Vol 13 No 3


Holiday 2011


Front Page

Features in this Issue:

Anna's Story

2011 Rescue Reunion

2011 Rescue Parade

Recent Adoptions

Remembering With Fondness

Thank You

Letters To GRRI-NJ


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Tales of Gold


Anna's Story
As told by Amy Jo Kazahaya, her amazing mom


During this past summer, GRRI-NJ received a request from a group of women who wanted to sponsor a Golden by collecting donations in memory of their friend who had died from cancer. Anna’s story was shared with the group, and they wrote to say that they were finding strength in helping Anna on behalf of their friend.

Anna was a spunky little 4 year old golden when she came into rescue in January after a tragedy left her family unable to take care of her. She was so pregnant that her foster mom could see little puppy legs move inside her belly. Ten days later, she gave birth to 10 perfect golden puppies. Anna was a fantastic mother, full of energy and thrilled with all the visitors who came to see her. As the weeks went by in her foster home, a tiny sore on Anna's side started to grow. After she recovered from delivering and nursing her puppies, Anna's sore had grown so significantly that her veterinarian removed it when he spayed her. Unfortunately, when the pathology report came back it was cancer; however, her vet was optimistic that since he had gotten clean margins, there was a good chance that it would not return. But a few months later, mast cell cancer had reared its ugly head once again. Anna had many expensive diagnostic tests, two very successful doses of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the new masses. The University of Pennsylvania generously gave GRRI a discount for all of her care. Even though she still had her stitches in, Anna’s energy and golden spirit never wavered. She loved going to the vet, especially while wearing one of her silly costumes. She was very smart and knew what a pretty girl she was. The more attention she got from the other patients, nurses, and vets, the better. As soon as someone would come over to pet her, she would flip over onto her back for her favorite thing - belly rubs! Anna will be having her stitches removed at the end of the week and will go back to Penn Vet to see whether she should continue chemotherapy.

At the end of November, Amy Jo Kazahaya, who was originally Anna’s foster mom but then adopted Anna, wrote the following epilogue to Anna’s story:

Anna, the very beautiful mother of the puppies born into GRRI in January passed away yesterday morning after a battle with mast cell cancer. She was only 4. Anna was brilliantly intelligent. She had an amazing ability to communicate her needs and wishes. She was so sensitive but also incredibly strong. She loved to wear her costumes and I think her favorite was her pirate costume including the pirate hat with the red parrot on top of it, which could not be worn at home or Sofia would retrieve the bird off of Anna's head. When she came into rescue so pregnant, I was warned by my vet and seasoned dog caretakers that a pregnant dog and new mother can become very aggressive and to be careful. Anna was so gentle with me and accepted my sometimes clumsy attempts to see what was going on or helping the little puppies get her milk. She was a wonderful mother, so gentle and loving with her puppies. From the first moment I met her, she happily flipped over on her back and stayed that way until she was encouraged to get up. She visited her oncologists at Penn nearly every week and the nurses just loved to see her; she'd often lie on her back for her chemo treatment. Last week she was pulling on her leash to get to the park. She didn't have many bad days until 5 days ago, but still managed to eat a little filet mignon and scrambled egg on Saturday morning. I had hoped we could get through it and start her chemo again, since the new drug appeared to be working well, but her breathing became labored over the weekend and I helped her to the bridge this morning. Her quality of life was always the top priority balanced with a hope for a long term prognosis. She endured surgeries and 3 different chemo drugs like a champion. I was surprised to find that I thought she actually felt better after each chemo treatment. When she went to her appointments, she'd nearly burst through the front door to get in and then jump up at the desk to show the receptionists her costume and then show off to everyone in the waiting room. People often took photos of her. If there wasn't enough attention, Banana would jump in the air and bark. She'd often hop into the seat next to me and sit there like a lady waiting to be called. She loved riding in the car. She had a cute waggle to her walk. Despite being a city girl, she loved our farm, happily riding on the front of the lawnmower and climbing into the big tractor for a ride. The night before Luke, one of our other dogs died, she curled up on his bed with him like she knew he was leaving. She gave our family the most wonderful gift, Sebastian. If there was anything more we could have found to give to Anna, we would have. I loved her with all my heart. 

Rest in peace, sweet angel Anna!