Golden Retriever Mac’s tale …. progress already

MAC is a 3 yr old golden retriever who was hit by a truck on Christmas Eve of 2010. He was rushed to an emergency vet who told his owners that he was paralyzed from the waist down and would likely never walk again. He was catheterized and sent home where he was confined to a bed on the floor of his home. His owners then approached a local pool & hot tub company looking for a pre-owned hot tub that might be used for water therapy in the hopes that MAC could regain some use of his back legs again. Upon hearing of his plight, the store owners (who have goldens themselves) crafted a custom therapy pool for MAC free of charge.



Drew needs our help

Puppy Rescue Drew

We recently received a request for help from Cil Henson, President of Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue, Inc. Honored with the GRCA National Rescue Committee’s 2009 Starfish Award, Cil takes calls night and day, 7 days a week, as she truly leads by example.

Cil is in desperate need for help in raising funds for a young puppy rescue named Drew. He started  a 6-week regimen of  therapy and rehabilitation on November 4th, but the rescue only has $200 toward the $1800 cost.

I have a bit of experience with dogs that have special needs, who go on to help others deal with their own challenges. Just check out the story of Therapy Golden Retriever Polar.

Drew is a typically happy puppy who thinks everything in the world is fun and everyone in the world (human and canine) is great! Cats are fun to chase as he scoots around the house, and if he is fitted for a cart soon – as is hoped – look out!

He’s a tough little guy with an amazing amount of spirit, and all of that is in his favor as he copes with his somewhat limited mobility. He sees no reason why he should have to sit still and so he does everything in his power to follow his big foster brothers and sisters around the house and in the backyard. He’s fearless and smart, and willing to explore anywhere and everywhere.

Drew has apparently had a progressing neurological problem since birth or shortly thereafter that reached an acute stage, but he is on medications now that will hopefully stop the infection in its tracks and allow him to live a healthy life. He may need some physical therapy or rehabilitation to see exactly how much of the damage is permanent. He’s not expected to regain full use of his rear legs, but appears to be a great candidate for a cart.

Currently, Drew is staying at the Veterinary Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Clinic with Dr. Robinett every Monday through Friday for the next 4 weeks. It was hard to leave him there when Mondays come, but Cil knows he is in good hands.

Drew has begun chiropractic, electro-acupuncture, laser therapy, and range of motion treatments, and after the initial massage session, fell asleep and slept through most of the rest of the treatments. He is being kept in the reception area behind the desk at the clinic, and has been going home with Dr. Robinett at night.

Here is Cil’s recent November 6th update from Dr. Robinett.

Dr. Robinett is very excited about the progress Drew is making. His stifle joint (on the good leg) has already improved from a 5 degree range of motion to a 30 degree range of motion during the exercises.  They are using the underwater treadmill to partially float him when they do the range of motion exercises and are getting great results.

Drew has already started to bond some with Jerri and is following her around, and is now already protective when someone comes into the clinic – he barks to be sure they know someone has come in!

They are all impressed with his spirit and with his willingness to do whatever they ask of him. Dr. Robinett is already feeling pretty optimistic about his outcome on the good leg. The other leg will still be a challenge, but they hope to start seeing at least some results with that leg soon as well.

Keep up with everything Drew at his page at the rescue site, as Dr. Robinett will be taking photos and videos in order to document his progress from start to finish. If you’d like to donate to Drew’s rehab costs, click here.

Better to hop on three legs than to limp on four

I got the following story tip below from some great folks at Tripawds, a 3-legged tripod dog resource and help center to learn about and cope with amputation, canine osteosarcoma or other dog cancers, and life on three legs.

Their cool motto is: It’s better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.

Please check them out as well as other resources for our challenged furry family members at our foundation site.


I just love this story about Lab-Golden Retriever Mix Comet, a Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) skilled companion dog from Colorado Springs. It is wonderful that CCI provides support to its graduate teams for the lifetime of the dog, as I am sure that they were pivotal in making sure Comet got the best and most appropriate care.

Veren Betzen, 14, pets his service dog Comet after American History class at Russel Middle School. The (The Denver Post, Hyoung Chang)

Veren Betzen, 14, pets his service dog Comet after American History class at Russel Middle School. The (The Denver Post, Hyoung Chang)

Click here to experience an audio slide show that is truly so moving.
It tells the story in an expressive way that I seldom see.

All the particulars can be found in the great article below:

Three legged dog keeps up care for disabled teen
By Michael Booth, The Denver Post

COLORADO SPRINGS — The timeless act of the faithful dog resting his wet nose on his loving boy’s lap is a bit more complicated with Comet and his master, Veren Betzen. First, Comet has to jump over the arms of Veren’s motorized wheelchair. Second — and it’s a heart-stopping second — Comet now has only three legs to propel himself into the lap of a boy whose legs barely work at all.

