Afternoons with Puppy … A new Must-Have Book!

pupp.jpgAfternoons with Puppy: Inspirations from a Therapist and His Animals is Dr. Aubrey H. Fine’s newest publication (Nov 2007), his seminal book on animal-assisted therapy, Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practice, now in its second edition.

Dr. Fine, a licensed psychologist and professor at California State Polytechnic U, is an internationally renowned export on Animal-Assisted Therapy.

The praise for Professor Fine’s newest book is quite extensive . . . and telling. And, truly, it would be hard for me to improve upon the magical words of authors Dean Koontz & Susan Chernak McElroy, or that of Dr. Marty Becker, who provides the book’s foreword. The book is described this way:

The inspirational stories in Afternoons with Puppy are all about recovery. Dr. Fine’s journey with his animals have enriched the lives of many patients. The subtle interactions, the soft touches, the silent signals of Fine’s unique therapeutic process have led to awe-inspiring successes.

Afternoons with Puppy is a compelling story of discovery the discovery of a brilliant process of learning and relearning from therapist to patient to animal. Within the pages, Fine reveals how more than twenty years of continual engagement has uncovered new paths, connected hope and healing, and renewed meaning and purpose.


I must admit that this book had quite special meaning for me, and much of its reflections could have come from my own experiences in utilizing my Goldens through private practice work with children. And, I read it cover to cover and was captivated throughout. Dr. Fine is a wonderful storyteller, which has surely enabled him to be an incredible therapist.

This is a must-have book that will be enjoyed by dog lovers and non dog lovers alike.

The video below features Pet Talk Radio’s Kaye Browne and Professor Aubrey Fine, who talks about his new Afternoons With Puppy book.


Helping our important War Dogs

lemish.jpgA while back, I heard from Mike Lemish, a fellow Golden lover as you can see, pictured here with his guy Sedona. Mike is the official Historian for the Vietnam Dog Handler Association (VDHA).

The VDHA was organized in 1993 by a group of six veteran war dog handlers that served during the Vietnam Conflict. One of their original goals was to never give up the search to re-unite veteran war dog handlers and honor the memory of their war dog partners. As a result, the group has grown from six to almost 3000 members.

war.jpgMike is the author of the seminal war dog book, “War Dogs: A History of Loyalty and Heroism“. This book was originally published in 1996 and tells the history of the U.S. K-9 Corps. Now in paperback, War Dogs provides an eye-opening look at unsung canine heroes from World War I to the present. Terriers, shepherds, beagles, collies, huskies, and Dobermans are only a few of the breeds that have pulled sleds, searched caves and bunkers, and even parachuted into combat. Mike has collected true stories and rare photos that reflect the strong bonds that have formed between war dogs and their masters as they worked together in dangerous situations.

Mike is finishing up my second book with the working title “Forever Forward: K-9 Operations in Vietnam 1960-1972“. This is not just about Vietnam but also tells about the continuing effort to educate the public about military working dogs so that they receive proper recognition. Although not a military dog handler, he is proud to be part of the group that persuaded the government to enact a law to allow citizens to adopt retired military dogs (not done since the close of WWII).

I told Mike about my foundation’s cancer treatment grant for working dogs and he sent in an article to DOGMAN, a bimonthly publication by the Vietnam Dog Handler Association, Inc. Well, an article appears in their April 2008 issue. Check us out (on page 3).

Compassion Care Center

I sure wish there was one of these hospitals near me. Getting to stay with your dog following surgery has actual physiological benefits for your dog and certainly psychological benefits for you. Click below to see a video of this incredible concept in action in Long Island, NY. It showcases a story about 9-year-old Golden Retriever Mozart who was having surgery for cancer. Listen to what Mozart’s dad says about his boy.

Golden Retriever Cubby’s tale will touch your heart

This 16-week-old pup is going to be seen by a University of California, Davis, surgeon to repair his front legs, which have missing or curved bones. One leg will be amputated to strengthen the other so he can support his weight.

Click here to learn about how sweet he truly is and how no one, including his birth mom and siblings, have abandoned him.

Convicted Felon Scott Shields outsmarts the system again



Sentencing for convicted federal felon Scott Shields WAS slated for June 27, 2008 at 4pm. Scott was to appear before US District Judge Robert Sweet in courtroom 18c (United States Courthouse: 500 Pearl St., Room 1920, New York, NY 10007).

Well, that is no longer the case. From shortly after 9/11 to now October 14, 2008, the man will remain free on bond as he awaits sentencing.

For some unidentified reason, Scott’s attorney has been terminated and now a new attorney (Joel Stein) has been assigned. As a consequence, the sentencing date has been moved to October 14, 2008. Sadly, it seems like closure will never come.

