Golden & *BIG* Kitty Love

10-month-old leopard Salati leans in for a cuddle with her best Golden pal Tommy

At Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria in South Africa, one can see a somewhat odd pairing. Rescued as an orphaned cub, Salati came to this family-run country retreat, which does great work rehabilitating injured and destitute animals. Their huge enclosures also allow those  animals who will never be able to survive in the wild to enjoy wonderful lives.

This unique lodge is open to both day visitors and resident guests every day of the year. With elephant walks, viewing of lions & giraffes, horse riding, and afternoon guided walks, it seems to be a marvelous way to enjoy wildlife.

Baby Salati

Salati is the newest member to the family of Glen Afric, coming to the facility in June 2009 at 6 weeks old.

Animal wrangler Richard Brooker, 23, raised Salati and takes her and family dog Tommy for their daily exercise together. Each morning, he walks them on his family’s 1,850-acre estate and then lets them run free to their hearts’ content.

He said: ‘Wherever you see one the other is right behind. They are inseparable and both have lots of energy so they get the exercise they both need together.

‘When we first received Salati she was tiny and Tommy could chase her around. But now with Salati matching him for weight the tables have turned. ‘It’s all fun and games and they love playing together.

‘But dogs aren’t used to being chased by cats almost the same size as them. I think it was a shock for him when she started doing the chasing but it’s fun to see them exploring together.’

Salati & Tommy take daily walks together at the South Africa lodge

Playmates Tommy & Salati enjoy some rough and tumble in the South African bush

These travelling companions lie contentedly together waiting to go on a good run-around together in lots of space.

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This is much harder than it looks.

This is the Southern Golden Retriever Display Team performing at CRUFTS 2010. I have seen them perform better than this but still am very impressed. In my own freestyle training years ago, we tried these team exercises. They are really, really tough.

The fact that a Golden was distracted by some previous scent in the arena was actually a bonus. The group continued with their performance, the dog finally after a few mishaps getting in step ….. making the piece that much more dear.

Role Reversal for sure, but Best Friends Forever

Close: Salati, a ten-month-old leopard, leans in for a cuddle with her best friend, Golden Retriever Tommy By Barcroft Media

There’s not much cuter than this. Salati, a ten-month-old leopard, and Golden Retriever Tommy are BFF’s. They love to run together and cuddle together, having been reared together at Glen Afric Country Lodge near Pretoria in South Africa.

Salati joined the lodge in June 2009 at a mere 6 weeks of age. She already has a movie career, debuting in the Wild at Heart series 5.

Learn more about this inseparable pair here.

Just don’t buy this store owner’s side of the story

Amazing that the folks at the restaurant could not tell Golden Retriever Lanie was a guide dog and that her person was visually impaired. (Hate that an ad has to run first before the clip.)

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Learn more about why I am not buying this store owner’s tail.

Golden Retriever Angel – a true guardian angel

It was not the story I wanted to be greeted with at the beginning of a new year, but it does look like there will be a happy Golden ending for Angel . . . despite defending her human *brother* from an attacking cougar.

Go read the incredible story here, Angel representing the 86th Golden Retriever hero story showcased at our foundation site.

If you have time, be sure to check out some of the other incredible tales. So many are truly amazing.

Please note: In order to hear the broadcast below, click on the sound icon. Then, move the volume bar up in order to hear the report. The sound cannot be heard unless this is done.

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With bells on her toes . . .

Golden Rainey Beber (wearing outfit from silly Auntie Rochelle)

Golden Retriever Rainey is part of Suzi Beber’s large Golden furry family. We love Suzi, one of our foundation’s board members, who is making a huge difference in Canada for canine cancer. Check out all she does at Smiling Blue Skies. And, tell her Rochelle sent you.

Wishing all joy and peace.

Too sad

The video below details a memorial speed painting by Dave Larks of his sweet Golden Retriever Chester, who was taken from his family due to cancer, at a mere 18 months of age.

It is horrifying that he was only 8 months old when the cancer showed up. Chester spent his life with his family and never made it beyond their yard . . . he never made it up to the mountains.

Yet, it was believed Chester would have loved to have roamed free in the wilderness, so in the painting, Dave placed him where he believed his spirit would be happy.

A memorial painting of our sweet golden retriever Chester, who was taken from us too soon due to cancer. He was only 8 months old when the cancer showed up. He lived till he was 18 months old.
Even though he spent his life with us and in our yard, he never made it up to the mountains. I know he would have loved to have roamed free in the wilderness, so in this painting, I have placed him where I hope his spirit is happy.

Whoa … Neil Diamond channeling Adam Sandler?

