The Golden Flame
Do not mourn the extinguishing of the flame ... celebrate how brightly it burned.
In August, we lost our beloved Shiloh. He was such a good beast. Well known for stealing peaches and tomatoes off the counter. He was always one to go for veggies first. In fact, when we made the salad for the guinea pig, he would insist on having a couple of carrots. He also loved sharing popcorn and spice drops.
One of his favorite activities in the winter was chasing the snowplow as well as 'snowplowing" with his face through the snow. In the summer he preferred lying in front of his fan and lounging in his freshly filled swimming pool.
He was never much for cuddling. He would barely acknowledge us when we got home. But he came running if you said the word cookie or rustled his spice drop bag. He would allow you to snuggle if he knew you were sad or hurting. He'll be missed for laying exactly where we were going to walk.
In his younger years he loved a nap on the couch...as well as snuggling up against Mom! But overall, he preferred to play tug of war and shred stuffed animals and wrapping paper at Christmas. He always knew where his treats were kept on the mantle and would stare while we were opening ours, wondering where his own were.
Shiloh was the sassiest dog to have graced our lives and we miss him terribly. We were blessed to enjoy his presence for quite a few years.
We adopted Harper in April of 2008. When we got him, he had been in foster care while awaiting his
forever home. He was about 1.5 years of age, very nervous and insecure. He bonded with us very quickly
and slowly gained confidence in his new home and surroundings. He did really well, but was still leery of some people the first few years.
Upon my retirement in late 2011, Jennifer ad I purchased a 20 foot travel trailer and in the spring of 2012; Harper, Jennifer and I started out on a cross country RV journey to see most of the country and the Canadian Rockies. Harper absolutely loved it! He loved all the campgrounds and all the places we visited. He was fascinated with the Grand Canyon and all the other national parks. Everywhere we went, people asked about our great boy. He was very handsome and people wanted to pat him. Harper slowly gained trust in most people. He saw his first snow in Glacier National Park and loved it. He was like a puppy in the snow! He LOVED RV-ing!
The next year, 2013, we traveled up the East Coast to Maine. Again, he went everywhere with us. Harper was very protective of us and would warn us about any suspected danger by putting his front paws on our chest to stop us. He stopped Jennifer from walking to our camper because he knew about a large moose that she didn't even know was in the woods. He stopped us from walking where there was a group of coyotes and many other times when he sensed danger. We never taught him this, he just knew to protect us.
In February of this year, we moved into our new home in a very dog friendly development. He made all kinds of new friends there. Sadly, he developed an aggressive oral cancer and within 2 weeks, he passed.
He was my seventh Golden in my lifetime and by far and away, the most intelligent and dedicated of all of them. He will be missed by us always and we want to thank Mary Ellen and GRINinc for all the wonderful years and time we had with him.
Jennifer and Frank R.
In October 2003 we went to St. Petersburg, Florida to meet a potential Golden Retriever named Rose. She was 2 ½ years old, red color and small stature. She was in a foster home waiting to be adopted. Rose was adorable. She had been in foster care a little more than a month after being abandoned by her previous owner at an office of a veterinary doctor. As we met Rose, she sat in her foster care living room with a tennis ball in her mouth, as we were told, she did often. She surrendered her tennis ball without a fuss and in doing so, signaled to us what kind of personality she had. She would be joining our family that already had an 8 year-old Golden Retriever, and we felt certain that Rose would fit in perfectly and we were right.
It was obvious to us how Rose got her name; her beautiful red color made it a simple choice. But something happened on the three-hour drive home; Rose received a name change to Annie. The traditional two-week period of adjustment for a name change took about two days for this extremely smart puppy. During her thirteen years with us, she enriched our lives in countless ways and we were so lucky and grateful to have her as part of our family. A few years after adopting Annie, we were fortunate enough to become a part of GRINinc. Annie enjoyed participating in activities such as Wrapping for Gold and annual reunions. She was always an excellent role model for the breed. Always so calm, loyal and oh so devoted. We also enjoyed so many wonderful trips with her to our Missouri countryside home where she would run and enjoy nature. She was in her element; she made her last trip this past fall.
Annie was now 15 ½ years old and her rear legs became very weak as she struggled getting up, standing and walking, although she sure tried. She was such a fighter that we knew that she would never give up but we also knew that she was counting on us to do the right thing. Annie crossed the Rainbow Bridge joining her sisters and brother of the past. We have rescued four other Golden Retrievers but Annie was special, she was our joy. She touched so many people, we are not the only ones who loved her and miss her greatly. We were so blessed to have her and we miss her so very much.