My disability keeps me homebound much of the time so I’d love to hear from anyone who believes they may be in the courtroom for this long-awaited event. This is the preliminary control date for sentencing so I will be trying to confirm the final date when it does become available. I will not be surprised if it takes place even later than the end of June.

Obviously, those wheels of justice, turn very, very slowly. And, you know what that means? Through his bogus nonprofit foundation, Scott is left for almost 3 months to swindle more folks, tell his lies to more innocent children, and whatever else he does to support himself in his expensive Princeton townhouse (despite not working one day since before 9/11).

Please, just imagine how much money he has taken in through his foundation to have allowed such a lifestyle all this time. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

You can catch up on this Golden Retriever abusing con-artist by clicking here.

Puppy Mill Problems

I recently got this letter from Debbie Clause in Wall, NJ about a troubling situation in her area.

We have all seen the results of these puppy mills as we get the dogs into rescue. Below is a copy of a mail flyer that has gone out to all the Puppy Mills in Pennsylvania.

I received this information regarding a store wanting to purchase puppies from Puppy Mills in Lancaster, Pa. and I am hoping you can help by spreading the word and assisting a large group who are sickened by this.

WE, the golden dog, animal, rescue community must act quickly while the stories featured on Oprah are fresh in every ones mind and heart. We need to educate this gentleman, and also contact our government representatives as soon as possible.

PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION TO ANY AND ALL GROUPS YOU HAVE CONTACT WITH. I have no other information at this time. I just became aware of the pending store opening.

Please contact me at 732-280-7296 and I will provide you with any additional information as I receive and verify it.

Golden Retriever Roxi cured of her blindness

Golden Roxi, dying and blind, was given a last opportunity to see, thanks to a veterinarian who has figured out why some dogs suddenly go blind. This ScienCentral News video explains.

Here is Roxi’s Story from ScienCentral News.

Last summer, Mark Cheslen noticed that his dog Roxi was having trouble playing fetch at the local lake. Soon, Roxi’s vision deteriorated “to the point where she couldn’t see anything straight ahead, to the point that we’d walk out of the room and she’d still be looking up just to think we were still there,” Chelsen says.

The vet’s diagnosis: a degenerative retinal disease with no known cure.

That’s a hard answer for any pet owner to hear, and for Chelsen, more bad news was coming. Over the next few months, his nine-year old golden retriever also was found to have a brain tumor and a lung problem that eventually caused her death this past winter.

But during Roxi’s last weeks, Chelsen did have a source of comfort: Roxi could see.

Under the care of researcher and veterinary ophthalmologist Sinisa Grozdanic at Iowa State University, Roxi was the first dog to receive an experimental treatment for her retinal degeneration disease, a condition which can afflict dogs of any age. Grozdanic says after that the treatment, Roxi “pretty much recovered the vision to the point of a healthy dog.”

Mark Chelsen says that as Roxi passed away, she “watched us as if to say good bye. Imagine if she could not see.”

Grozdanic cautions that Roxi’s result may not be typical. But in her case at least, the result of the eye treatment was dramatic. “If somebody told me that this is possible, a month ago, I would say that it’s just a pure lie,” says Grozdanic.

According to Grozdanic, Roxi suffered from a newly recognized disease called Immune Mediated Retinopathy, or IMR. As Grozdanic and colleagues wrote in the journal “Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice,” they recently discovered the cause of this disease, and a similar condition—called Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, or SARDS. IMR and SARDS are autoimmune diseases in which the body produces antibodies that attack retinal tissue.

Grozdanic says dogs with IMR or SARDS lose their vision suddenly. “You have a dog which is perfectly normal, visual, happy, catching Frisbees on a nice afternoon. And the next morning you have a completely blind dog which is bumping into everything in the house” he says. “You really do not have any advanced warning signs.”

From Blind to Seeing in One Shot?
IMR and SARDS are not the only causes of sudden blindness in dogs, but dogs that do have these diseases now have cause for hope. Whereas in the past, veterinarians had no treatments or explanations to offer such patients, Grozdanic now knows what’s causing the loss of vision, and he’s had some success by treating patients with steroids or a human protein called immunoglobulin. These drugs can suppress the autoimmune attack, but when delivered to the whole body, they can cause side effects such as liver damage.

With Roxi, Grozdanic tried something new: injecting a combination of immunoglobulin and steroids directly into Roxi’s worse eye. This direct delivery prevents the drugs from damaging other organs, and with Roxi at least, Grozdanic says “she really responded excellently.”

Roxi regained vision in the treated eye, and Grozdanic and Chelsen had discussed treating her other eye. But at the same time, Roxi’s breathing was also getting worse, and she did not have long to live.

