Goldens and Body Language: My Doggie Says Book

We just discovered a new book about Goldens and body language, written by Fred Haney. It looks to be a wonderful addition, even though this story is tinged with the bittersweet as the depicted Golden in the book died from lymphoma shortly after its publication.

Fred Haney considers himself lucky to have had a pet as sensitive and expressive as Jamie. He’s also fortunate that his work as a high-tech angel investor allows him to spend time in his home office, so that he can observe Jamie, and his other pets, in all kinds of daily situations.

Fred became aware of Jamie’s dog talk when she was about five years old. Realizing that Jamie was expressing herself frequently with her dog body language, he tried to become a better “listener,” which, of course, made Jamie better at dog talk. In his daily life, Fred spends a lot of time nurturing entrepreneurs. He never dreamed he’d be cultivating his Golden Retriever’s communication skills.

Analytic by nature (his Ph.D. is in Computer Sciences, from Carnegie-Mellon University), Fred began to see patterns in Jamie’s messages. In 2001, he started to capture Jamie’s dog body language in a collection of golden retriever pictures. By 2004, he had assembled hundreds of images, and, he began writing brief stories about them. The result is My Doggie Says…

You can see a few sample pages by clicking here, and at Amazon, you can EXPLORE MANY PAGES OF THE BOOK . Just click on the book in the left hand corner of the page that says, SEARCH INSIDE!

Here is a wonderful article that appeared about the book:

Is your dog talking to you?
Probably, says the author of a new book, but you have to know how to listen.
By Melissa Heckscher, Daily Breeze Staff Writer

A golden retriever whose strawberry blond face had grown powdery white by the time she was 12, Jamie (short for “Donnor’s Jameson del Campo”) had a fancy for tug of war, liked to chew on champagne corks and loved — really, really loved — her rainbow-colored stuffed basketball.

How could her owner, Fred Haney of Palos Verdes Estates, know all this? She told him. Well, she told him as clearly as a dog can tell anyone anything about tug of war … corks … or a basketball.

“I’m not saying that I think Jamie is unique among dogs,” said Haney, who recently self-published My Doggie Says … Messages From Jamie, a book chronicling various “messages” from the beloved brown-eyed dog who died just before Christmas, shortly after the book was released in local stores. “On the other hand,” he added, looking over toward his sofa where a framed photo of Jamie sits propped up by a pillow, “she may have had a little more of an inclination to communicate, and it may be partly because we reinforced it.”

In the 90-page full-color book, Haney presents a photo-illustrated guide to Jamie’s every move, bark and whimper. Readers shouldn’t be surprised to see that her missives are the “I’d like to go outside now” and “I want my squeaky toy” sort of statements that don’t require canine-mind reading to understand.

It’s not altogether groundbreaking; but then, Haney didn’t mean for it to be. He only wanted people to learn how to pay attention to their pets. “I think there’s more going on here than people understand,” he said. “You’ve read scientific articles about, ‘Are animals smart? Can animals think?’ And they always conclude, ‘Well, they can’t do a Rubik’s cube, so they must be stupid.’ But I just have a feeling that animals aren’t that far behind us, and maybe they’re a little brighter and have more emotional dimension and intelligence than we give them credit for.”

Haney started transcribing Jamie’s messages about five years ago when he awoke to her standing — her face inches from his — beside the bed he shares with his wife, Barbara. “She made a ‘wuuf’ sound and pawed at the bed,” Haney wrote in the book. “My dog was talking to me!”

Haney supposed that in some canine-to-human dialect, Jamie was trying to say: “Lift me up onto the bed, please.” “At that moment, I vowed to ‘tune in’ to the messages Jamie was sending,” he wrote. And he did. Camera in hand, Haney observed as Jamie played with other dogs, took naps with Okie-Dokie, the family cat, and eagerly tagged along on daily errands. He noticed when she moped over losing her favorite stuffed ball, when she shivered with fear at the sound of thunder, and how she appeared disgusted when Okie-Dokie dragged dead mice into the house.

After five years of watching and photographing Jamie, Haney put together the book. In it, he chose 87 photos and an assortment of Jamie-speak, including “If I lie across the hallway, maybe you’ll stay home”; “I know you’re getting ready to travel; I hope I get to go”; “I’m upset you were away so long, so I’m going to destroy my toy.”

And so on.

“It’s easy to start to think, ‘Well, this animal really has feelings and this animal has emotions and he’s really bonded and connected,’ but maybe all she was about was getting fed every day,” Haney said. “But it felt very similar to a relationship with a person. She was really a part of our family.”

Which made it all the more difficult when last fall, Jamie was diagnosed with lymphoma. She died Dec. 20 at age 12. “She had already gone to two book signings,” Barbara Haney said, her voice wavering with emotion. “And one of the last things our vet said to us was, ‘Well you’ve immortalized Jamie in the book. The timing was almost providential.'”

When Jamie died, the Haneys’ daughter-in-law, Karen, wrote a farewell letter on behalf of the dog. It was a letter “from Jamie,” and it said: “When I got here in doggie heaven, everybody already knows about me because they read the book.”

Jamie’s Rules for a Good Life
• Don’t bark if a “wuuf” will do the job.
• It’s OK to be afraid sometimes.
• Have a favorite toy.
• Share your favorite toy with others.
• Play by the rules even when there’s no referee.
• Get out of the house when you can.
• Chase lizards and squirrels when you can.
• Rest when you’re tired.
• Be gentle with children.
• Ask for the things you need.
• Drink lots of water when you go running.
• Go places where they treat you well.
• Make people feel good when you greet them.
• Be true to your nature.