But Comet would never let down the boy he has served for half of Veren’s 14 challenging years on the planet. So, the golden retriever-yellow Lab mix rears back on two of his good legs and launches his black nose into Veren’s laughing gut. It was mundane a thousand times over before this winter, when a cancer threat nearly put Comet down. Now, it’s a spectacular act of affirmation that tends to draw a crowd.

“I expect medical issues with my son,” said Verlene Betzen. Veren has been poked, soothed, realigned and sutured since birth. “But when it happened with Comet too — oh, my gosh, that was rough.”

Veren has cerebral palsy, largely immobilizing his legs and limiting the dexterity of his arms and fingers. For seven years, Comet picked up Veren’s fallen books and pens, pulled off his pajamas and put on his socks, and closed the back gate on the way to Veren’s grandparents’ house. For a growing teenage boy, is there any higher use of a dog than tugging on a rope to open the refrigerator?

A friend to draw in others
The purpose Verlene initially meant for Comet was to be a best friend for a boy who might always have trouble making others. And the good-natured Comet became the four-legged shill that would gather in school-age strangers made shy by Veren’s ungainly wheelchair and strained voice.

It worked. At Russell Middle School in northern Colorado Springs, a steady stream of eighth-graders come by to bump fists with Veren and snag some love from Comet. They don’t have to talk about movies or girls or sports. It makes Veren smile just to have someone nearby, scratching Comet’s fur-covered stump.

Comet was limping badly on that former leg in November, whining in pain. The Betzens’ vet took an X-ray and saw what looked like cancer on the right front shoulder. Most dogs with osteosarcoma die within six to 12 months. But the vet suggested more work at Colorado State University’s veterinary hospital. Many tests later, Dr. Clara Goh suspected something other than cancer. Amputation would both treat the symptoms and allow for tests on the spots.

Vets can be far more sanguine about amputation than pet owners, and Goh knows that. “We joke sometimes that dogs are born with three legs and a spare,” Goh said. “Right after surgery, they hop up with minimal help and hardly seem to notice.” They worried that Comet, though, might need all four legs to push a door shut or tug that fridge for an after-school snack. And Verlene fretted that the trainers might not consider Comet a service dog anymore, or the school might not let in a dog that wasn’t providing service.

CSU did two weeks of tests on Comet’s leg and eventually concluded it wasn’t cancer. Possibly a stroke in the bone or a focused infection, Goh said; most important, Comet would survive to Veren’s high school years and his own 10th birthday.

If only he can survive the kindness of bored adolescents. Comet’s first move when leading Veren into a classroom is to park his intact hindquarters near the teacher’s desk and beg for a carrot. “He has protein allergies,” Veren explains, “so he can only have simple proteins like carrots and figs. And he likes to sneak things when no one is looking.”

Verlene is a district-salaried paraprofessional now assigned to Veren. While she attends Veren’s social studies work in Karen Peyer’s classroom, Comet alternates napping and taking jaunty hops down the hall. He knows where the other teachers are who keep carrots, and he knows his way back to Veren.

Keep reading here . . . .

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.

Golden Guster’s hydrotherapy got him walking again

guster.jpgLast summer, 7-year-old Guster lost use of his hind legs after suffering a spinal chord infection. His owner was afraid she would have to put him down. But thanks to these swimming and underwater treadmill workouts Guster is getting a second shot at life.

Click on Guster to see him working out.

And, click here to see our foundation’s Physical Therapy & Rehab Assistance National Listings that we have for those dealing with dogs with physical disabilities.

More information can be found at our site’s section on Life-Challenged Dogs.

All Golden Ella wants for Xmas is 2 new hips

9ella2.jpgThis nine-month-old Golden beauty is battling severe hip displaysia, but Ella’s surgery was recently cancelled due to her contracting a rash.

Poor Ella has been sickly and prone to illness much of her short life.

The first of two operations on Ella’s hips is scheduled for December 12, and we will be thinking of her and hoping she pulls through and gets some relief.

Golden Retriever Bailey CFO (Chief Fetching Officer)

This is 10-year-old Golden Bailey, CFO (Chief Fetching Officer) at the Total Dog Canine Swim Center, with her mom, Alison. Alison, who runs the place, says that between customers, Bailey inspects the pool and retrieves stray doggie toys. Come learn more about this fun center in Oceanside, CA. 

And, to see a grand National State listing of swim centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, just click here.

Senior Golden Retriever Quackers helped by Acupuncture


Needles ease pets’ pain
By Ranny Green, Special to The Seattle Times

Imagine, for a minute, that you’ve been a healthy and highly competitive athlete for years, then suddenly find it difficult to stand or walk without pain. Plus, your adventurous spirit has done a disappearing act.

