Hi! My name is Rochelle Lesser and this is Golden Darcy. I am a School Psychologist (now on a disability retirement), engaged in Animal-Assisted Therapy. Founder of the nonprofit 501(c)(3), Land of PureGold Foundation, we are developing creative media (Gotta Dance Documentary) that embraces the human-canine bond to fund research in comparative oncology. We currently provide monies for cancer treatment for working dogs through our grant program, as well as fund research in comparative oncology.

The Land of PureGold Foundation became a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit corporation in February 2005. This allows for current donations to be tax deductible. The formation of our organization follows a span of seven years that the Landofpuregold.com has been a presence on the web, supporting and engaging in various charitable endeavors and providing numerous educational activities to promote the human-canine bond. We have personally seen this special healing power, time and time again, and have felt such joy as we continue to celebrate the wonders of The Bond. And, this 1,000+ page website is clearly testimony to this celebration.

It was Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s belief that until man could extend his circle of compassion to include all living things, he himself would find no peace. For, while animals may not be our whole life, they do much to make our lives whole. Yet–how often do we take the time to understand and embrace the power and wonder that happens between animals and people? And, do we truly appreciate the healing power that animals have on humans and the happiness and sense of well being that they engender?

According to Dr. Marty Becker, “Our pets lend a touch of grace to our lives. They teach us the real meaning of unconditional love and bring out the kindest and most generous impulses of humanity.” And, Dr. Allen Schoen speaks to the premise that “Far from a luxury, pets are now recognized as a necessity–friends who fortify us daily with their gifts of love, loyalty and laughter.”

Our foundation’s mission is to support and promote responsible dog care and ownership as well as respectful and consistent training practices–the love shared between mankind and dogs so engendering a mutual strength and healing power. We are therefore endeavoring to maintain and extend that purest of relationships. However, the magnitude of the problem with cancer is huge. In the general population, one in three persons are developing cancer, this same rate of occurrence taking place in our companion animals. And, sadly, over 45% of dogs older than 10 years of age are dying of the disease, as cancer is the leading cause of death in this age group.

While we are embracing the latest in canine cancer treatment regimens, the costs for such treatment are often beyond the means of many pet owners, and especially those who are disabled and have working dog partners. To address this problem, we provide grants for cancer treatment for our important working dog population.


36 thoughts on “about

  1. Hi Rochelle,

    Your new site looks FAB, the pics you have chosen are just beautiful, and I am sure I am not the only person who appreciates all the time and effort that you put into it to ensure that all us GOLDEN LOVERS can be kept up-to-date with the latest GOLDEN NEWS all over the world, so thank you Rochelle from all the Scottish GOLDEN LOVERS in Scotland UK.

    Tracey (Toby’s Mum)

  2. I love your new site. Your pictures are all so wonderful, and I truly appreciate all of your hard work. I am the proud mommy of a beautiful 7-year old golden named Tucker, and my husband and I absolutely love goldens. Your blog is set as my homepage, so I enjoy a smile everytime I open the internet and see your beautiful pictures. 🙂

  3. I love having folks like you. My blog is meant to be the way to begin the day. But, I add entries to it throughout the day as well so that folks can check in and hopefully find something new.

    I love the name Tucker. My Alfie is 7 as well, his birthday being May 31st.

  4. I’m a licensed realtor on Long Island. Last night a severely hearing impaired man and his sister came in looking for an apartment. He is currently in a basement, which is all they can afford. Their concern is escape in a fire. He is very sweet and lonely. I asked if they had pursued a dog for the hearing impaired. His sister said he always wanted a pet. They don’t have a computer. Can you provide me with phone numbers/websites I could pursue to get them started? I don’t normally do things like this, but he really touched my heart. Kind Regards, Sue M. Chapman

  5. Hi there! I’m Amber-Mae, the Miss K9 Malaysia 2007! I saw the news & pictures of me in your blog so I thought I’d just say HI to you! It’s nice to meet you! Let me introduce myself here a little bit…

