Another punishing blow…

I am back here talking about Golden Retriever Robin, Police K-9 detection & SAR dog (aka Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder). I have posted here, here, here, and here about this very special guy, who has an aggressive form of cancer and is now fighting for his life.

Mary’s latest news is not good, Robin’s cancer having metastasized to the right mandibular lymph node:

I have heard that grief has several stages, one of which is denial. I find myself repeating that while the statistics are grim, Robin is no ordinary dog. He does not know that this will be the fight of his life, and it will be a prohibitively expensive process. Somehow in my struggle, I find myself taking momentary comfort in believing that somehow, this whole thing will be a big error and that Robin isn’t really sick. But, as soon as I sell out and feel that few seconds of comfort, reality comes back and drives a blade between my ribs and reminds me that Robin is in the cross-hairs.

Right now Robin and I are involved in a battle for his life, even though he is not yet showing signs of his illness. Robin’s type of cancer can have a variable prognosis, and Cornell has informed me that the initial treatment for his lymph node removal and radiation will cost somewhere in the vicinity of $8,500 to $10,000. If subsequent treatment is required, the costs will escalate from there. We are desperately trying to raise enough money to save him, and we need your help. Whether it be fundraising ideas, or personal donations, every little bit will help.

Please get over to to learn more and help in this fight.

Here’s Golden Robin (BISS Am-Can Ch. Nitro’s Boy Wonder OS SDHF CGC TDI) and breeder/owner/handler Mary MacQueen receiving their AKC ACE award in the law enforcement division at the 2009 AKC/Eukanuba Invitational in Long Beach California.

And, here’s Robin doing his thing (drug detection).


Therapy Golden Retrievers: Cast your vote at Delta Society Beyond Limits Awards

The Delta Society Beyond Limits Awards are quite special and all of the nominees this year are truly unbelievable. Two out of the five nominees are Golden folks, however, so we are slightly (lol) biased as to who we’d like to see win.


Maggie Crawford & Golden Madison
MAGGIE CRAWFORD of Pasadena, CA and Madison, her 12-year old Golden Retriever, are one of five finalist teams for the Delta Society’s 2007 Beyond Limits Award as Pet Partners Team of the Year. They have regularly visited every nursing unit at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena since 1997, specializing in the Pediatric and Neurological/Brain Mapping units and the Surgical Waiting room. This carries on a longtime tradition for Maggie, who co-founded the Animal Assisted Activities/Therapy program at the hospital in 1987 with Madison’s predecessor, Monty, and now trains every Huntington team.

Maggie and Madison are especially proud of one young pediatric patient who they worked with for more than five years. They visited her weekly, many times Madison lying beside her in the Intensive Care Unit, helping bring her through over 35 surgical procedures, a five organ transplant and to a miraculous recovery. Among their nominators are a clinical psychologist and a pediatric surgeon, who wrote with great admiration of their work, which also includes visiting homeless families in the Pasadena area. Recently the Pasadena Humane Society recognized Madison for her volunteer work at the hospital.


Connie Gates & Golden Katie
CONNIE GATES of Huntsville, AL and her partner, Katie, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever, are one of five finalist teams for the Delta Society’s 2007 Beyond Limits Award as Pet Partners Team of the Year. They bring “unconditional acceptance, stress reduction and joy to residents and staff” at Hope Place in Huntsville, a shelter for woman and child victims of domestic violence, wrote one of their nominators. For the past ten years, Katie’s big, wagging Golden tail and her Golden smile have brought the sparkle back into the eyes of many children and parents, adults and seniors, in the shelter, in a local rehabilitation hospital, and in therapy services residences for emotionally disturbed children removed from their families and for neglected children without families.

Connie is a co-founder of Huntsville’s Therapy Partners, Inc., and also serves on the board of the Greater Huntsville Humane Society, which generates many activities for Connie and Katie. They participate in the local Alzheimer’s walk, the annual Christmas parade, and in Therapy Partners’ speakers bureau, making presentations in schools about the work of therapy dogs.