Charlette & John Quercia
I will never forget the hot day in June when I drove two hours from Sarasota to Bonita Springs to meet a red-haired golden retriever named Roxy. This beautiful girl would become my very best friend for the next 12 years. When I called to make an appointment, the President and Founder of GRINinc, Mary Ellen, explained to me that there was no guarantee Roxy would come home with me that day, even though I had passed the home inspection. It all depended on how Roxy interacted with me once I got to her foster home and met her. Well, as soon as we saw each other, it was love at first sight! It was clear to Roxy, to me and to everyone in the room that Roxy and I were meant to be together. Roxy did come home with me that very day and we were pretty much inseparable for the next 12 years.
Until a couple of years ago, when Roxy started to slow down and became unable to travel, she went everywhere with me. We took trips to the beach, we hiked in the mountains, we took weekend drives to the doggie park, and both got our exercise on the walking trail every day. She loved coming to the Clemson University campus where I worked to visit, and everyone enjoyed seeing her. She was always a friend to other dogs and to humans and never met a stranger. Her favorite trips were to the beach—she loved to run in the ocean, roll around in the sand and dig huge holes to cool herself off. She also enjoyed swimming in the lake once we moved from Florida to South Carolina, but even in South Carolina, we still managed to make many trips to the beach. Roxy was quite a character and always made me laugh. She was such a very happy girl and always had a smile for everyone.
She may be gone physically, but Roxy will always have a very special place in my heart. I miss my sweet girl so much, but I know she will be waiting for me someday at the Rainbow Bridge with a tennis ball in her mouth, ready to play. Carol P.
Morgan, GRINinc dog #35 came into rescue in 2005. He was a product of an abusive home…one that wanted Morgan to be trained as a guard dog and wanted Morgan to “put up with” a rough and aggressive shepherd who was loved by the family. When Morgan did not meet the family’s expectations they decided to move him along. GRINinc heard about Morgan and immediately went into action to help this young, handsome 18-month old golden boy. Morgan carried emotional scars from his life with this family …Morgan was very fearful and he trusted no one. Morgan became one of our “cabana dogs” …a place reserved for housing our Goldens with special needs who were not able to go directly into a foster or adoptive home. Mary and I took turns visiting Morgan, feeding him (he was very food aggressive), walking him, just sitting on the floor with him and eventually he became excited to see us and trusted us enough that we felt he could be moved into a VERY special home….one that would love Morgan unconditionally. Well the first home we found told us they would do just that but they expected way too much from Morgan too fast and he came back to the rescue.
We then approved a family, the Wykels, and we took Morgan with us for the trip. They immediately welcomed Morgan and we could see that Morgan felt comfortable with them….as comfortable as he could at that stage in his life. Over the 11 years that the Wykels had Morgan there were some challenges but Morgan was allowed to be a dog…a happy boy that went for walks, gently visited with bunnies in the yard, slept on a nice soft dog bed and was loved unconditionally. As time went on we knew that Morgan was safe and did not feel the need to constantly check in on him.
Within the last year, as Morgan aged, we heard from the Wykels about his various health issues all of which were typical aging issues until I got the devastating news that Morgan had an aggressive form of mast cell cancer. Every week, the Wykels would bring Morgan down to our favorite animal oncologist, Dr. Sarah Kraiza of Florida Veterinary Referral Center. Every week we would ALL meet to discuss Morgan’s future. I found myself once again becoming very attached to Morgan. He was a special dog to me from day one and the feeling had not changed over the many years. I was saddened by Morgan’s health status but we kept fighting. This sad time brought us all together again and for that I was very thankful. Morgan continued to look good, his eyes were bright and he had quality of life until that day in June when Morgan again visited Dr. Kraiza for the last time. The life in his eyes was gone, he was grumpy and in extreme pain and he looked at all of us as if to say “I am tired and please let me go”. We decided to do just that…to help him peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge.
I will never forget Morgan…I will never forget the total unconditional love that the Wykels gave Morgan. This is the epitome of what rescue is all about and Morgan’s story will be forever in my heart.
Mary Ellen M.
Ginger and Jenna
So begins our story of the girls.
In 2008 we got to know Mary Ellen with Golden Rescue. She came over to our house and interviewed us for the possibility of getting a golden from her rescue. Then came the call, would we consider fostering two 3 to 4 year-old Goldens. We talked it over and said we would try it and see how it worked. Mary Ellen said they would really like to keep them together, as they were sisters and had been with each other from day one. We set up a meeting place, and so started our adventure with the girls.