    I’m a purebred Golden Retriever, almost 1year 8mths & I live with my other two unrelated sistas, Faith the pretty Dalmatian(1 year plus) & Chloe Grace, the rescued Golden(1 year plus). I’ve been OB trained since the age of 3mth & I’m now in Intermediate. I’ve just started to learn tricks a few months ago. In November last year to be exact. I learn new tricks fast. Easy ones around 10 min harder ones, between 20 to 30 mins. I’m a fast learner actually & pick up things real fast! I’ve just learned to retrieve my dumbell. Gosh, I can’t tell you much I hate that plastic thingy… But I like to please my mommy(Melissa), so I’ll do it eventho I hate it so much!

    I started doing musical freestyle last year. I’ve performed in public four times already & I’ve just learned my new dance routine. This Sunday in Malaysia, I live in Malaysia by the way, we’re having a dog carnival. It’s by puppy.com again & guess what? I’m picked to do a dance demo on that day! You can’t imagine how impress people can be seeing me groovin with my mommy. Malaysians have never seen anything like this before. There’s only two dancing dogs in Malaysia. Well that will be ME & the other one is Groovy, the JRT. You can visit his blog at http://www.groovydogsjustwannahvfun.blogspot.com/. He’s the first dog in Malaysia to dance before I came along… My mommy actually got inspired by Carolyn Scott & Rookie & that was how she actually started to start on this weird sport too. They both are really awesome! I think you know both of them too, right?

    Anyway, my human brother will be taking a video of me dancing on Sunday. Hopefully, it won’t be too hot on that day coz you know, WE Goldens just can’t take the sun. Altho I’m not as fast & agile as Rookie(due to my hip prob & my bulky body & weight), I still look good dancing! Hahaha! I’m LOVE balls a lot! That’s my motivator. I can’t do anything without my ball… Nu-uh! That day I’ll be dancing for about 2min to a song by Shania Twain “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”

    I’ve also been hired to do a Johnson & Johnson TV commercial. Just recently actually… I got paid(well, actually my humans) got paid quite a lot but untill today, I’m still waiting for a copy of it. *Sigh* I’m quite a well-known Golden in Malaysia! You can visit my bloggy too… I have alot of doggie friends in blogger.

    Anyway, it was nice meeting you! Hope to see you in my bloggy soon! Say HI to me yeah? Ciaoz for now!

    Love licks,
    Solid Gold Dancer

  6. Hey Rochelle, you go girl!

    Finally a website where you have combined my two fave-rite passions! Golden Retrievers and peace in Iraq! Olbermanny was right on target! As soon as we get Bush out of office we can get started on the other important issues. Like backing PETA and allowing canine same-sex marriages! Plus, while we’re at it, we need to push for desegragation betwen cats and dogs in kennels—seriously this is a problem. Keep up the politcal fight and don’t let them crazy conservatives get to ya. “Talk to the hand, cuz my tree-huggin’ face don’t understand!”

  7. Libbey, I am living dangerously when I post things such as this. You just don’t want to see some of the posts that come my way. But, my blog is not merely dog fluff. It is a blog about life and my attitudes about it. Although I believe our world is made so much better by the deeds of its furry members, that does not preclude my also having opinions on the critical nature of various national and international issues. We do not live in a vacuum.

  8. Dear Rochelle:

    Thank you for your site. My name is Randolph. I am a Labrador retriever and the main character and narrator of the book from Random House above (A Dog About Town). The book has been chosen as a Mystery Guild and Literary Guild featured selection and many pet owners and groups are raving about the book. I thought I should introduce myself to you because I am part of a mystery series and hope to be around for a while and also because my book delves into many of the areas that you are interested and exploring in your work.

    A Dog About Town is a mystery set in New York City (the start of a series) and is also quite funny. It has been hard work for this dog to get the word out to those who value mystery writing and who love dogs, but as I have said people who have read A Dog About Town really like it, including Lisa Guidarini who had this to say (there are other reviews below):

    “A mystery narrated by a Labrador retriever. Alright, sounds a little off-beat if that’s all you knew about it, but imagine a character with a mix between the logic of Sherlock Holmes and the human failings of Dr. Watson. That’s what we have in Randolph, the narrator of the first in this series of mysteries by J.F. Englert.

