Following the *Golden* Brick Road

The Land of PureGold Foundation Store items typify our organic, eco-friendly, chemical-free view of wellness and prevention, allowing you to shop for what truly matters — health, home, happiness and healing.

Be sure to learn about how we are polluting our pets and what can be done to minimize the damage. Visit the Specials & New Arrivals pages for our latest finds, sales, bonus gifts, and items with Free Shipping.

And, remember, it is only through your purchases that we are able to fund cancer treatment for working dogs.

COMING SOON just 4 our locals! — We’ve decided to carry some unique frozen items such as raw bones, frozen yogurt, and goat’s milk for both dogs & cats. This is for pickup only for those accessible to our Owings Mills, MD location. Other products that we stock (some supplements, chews, treats, books, cards, apparel, toys) will also be available. What a great way to save on shipping costs and catch Golden Mom Rochelle using her favorite products, such as the MUST HAVE YardPup & Paw Pooper Scooper.

Please CONTACT US if you may be interested so that we can gauge interest.


All grown up before you know it

Pretty Girl Katly

Pretty Girl Katly

On January 20, 2009, I learned about a loss in our Land of PureGold Foundation family. Marti Brown, one of our wonderful Board Members, lost her Golden Angel Carly girl to cancer. But, 4 months later Golden Katly became the newest family member. A real pistol, Marty says that Katly is the smartest Golden that she has ever had. Boy, she looks so grown up in this latest photo.

Golden Katly all grown up

Check out her astute observations of that the paw-covered pouch in the care package that Mom just received from our Foundation Store. It contains our cinnamon-enticing Healing Honey Heart cookies.

Whoa, what is that enticing smell?


True Giants …. Curing humans & their animal companions

The Land of PureGold Foundation became a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit corporation in February 2005. The formation of our organization followed a period of 8 years that the had been a presence on the web, supporting and engaging in various charitable endeavors and providing numerous educational activities to promote the human-canine bond.

One of our goals is to raise monies for research in comparative oncology, which is the study of cancers that occur similarly in companion animals and humans. Another, is to support and disseminate information on canine cancers; and, to educate and promote interest in research of those cancers in companion animals that share a similarity to the cancers that afflict children.

Given the tough economic times and the limited resources of such a small non-profit, fundraising has been difficult. But, we decided to bite the bullet and provide $20,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano for one of his exciting comparative oncology research projects. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation’s Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following:

PROJECT TITLE: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma)

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Dr. Jaime Modiano (Veterinary Clinical Sciences), Dr. Jim Cerhan (Mayo Clinic), Dr. Matthew Breen (North Carolina State University), Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh (Broad Institute)

PROJECT GOALS: We propose to identify and characterize heritable (genetic) traits that contribute to risk and progression of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in golden retrievers. This project is developed as a partnership between the GRF and the Investigators, Drs. Modiano, Breen and Lindblad-Toh. The goal to “make a major impact” carries some risk, but in this project, risk is mitigated by the financial commitment from the GRF and MAF, as well as by the investigators’ entrepreneurial spirit, the extensive preliminary data from their laboratories, and their collective expertise applying state-of-the-art genome-wide technologies to cancer investigation. Our long-term goals are (1) to institute simple, straightforward tests to allow assessment of the specific genetic risk carried by an individual dog and thereby to allow breeders to develop strategies that will slowly reduce the incidence of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in golden retrievers, while retaining the positive phenotypes of the breed, and (2) to develop effective diagnostics, risk reduction, and treatment strategies for hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma that will benefit not only golden retrievers and other dogs, but also humans with these diseases.

Dr. Modiano is a true treasure. Our back-and-forth correspondences have exemplified both his wisdom and patience, prized traits for successful researchers such as himself. Dr. Modiano is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s V.M.D.-Ph.D. Program. Graduates with this or D.V.M.-Ph.D. degrees go on to careers in translational research, thus qualified to develop and do research in animal models, compare basic biology across animals, and translate research findings to different species including humans.