To see all five finalists and VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE, just click here.

Inspiring our youngsters

I was quite moved by the work of a youngster named Corey, and probably taken by his name as that is the name of my baby brother, who was taken some years ago, and far too early, by cancer. Be sure to learn more about the organization that inspired his special mission, People Helping Pets.

Animal emergency – Coral Springs boy distributes oxygen masks for pets to area fire departments
By Nicole T. Lesson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

One Coral Springs boy. One good deed. The potential for many pet lives saved. Fire departments throughout Broward County — including in Coral Springs, Parkland, Tamarac, Margate, Coconut Creek, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Cooper City and Plantation — recently received pet oxygen masks through the efforts of Corey Lustig, 12.

The sixth-grader at Coral Springs Middle School raised enough money in almost a year, more than $1,800, to buy 30 pet oxygen masks as a service project for his bar mitzvah.

“A lot of animals die in fires,” said Corey, whose bar mitzvah will be March 24 at the Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland. “There’s a lot of pets, and they may need help.” The masks have labels showing rescuers how much oxygen the animal would need based on weight, Corey said.

“The dog’s mouth goes into the mask, and then you hook it up to an oxygen tank,” he said.

Pembroke Pines firefighters recently used one of the donated masks to treat a golden retriever puppy for smoke inhalation from a house fire. “Firefighters found him inside the house and he was very lethargic,” Pembroke Pines Fire-Rescue spokesman Shawn Hallich said. “They administered oxygen for about 8 minutes and his status dramatically changed.”

Pembroke Pines rescuers also used the mask to provide oxygen to a cat who was not as critical as the puppy.

Corey, who has a cat named Safari, said he knew he wanted to help animals. He credited the late Steven Paul of Wiles Road Animal Hospital in Coral Springs, his family’s longtime veterinarian, with helping with the project. [Dr. Paul is shown here with his beloved Saint. Hopefully, they are together now.]

Golden Bodie is Working Miracles

Bodie Jones is the 2006 Service Dog of the Year. He was trained at the Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation in Roanoke, VA., one of many wonderful assistance dog organizations that we have included at our Worldwide Assistance Dog Group Listing.

I tell you, this organization, is so cool. It is hard to stand out when it comes to the selling of wares, and it is always impossible to choose as so many groups are doing great work. But, this group has two items out that you may want to look at.
There are two new “dogs” at Château Morrisette, and both are “dogs for a cause.”

In partnership with Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation, Château Morrisette has created LIBERTY and INDEPENDENCE, two new wines that pay tribute to service dogs and their dedication to enhancing the lives of children and adults with emotional and/or physical disabilities. They are providing a percentage of gross adjusted sales to Saint Francis. You can learn more here.

Okay, now back to Golden Bodie. I have a wonderful article to share below. but first you need to go watch a GReat news feature on this boy and what he has managed to accomplish in the short time he has been paired with his companion.

Click here and at the page for the TV segment ‘Power of One: Bodie’ then click on the tiny square photo under the word “Videos”.

Service Dog Works Miracles
Written By Peggy Fox 9 News

We’ve all heard how having pets can be beneficial for children. But there may be no limit to what a pet’s unconditional love can do. Take, for example, the story of a boy and his dog, a dog that appears to be working miracles. Bode is a talented golden retriever. He’s a service dog trained to help people like 11-year-old Jake Jones of Fauquier County, who was born with cerebral palsy.

After going through training, the Jones’ brought Bode home in November. Since then, he’s been Jake’s constant companion. He picks up things for Jake, brings him his shoes, helps him get dressed, opens and closes the elevator door and even plays tug of war with his new pal.

But the most important thing Bode has done for Jake took zero training. And it was a complete and wonderful surprise.Since Jake was two, he’s had regular seizures, sometimes 30 a month. Since they got Bode, he hasn’t had any. Jake’s mother, Lori Jones, thinks Bode’s love has calmed her son’s brain. With Jake not having seizures anymore the family has been able to go places without the constant worry he might have a seizure. And Jake is starting to get a taste of independence.