In her last weeks, with her eyesight back, Roxi was able to enjoy some of her old habits. Shortly before Roxi’s death, Chelsen said, “The other day she went and chased a squirrel, and she hasn’t done that forever.”

Grozdanic was able to determine the cause of SARDS and IMR by analyzing donated canine eye tissue, and that information helped him determine what treatments to try. The donated tissue came from a dog who, during his life, also suddenly went blind. Chelsen says the generosity of that pet’s owner motivated him to have Roxi undergo the experimental treatment. “We’ve got a lot of eyesight…because of that woman,” he says. “Why not carry this on?”

In dogs who received steroids or immunoglobulin by the old method—the treatments delivered all over the body rather than just in the eye—results were less dramatic. Still, for dogs, whose other senses help them cope, Grozdanic says even modest recovery of retinal activity is a great help. “I mean, there is no vision at all, and even if we get five percent, for a dog, that can mean a lot in terms of improving quality of life, and that’s our goal. Everything that we get above that basic five percent is great,” he says.

Although both blindness diseases—SARDS and IMR—are characterized by sudden blindness, they differ in their mechanism. In SARDS patients, antibodies are produced only in the eyes, while in IMR patients, they’re produced throughout the body. In the past, SARDS was recognized but the cause was unknown. Now that Grozdanic has published his discovery of what’s causing SARDS and IMR, he’ll continue testing the intraocular injection that showed promise with Roxi.

Grozdanic says his work may have implications for a subset of people who lose their vision. “If intraocular application may be something which would help dogs, that may be a way to go in the humans. And avoid all possible side effects of other types of the therapies which are currently used,” says Grozdanic.

Grozdanic’s collaborator, Randy Kardon, Director of Neuro-Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, says that in humans, blindness of autoimmune origin is often associated with cancer, a devastating combination for any patient.

“You can just imagine how bad it is for somebody to get diagnosed with cancer and then to go blind, maybe a few months after being diagnosed,” says Grozdanic. “If this approach really continues to work in a safe manner in the dogs, some of these things will easily be applied to humans. At least I believe so. And that can be a huge breakthrough for treatment of humans,” he says.

Roxi has left behind hope that loss of vision may be reversible for some. But that’s not all.

“She brought so much joy to everybody’s life,” says Chelsen, who recalls taking Roxi to visit his mother-in-law at a nursing home. “Everybody would be like, ‘Where’s Roxi?’ It’s not ‘Hi Mark’ but ‘Where’s Roxi?’” he says.

He adds, “Life was her party. It was always, ‘Thanks for coming.’”

This research by was published in Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, March 2008, and funded by the Veterans Health Administration and Iowa State University. Sinisa Grozdanic, Matthew Harper, and Helga Kecova are the authors.

In Florida, Golden Retriever Sophie needs some foster family help

Hi! My name is Sophie. You might recognize me for my brief time on the Adoptions page. My luck was already bad, and it just got worse, so now I’ve been moved here to tell you more about my story.

My neglectful owners, who allowed over 600 ticks to feed off me for a long time, decided to finally give me up. When EGRR took me in, they immediately saw past the ticks and awful shaving job these people had left me with, and saw the real me: a sweet, happy, loves-everyone-and-everything, beautiful, housebroken Golden Girl of 7 years and 8 months.

The nice Doctor Butzer at Clint Moore Animal Clinic treated me for the ticks, but it turned out I have been suffering from Lyme’s disease as a result of the awful ticks. The good news was that Lyme’s disease is easily treated, and so I was already looking for a better home to spend the rest of my life.

The bad news is that because of the lenghty time I was allowed to suffer Lyme’s without treatment, my kidneys are in really bad shape. This means I can’t look for a regular forever home anymore, so EGRR wanted us to put up a “WANTED AD” to find a special forever home. They say my days are counted, so I would need hospice foster care. I don’t get it, I feel just fine now! I wag my tail at everyone, am sweet and gentle and happy, love my special food for kidney problems…

Anyway, here’s the deal: I am not going to live as long as I wanted to. Dr. Butzer says I have:

  • 10% chance of living a normal life span (10-12 years for a Golden)
  • 80% chance of living another year
  • 10% chance of dying in the near future

Are you up for it?

I need a foster home who can commit to loving me and caring for me, and then being strong enough to let me die. I know that’s not an easy thing to ask of a human who loves dogs, but surely there is such a human out there! It might be best if I am in hospice foster care in a home without children. The poor little ones might have a much tougher time than you would.

All I need is a warm, cozy, loving place to continue to be happy, to receive my Lyme’s disease medication and special food (all medical expenses and special food will be paid for by EGRR), and to watch me until…it’s time. I may at some point cease to be as happy and strong as I am now. I may start feeling sad, sick, lose weight, and stop enjoying life as much as I do now. That would be the time for us to say goodbye so that I don’t suffer so much in the end.