Jaime Modiano is one of the graduates who elected to focus on academic research. After completing the V.M.D.-Ph.D. program at Penn, Modiano went to Colorado State University for a residency in pathology. At the end of his residency, he realized that “you can’t go into science with just a Ph.D. and clinical training. I really needed to do a postdoc.” He joined the lab of Erwin Gelfand at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine (now National Jewish Health) to do research on T-cell activation, the subject of his Ph.D. research. He soon realized, however, that his residency training in pathology and his research interest in immunology didn’t mesh well professionally.

“My research in immunology was so disconnected from [my clinical work] that I had to make a choice because I wasn’t being excellent at either aspect of my career,” Modiano says. He decided to stick with research and joined the staff of the University of Colorado–affiliated AMC Cancer Research Center while serving as an associate professor of immunology at the School of Medicine of the University of Colorado, Denver. “It was kind of fun being at a medical school and known as the weird guy who worked with dogs,” says Modiano, who is now a professor of comparative oncology at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and the Masonic Cancer Center, where his research focuses on immunology, cancer cell biology, cancer genetics, and applications of gene therapy. …

Irrespective of the path that their careers have taken, D.V.M.-Ph.D.s have opportunities to make significant contributions to biomedical research, for the benefit of both humans and animals. This becomes apparent in diseases such as cancer: Dogs and cats suffer from naturally occurring cancers similar to human cancers. Unlike rodent models, which are developed from inbred strains of mice kept in controlled environments, companion animals, like humans, are genetically diverse and are exposed to many of the same environmental influences as their owners are. …

A critical barrier to using companion animals in preclinical research is organizing those studies. It’s a problem that Chand Khanna recognized when he arrived at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1997 to do a postdoc. “I came with the intent to study molecular biology techniques,” says Khanna, a D.V.M-Ph.D. who is now a senior scientist in NCI’s pediatric oncology branch. “But I also came with the veterinarian perspective, and as I talked to people, I realized there was an opportunity to answer questions in dogs with cancer that can’t be answered in either humans or mice. And that is critical for the development of new drugs.”

To that end, Khanna created the Comparative Oncology Program within NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. By linking together veterinary scientists at research centers across the country and in Canada, the studies completed through the program’s Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium provide valuable information needed to design human clinical trials.

Khanna believes companion animals will play an ever-increasing role in biomedical research on cancer and other diseases. As such, he believes there is an obvious role for dual-degree veterinarians. Penn’s Volk agrees: “For me and most of my colleagues, … we are thrilled to make a difference for our animal patients,” Volk says. “But really, there is an opportunity with appropriate animal models to make a huge difference for the human community as well.”

So proud of our famous pal, Suzi

One of my bestest Golden Retriever pals is Suzi Beber, also a much valued board member of our Land of PureGold Foundation. More importantly, though, she is the creator of the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund, through the University of Guelph’s Veterinary College and Teaching Hospital’s Pet Trust, so providing an important educational resource in the areas of canine cancer treatment options, nutrition, and complementary therapies.

I cannot imagine life without Suzi as her professional insights have guided my path for many years now. And, her knowledge in alternative medicine, as she assists veterinarians in the care of companion animals with complex medical needs, has greatly benefited the information that I am able to share with folks.

Suzi is quite a talent, this illustration to the right one of her “Cancer Breaks” artistic hockey trading cards. It graces the cover of the July/August Vancouver Island, BC edition of Canada’s Rising Women Magazine.

Check out the wonderful Rising Women Artist Bio below.

Taking a Break from Cancer…Suzi Beber spent the first part of her adult life teaching and making sure that she really savored life’s “awfully big adventure” by living it to the fullest, which included an incredible summer on Baffin Island in the Eastern Arctic with Tommy, her partner of 30 years. But everything changed… when a routine surgery took a detour.

Each of us has been touched by cancer. Suzi’s “healing helper”, her Golden Retriever “Blues”, was stolen by cancer at only 6 years old. Suzi made a pact that she would turn her love and loss into a new passion and mission, thus founding in the Spring of 2001, The Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund, which is a part of the University of Guelph’s Pet Trust.