Therapy Golden Dickens Honored

Golden Dickens, Therapy Category Award
New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association Animal Hall of Fame
dickenss.jpgFive-year-old Golden Retriever Dickens is a value assistant to the psychiatric staff at the Holy Name Hospital. Dickens’ weekly visits to patients with mental illness,, mood disorders, Alzheimer’s and other illnesses give them a positive, loving experience to anticipate. Dickens’ patient, outgoing manner has made him a favorite and his successes include motivating a severely arthritic man, an anorexic woman who began to eat after Dickens’ visits, and an Alzheimer’s patient who had been mute but began speaking after his visits.Owner – Susan Stone
Veterinarian – Dr. John DeVries

Golden Nurse Jazzie

Friendly nature earns golden retriever, owner, Pet Partner Team of the Year
By Rose Mary Budge, San Antonio Express-News

Jasmine, a golden retriever therapy dog, and her San Antonio owner Carol Triesch have been chosen as a Pet Partner Team of the Year, the highest honor in the Delta Society’s Beyond Limits Awards.Recognizing outstanding contributions by Pet Partners and Animal-Assisted Therapy Professionals, the awards attracted entrants nationwide.

Triesch and Jasmine (the dog is known to many patients as “Nurse Jazzie”), volunteer regularly at a number of facilities in the area, notably Brooke Army Medical Center, where they work with burn victims and amputees returning from Iraq.

They also visit the BAMC Family Assistance Center, the Alamo Children’s Advocacy Center for abused children, two psychiatric facilities and an AIDS hospice, in addition to participating in a school reading program.

The team has been “on the job” a little more than three years, logging more than 400 hours of volunteer time and visiting approximately 6,500 people.

According to Marcia Walker, the Delta Society member who nominated the team, Jazzie and Triesch bring a special kind of comfort to those in need and have managed to help many face their difficulties and redirect their lives.


Golden Hero Awards

Friends of Animal Care & Control (FACCs) has created the Hero Awards to recognize and honor the impact local animals have had on human lives through truly heroic efforts of service or personal survival. Each year we recognize animals for their heroic impact on Maricopa County residents. The winners are selected from hundreds of dogs, cats, horses, and birds nominated by pet owners or people in the community for their heroic efforts of service or stories of personal survival. Each was judged for their heroic efforts in acting to save or protect the life of a person, for performing services within the community, or having to overcome their own devastating circumstances to survive.

FACCS has dedicated this event to pets who have shown great and unusual courage, instinct, forethought and loyalty in their actions to help or save another animal or human being or themselves. There are amazing stories in our community of animal courage and we want to hear them all. No act of bravery is too small or insignificant. We encourage everyone who has a story to share to bring it to our attention.

Here are some of their first Golden heroes…

Goofy and owner Barry Eisen
Goofy, a 2 ½ year old Golden Retriever has dealt with tragedy and more responsibility than a usual dog. His owner, 54-year old Barry Eisen, suffered a severe brain injury from the result of a car accident 7 years ago. When the accident happened, Barry had another Golden Retriever named Buddy. As Buddy became ill with cancer, Barry’s wife contacted Rescue a Golden of Arizona to add another dog to the household because she worried that losing the dog would be too traumatic for her husband. Rescue found Goofy abandoned in the Kingman area. Soon he came to live with the Eisen household. Goofy took well to his new environment and even sensed Buddy’s failing health. He would cuddle next to him to comfort him in his last days. After Buddy’s death, Mrs. Eisen contacted Happy Tails Service Dog Training to see if Barry and Goofy could participate in the classes. They were accepted into the 2-hour a week program that lasts from 1 to 2 years. Prior to Barry and Goofy coming to class, their days consisted of staying home everyday with little socialization, when they both were extremely social. His owners say Goofy shows his excitement weekly when his owner prepares his backpack the night before they go to the class. When the Dial-a-Ride van pulls up to their house, Goofy is ready to go to class. Often Barry will forget the steps to a specific command. Goofy waits very forgivingly and patiently for his owner to redo the command. Goofy has increased Barry’s socialization and self-esteem. They now take outings together to hospitals to teach people suffering from head injuries how having a dog as a companion can dramatically improve their lives. Barry saved Goofy’s life by taking him in his home while Goofy returned the favor everyday by caring for his owner.