Golden Sniffer Dog Custer

Project unleashes drug-sniffing dog
By Claudine San Nicolas, Maui News Staff Writer

MAKAWAO – A dog’s acute sense of smell could help rid Maui school campuses of illegal drugs, alcohol and firearms. At least that’s the hope of a pilot program being unleashed for the first time in Hawaii at Kalama Intermediate School, a campus plagued by numerous reports of alleged drug and alcohol use.

On Wednesday night, approximately 20 parents showed up for a briefing on the program at the school’s cafeteria and to meet Custer, a 62-pound, male golden retriever. The mild-mannered dog is trained and managed by its owner, Whitney White of Interquest Detection Canines of Hawaii. White’s nonprofit agency will oversee the Kalama canine searches, paid for through private donations.

During the meeting with parents, White led Custer through a few areas in the cafeteria and a series of backpacks before he stopped and sniffed out a red backpack containing a sealed plastic bottle of vodka. Custer is trained to sniff out drugs, alcohol and abused medications as well as the scent of gun powder.

The dog will debut with Kalama students and faculty this morning during the school’s homeroom period. It’s the only time Custer will be expected by students. Future visits – to start within two weeks – will be unannounced.

Future guide dogs get to see it all

Future guide dogs get to see it all
By Ken Sugiura, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There are passengers to sniff and nuzzle, and, even more tempting, seven or eight other puppies only yards away. But Tara is practically motionless, looking out at the train car through her big brown eyes. Seven-month-old Tara has an important future, which is why on this day she is taking public transit. Westphal, a Norcross preschool teacher, is helping her become a guide dog for the blind.

“I love dogs,” said Westphal, “and I love what dogs can do for other people.” Westphal volunteers for Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind as a puppy raiser. In the 14 months or so that she will have Tara, Westphal’s role is to take her as many places as she can to help prepare her for her future owner.

In the four months since she received Tara, who came from the guide dog school in New York, Westphal has taken her to the grocery store, the mall, restaurants, church and every day to her work at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church’s preschool.

Even among a classroom full of 4- and 5-year-olds, Tara has learned the poise and calmness required to be a guide dog. “It’s just constantly telling them, ‘No! Quiet!’ and then when they stop barking, praise them for being quiet,” Westphal said.

Westphal, 52, brings Tara to twice-monthly gatherings of other guide dog puppy raisers in the north Atlanta area for trips to different places: malls, MARTA and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Group members often swap dogs so they can see more places and be around more people.

“If you don’t get a dog around all types of sights and sounds while it’s young, then you have a real hard time turning that dog into a service animal once it’s an adult,” said Karen Sumlin, the guide dog foundation’s puppy program consultant in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. About 30 puppies are being raised in Sumlin’s region.

Once, Westphal and Tara went on their own to a store at the Forum mall in Norcross that had shiny black tile floors. Tara “put on the brakes,” Westphal said, wary of this strange-looking surface. But she went back with other puppies, including her brother Jake, who walked into the shop without hesitating.

“My dog kind of thought, ‘Oh, I guess there’s nothing to be afraid of,’ ” Westphal said.

The puppies, largely Labradors and retrievers, seem to learn quickly. On the MARTA trip, it was evident that they had grasped that when their guide dog vests are on, they are on the job. Once the dogs’ garments came off at the end of the excursion, their reserve and decorum were lifted, also. A playful wrestling match broke out.

Westphal and other puppy raisers are not required to do the heavy training that the dogs will need to lead the blind. They teach them simple commands and start the training for tasks such as finding chairs, doors or curbs.

Once the dogs are returned to their schools, they need three or four more months of training to become ready for the field. That moment of handing the dogs back isn’t easy. Sumlin said she “just about died” when she returned her first dog.

Considering the bond between Tara and Westphal, that parting may be equally difficult. “What I try to do is put the dog in a special place in my heart,” she said, “knowing it’s not my dog and knowing that someday, it’ll go off and do something great for someone.”

There’s more . . . . .

Golden Dozer-in-training

Helping man’s best friend help others
By Caroline Stedman, Stillwater Gazette

STILLWATER – When Hudson, Wis., resident Marie Heikkila finishes the daily training of Dozer, a 15-month-old golden retriever, the real work begins. “You get slimed,” Heikkila said of Dozer’s big jowls. “You have to be comfortable having dog hair on your wardrobe.”

She has been training dogs with “Leader Dogs for the Blind” since 2001 with her husband Dave. Dozer is the couple’s first dog through the “Helping Paws” program, and he is being trained to assist people with physical disabilities.

Unlike training a dog for a blind person, Dozer’s training requires much more commitment for the Heikkilas, which is why the couple agreed to wait until she retired from teaching to take in a “Paws” dog. Heikkila is the primary trainer, though her husband is a reliable and vital partner in training, she said.

She works with Dozer on commands to learn household work such as turning on and off light-switches, picking things up and most recently they have begun to work on opening doors. Every week she attends a group training class with Dozer in Hopkins.

“Everything is positive reinforcement,” Heikkila said. “He does get frustrated sometimes.” Although he can easily flick a light switch up, Dozer struggles with being able to move it down again. Even when he can’t do it, Heikkila rewards him with encouraging words and a treat.

“Training is a continuing process. It’s just like kids,” Heikkila said.