Suzi and Tommy moved to Vancouver Island in 2003, where the moderate climate is kinder to Suzi’s ongoing health issues. They now share their world of gardens with three Golden Retrievers – generations of offspring from Blue.

Suzi’s “Cancer Breaks” artistic works are one of a kind, and are only the size of a hockey trading card. Each represents a precious person or pet whose life has been touched by cancer. “Cancer Breaks” are miniature worlds done in pen and ink and are sacred spaces where hope is the medicine and love is the cure for cancer. Suzi’s intricate work has been described as being reminiscent of a stained glass window or delicate needlepoint. Her “Hey, Veronica!” women honour those fighting breast cancer. Proceeds from the sale of all Suzi’s artwork fund cancer treatment and research.

It is said that the people in one’s life are like the pillars on one’s porch you see life through. Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes they lean on you, and sometimes it is just enough to know they’re standing by. Langston Hughes wrote that “a life without dreams is a broken winged bird.” Suzi says, “I am a very, very lucky person. My dreams are overflowing and there are so many wonderful people and golden spirits to help me fly. Smiling Blue Skies® has raised over $600,000 for comparative cancer research, and offers 24/7 support to those whose lives have been touched by cancer.”

To learn about Suzi and the Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Resource Centre, visit Together, we can reach beyond the bluest skies and brightest stars, to take a bite out of cancer, on behalf of the precious people and pets in our lives.

Rising Women Magazine

WAG MORE, worry less.

Just added this to my foundation store’s cafe press offerings. “WAG MORE, worry less” is a healthy coping skill that we can learn from our furry companions. You are supporting canine cancer funding for working dogs with a purchase of bags or apparel with this cool new design.

  • Check it out on bags, housewares, and light-colored apparel for the entire family by clicking here.
  • Check it out on women’s, men’s & children’s dark-colored t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts & aprons by clicking here.

Writing in a vacuum

My third newsletter has lots of fun and serious articles. You do not want to miss it. REALLY.

But, besides a handful of people, no one has bothered to check it out (yes, webstats are great things until you find out no one is paying anything you say any mind). It’s kinda like contests I put together to GIVE STUFF AWAY that no one bothers to enter …. oh my :0)

Maybe for the next issue I need to hide a secret word or image somewhere in the issue and tell folks the first person to find it wins something.

My spirits were buoyed, though, when I received this post from a Golden breeder (with some English Golden Alfie relatives no less).

Dear Rochelle, You could not have described more perfectly your newsletter: “Sometimes laughter, sometimes tears. But always food for the soul.” I laughed at the start, and I cried at the end—and yes, so much food for my soul.   Thank you for sharing it! — Sincerely, Felice Haggerty

I also read a lovely thank-you by a hurtin’ Kelley Baldwin, just having lost her Golden girl Chaser on June 19th. But, she may not count since she was one of the wonderful authors who contributed articles for the issue.

Through the wonders of social media a few months ago, I met the founder of Land of PureGold Foundation. The foundation promotes the human-canine bond and responsible pet ownership, and also funds cancer research and treatments for working dogs for animal-assistance therapy, search and rescue, etc.

Rochelle first contacted me after reading one of my columns, which featured my Chaser. She wanted to reprint it in Pet Talk, her foundation’s newsletter. Of course, I said YES! Just a few short weeks later, she returned the favor by providing us with a great resource – – after learning about Chaser’s osteosarcoma diagnosis.

As if Rochelle hadn’t helped us enough…she continues to amaze me. In this month’s foundation newsletter, she included a two-page feature on my Chaser. Others will read about her journey and her life. It is ways like this my Chaser will live on. You can read it here (pages 7-8).

I love Kelley’s Life Like Mine blog, as her writing is always so spot on. She needs to be writing for some comedy shows. She really is that good. And, I was thrilled to see at her blog another tribute to Chaser, just stumbled upon by her hubby.

Even after she’s gone, our Chaser continues to surprise us. … It’s the website for the Veterinary Speciality and Emergency Center. We took Chaser there for her eye exams. I guess they decided she was beautiful too.

We always joked she could have been a movie star. However, it was enough she was a star in our hearts.