Since Hanukkah begins tomorrow night at sundown, we’ve been providing lots of holiday fun for our Jewish pals. This is Adam Sandler’s song now covered by Neil Diamond. I like this fun animated version.

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A Golden Retriever inspired Hanukkah can be found at my Light One Candle (Peter, Paul & Mary) page.

Members of Suzi Beber's Golden Retriever Family

Re-visiting Old Wounds

It seems no matter what I’ve tried to do, convicted felon Scott Shields, keeps up his lying and cheating ways. It’s downright embarrassing when you consider that I have an entire category with close to 40 separate postings devoted to this idiot.

Sadly, it all started on 9/11 at the time of Ground Zero when we all became attached to the images of brave men with their Search & Rescue Dogs combing the destruction for signs of life.

Long story short, Scott misrepresented himself and the work he was supposedly doing on the pile, getting me to collect over $1000 for him, getting a Battery Park apt, etc. I continued to be concerned about his senior-aged Bear, actually arranging for free hydrotherapy sessions within walking distance to his newly (and, while I didn’t know then, illegally) obtained NYC apartment. It was when I was contacted by the hydro-therapist that Scott was not keeping his appointments (I found out he was instead walking Bear for several hours daily on the hot NYC streets telling his stories & trying to get money) that I ended the relationship and removed all mention of him from my website.

Bearsdad or Bearsdad2, as he calls himself, was merely consumed with himself above all others, and innocent Bear suffered as a result. His narcissism trumped all as he attempted to trade in on tragedy for his manipulated sense of fame.

I never tire of watching this short, but spot on, video clip of Scott talking to a group of youngsters (he’s done many of these talks btw). According to self-proclaimed Ground Zero hero, Scott Shields, his Golden Retriever “Bear was the first Search and Rescue Dog inside the World Trade Center. He found the most live people.”  . . . . . . . . . (now wait for it).

THERE WERE NO LIVE FINDS MADE BY A DOG.

It seems that Scott is now behind a new channel at Youtube where he is trying again to rehabilitate his reputation by slandering others and continuing to deny the fraud that he carried out and for which he spent 8 months in federal prison. And, he is unknowingly (to the actual person) registering a FDNY member at Youtube and then making fictitious comments under his name. Due to spam, I screen every comment that comes to my channel so Scott is making little headway with me with his ridiculous postings. But, he is working hard elsewhere.

I continue to have folks contact me about meeting Scott—along with his current Golden Retriever of course—at various dog venues and flea markets where he continues to peddle his wares and lies. But, the following correspondence that I just received this week was quite insightful, as it described Scott before the time of his Ground Zero adventures.

I googled Scott Shields just out of curiosity as to where he’d gone, and hit your website.

I met him while walking my dog in Byram, Connecticut about 1999/2000. (He did actually have a very lovable, older golden named Bear.) He was wearing some sort of “jump suit” with some sort of “emergency” patches on the sleeves, and then proceeded to lie down on the sidewalk in front of me, in the park, stating he “was tired”.  He had an outboard boat with the word “safety” stenciled on it in blue. He told me that the Red Cross did not appreciate him, because he “thought outside the box” and that was why he couldn’t pass any Red Cross leadership courses.

I remember thinking that he didn’t just think outside the box, he thought off the shelf. Other people who I met who walked dogs stated that he was wacko. He was strange enough that I have remembered him over time, even after a brief meeting.

I believe that you are not incorrect in pursuing this issue.

Remembering a Gentle Man with a Golden Heart

Ed Eames and his wife, Toni, with Golden guide dogs, Latrell & Keebler

Sadly, the Assistance Dog Movement has lost one of our greatest champions. IAADP’s President, Co-founder, Ed Eames, Ph.D. passed away on October 25, 2009. It is hard to believe that it has been seven years since meeting Ed and his lovely wife, Toni. Although Toni has been blind since birth, Ed lost his sight at age 42. He very much relied on Toni’s skills and access, and along with her deep love for him, this allowed him to flourish in his second, non-sighted life.

An adjunct professor at CA State University-Fresno, Ed spent his career teaching and doing anthropology research at NY’s Baruch College and previously at Temple University. His doctorate was earned at Cornell University with his research based in India.

Ed obtained his initial guide dog from the Seeing Eye and met Toni in 1985 while writing his first book about the assistance dog field, A Guide to Guide Dog Schools. She joined him as wife and co-author of that project. Their second book, Partners in Independence: A Success Story of Dogs and the Disabled, was drawn from their award-winning column of the same name, published for ten years in Dog World Magazine.

Ed is the kind of person who has exemplified the adage, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.And, it was Ed’s enormous heart and sweet manner and concern for others that endeared him to so many. It was simply impossible to resist this man’s charms once you met him. He just had that kind of effect on folks . . . . and dogs as well.

