Vol 8 No 2

Dedicated to the memory of

Bronwyn McFadden

Spring 2006

Front Page

Features in this Issue:

Meet Harry & Kyra

Foster Home Surprises

Upcoming Events

Thank You

Remembering Bronwyn

Welcoming A New Dog

Shopping Made Easy


Dog Flu

Remembering With Fondness

Letters to GRRI-NJ

GRRI NEWS Archives

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Harry & Kyra

Talk to any of our volunteers who have contact with dogs that come through GRRI, and they’ll happily confirm that each is “special.”  The Golden Retriever breed has some well-defined characteristics that account for their wide appeal, but each dog has a unique personality and characteristics that distinguish him or her from any other dog. Our Adoption team has the responsibility for understanding those distinctive qualities for each dog and then matching them with potential adopters who represent a good “fit” with the dog’s unique profile.

But some dogs have issues and needs that truly are “special”, and which tend to limit the number of applicants who might be a good match. Sometimes that isn’t because the dog has such intensive demands, but rather it is because adopters are put off by what they perceive to be difficult needs. Take a few moments to meet two such “special needs” GRRI dogs currently in foster care who are looking for the very special people who can open their hearts and homes to provide the future they deserve:


Kyra is a four-year old spayed female Golden who is absolutely beautiful! She came to us after her family realized that with a baby on the way, they wouldn’t have enough time to devote to her. Like many Goldens, Kyra has hypothyroidism, a condition which is usually easily remedied with a lifetime of relatively low-cost medicine. Unfortunately, she also suffers from idiopathic seizures (idiopathic meaning that there is no specific underlying condition that can be determined to be causing the seizures).  Seizures are generally understood to result from a burst of uncoordinated brain impulse activity, interfering with normal bodily functions and controls temporarily.

To be sure, it is difficult to see this wonderful dog struggle through her condition. Her episodes are unpredictable, and range from fairly minor to full “tonic-clonic” seizures.  She may be able to sense their imminent onset, as she often will seek out her foster parents with some urgency just prior to a seizure. During the seizure, Kyra will often apparently lose her sight, and her legs may “paddle” or jerk and tremble; she often pants excessively during the convulsion as well. In a typical post-seizure recovery period of a few hours, she will pace from corner to corner. The seizures can occur as often as a few times a week.

Kyra is currently on anti-seizure medications, and we have also introduced a new diet because of some work suggesting a nutritional link to such a condition. We will continue to investigate all possible medical interventions to control or cure her condition, but we recognize that some dogs are afflicted with such a condition for their entire lives. 

Although Kyra may be afflicted with seizures for the rest of her life, her condition is just one aspect of her life. She’s a friendly, playful, happy dog, who enjoys being close with her human companions as well as being with other dogs.  Her foster home has taken her on extended trips, and she enjoys riding in the car and new adventures. In many respects, she is everything we love about the breed given her delightful personality and sweet, outgoing nature. We admire her spunk in approaching life with this dramatic condition, and especially appreciate the extraordinary care that her foster parents have provided to keep her safe and comfortable.

Clearly, Kyra needs a home with the inclination to care for her special condition, and help her through the difficult periods when she is seizing. Ideally, her new family would be her staunch advocates as well as her companions, continuing our search for the therapy that will successfully control or cure her condition. And, as with all of our Goldens, we’re looking for someone who will truly make Kyra a cherished family member, allowing her the joys of everyday life to offset the challenges she faces.

Find out more about dogs with seizures at http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/Graves.html and http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/. Both websites offer good information about the realities of seizures, what to expect, and possible therapies. We also like that both sites give good perspective on how dogs with this condition can live their lives with the degree of happiness and dignity that we’d all want. Kyra can’t do it without someone to help her through the tough times. How about you?

Email or call if you’d like more information about Kyra.


Harry Potter came to us from a shelter where he had been picked up as a stray. We often brace ourselves for dogs in poor physical condition coming from shelters, and Harry was no exception! His ears don’t hang flat next to his head because they have “cauliflowered” from years of hematoma formation, generally caused when untreated ear infections create such discomfort that dogs scratch and shake their ears until pools of blood form in the tissue.  In Harry’s case, the years of infections have caused his ear canals to calcify, and he is now deaf (although he still can detect loud clapping and the vibrations from tapping on the floor).

But Harry apparently isn’t the kind to let a little discomfort get in his way! His foster mom reports that he is sweet and affectionate, and enjoys the other dogs in his foster home almost as much as his human companions! He’s a “nudger” and will give gentle licks and pokes with his snout to ask for the attention he craves. He’s enjoyed some rides in the car, and greets visitors eagerly. He has a weakness for stuffed dog toys, which he’s very happy to shred mercilessly while wagging his tail happily!

Harry’s foster home reports that although his ears continue to have significant discharges of waxy material, it is readily controlled with daily cleaning, which Harry accepts with no problem. We’ve consulted a vet, who believes that Harry will not need surgery to remove the ear canals as long as he continues to show that the infections can be controlled with regular cleaning.

As with many hearing-impaired dogs, Harry Potter responds to hand signals, and also is more keenly observant of his surroundings to fill in for the missing sounds. Sometimes it seems as if he is using the other dogs in his household as hearing-aid dogs! GRRI last had a deaf dog in 2003, and his adopter reported that he quickly adapted to looking for hand signals and feeling for vibrations (of door closings, steps on the floor, etc) such that his lack of hearing did not have much impact on his daily living at all.  Some dog breeds are susceptible to lifelong deafness through hereditary conditions (Goldens are thankfully not one such breed) and several resources are available to address the special concerns of these dogs and their human companions; see, for example, www.deafdogs.org.

We estimate Harry Potter to be about 7 or 8 years old, so we hope he has many happy years ahead given the usual expected lifespan of a Golden. His deafness is unique, but really doesn’t affect his life or how he can fit in a new home beyond some simple accommodations. Harry’s a sweet, laid back guy who just needs the right people to look past his hearing impairment to see what a wonderful member of the family he’d be. He’s obviously not had the care and love we’d hope for in his early years, and we want to try to make up for it with the right forever home for him now.

Please, consider your home for Harry Potter! Call or email us to learn more about Harry.