    Writing from a dog’s perspective (an intelligent, Dante-loving dog at that), allows for an interesting take on humans. Looking at the things we do through the eyes of another species is occasionally very funny, and Englert’s very clever in that way. Randolph, not being your standard dog, sometimes disdains even the things dogs do naturally, discriminating between dogs who relieve themselves just anywhere, and dogs like himself who prefer the sanctity of sheltering bushes.”

    I would have emailed you directly but could not find an email on the site. Please help get the word out about A Dog About Town to those who care about my kind! J.F. Englert would be happy to send a copy of A Dog About Town to you for your enjoyment. Thank you.


  9. It’s a very nice book. My Lab read it and recommended it to me. It’s also positively reviewed on WoofSpace.com.

  10. ‘Twas the week before Christmas and all thru the house,
    we hoped for Fosters, even a mouse.

    Me ready for cocktails and Lucky for dinner,
    our transport Angel called with two winners.

    And what to our wondering eyes should appear,
    One beautiful Golden and one filthy, matted old dear.

    The baby named Joseph set to marking about,
    While Mary sat matted staring in doubt.

    The transport Angel and I gave her the once over,
    Mats, fleas and filth were all we could discover.

    I’m a Golden lover, not a groomer at all,
    VIP Angel and I agreed the mats made her skin crawl.

    So I set about to cutting mats an hour or so,
    Mary not flinching when I saw her raw torso.

    A bath in Dec. is not my cup of tea,
    But I donned a swimsuit and ignored the degree.

    Soaping up Mary there arose such a clatter,
    It was obvious then she had never seen lather.

    Now we are dry and warm, cuddled together,
    Mary, Joseph and Lucky out of the weather.

    While Mary now has a place to lay her head,
    Joseph is peeing all over my bed!

    Merry, Mary Christmas,

    Lynn, Lucky ,Mary and Joseph

  11. This is a wonderful site! We have 2 dogs. A 12 yr.old Golden, “Fleetwood” and a golden retriever mix “Jack” who you could say was a rescue. My son found him running down the street, flea infested so badly that he had bites all over his little body. He has become part of our family (now 2 yrs) and is by my side day and night. I swear he knows everything I say. My older golden still runs and plays with him and at present we will be bringing a new golden puppy, “Koda” into the mix in February. They truly are remarkable souls. Livingston Taylor’s song “There you are again pretty much sums it up for me.” We lost our 14 yr old Chesapeake Bay Retrieve, “Ginger” to cancer last June. She could barely get up and would not eat in the end. The bond you can have with dogs is the truest form of love…I believe. I would be very incomplete without my buddies. How can I become involved/volunteer. Dogs are a passion of mine. They give so much and expect nothing but love in return.

  12. Rochelle! I came across your site when searching for articles about goldens used in therapy, and noticed you had posted an article about me and Annie, a sweet golden girl I trained for a Hospice here in Kentucky. Your background is incredible, and no doubt with your psychology background you understand all the value these wonderful dogs can add to our lives. Annie is one of 6 goldens I have rescued and trained – one for a lady in a wheelchair, three for hospital work, one as a companion to a developmentally disabled girl, and Annie. Sadly, one of the dogs I trained succumbed to cancer a year after his training :(, but while he was with me, he made a lot of patients happy.
    I’m now reading the book called “The Golden Bridge” about using them with autistic children, written by a lady with Northern Star, an organization that raises and trains goldens for special children.

    It may interest you to know Annie started seeing patients last week and is doing beautifully! She’s a good girl and is helping a lot of patients and their families. A follow up article was done in the Richmond Register on Monday, April 7th.

    Thanks for spreading the word about these wonderful dogs!

  13. Jo, it is wonderful to hear from you. I am so glad you have provided a fuller story to go with that marvelous photo of you and Annie. Please let me know the link for the new article so that I can post a follow-up.