There’s more . . . .

Golden Rescue Dirks Fund AND WILLY in the News!

Some time back we showcased a story about Maggie, a Golden gal remembered at DIRKS FUND Golden Retriever Rescue. Well, today I learned about another incredible story at their site, about Willy.

Willy and his family reunited today, January 26 at 3:30 p.m. at Kennelwood on Mason Lane in Ballwin, Missouri. It was a long time coming. Welcome home!

The miracle of Kindness to the least of all creatures has a way of coming round full circle to touch many hearts and teach lessons of compassion. This is the story of an elderly Golden Retriever, Willy: loved, lost, reclaimed to love but lost again, rescued once more when he thought, perhaps that his luck had finally run dry, and finally, miraculously found again—truly found again.

You see, Willy has had many adventures in his life. He was first loved by a family who called him Cujo. His family was moving homes in St. Louis when, by accident, a gate was left open. Willy (formerly Cujo) and his companion dog were lost. While signs, and calls, and a network of friends were able to return the companion dog, Willy was never found. The heart broken young daughter (Kayla) who loved him so, promised never to forget him and every year, set out a Christmas stocking for him—never giving up hope that one day love would bring him home.

Well, six years came and went. Willy’s life went on. Somehow he found himself in the home of an elderly woman in Columbia (over 2 hours from his home in Saint Louis). When the elderly woman became ill she was taken to a nursing home. Willy was found alone in her home but(having lost yet another companion), he was carted off to the Humane Society—left to what would have been likely euthanasia for this gentlemanly old dog. This ignoble sentence was just not meant to be, as he was once again found but this time by the Saint Louis Golden Retriever rescue group: Dirk’s fund.

Poor Willy, having grown mostly deaf through many ear infections, with only matted fur and a broken toe to show for his years, didn’t have much to win him favors but Dirk’s Fund has long seen the value of love given to old dogs and then returned in kind. So, Willy was to find good veterinary care, caring foster home and anonymous internet fame in a posting on the site:

You might guess—the rest they say is history. Perhaps karma, perhaps just the enduring wish of a little girl and a lonely Christmas stocking, perhaps just miracle of kindness coming round again, Willy made the long journey home, but not before sharing his love where he could and finally, coming home to Kayla and her family. Who can say how Kayla and her family found the website, how Willy made it to Columbia and how the Saint Louis based rescue society found him there, saw a dog worth saving only to bring him back to St. Louis and eventually home again. There are many words for this but best of all is love.

Click here to see a video of the homecoming.

Here is a news article about this incredible tale:
A tail-wagging happy ending
By Kim Bell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — The Barczewski family gathered around the aging golden retriever Friday, eyed him up and down and had no doubts. Sure, he was skinnier and graying a bit, not the spry 7-year-old “Cujo.” Cujo sneaked out of their ungated south St. Louis backyard in 2000 and disappeared.

But the telltale signs were unmistakable: white hair in the shape of a heart on his forehead. White hair on his toes, and that special way he used to greet people by rubbing up against them like a cat might do. “It’s a miracle,” said Noreen Barczewski, 41. “We found him!”

Cujo, known more recently as “Willy,” was reunited with his family in a homecoming orchestrated by Dirk’s Fund, an area rescue group. The dog somehow ended up in Columbia, Mo., 120 miles to the west in the home of an elderly woman. When the woman was sent to a nursing home, the dog was sent to the Central Missouri Humane Society in Columbia.

Bob Tillay, president of Dirk’s Fund here, spotted the dog on an adoption website and arranged to have Willy brought to St. Louis. Tillay’s nonprofit has found homes for more than 900 dogs in the last decade, and Tillay couldn’t pass up this one. The website cooed: “Sweet old man! He knows how to sit and shake.”

The dog’s ears were so infected he couldn’t hear. His coat was so matted he had to be shaved. And Dirk’s Fund paid to have some cysts removed. The group put his picture on the adoption section of Dirk’s Fund website last July, then took him to a nursing home in Clayton to serve as a pet of the residents. But Tillay took the dog back after a few weeks because the the dog would only urinate off leash, and the nursing home had no fenced yard. The dog’s picture went back up on the website.

A week ago, Noreen Barczewski’s brother-in-law, Michael Barczewski, went to the website on a fluke. He’d been looking for a dog to adopt and saw the picture of the old dog with the white heart mark and white feet. Michael and his wife, Gail, had been the original breeders of Cujo. He recognized the dog immediately.

There’s more……..

Golden Elwood in front of his Restaurant

Elwood the golden retriever sits outside the West Utica restaurant that carries his name.

Restaurant owners make you feel at home
By Tory N. Parrish, Observer-Dispatch

UTICA — West Utica should have more to showcase than outdoor beer parties in the summer and bars in unkempt neighborhoods, according to the manager of a recently opened restaurant in the area. It will take more than liquor to rejuvenate West Utica, says Danny Olah, which is why he and his business partner and girlfriend Cathy DiCastro are taking careful steps in operating Elwood’s Coffeehouse & Roadshow on Columbia Street.

“If you don’t bring families down here, this area is doomed,” said Olah, who was a building contractor in Central New Jersey for 30 years before moving to Utica last year.

Elwood’s Coffeehouse & Roadshow, which opened in September, plans to steadily build up a clientele that appreciates an atmosphere that rests between refined serenity and comfortable familiarity. “This is like home. I want this to feel that way,” Olah said. The restaurant is primarily geared toward families, but stays open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and offers local entertainment, he said.