That’s what confronted Sue Fox when she began taking her graying, 12-½-year-old golden retriever, Quackers, to the VCA Animal Hospital in Kent about two years ago. “Quackers was just not herself,” said Fox, of Seattle. “She lost some of her zest for life and quit waking me up every morning with her squeaker toy.”

Quackers was diagnosed with arthritis — common in older dogs — and put on medications. But after several weeks, neither Fox nor Dr. Erika Olson saw noticeable improvement and found themselves in an emotional balancing act.

Eventually, Olson asked Fox if she would be willing to try acupuncture for Quackers. “I was getting frustrated and didn’t know acupuncture was an option,” Fox said. “I was willing to try anything that would give Quackers a jump-start.”

Olson said not every animal is a good candidate for acupuncture, but that Quackers certainly was. “It takes a while with any patient to gain its confidence when you put it on the floor and begin poking needles into its body,” Olson said.

For more than a year, Quackers has been Olson’s almost-weekly pin cushion for the 15- to 20-minute procedure. Within a couple of treatments, the “old Quackers” began to return, Fox said. “She was moving quicker, and I could see that twinkle returning to her eyes,” Fox said, smiling. “And when she started waking me up again with her squeaker toy, I knew she was feeling good.”

Learn more . . . .

Golden Retriever lovin’ Dr. Judith Herman says Home Cooking’s Best

While we do not feed raw to our Golden Alfie (so recommended in the following article), we do utilize a home-prepared totally organic diet based on a pre-mix that is mixed in small batches at a human-grade only, kosher facility.

Vet says home cooking is best
By COLIN HICKEY, Blethen Maine News Service

“When I switched my animals to homemade food, I saw a big difference in energy level and in their coats and in their stools and in their overall health.”

Herman, though, is a bit of a renegade in her profession in recommending homemade food.

There’s more . . .

Golden Retriever Dylan, Denver’s Flying Dog Remembered

Rob Marshall is Denver, Colorado’s FOX 31 helicopter pilot/reporter, sporting much experience and an unblemished record for safety. Amazingly, he has taken his Golden Dylan, in the air, every morning for the last 10 years, speaking about their spending time together 24-7.

Dylan’s love of snow and mountains belies the fact that he was born in the marshlands of Charleston, SC. Dylan got his first taste of flying in LA and took to it right away. He has also starred in several commercials for Raley’s and his friendly personality, intelligence, good looks and manners won him many admirers. Dylan’s other interests include swimming, boating, hiking, chasing squirrels and collecting plastic water bottles for recycling.

Sadly, the Fox station announced today that Denver’s only Flying Dog has left for The Bridge. Recently, Rob had to make the difficult decision to put his friend to sleep. Dylan had been fighting health problems during the past year, that began with a diagnosis of bone cancer and subsequent amputation. And, while he seemed to be progressing in his rehabilitation, he developed problems in his spine that caused him difficulty in lifting his back end.


Learn more through these two extensive and quite moving TV videos, as well as a gallery of photos of handsome Dylan.

Remembering Dylan, Denver’s Only Flying Dog

Rob Marshall Shares Memories about Dylan

Photos: Dylan, The Flying Dog


The following are a series of videos with Rob and Dylan that show the last year’s trials and tribulations and more.

Denver’s Only Flying Dog Recovering from Surgery

Fox 31’s Dylan Recovering From Surgery

Denver’s Only Flying Dog Recovering at Home

Flying Dog, Polar Bear Share a Moment

Dylan Doing Well, Hoping to Fly Again Soon

Denver’s Famous Flying Dog is Back in the Chopper Again

Dylan Enters Rehabilitation

Dylan Continues on the Road to Recovery

Dylan the Flying Dog is Doing Great!

Dylan and Deckers

Dylan the Flying Dog’s Battle With Cancer

Golden Retriever Bailey at 15 and still going!

I think it’s time for me to get Alfie back in the warm relaxed waters of my local hydrotherapy center. I just love watching him go. He is not thrilled when we begin but I do think he comes to enjoy himself once he begins feeling comfortable.

I did the activity more with Darcy since she was involved in agility and had a touch of arthritis due to jumping with too much force on her exits from the a-frame.

I recently did a post about a new hydrotherapy operation in Waltham, MA, detailing the plight of Golden Therapy Dog Luke. It was so wonderful to see someone actually begin a new career because of an ailment in her own dog.

Well, this photo (by Bill Polo at the Boston Globe) comes from AquaDog, showing a 15-year-old lass named Bailey. Is this a great image or what? What a lovely face! I think she was a bit relaxed after her swim lol, now being helped out of the pool after the session.

