of love. We never knew she was sick. I know time will help our loss, but I can’t imagine another dog could ever take her place. Thank you all for opening your hearts and posting to this site. Only those who have lost a golden or a dear companion can understand the heartbreak it causes.

  50. Oh Kristin, I just saw your post. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I feel the same way you do about this beloved breed and hate that they have to suffer with this horrid disease. And, no dog can ever take Gracie’s place. EVER. A new dog can merely reside beside her in your heart. And, while it is breaking now, it will heal and probably become vital and alive once again when you decide to share your life with another Golden. It has taken me several years to process the loss to cancer of both my Ollie and Darcy, and I dread going through it again with Alfie. But, I cannot imagine how barren my life would have been without having them. They are the joy and sunshine to our existence.

  51. my golden “summer” has a mass on her neck near her mouth. we took her to the vet and we are getting the blood work back today.we may have to do surgury to remove the mass. she is only 6 years old and a dear part of our family. we have 4 small children ages 6,3 and twin 16mos olds….i cant stop thinking about the worst…please send your prayers…peter and susan merkel

  52. I just lost my Golden Retriever “Rocky” yesterday to a heart tumor we didnt know he had, he just collapsed and we rushed him to the hospital and they couldnt remove all the blood off his heart when it burst, He was the BEST dog anyone could ever ask for. He was always so happy and when would carry the newspaper down the driveway and be so proud! and walk himself with his leash. He was 9 years old i am devestated. My dad who passed away got him for me when i was little bc i always wanted a golden retriever and i couldn’t have asked for a better dog. my family is heart broken especially my mom. there is another void in our family. we will miss him so very much</3 Goldens are a very special breed!!

  53. I just saw this post and am so sorry I missed it. I have stopped blogging and don’t check in here. I am so sorry that Rocky had to leave your side. He sounded like he was greatly loved and lived a very wonderful life. Nine years is not enough, but then, no amount of years seems enough when it comes to these special souls. My heart is with your family.

  54. Only a Golden owner knows the feeling of having one.
    This month I’ve been crying alot but at the sometime I’m surprised how my dog lives using 3 legs only, this is a lesson for all humans!
    I have a 7 year old Golden Retriever called Malibu, he is very active, athletic and healthy enough until the last year when he started do “cripple” and show some pain in his right front leg joint. Due to some ignorant Vets that saw him twice and didn’t do anything to resolve his pain or give any valid answer more sooner, I tried a Orthopedist Vet and he did some X-Rays and investigated his lump with a needle. I got the answer today, it’s an agressive tumor! Today I’m taking my dog to the Oncologist to see if there’s any hope for him without amputating his leg.

  55. I just lost my golden, Libby, 2 days after Christmas to a nasal carcinoma which was only discovered 2 days before Thanksgiving. She was a rescue dog, so skinny and malnourished with half her hair missing when she came into my life a little over 5 years ago. They thought she was about 5 when I got her … through lots of love and healthy eating and exercise, she gained 25 pounds and was absolutely gorgeous. She was truly my best friend and my shadow. I work at home and she was always with me, even when I worked with clients … she was truly THE perfect girl!! She went downhill so quickly but I am grateful for the time we had together … my other two mixed dogs, also rescues, and I miss her terribly … just when I think I’m getting stronger, the tears start to flow again … we are all trying to put our lives back together … thanks to all of you for sharing your stories … even though I cried through them all, I know I’m not alone.

  56. Not sure if anyone still checks this post…I am convinced that vaccines are causing allergies, tumors, and cancers in goldens. Grocery store dog foods don’t help either. Mackenzie who is now 13 had vaccines as a puppy. My healthy 4-6 (can’t remember) month old pup was seizing and paralyzed within hours of receiving parvo. She was misdiagnosed with a joint disease and (put on a steroid without my permission)when I brought in documentation showing other goldens with the same side effects after parvo that said steroids made it worse and asked “since when did a joint disease cause seizures?” I was told I was out of his league. After that, neither Mackenzie, nor my 4 children received another vaccine.Please investigate. My children have the smallest charts in their doctor’s office and have NEVER been on antibiotics.4 kids not one cavity! And Mackenzie is a spry 13 year old!

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