“We’d just like to provide a nice place for people to go sit and relax. Have a good meal, reasonable prices. And enjoy themselves,” said DiCastro, a Rome resident who is a full-time respiratory therapist at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.

DiCastro owns the restaurant, while Olah manages it and five full-time employees. Elwood’s, named after DiCastro’s golden retriever, serves coffee and American food, including sandwiches and dinner entrees. Breakfast is available all day.

More about Golden Maggie

Therapy dog back on the job
Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.

Maggie’s back. After a bout with cancer, the 9-year-old golden retriever is again making her rounds as a therapy dog, visiting children at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester and older people in nursing homes in Northboro and Shrewsbury.


A couple of weeks ago I shared the above story about Maggie here at our blog. Well, today I have a GReat update. Maggie’s loving dad, Mike Kewley, just wrote the following to me:

I am glad you shared my story about my golden retriever called Maggie. I started Shrewsbury Paws in November of 2004 and Maggie has made a huge impact on the local community with ther therapy work.

She will never be cured and I enjoy everyday with her and try not in think about tomorrow. Please checkout the web site and the News Articles page showing how she has made everyone aware of the importance of therapy work.

Maggie has a sister, a 6-month-old golden who keeps her active, and Maggie is playing a big part in training her to carry out her legacy. Every volunteer and handler needs to be noticed for all of the work they do

Please do go visit Shrewsbury Paws for Patients and check out the wonderful news articles about Maggie, especially learning about her special relationship with Jay, a critically ill youngster with inoperable cancer.

The story of Maggie and Jay
Therapy dog and hospital’s sickest children share in cancer fight

By Megan Woolhouse,, September 17, 2006


It may bring tears to your eyes, as it certainly had that effect on me, but you must not miss out on The story of Maggie and Jay , a 14-large color photo slide presentation that is just incredible.

Therapy Golden Harley

If you have not been keeping up with our site news or with Harley’s Page then you will have missed the sad news of his having earned his wings and passage to The Bridge a few days ago.

Please do visit his page to see some special messages from his mom, Andrea, and for a link to a wonderful photo album that shows Harley with his furry family members through the years.

The Helping Harley Fund will now be expanded to address the financial needs of other afflicted and needy working dogs. And, Andrea will be helping on the committee to direct those future funds. She is so appreciative of the fund being named in Harley’s memory.For those folks who may want to send a card of sympathy, they can be sent to:

Andrea Hanssen
P.O. Box 780524
San Antonio Texas 78278

Groodles? What do you think?

Pooch to order nothing to sneeze at
By Sharyn Marchant

GROODLES, cavoodles and schnoodles are displacing labradors and German shepherds in Australian backyards. Sales of designer dogs have now overtaken purchases of pedigrees.

Breeders and pet retailers are reporting at least 70,000 of the hybrid dogs were born in Australia last year. They are being bred in an effort to create pets that don’t aggravate allergies in their owners.

Sales of traditional purebred puppies have declined steadily since 1987, the Australian National Kennel Council said. Only 62,340 pedigree dogs were registered in 2005, compared with about 97,000 18 years earlier, research done by Burke’s Backyard magazine found.

The first Australian hybrid, a labrador crossed with a poodle – labradoodle – was bred in 1989 to develop a hypoallergenic guide dog.

There’s more . . . .

Golden Sheba and her son Cody both Heroes

Family dogs help save Post Falls woman from house fire
By Annie Bishop / KXLY4 Reporter

POST FALLS — The phrase “man’s best friend” has a little more meaning for one Post Falls family. On Tuesday, the LaFountain home caught fire. Sharon LaFountain was sleeping inside, and the smoke detector didn’t go off. But the actions of the family’s black labrador retriever and golden retriever helped save the house and LaFountain’s life.

Where Sheba goes, Cody isn’t far behind. The golden retriever and black labrador retriever never leave each other, or LaFountain’s side. “Sheba’s actually Cody’s mother,” she says. “They’ve always been companions. They’ve always been there for me, protected me.”

LaFountain rescued Sheba 11 years ago, and on Tuesday Sheba returned the favor. “It did come full circle, didn’t it?” she says. LaFountain wasn’t feeling well, so she laid down on her couch to take a nap. That’s when a heat lamp inside Sheba & Cody’s doghouse, under the porch, caught fire.

Go watch the video here

Golden Joshua Immortalized

Reading dogs immortalized
Artist’s mural depicts Joshua, Brandy, Peppy, who help kids conquer fears

By Ashley Cox, The Times and Photo, Robin Michener Nathan, The Times

Cleveland Veterinary Hospital staff members, from left, Melissa Dowdy and Jackie Benjamin, client Joyce Alves, and staff members Toni Spink, Tara Berghoefer and Debbie Sayne watch Tuesday as Gale Hinton paints a mural that includes their past and present dogs.

Furry friend. Faithful companion. Reading buddy? Dogs long have been hailed as man’s best friend, but three certified therapy dogs from North Georgia are more than that.

Joshua, Brandy and Peppy serve as loving, uncritical listeners for children who practice their reading skills by reading aloud to the dogs. These star reading dogs are part of Read Aloud Chattanooga, a regional nonprofit devoted to getting more children to experience the educational benefits of reading aloud.

One of the organization’s key strategies is increasing childrens’ motivation to read from an early age. “You can make the biggest difference between birth and age 4 or 5,” founder Bill Thurman said.