Enter Ginger and Jenna. What a pair they were. Ate together, slept together, walked together, ran together. They did everything with each other. Never out of sight or at LEAST smell of each other. Never much of a problem, we could not have asked for two better dogs. Not to say they didn't get into a little trouble now and then.
As it turned out Ginger was deathly afraid of the Thunder Monster as it came to be called at our house. Jenna on the other hand was the destroyer. Nothing that was not repairable, but sometimes we had to have a heart to heart with the girls. A few waste baskets, a set of curtains and not mention a toilet…yes, a toilet. All I can say is it didn't flood the house. That story goes on every year during storm season. Let's just say we came home a few days and questioned our decision to take two Goldens.
In June of 2015 at their annual checkups, we were told Jenna had a slightly enlarged heart. So after a few appointments and a trip to a veterinarian cardiologist we told Jenna had a tumor on heart. The very sad part of that appointment was being told that there was really nothing we could do. The bottom line was Jenna was given 1 to 3 months to live. We decided to take Jenna home and let Jenna be Jenna. So in mid-September I was thinking Jenna is going to prove them wrong, she's going be with us past that 3 month mark. I was wrong. Near the end of September with my wife in Europe, Jenna took a big downward turn. I rushed her to our vet and had to make a very heart breaking decision. We lost Jenna. I still remember that short drive home and trying to explain to Ginger and her two other sisters, Taffy and Bundles (cats) that Jenna was not coming home. Then, having to tell my wife on FaceTime that we lost Jenna.
We had nine more months with Ginger. She looked every time we came in for Jenna. June of this year, something happened in Gingers spine to cause severe nerve damage. She lost control of her hind legs. After visits to the vet, we decided that the best thing to do for Ginger was to put her down. As hard as it was, it was the best thing to do for her.
This ends the story of Ginger and Jenna at our house. We miss the girls and talk about them all the time. We always say, they are together again, sleeping, eating, running and playing with each other.
Thanks to Mary Ellen and GRINinc for the chance to know and care for the Girls. Thanks also to very good friends that helped with the girls: Judy Ross, Steph and Keith Wilt and Shelley and Gary Cahill. Thanks to the staff and Doctors of Harborside Clinic for helping care for our girls.
MAYBE GONE but ALWAYS REMEMBERED ~ Gloria and Ken K.
We adopted Nick (Flicker #207) from GRINinc.org in 2007; he was six years old and had been given up by his family. As well as being a handsome boy, he had a sweet disposition and was a perfect candidate for becoming a Bright and Beautiful therapy dog. Together we spent the next eight years visiting classrooms and libraries in St. Lucie County, FL. Children of all ages delighted in reading to him and he never tired of their attention. He loved playing his tennis ball game and romping with our other rescued Goldens Brady and Humphrey. He had a big heart, spread a lot of love, and created many happy memories. We will miss him dearly.
Shelley and Bill Hunsberger & Bella, too
Bayley, a 9 year old golden girl and GRINinc dog # 429, came subtly into our lives via an email from one of our Board members. We had just lost Rose about a year before and we were not really looking for another dog…or should I say my husband was not looking for another dog! We knew Casey was not the same without his girlfriend but life was okay…just okay. I saw the photo of this beautiful golden girl in the email and thought…well GRINinc will find her a good home. I didn’t think much about it until I got a call from Linc saying that GRINinc needed to bring in Bayley ASAP. I gently suggested to my husband Pat that we should at least foster her and he agreed but that was all I would expect from our new guest….she would be a foster dog and eventually adopted to a good home. Let me tell you that she came in, looked at my husband with those deep, soulful, pleading brown eyes and he was hooked! Bayley never left….she continued to flirt with Pat, lie down by his feet and always keep a watchful eye on him! She was sweet with Casey but her main goal in life was to “charm” her people. She was the ultimate “busy bee”…the socialite of the neighborhood! She greeted EVERY ONE whether they wanted to greet her or not with this fast, wagging tail and a smile like no other smile I have ever seen in a golden! I started calling her “Ms. B”. She actually reminded me of Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith Show!! We were graced with her presence and beauty for only 10 months….the night before she died she continued to show that sweet, happy personality but looking back I now know that those beautiful eyes had changed slightly…it was as if she wanted to tell us something special…perhaps that was her way of saying goodbye. We lost her suddenly to cancer…she went peacefully and although we are so sad and empty without our Ms. B we are relieved that she did not suffer long. “However long or short time is, a life well lived and well loved is our true gift to rescue dogs.” Oh so very true….Godspeed our Bayley. We will see you again.
The Metro Family