Rio Jake and owner Kim Lindenmeyer
Rio Jake, a 2 year-old Golden Retriever, no longer suffers from pain. He was rescued at the age of 6 months from Rescue A Golden of Arizona (RAGofAZ) after his owners in New Mexico could not afford to treat his severe hip dysplasia surgery. Although normally dogs are not rescued from other states, Kim Lindenmeyer was working the rescue calls that day and by coincidence or destiny received the call. It just happened that the timing was perfect. It just happened that RAGofAZ was involved with another national rescue group that was in the process of rescuing some Golden Retrievers from a puppy mill that was shutting down in Oklahoma. On their way to Arizona, they stopped in Albuquerque to pick up Jake. He was from Rio Rancho, NM so he was then named Rio Jake and put in a foster home. The foster parent had a very busy home and couldn’t accommodate Rio Jake after he underwent Triple Pelvic Osteotomy in both hips. When he first arrived he was non-social and scared all the time. He cried most of the time because of the pain. Within the first year of his life he had endured many obstacles. At the age of one, he was enrolled in a program to help others deal with the pain in their lives. He is now a therapy dog for the Puppy Love Pet Therapy at Arrowhead Community Hospital. Twice a week he visits patients on two floors of the hospital as well as the ER waiting room. He wears a special bandana and even has his own ID Badge for the visit. Rio Jake has traded in his crying days for brighter smiling days. He now can teach others how to cope with their pain. He has already received a national Golden Rescue & Community Excellence award (G.R.A.C.E) for his animal therapy.

Golden Sienna: Three-legged Star

Paws down, this is one special dog – Golden retriever overcomes rough odds to become three-legged star
By Stacy Smith Segovia, The Leaf-Chronicle

Anyone who’s ever met her knows Sienna Temple is a star, but Sunday, it was made official. The Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association inducted Sienna, a 7 1/2-year-old golden retriever, into the Tennessee Animal Hall of Fame.Dr. J. Gordon West, of Parkway Animal Clinic, Sienna’s veterinarian since she was 5 weeks old, nominated her for the award. “You have to appreciate Sienna’s history. She’s a three-legged dog. By all rights, she shouldn’t be here,” West says. “That’s why so many of us feel she’s here for a reason.”

Injured at birth
Sienna was one of nine golden retrievers born in Hopkinsville, Ky. on Sept. 18, 1998. When Sienna was born, her mother, possibly mistaking it for an umbilical cord, chewed off Sienna’s right front leg.

Sienna’s first miracle happened before any human even knew she existed. West says based on her injury, he would have expected Sienna to bleed to death within a few minutes. When someone finally found Sienna, the stump where her leg had been had only a few drops of blood coming from it.

Because there were nine puppies and Sienna was permanently injured and could not be sold with her siblings, euthanasia seemed her obvious end. But her owner carried her around in a Longaberger basket with some of the other puppies, putting off euthanasia in hopes that someone would take pity on the little three-legged dog and take her in.

Kathy Temple will never forget the first time she saw Sienna. “I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no. I don’t need a dog,'” Temple remembers. “I had two geriatric cats, 15 and 16 (years old.)”

It wasn’t love-at-first-sight for Temple. She was plagued by images of the pup chasing her cats, chewing on their tails, making the last part of their lives anything but peaceful. But for Sienna, the attraction was instant. “She saw me and just started wagging that little tail,” Temple says.