On Monday and Tuesday, an admiring crowd gathered in the office of White County veterinarian Roy Brogdon Jr. to watch Gale Hinton paint a mural depicting reading dogs.

Read Aloud chose Brogdon’s office for the mural to thank him for taking good care of Josh, Brandy and Peppy and because many people will see it. “We want it to mean something to Dr. Brogdon’s patients and customers,” Thurman said. Hinton, an artist from Knoxville, Tenn., has painted some 50 murals for the organization since its creation in March 2002.

There’s more . . . .

Of course, man’s best friend


Man’s best friend aids in therapy
By Patsy Brilla, The Daily Press

Ani comes to work every Thursday or Friday and participates in client specific treatment regimens, helping motivate the achievement of a wide variety of goals and objectives. Clients often report, “Working with Ani makes me try things I would never have attempted.”Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is the use of specially trained animals and knowledgeable clinicians working together to increase the client’s ability to become more independent and facilitate positive changes in a therapeutic setting. Golden Living Center-Court Manor, Ashland has been very successful with the addition of AAT, or “pet therapy,” along with the established geriatric enhanced modalities, or GEM, program to provide an alternative to the traditional rehabilitation services offered by occupational therapy.

Many different animals are used in AAT. The therapy dog used at Golden Living Center-Court Manor is Ani, a delightful three-year-old golden retriever with an exceptional disposition; she has received her Canine Good Citizenship Award and passed the Therapy Dog Certification Analysis and is a member of Pet and Pals therapy dogs. There are several reasons why AAT has proved to be successful:

• Pets are non-judgmental, forgiving and accepting; they don’t see disabilities like humans, creating a positive safe atmosphere for the therapy session.

• Clients are often fearful of the anticipation of pain and discomfort associated with the rigor and monotony of typical exercise programs. Pets offer a distraction to the pain a client may feel.

• Motivation to participate with human-animal interaction facilitates the process of working toward goals and objectives.

Some of the goals and objectives addressed with the assistance of the therapy dog are increasing flexibility and strength in many areas of the body such as the upper and lower extremities and the cervical and lumbar spine, working on abdominal strengthening and trunk balance required when sitting unsupported, addressing weakness by increasing strength and endurance by grading the activity, increasing fine and gross motor skills and improving standing balance.

Also addressed with the help of the therapy dog are vision deficits, such as visual tracking and scanning. The AAT sessions have also reduced anxiety and stress in many clients. All of this is done in a calming therapeutic setting with the client, a skilled clinician, the therapy dog and her volunteer. Balls with varying textures, sizes, and noises, Frisbees, combs and brushes and weights are some of the items used as the media that the clinician uses with the client, consistently working toward the goals. The clinician documents the progress to meet the requirements of insurance companies.

Happy Ending for Rescue Golden Deuce


Deuce, a rescued puppy, likes to chew on things
Submitted by Niki and Travis Peterson of Ankeny

Deuce is our dog and he is wonderful and we are so lucky that we found him. We rescued him from the Iowa Golden Retriever Rescue in Des Moines. He was a puppy-mill rescue from Missouri. He is a happy-go-lucky 8-month-old pup, and considering his rocky start we were surprised to see that. He loves his sister (our other goldendoodle, Denali), swimming, car rides, anything he can chew on, squeaky toys, and food.

He was taken care of by foster families before we discovered him on the Iowa Golden Retriever Web site. They did a great job caring for him and showing him love, and I believe they are the reason he is as great a puppy as he is. We love him very much and believe he is truly an adoption success story.

Service Golden Max not Welcome

Advocates speak out against district’s service dog ban
By Jennifer Barrios and Carl MacGowan, Newsday Staff Writers

When Mike Steubing was in school, Max was always at his side. Steubing, 18, of Levittown, has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. Max is a golden retriever – and he does a lot more than fetch items for Steubing, whose symptoms have progressively worsened since he first joined up with the dog in sixth grade.

“He helped me with a lot of stuff,” Steubing said of his faithful friend, now semi-retired at 9 years old. “When I was able to walk, he would help me get up. He’d pull me around in the wheelchair.”

Steubing is one of some 10,000 to 12,000 Americans who use a service dog to help in their daily lives because of a disability. He’s among only a handful of people on Long Island to have used a dog in school, and among those, most have reported no problems.

In Farmingdale, a blind teacher has used a guide dog in the classroom for 14 years. In Levittown, two students and a teacher have used service dogs in the last 20 years. Complaints about service dogs barred from public facilities also are unusual. But that hasn’t been the case for John Cave, 14, of Westbury, who recently was barred by East Meadow School District officials from bringing his service dog to school.

Steubing said he was in disbelief over Cave’s case. When Steubing attended Jonas E. Salk Middle School in Levittown, the school even printed an ID card for his pooch. “Max the Dog,” it read, and featured the retriever’s photograph.

“I want to help him,” Steubing said of Cave. “It just makes me so mad. I don’t understand what kind of person would tell somebody they can’t bring their dog to school to help him.”

District versus family
The Cave case has drawn nationwide attention as the deaf boy’s parents and school officials debate the provisions of disabled-rights law. Federal and state laws say public facilities must not discriminate against people using service animals. But East Meadow officials say they have the right to block the dog because of health and safety concerns, and because Cave has full access to the educational program without his dog.

There’s more…….