Ed was a true Golden Retriever lover and one knew that any Golden in the Eames household was one lucky dog. We all know how special our first entry into the Golden world can be, and Ed’s relationship with Kirby, his first Golden Retriever guide dog, was quite unique. Here is Dr. Eames with his Kirby, a Golden who amazingly went on to earn an AKC Companion Dog Excellent title.

However, Kirby’s claim to fame occurred when bone cancer necessitated the amputation of his left front leg, yet did not keep him from continuing his guide dog work. The telling of this courageous story, Kirby, My Miracle Worker, earned Ed a Maxwell award from the Dog Writers Association of America.

Go to my site to learn more about Ed’s story.

British pals . . . fascinated by snow

From the BBK, this video shows Siberian tiger cubs at a Norfolk zoo have been enjoying their first experience of snowy weather. The paws on these cubs are just too, too cute . . . as well as the pouncing fun they are having.

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And, from fellow Golden lover Wendy, I simply adore these snow booties on Service Golden Retriever Caesar. They actually look like a pair of my own high socks.

Caesar remains well and is thoroughly enjoying the snow we have here just now, went out in his new dog bootees today and was quite the comedian!

Very sad & lonely today – Update

Golden Retriever Alfie with one of his favorite woobies

Golden Retriever Alfie with one of his favorite woobies

I am on telephone watch right now. That is, I wait for it to ring to tell me that my sweet Golden boy is safely out of surgery, and that possibly we have some more answers about what is bothering him right now. He is a real mess with some kind of infection that we cannot identify and a benign (I hope) tumor on his eyelid that is being removed.

The only fun part to going to the vet’s office is the ability to see so many new dog faces, attached to bodies of all types. And, it is always a chuckle when folks try to guess Alfie’s age, thinking he is just the most well-behaved, but rather large puppy.

My baby boy turns ten in 4 months, but is definitely from a late-maturing line, which I love. He still runs in a puppy-like fashion and acts puppyish in his behaviors. And, I love it, of course.

To top off bad times, my rescue feral kitty Cindy is very sick. I told the vet he needs to get her well because even though she is 16-17 years of age, she has only decided to love on me and my hubby during the last few years. Before that, she’d sleep in the basement or hidden somewhere in the house, and would rarely let us hold or love on her. Now, she must be with us constantly and actually tries to keep Alfie from getting time with Gary or myself. And, despite her being only 6 pounds, Alfie will not cross her path and always defers to her wishes.

UPDATE: Thanks for all the good wishes. You should have seen me at the vet’s. I did not want to even let Alfie have his surgery on Monday, having given him some bread with Prednisone later than I should due to his agony on Sunday. I wasn’t even going to leave him on Monday and took him in with me when I had my 9am appt for Cindy. When the vet asked how I was, I told him I was up all night and not sleeping and what could he do. Ultimately, he told me I had to not make Alfie into a basket case by acting like one myself (ouch!).

He did make it through surgery and now we have lots of meds, of which Gary is partially in charge, since putting ointment onto the eye is just so tough. The biopsy is not back but I was not worried that it would be cancer since the vet told me that these types of growths are typically benign. It had to be removed, though, as the eye has been runny and constantly tearing, and was red. It was also beginning to affect the cornea.

Hopefully, we will get the bacterial infection under control soon. We think it is due to his food addiction in combo with his still lying flat like a puppy. He does that outside as well, and loves to spend time down by our apple trees eating the fallen fruit which is too disgusting to even describe. Gary refuses to manage it. He just likes to have the trees there and doesn’t think about the upkeep. I may decide to just pay someone to keep the ground cleared of fallen fruit, as it is tough to pick up when it draws bees and who knows what else.

My poor 16-17 year-old Cindy, who was quite feral and not interested in contact, is now sick with kidney disease. I feel so bad because she only started becoming sweet and affectionate a couple of years ago, so to me, she has only been with me a few years. She is not one to take medication and the fact that we have to get 2 meds into her daily is going to be some battle. She is also a little under 6 pounds and finicky about eating, so trying to change her diet is going to be impossible. Gary, of course, is totally the dreamer and thinks all will be fine. I am really not so sure. But, up to 2am, I was looking at various diets that we will begin trying with her. The bottom line, though, is that her stopping eating would be worse than not changing the diet, and even one day with her refusing food could send her to the hospital given this type of illness and her limited weight.

All in all, I am a mess. But, that was to be expected given my own limited health, and the fact that any type of emotional stress exacerbates my symptoms. But, it all comes with the package. We can never truly appreciate the love we receive from our furry souls without going through the pain when they become ill.