Temple is the systemwide teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing at Fort Campbell Schools. The puppies’ owner kept bringing the pups around school, working on Temple’s resolve. Finally, Temple agreed that if no one else would take Sienna, she would. She thinks the owner stopped looking for another home the day she said she’d be the home of last resort. “She was meant to be mine,” Temple says.

Sienna was the first dog Temple had in her adult life, but Temple wasted no time wondering what to do with the pup. When Sienna was just 3 months old, Temple enrolled her in puppy kindergarten. They followed that with Clarksville Kennel Club’s basic obedience course when Sienna was 6 months old. Sienna was awarded her American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certificate when she was 8 months old. Temple was thrilled at Sienna’s success and made big plans for the dog.

Disappointed but determined
“When she was young, she thrived at obedience, and I thought I could do that with her,” Temple says. The AKC has national championships in obedience, agility and conformation, which is the dog’s physical adherence to the standard for its breed. Because of her disability, Sienna could never compete in conformation. Agility, with its high-flying leaps and other acrobatic maneuvers, would be a stretch, but Sienna was a perfect choice for obedience competitions.

Or so they thought. “I found out the AKC would not allow her to do it because of her leg,” Temple says. Of course, to Temple, the AKC rule seemed ridiculous. Sienna was every bit as capable of mastering obedience commands as any four-legged dog, as she had proven again and again. But soon, Temple found another avenue for Sienna’s talents. Searching pet-related pages on the Internet, Temple came across “pet therapy,” then a foreign concept to her. The more she learned, the more it seemed pet therapy would be the perfect vocation for Sienna.

Animals involved in pet therapy often visit patients in hospitals, rehabilitation programs and nursing homes. Their presence encourages patients to interact, and may inspire them to work harder and get well faster. The warm and loving companionship of an animal can bring peace, relaxation and a break in the routine in any clinical setting.

Temple ordered a home study course from Delta Society, which was founded in 1977 with the goal of improving human health with service and therapy animals. After completing the course, Sienna took a test and became a certified Pet Partner.

A natural
In April 2001, Sienna made her first visit to Gateway Hospital. The first patient she met was an elderly man who’d had a stroke.

“I was in total awe,” Temple says. Sienna did what Temple calls the “Golden Nudge,” pushing her head under the man’s motionless hand. After many tries, Sienna had his hand flopped on top of her head.

Then time stopped. The man curled his fingers into Sienna’s fur. “His family started crying,” Temple says. “He had been totally unresponsive up to that time.”

For the past five years, since her first — wildly successful — day as a pet therapy dog, Sienna has made a stunning difference in the lives of hundreds of people. There’s the oncology patient who hadn’t spoken to anyone in three days. She wouldn’t eat. She wouldn’t make eye contact. Then Sienna came into her room.

“What is this?!” she said, reaching down to stroke Sienna’s red-gold fur. After the fun visit, Sienna was walking out of the room when the woman announced, “I’m hungry.”

There’s no telling for how many people Sienna has been the turning point between a downward spiral and an uphill climb. Sandy Britt, local animal activist and volunteer, was one of those people. In the hospital after abdominal surgery, Britt was in pain, discouraged, and missing her own dogs. A visit from Sienna brightened her day and strengthened her resolve to get back home to her family.

“The level of compassion she has for people is something I could not have taught her,” Temple says about Sienna. “It’s a gift from God.”

Fans in high places
Temple is biased, for sure. She isn’t married and has no children, so Sienna is her child, she says. Since Sienna was a puppy, Temple has taken her with her everywhere that allowed dogs, and some places that didn’t. But Temple is far from alone in her opinion that Sienna is special.


Makes Me Nervous

Most Tennis Balls Held in the Mouth – Dog

WHO: Augie
WHAT: Five tennis balls
WHERE: Dallas, Texas, USA
WHEN: July 6, 2003

The world record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog at one time is five. Augie, a golden retriever owned by the Miller family in Dallas, Texas, USA, successfully gathered and held all five regulation-sized tennis balls on July 6, 2003.