Missing all that Golden Fur

No more yellow fur to fill the vacuum canister, another collar put away
By Will Sullivan, The Picayune Item Managing Editor

The last load of yellow fur mixed with white should fill the vacuum’s canister soon for we have hung another collar on the hook. Our elderly golden retriever Hunter has, as the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “cross(ed) the bar.” Tennyson wrote the poem about himself and how he would have liked his demise to be greeted. I’m afraid we couldn’t meet his high standards Tuesday, for there was “sadness of farewell” as we said good-bye to our faithful companion and friend of 14 and a half years as she “put out to sea.”

I use Tennyson’s poem because Hunter liked to go to the beach and swim off the seawall in Waveland. She stank to high heaven after those swims, but she loved them so and I think they helped some with the skin irritations she would get from rolling in the grass.

Hunter came to us as a birthday present to our son, Will Pat, when he turned 10. We still had another dog, my old bird dog Molly, back then, but every boy needs his own dog, not that you can really own one when they are a pet. Genie found Hunter in a litter in Florence.

There’s more . . . .

Lending a TRIO of Golden Ears

reads.jpgLending a listening ear – Kids tell stories to dogs at Bloomfield Twp. library
By Ester Allweiss Ingber, Free Press Special Writer

Children taking a Paws to Read at the Bloomfield Township Public Library couldn’t have asked for a better audience than Karly, Kristy and Katie, a trio of huggable golden retrievers. Lounging on blankets and quilts, the dogs surely appreciated every word read to them.

These pets of Debbie Kroger, 50, of Orchard Lake are therapy dogs, certified by Therapy Dogs International. Therapy Dogs tests and registers animals and their handlers, all volunteers, so they can visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools and other institutions.

“Michigan Humane Society offered classes to help us pass” the certification, said Kroger. Assisting her on Dec. 29 — their third visit to the library program — were handlers Gail Copeland, 52, and Keri Adams, 48, both of Orchard Lake. “The volunteers relate well to the children to make this a special experience,” said youth services librarian Susie Barr, who greeted the 20 registered readers.

For their 10-minute session with a dog, most children chose picture books from a cart of canine-themed titles. “We have a couple of funny ones with jokes,” Barr suggested to one boy. “The dogs might like that.”


John Secrest, 6, a kindergartner from Bloomfield Township, happily read his own book he brought from home, “Big and Little.” “Good work, John,” said his father, Paul Secrest, who listened along with Kristy the dog. “John’s reading has progressed since the beginning of the year,” Secrest said. “He recognizes words. He has a good memory.”

Barr said the dogs help inspire children just learning to read. “This is a reinforcing program for new readers,” Barr said.

Katie wagged her tail while Spencer Morris, 9, of Bloomfield Hills read “The Howling Dog.” “I think she liked this story,” said Copeland. Spencer beamed.

There’s more . . .

Heavens to Golden Betsy: GReat Teacher’s Pet

betsy_special_education_classroom.jpgTeacher’s pet – Teacher uses service dog in Mattawa classroom
By Mike Johnston, Daily Record

Betsy, a 50-pound, 2 1/2-year-old golden retriever, climbs into a van every weekday morning at 6:30 in Kittitas for a 40-minute commute with teachers heading to Wahluke School District in Grant County where the dog is an important part of a special education class.

This is Betsy’s second year of work in a 13-student life skills class at Mattawa Elementary School run by Kittitas Valley resident Tracy Arlt of Fairview Road. Her students, ranging in age from 5 to 10 years old, have a variety of physical, mental and developmental disabilities. “Just like all of us, Betsy comes back on the van with us to Kittitas around 4:30 in afternoon pretty tired from her job,” said Tracy, 43, a valley native who came back to the valley in 2004 with her husband and fellow teacher, Richard Arlt, and their four children. “When I got Betsy, I knew she would help the class, but I didn’t realize how much. I’ve seen Betsy help make a huge difference in some kids’ lives.”


One young elementary student with neurological issues came to Tracy’s class in spring 2006 because he was disruptive in a special ed class and needed help controlling his behavior. When he was brought to Tracy’s class he immediately went underneath a table and stayed there. “He was very withdrawn, nonverbal and painfully quiet and shy,” Tracy said. “He would rock back and forth under the table. We sent Betsy under there to be with him.”

Betsy, with her big, wet-brown eyes and soft, warm fur, leaned gently against the boy on the first day. On the second day the boy put his hand on Betsy; on the third day the boy was hugging her; and on the fifth day the boy put his arms around the dog’s neck.

As the dog came out from under the table, the boy did, too. Tracy said the boy learned how to do discipline exercises with the dog, and all this gave the boy confidence and a sense of focus and control in his life. “He’s now in a regular classroom setting,” Tracy said. “It completely turned him around. It was absolutely amazing. Betsy provided a calming, friendly feeling of assurance and acceptance.

Service dogs

Tracy, now into her 15th year of special ed teaching, was at Papa Murphy’s in Ellensburg three years ago and met a woman with a service dog in training. Tracy learned from the woman that such dogs also are trained to help in classrooms and are especially good with disabled children. “I kept thinking I had students who could benefit from a dog like that,” she said.

Tracy, with her interest sparked and her love of animals, went online to research the possibilities. She found a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group called the National Education for Assistance Dog Service, or NEADS. After more research and talks with her principal and reviews by the Wahluke School Board, obtaining a dog was approved. The district in late August 2005 sent Tracy to Boyleston, Mass., for intensive training with Betsy. The district paid for the flights to and from, expenses and the $600 fee for the dog.