Lapping up water workouts

Amy Lord says her 15-year-old golden retriever, Bailey, has been rejuvenated by her visits to AquaDog. “Since she’s been swimming, she’s had more energy; she’s been more playful,” Lord said. At first, Bailey was so frightened of the water she was shaking. “I was afraid she wouldn’t swim there. And now she goes for 20 minutes at a time,” said Lord.

An Inspiration: Golden Retriever Goldie

Canine American brings joy to Life Care Center
By Tammie Maddock

Goldie inspires and loves the residents and patients at Life Care Center of Columbia. Goldie understands pain. When this golden retriever was rescued from the animal shelter on Shop Road by Lori Smith, she was tattered and torn, but her spirit was not broken. Smith, the center’s rehab services manager and devout animal lover, knew Goldie would be a perfect addition to the center’s Eden Care program.

Smith took her home and immediately began to work her into the routine at Life Care Center. Within two weeks, Goldie was a well-known face among patients, staff, and visitors. She brought smiles, laughter, and lots of energy. She also fit in with the other animals in the center.

After a while, Goldie’s right hind leg became an obvious source of pain, and Smith and her staff worked with veterinarians to help the canine companion who had won their hearts. Doctors at the N.C. State Veterinary School ran tests and found out Goldie was only four years old, and that the bones in her leg were injured due to repeated beatings incurred during her first few months of life. They could repair the damage with a hip replacement.

The surgery went well, and Goldie was back at Life Care Center serving as an inspiration to patients and residents who had undergone similar hip replacement procedures. She went through physical therapy with them, and with lots of work and love, they healed together. But Goldie has developed an infection around the replaced hip and is once again unable to use her leg. Veterinarians have determined the only way to save her life is to remove her right hind leg. The surgery has been scheduled for April 7.

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

Golden Sadie — One Pampered Girl


Camden spa and salon pampers man’s best friend
By Al Kemp, Photographs by Chuck Snyder, Delaware Online

Advancing age has left Sadie with cataracts, some hearing loss, a heart condition and about 15 extra pounds. However, a brisk swim and a little pampering always have a rejuvenating effect and put some bounce back in Sadie’s step.

“That’s right, get those legs moving, Sadie,” coaches her swim instructor Pat Tonielli.

Sadie works in the health-care field. Most Mondays she visits patients in Kent General Hospital in Dover. On other days she sees clients at a private psychiatric practice nearby. She used to get out more often, but she has settled into a bit of a sedentary lifestyle. She knows it. Her family knows it. She would never dispute it. So after a stressful week, Sadie enjoys a Saturday-morning visit to the spa and salon.


Lots of ladies do. But Sadie’s no lady. She’s a golden retriever.

Sadie is 9 years old and weighs about 85 pounds. She is a regular client at Doggy Indulgence, a posh new salon in rural Willow Grove that bills itself as being “like a country club for your dog.”

“We’re trying to raise the bar on pet care,” said Tonielli, who owns and operates Doggy Indulgence with Susan Daily. “We are Delmarva’s only VIP heated water indoor jet spa for dogs.”

There’s more . . . .

Golden Rehab

gettingthewagback — Pets in pain find relief at rehabilitation center
By Bill Radford, The Gazette

Tanner, an 8-year-old golden retriever, is having a grand time. Most of his body is underwater as he walks along at 2.5 mph on a treadmill at Colorado Pet Rehabilitation in Colorado Springs. Two green tennis balls bob in the water in front of him, and when he’s not seemingly attempting to lap up every gallon of water, he’s chewing on one of the tennis balls.

Once his treadmill session is over and he’s dry, he’ll show off his talent for holding two tennis balls in his mouth. “He’s a tennis-ball freak,” says owner Kaylene Barnes.

Last spring, Tanner underwent surgery for a torn cruciate ligament in his right hind leg, an injury he suffered chasing a squirrel. Regular rehab sessions are aiding his recovery and getting him back into squirrel chasing condition.

Physical rehabilitation is common for people as they work to bounce back from injuries or debilitating conditions such as a stroke. But the idea of physical rehab for animals is fairly new. “I would say rehabilitation has had a lot of interest by a few dedicated veterinarians in the last 10 years, and in the last five years interest has really ramped up,” says Kim Spelts, a certified veterinary technician at the rehab center who is trained in canine rehabilitation and massage therapy.

Colorado Pet Rehabilitation, part of veterinarian James Gaynor’s Animal Anesthesia and Pain Management Center, is the only facility of its type in southern Colorado. One challenge, Gaynor says, is making the public — and fellow vets — aware of the help physical rehabilitation can offer pets that are in pain or slowed down by injury or the ravages of time.

Be sure to CLICK HERE to see a wonderful flash slide presentation. Be sure to watch the large formated version and to click on the word “captions”.