While it is a Guinness World Record, I get very nervous when I see dogs do this. My Ollie used to carry 3 balls and boy was he proud of himself.

Here is a tale I have had up at my site’s page on getting a dog for years. Ever since hearing about it, I have not allowed my furkids to become ball nuts.

Special Safety Warning
Goldens are known to be ball fiends, some loving to chew on or carry multiple balls in their mouths. But, this alarming story from Bev Fillmore, who works with the Golden Retriever Rescue of Michigan, may give you a few good reasons to select some different toys for your Golden kids.

Two days ago, my three-year-old Golden, Woody, was playing with a rubber ball. With him, one ball in his mouth is never enough. He picked up a second ball and the first one went down his throat. He dropped the ball he had just picked up and started choking. I knew what was wrong as soon as he did it. I ran to him, did the Heimlich Maneuver on him and all I got out was blood and old food out of his stomach. There was blood and mucus everywhere and the ball was still stuck. I could see it.

I tried to get my fingers around it in his throat and his tongue was turning blue, his front legs went out from under him and I knew he was going to die. I tried to push the ball back up by pushing upward on his throat, no way. He finally swallowed it far enough to get air through his nose. I dragged him to the car and we headed for the vet. He was barely breathing but conscious. The vet’s office was packed but they know me because I take so many rescued Goldens in there. I bypassed the desk and headed for the surgical room. I told the receptionist what the problem was as I was dragging Woody by the desk.

The vet laid him on the floor and started hollering orders to the crew. They gave him Sodium Pentathol to relax him and his throat. The vet took hold of his tongue and tried to get the ball with forceps but it kept slipping. He finally got a good hold on it, it moved a little and then slipped off again. That much movement cut off his air supply again and his tongue turned blue, then black. The vet ran and got a pair of small nose, long bone cutters and went after the ball. All the girls in the room were in tears, with me, because Woody was dying. The vet got hold of the ball and jerked it out. When Woody took that huge breath of air after the ball had been removed, everyone cheered. The vet tech took the ball to the front and showed the people waiting, what could kill their dog.

Woody slowly came out of anesthesia and we went home, covered with blood and determined not to let this happen to any one else’s dog. I measured the ball that he swallowed. It was 2¾”. Not small. About the size of a tennis ball.

Please be careful what size ball and toys you give your dogs to play with. They can suck it down their throat and be dead before you know what happened. My vet is less than ½ mile away from our home, so I was lucky. My Golden will get to have his 4th birthday.

2006 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence

When I was active in agility with Darcy I got to meet a very special handler named Ron, who always had the crowds cheering him and his dogs on. So, it was so exciting to learn today that he had won this year’s AKC ACE Award in the category of Exemplary Companion Dog. These are wonderful awards and you should go and check out all the honorees for this year. Some years back, I actually nominated the winning dog (Senior Bullet) for this very same award.

Here is the write-up for Ron and his beautiful gal K.D.:

K.D. is a six-year-old Golden Retriever described as “the canine half of an extraordinary agility team”. She and Ron Heller have excelled in a sport that is said to require agility and speed, not only in the dog, but in the handler as well. Ron, affected by cerebral palsy and limited mobility, has proved that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Together, he and K.D. have earned Master Excellent and Agility Excellent Jumper titles.As a team, they have overcome challenges by focusing on what they CAN do and are an inspiration to many. Watching Ron direct K.D. through a complicated course, it appears to bystanders as if K.D. is actually reading Ron’s mind. Ron has trained K.D. to respond to cues from as far as the opposite side of the ring. His success with K.D. has motivated Ron to become an agility instructor, specializing in teaching distance handling skills.

Outside the agility ring K.D. transforms into a gentle, quiet dog that walks politely on lead. The team has qualifying scores in Novice Obedience and Novice Rally. K.D. is also a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dog, Inc. Ron and K.D. are active in their local dog club and together they visit nursing homes, schools, and give training demonstrations at community events.