Tracy built a strong relationship during this crucial week with Betsy. “All along I’ve received great support from the school district, from staff in my school and from parents and students,” Tracy said. Tracy returned to work a week and a half after school began in September 2005.

The motivator

Betsy is a great motivator in the classroom with her lovable, gentle personality and forgiving attitude when inadvertently roughed up by the kids, Tracy said. Time with the dog helps kids learn to focus, be more still and control their social behavior. Students learn they can have time controlling the dog when they can work to keep themselves in control.

A kid reluctant to practice reading is asked to “read” to Betsy and the student suddenly is motivated. Students struggling with impulse control learn to take turns walking or brushing the dog. In one case, a child not wanting to learn how to roll the wheels of her wheelchair was told she could walk Betsy alongside her wheelchair. The child quickly learned to move her wheelchair. Betsy also brings a calming influence to situations when a child is anxious or physically acting out frustrations.

Tracy is now the state representative for NEADS, a certified trainer of teachers using service dogs and has made presentations about using service dogs at teacher conferences.

There’s more…..

Golden Buckley will remain (and a good thing too I say)

Newcomers flooding the legislature
By Julia C. Martinez, Denver Post Editorial Board

The 66th General Assembly convening Wednesday, will have more newcomers than any legislature since Colorado was granted statehood in 1876. House Speaker Andrew Romanoff says that while the freshman class will mean “fresher thinking and people less wedded to old ways,” there will also be a loss of institutional memory and “the glue that binds us.”

Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald and President pro tem Peter Groff said that a steep learning curve and “feeling-out” period could slow the legislative process. But, added Romanoff: “We’re not complaining. We’re responsible for part of the turnover.” The House will have 24 new members out of 65 (10 Democrats and 14 Republicans). The Senate will welcome three new Democrats and six new Republicans. Democrats have majorities in both chambers.

Treasury pooch stays

Buckley will remain in the Treasurer’s office at the state Capitol, even though his owner, Mike Coffman, is leaving to become secretary of state. That’s the word from Democratic Treasurer-elect Cary Kennedy. Buckley is the 5-year-old golden retriever who has grown up in the Treasurer’s office and was taught office etiquette by administrative assistant Natli Vanderwerken, a bona fide dog trainer. A staffer asked permission to allow the dog to remain, Kennedy said. “As long as there are no objections, Buckley can stay,” Kennedy said. “My own dog, Daisy, won’t be very happy about it. But Buckley is well-loved.”

On a people note, Kennedy appointed assistant attorney general Eric Rothaus to be deputy treasurer. “He doesn’t have an extensive background in finance but he has an extensive background in government and budgets and the appropriations process, as well as legal expertise,” she said.

A Most Heartfelt Tale of Golden Emma

From pup to protector, Emma taught family lessons of love
By Doni Greenberg, Columnist

In 1994, my children and I bought Emma at the old Redding Pet Store. Emma was in a puppy playpen with a passel of her golden retriever siblings. The kids insisted upon Emma, the fattest little fur ball of all the marmalade-colored pups.

The kids argued about who’d hold her. They bickered about whose turn it was to let her sleep with them. They fought over who’d feed her. That lasted about a week. Then I became her caretaker. The kids became her playmates. In return, Emma was their tight-lipped confidant, security guard and escort.

As she grew older, Emma appointed herself our family’s canine comforter when anyone was sick, sad or scared. She hovered close, quiet, as her soft, large body acted as a warm, beating-heart pillow inside a 63-pound, furry Kleenex. She’d stay a long as necessary.

Emma was smart. She was a snap to housebreak. She learned to fetch a newspaper in about 20 minutes. But Emma could also be a brat. She barked at guests’ knocks on the door. She sneaked onto The Forbidden New Couch when our backs were turned. She thumbed her wet nose at us in a way that said our commands were mere suggestions and therefore her obedience was optional.

The kids grew up and moved away. Bruce and I built a house in the country. Emma became a free-range dog. She sniffed, explored and staked her claims, like the leach field studded with hundreds of spring daffodils. Like Bruce’s shop, my backyard sunflower bed, my front-yard herb garden, the back porch, the front porch, the side yard, every inch of acreage behind our house and the whole driveway — circle included.

Thirteen years evaporated. One minute Emma was an exasperating puppy who teethed on chair legs and photo album bindings.The next minute she was a ladylike Emmabelle with white hairs on her snout who only retrieved the paper when the mood struck. Never on Sundays.

It’s as if she thought we needed something to do.

Wednesday she pulled a new trick. She stretched her body in front of Bruce’s truck as he tried to drive away. The next two days Emma seemed lethargic. She refused her food. The veterinarian did tests. Nothing conclusive, he said. She came home. A while later I looked out the window and saw Emma splayed out in an unnatural position in the leach field.

I ran outside in my slippers to Emma’s still body and dropped down on the frigid ground near her. She looked dead. I cried. Emma opened her eyes, thwacked her tail in the dirt but would not budge. I rushed to the house for a sheet to use as a hammock so Bruce and I could carry her back to the house.

There’s more…….

Georgie in Training

Training is a dog’s life
By Jeanne Bracken, Littleton Independent

In the spacious backyard on New Estate Road, behind a modest-looking Cape flying both American and New England Patriots flags, George Wilson Tate is digging a hole.

Homeowners Larry and Lynda Fisher regard him with a mixture of wry amusement and frustration. George Wilson Tate is not following any landscaping plan. He does not distinguish between the grass, still green in this unnatural winter, and the flowerbed where Lynda has planted daffodil bulbs. He’s digging to discover what sort of critter might be hiding under the ground level deck.