Dr. Butzer wants all you potential foster parents out there to know that he will be glad to speak with you if you’re interested in taking me in. He’ll be happy to explain in more detail what it would mean to take care of me for the rest of my days.

Please call EGRR at 954-748-3507 and apply for the “Very Special Foster Home” position (tell them Sophie sent you).

And, you can click here to learn more about fostering.

Golden Retriever Daisy & her 10 kids 4 weeks later!


This is Daisy, a darling girl from South Wales. Her favorite pastime is swimming, of course, as you can see here. We have been following a story of Daisy as she was just due to deliver a huge litter.

We last shared the photos below that show the pups at 4 days of age.

We just received the following note and photos from Graham, who is one exhausted dog dad. Please notice how tired Mom Daisy looks and how carefree Dad Ollie appears. Those men have it sooooooooooooo easy!

Well, they’re almost 4-weeks-old now and are being weaned off their mum and onto solid food. They are now being fed 4 times a day and are growing at an alarming rate at this stage! The white fleece blankets have been replaced with sawdust and it is much easier to keep the puppies clean this way – phew!

Anyway here’s a pic of them when they were 21 days old feeding for almost the last time off their mother Daisy. I think she’s quite relieved lol.

A Golden Retriever Good Samaritan

Dillon, this sweet 11-year-old Golden Retriever, suddenly collapsed while playing. His mom was frantic. And, as fate has it, a fellow dog lover was driving by when she saw this sad story unfold. Well, it turns out this psychotherapist from Delray Beach saved Dillon’s life Sunday. The ending is not a totally happy one, though, as it was discovered that Dillon has hemangiosarcoma with a predicted lifespan of only 4-6 months more.

But Dillon’s mom cannot dwell on that. She is happy to have her boy right now, and surely, he will be lavished with love every moment more that he remains by her side.

National Service Dog Eye Exam Day

The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) in association with Pet Health Systems, will host an unprecedented event in veterinary medicine the week of May 12, 2008. Over 140 board certified veterinary ophthalmologists will provide FREE eye exams to America’s Service Dogs. Pet Health Systems will provide a FREE lifestyle assessment, a biochemical profile, and complete blood count through their Pet Wellness Report and primary care veterinarians. It is anticipated that through these efforts Service Dog Health can be improved and potential disease averted.

Qualifying Service Dog groups include: guide dogs, mobility assistance dogs, detection dogs, and search & rescue dogs. Dogs must be active ‘working dogs’ that were certified by a formal training program or organization or currently enrolled in a formal training program to qualify. The certifying organization could be national, regional or local in nature. Essentially the dogs need to have some sort of certification and/or training paperwork to prove their status as a working Service Dog to participate in this year’s program.

Click on the image above to see a video about this special event

Click here for the steps to participate and to Register

“Doctor” Golden Retriever Sonny … a medical degree for $450!

It seems there is a satirical TV program on Australian television called The Chaser’s War on Everything. One of the members, Chas Licciardello, has a Golden named Sonny. Well, this group takes on many issues, in a comical way, of course, and last year took on Internet Degrees.

Chas actually obtained an Ashwood University medical diploma for his Golden Retriever, Sonny, it arriving one week after $450 was paid. Wikipedia notes that the University is located “in a California strip mall” while “all diplomas are mailed from Pakistan.”

In completing the “work experience” part of the application for the diploma, they listed “has eaten out of hospital rubbish bin for 5 years (35 dog years) and has significant proctology experience sniffing other dog’s bums”.

The academic transcript, reportedly given together with the diploma, listed that Sonny got grades A in “Immunology”, “Zoo Preceptorship” and “Medical Bacteriology” and an A- in “Oral Communication & Presentation Skills”.

This video is simply hysterical.

Golden Retriever Guide Dog-in-Training Winnie debuts

In October of 2006 we initially brought you the story about Golden Retriever Fisher. On August 18, 2006, training to be a guide dog, he made a guest appearance on the CBS Your Desk webcast. You can see the video webcast by clicking here.

Well, Fisher washed out of the program due to allergies, but his dad now gets to call him his own. And, Fisher is now training a new upstart named Winnie. She is adorable and seems so sweet, as all Golden puppies do, of course. Check out the whole story at Golden Fisher’s Blog!

To see a gorgeous 43-photo slide show of adorable Winnie, just click on the photo above.

To see some fun videos of Winnie’s debut and Fisher getting to play with his new sister-in-training, just check out the links below.

Welcome to Winnie Cam

Winnie attends to her Newsroom Duties

Winnie and Fisher play Chase