    And, thanks for doing the wonderful job you do of training these wonderful souls, who do so much to brighten so many lives.



  15. Hi Rochelle,

    In Nov 2007 my 11 yr old golden retriever, Justin, presented with grand mal seizures and was diagnosed with 2 meningiomas (benign brain tumors). We went thru quite a trying path for several months including phenobarbitol, prednesone, stereotactic radiation and then severe, acute pancreatitis. The good news is that 7 months after his radiation treatment, Justin is off all meds, seizure free (knock on wood) and doing great!

    Our vet has suggested posting our experience to share with other owners going through similar situations.

  16. Thanks Rochelle.

    For those interested, Justin went for stereotactic radiation at the University of Gainesville in Florida. With this type of radiation they are able to shrink the tumor in one session rather than the 18 over 6 weeks that traditional radiation requires. (It does require a special MRI and that you be there all week.) No burning side effects at all. To my knowledge there are only 2 places in the country that perform this procedure, Gainesville being one of them. The cost is about the same (maybe slightly more) than traditional. For us it worked out very nicely and was only 2 anesthesias vs 18.

  17. Hi Rochelle,
    I came across this website while trying to research my 11 year old golden retreiver Jasmine health issues. I was so sad to hear about Rookie. I had taped a segment of Rookie from the live with Regis show and used to show it at my dog obedience classes just to show what other fun things people could so with their dogs.
    I wanted to post Jasmine’s situation because I have had dogs my whole life and all goldens since 1992 but had never heard of what happened to Jasmine. My old vet(I leave in a small town and vet care is not the same as the city)did all kinds of blood work,xrays ,etc and couldn’t find out what her problem was. Well we travel to Santa Barbara ever year to go to a big fundraiser called the Big Dog Parade followed by a Canine festival right off the beach. There are approximately 3,000 dogs and their owners dressed in costume. It’s so fun and for a great cause. Well we usually stay a week for vacation. We took Jasmine to the beach,she walked a few steps and stopped. We said let’s go back to the bed and breakfast and let her rest. Once we got to the room,I noticed Jasmine’s head was tilted and her tongue was hanging out. Her eyeballs were bouncing and one eye was all the way back. SO SCARY! So we rushed her to CARE emergency and they met us at the door. They are wonderful people. Turns out she had vestibular sydrome brought on by High blood pressure due to the beginning of kidney failure. They got her stabilized and suggested we see an internal medicine vet A.S.A.P when we returned home. We live in Elko,Nevada and we had to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to get the care she needed. She was very critical. Dr. Lisa Pasqurerello got her stabilized did lots of tests,ultrasounds etc. We had to change her diet from Innova to Purina Prescription food called N/F for kidney failure. Also she is on enalapril,norvasc,a baby aspirin,and a few others. She said she needed weekly checks of her blood pressure and kidney enzymes until she is under control. Lucky for us a new vet named Dr. Kathryn Moriarty had recently opened up her practice. She was very informed about Jasmine’s situation. She has all state of the art equipment. She has pretty much stopped the progression of the kidney failure,and has prescribed Adequan injections for her hips and placed her on tramadol. She really needs a total hip replacement,but with her kidney issues it would be unwise to put her through a two hour procedure that has the potential to kill her kidneys. She now is taking walks again and seems like the “Diva” she always was. She has always thought “it’s all about me!”. My fault……two months before we got Jasmine,we lost a golden in heart surgery so Jasmine was spoiled,although she was the greatest demo dog when I taught obedience. My rescue Golden Sassy doesn’t expect anything and appreciates everything!
    So I know it’s a long story but, go to a vet that has a blood pressure cuff and get a yearly blood chemistry and hematology. It could save your dog’s life.
    Tina, Jasmine, and Sassy in Elko,Nevada
    P.S. We are refinancing the house due to all this expenses for Jasmine. We sign the papers tomorrow. We wouldn’t keep her alive if she was in pain,but she’s happy so we need extra money to provide with the best possible care! Just love my “girls” so much!!!!! Plus now I am working for the Vet!!!