That’s because George Wilson Tate, better known as Georgie, is a golden retriever pup. Unlike most dogs that arrive at a home and stay there for many years, Georgie is a “loaner” dog, and the Fishers are “puppy walkers,” who will socialize the rambunctious youngster before he begins his training as a guide dog for a blind person.

There’s more……

Meet Golden Gina

gina07.jpgGina made it to the Top 10 Animal-Related Stories Of 2006, written by Alicyn Leigh for the Long Island Press. She was number 7:

A Truly Golden Retriever
This heartwarming story was about Debbie Poznack-Olsen, a licensed veterinary technician and volunteer for Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue, Inc. (LIGRR) of Huntington Station, who took in a severely injured dog named Gina that was a victim of a hit and run. LIGRR rescued Gina after the accident and got her the medical attention she needed. Two miracles came true: Gina survived the trauma, and Poznack-Olsen, who was only supposed to foster Gina, decided to give the lucky pup a forever loving home since she has the skills to help a critical-care pet. Gina is still disabled, but lives an incredibly happy life playing with her two new sisters, also golden retrievers, thanks to all who helped her.

Oh, Gina, you sweet dear, you remind me of Golden Polar.


Gina has her own story page at the Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue site, with lots of wonderful photos.gina17.jpg

From LIGRR: Gina is a one year old female. She was found along the side of the road. She had been hit by a car. She was taken to an animal hospital, and was scheduled to be euthanized that evening. The veterinarian called us to see if we would be willing to take this sweet and gentle baby. We agreed and took her to a neurologist who confirmed that she had a spinal cord injury. Everything that can be done for this dog is being done. The surgeon feels that she has a very good chance of regaining the use of her legs. Her medical bill is quite high. At the moment she needs a quiet home in which to recuperate, financial support and your good thought. If you can, please reach out to Gina in any way that you can.

gina19.jpgWe have been offered a donation of a cart from Doggon’ Wheels. They have been very nice and very generous. She has found a foster home where she is enjoying swimming and home cooked meals. She feels loved and feels like she belongs there. She is still struggling with some medical problems and has a bed sore which needs attention, but is making great progress. Her medical bills are mounting. Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue continues to accept donations on her behalf.

From Debbie: Just a quick update on Gina. She has gained about 13 lbs in the last few months and her bed sore is just about healed, however we are still fighting this chronic bladder infection. The doctor just started her on an injectable antibiotic along with subcutaneous fluids which we are hoping will work. Gina is also receiving hydrotherapy and acupuncture for her hind legs. She is now starting to show some improvement. She is truly an inspiration and such a joy to have in our home and with our family. Please keep her in your prayers. Gina enjoys her therapy and is working hard to get better. We thought you would like these pictures of her in the water!

You can donate by clicking here

A Golden Princess


The princess of Lighthouse Point – Samantha, Princess of Lighthouse Point
By Judi McLeod, Canada Free Press

One of the joys of living in our new Collingwood digs is the splendid boardwalk that runs at the back of the house. The boardwalk, surrounded by trees, fields and marshland, more than two miles from start to finish, is a bonus for dog walkers at Lighthouse Point.

There are dogs of all ages and breeds out on the boardwalk in rain or shine. There’s Bear, whose sight and hearing are not the same now that he’s in his dotage, but his human companion, Harold treats him like a beloved pup. There’s the unbelievable cute and clever, Gracie, a Coton de Tulear taken for walks by the humorous Bob. But the one dog that seems to take most delight in daily gambols on the boardwalk is a heart fetching Golden Retriever, known to one and all as, Samantha.

The archly ladylike Samantha truly suits her somewhat sophisticated name. Here since her nuzzled-in puppy days, Samantha has grown the same way she gambols the boardwalk, in delighted leaps and bounds.

All outsized paws and thumping tail in her gangly puppyhood, it didn’t take Samantha long to claim young ladyship. Although she hasn’t yet moved to pearls and perfume, almost overnight, the somersaults of a clumsy pup were replaced by a sleek, sophisticated Queen of the Prom.

At our house, watching from the windows, we call Samantha the “Princess of the Point”. Everyone who comes her way out on the boardwalk, falls in love with this big-eyed miss. Samantha, who triples Canada Free Press mascot, Prince Kiko, weighing in at all of 14 pounds, seems to know she must be gentle with playful smaller dogs.

Samantha’s human companions, Bruce and Stacey take their growing girl for plenty of long walks. On those occasions when Kiko is out and Samantha is not, the retriever renders heartbreaking calls from her window sentry.

So patient is she for a glimpse of Kiko, she’s often still there when he comes prancing back past Samantha’s from his two-mile jaunts.

There’s more…..

Golden Max is June Calendar Star


Family counts its blessings despite dad’s disease
Two Weston boys whose lives have been changed forever by their dad’s illness are featured on a calendar

By Jennifer Cohen, The Miami Herald

BROTHERS: John Lore Jr., left, and Will of Weston show off their picture in the 2007 Children’s Faces of ALS calendar. Their father, John, is in the final stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Every night when he came home from work, John Lore would get down on the floor and play with his sons, John Jr., 11, and Will, 9. He’d swing them in the air, carry them on his shoulders and bound around the house. Today, Lore, of Weston, spends his days in bed or in a wheelchair, unable to move or speak. He is in the final stages of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis. It is fatal.

There’s more……