  18. The worst thing in the world is seeing people who cannot afford emergency care for their pets. I have been a small animal veterinarian for 28 years and am in the process of setting up a nonprofit organization that will help with this. If you or your readers are interested, please visit my blog, at http://vefm.blogspot.com
    Thank you so much,
    Lucy Schroth DVM

  19. Hi Rochelle,

    This is probably abit left field… and possibly not the forum, so apologies first.
    Previously you have written about the “Goldie” star from the movie Napoleon…
    I am trying to determine if this is Tiptree Tequss “Trooper” and am hoping you may know?

    9 1/2 years a tiny golden became mine or should that be 9 1/2 years ago my world became golden…
    now every day is precious!
    I love your site and can’t wait to tell the “furkid” he may have a Hollywood Grandad:-)

    Your Australian Fans
    Suzette & Shay

  20. hi, we have a golden retriever and we love him very much. may i link your blog to mine?
    best regards from indonesia.

  21. Rochelle:
    I wrote you a flip comment about Goldens before I read your bio and realized this is not just fluff and feel good about Goldens. Your work is very important.
    Although my Golden, Holly Go Lightly is now deceased, she and I were the first human-canine team at UCLA’s Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital through the People-Animal Connection(PAC). We developed a program using Animal-Assisted Therapy strategies that is still a model for NPH. I was a consultant for PAC and am still their resource person. I’m writing a book about the amazing therapy dogs in that program and the healing work they do. I have published articles about the human-animal bond that you speak of; it is awesome. Never should a healthy animal be euthanized.
    I certainly support the work you are doing.

  22. Rochelle,
    You do amazing work, and when reading excerpts of both this site and your website, http://www.landofpuregold.com, it is obvious that you pour your soul into what you do.

    You are undoubtedly making a difference in the lives of many dogs and their families. 🙂

    Keep up the great work!

  23. Rookie and Ms. Scott were awesome. There are veery few dogs who have the gift to elicit such emotions from people with their talent like Rookie did. Rookie, Pepper, Gin, and the great Skidboot, God bless you all. Your ministry lives on through the miracle of film!!!

  24. Hi! I’m writing from Macmillan Children’s Publishers and was wondering if you would be interested in receiving updates of our books for review or promotion. We publish several pet and animal books a year and would love to get your input on them. Some of our upcoming titles include THE FIRST PUP: The Real Story of How Bo Got To the White House written and illustrated by Bob Staake and BEAUTIFUL YETTA: The Yiddish Chicken written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Jill Pinkwater. If interested, please let me know your preferred email and mailing address. Thanks for your interest and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Best wishes,

    Jackie Jou
    Marketing Assistant
    Macmillan Children’s Publishers

  25. Hi im writing from Mache investments,kenya and i was wondering if you would be intereted in our beade dof collars. They are pure leather and bead sewn into leather by maasai womens. They are unique and on of the kind.
    Our prices are competitive.
    If interested please contact me with preferred email and address where a sample order can be sent.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Warm regards,
    Jesse Njuguna
    Mache investments

  26. Rochelle,

    I think it is awesome what you are doing. I’m amazed everyday at how smart dogs are. I am hoping that you can help me find info about diabetes dogs. My husband is a diabetic who is in law enforcement. He currently uses the pump to regulate his sugar but still has ups and downs. We work with drug detection dogs and train them and would love to train my hubby’s canine to also detect his lows and highs but haven’t quite figured it out yet. Any suggestions as to who can help us or where we might get info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks… Cindy

  27. Wow, this is amazing. I love your site. I just lost my 13 and a half year old Golden to osteosarcoma in her pelvis. It was devastating. Any work you do to help Goldens stricken with cancer is an amazing service. I’m adding you to my blogroll on my site: englishgoldenretrievergirl.wordpress.com

  28. Kelly, I am so sorry for your loss. I know it hit you like a ton of bricks (I can tell from your blog). It is the price for loving these special souls as much as we do, and treating them as the valued family members that they are.

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