Vol 13 No 1

Spring 2011

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Features in this Issue:

Paw Prints On Our Hearts

2010 Annual Survey

Recent Adoptions

Thank You

Fond Farewells

Letters to GRRI-NJ

GRRI NEWS Archives

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Tales of Gold

Letters to GRRI-NJ

Today is Scotty's 11th Birthday!

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at GRRI-NJ for the years of joy that Scotty has brought to our family.  I will continue to say that he is the best dog-gone dog on earth.  He is still a knuckle head with as much energy as ever.  He is truly my dog.  He follows me everywhere I go.

Scotty may have had a rough start in life but I would like to think that he has had more love with us than any he would have received anywhere else.  He is truly the best dog on earth.

Happy Birthday Scotty!!  My Woofis!

Nora Anne, Ralph and Ralphie

Ralphie & Scotty

How time flies…Happy 11th Birthday, Scotty!

Hi, Judy,

Thank you for the holiday greeting!   Very cute.   Apollo celebrated his 2nd birthday earlier this month with a silly hat and some Frosty Paws.   He brings a lot of laughs and love to our house.   

Hope all is well with you.  Have a safe and happy new year!




Apollo looks adorable in his birthday hat.  We’ll have to introduce him to The Cat in the Hat for a photo op!

It is with a broken heart that I write to you that we had to help Aurora cross over the Rainbow Bridge very early this morning. 

Aurora was diagnosed with a brain tumor the day before she turned 11 years old on Nov. 20th.  She was maintained on medications and was doing well.  Early this morning she went into status epilepticus and the emergency vet at Garden State said her prognosis was poor.  We felt it would be unkind to let her suffer.  Debra was with Aurora as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, as we are visiting my brother in snowy Rock Hill, SC.

On December 31, 1999, at 6 weeks of age, Aurora joined our family.  She was the sweetest little puppy.  She met our resident Siberian Husky, Mat.  All Aurora wanted to do was curl up with him.  After 3 days Mat realized Aurora was there to stay and they became best buddies. 

Aurora & I took lots of classes together.  It was our time alone to share and bond.  We did obedience but I realized although she learned the exercises, competition obedience was not her thing.  I decided to try agility with her.  It took us one year to be comfortable on the dog walk and teeter but we persisted! I just wanted to get her novice title and then I thought I would retire her.  Well, for those of us that do agility, you know how addicting the sport is and we continued on.  Aurora earned her Novice standard and jumpers titles as well as her Open standard and jumpers titles.  We reached Excellent A and Aurora had 2 legs in jumpers.  Our last run was on November 5th.  Although Aurora did not qualify, I will always remember this run.  It was not an easy course but it was one of the nicest runs Aurora had.  Aurora, you earned that Excellent A title in my mind and you had a great day and a fun time.  

Aurora, join your brother Mat and the others before you as a free spirit, running and playing at the Rainbow Bridge.  Until we meet again.  I love you, big girl.


Peggy and Lou, we were so sorry to hear about Aurora’s passing, and sorry that you weren’t able to be with her at the end although we know you were there in spirit.   She’ll be waiting for you when it’s time, and there will be a wonderful reunion up in heaven.

Hi everyone,

I set my Zoe free today at 1PM.  As many of you know, she was diagnosed with a stage 3 spindle cell nasal tumor in January of this year.  Zoe was so very, very brave - undergoing radiation, a major surgical procedure in July called a rhinotomy, three months of treatment for MRSA and God knows how many other infections she has had in the past 6 months; chemo since August.  But about two weeks ago, she developed an abscess on her nasal tumor inside her nasal cavity.  Her snout ruptured a week ago - the medical team at Red Bank and I tried everything to treat her and keep her comfortable but yesterday, the hemorrhaging was uncontrollable - all through the night she bled uncontrollably - she did tell me this morning that it was time - she was finished fighting.

Zoe was a rescue from DVGRR - long before I knew about GRRI but nevertheless, she is the reason I am involved in rescue today.  She was my heart light - my everyday companion - the light of my life in every way possible.

I know that so many of you have experienced the pain that I am feeling right now but I have never had to do this before - never had to release a pet to the heavens that meant more to me than any human and I hurt - it's unbearable.  I have prayed for so many of you over the years and I simply ask that you send a whisper to the heavens that the gates were open and the angels were waiting for her.

The photo attached was taken less than two months ago Halloween weekend in our backyard - I couldn't take any Christmas photos this year because Zoe looked so awful - it wasn't how she would have wanted to be remembered - she had too much dignity.

Lenise Mitchell

Angel Zoe - ?1999 (rescued 2/13/2000) - 12/29/2010

Lost to the cancer beast

Zoe Mitchell

Lenise, we all share your pain.  It never gets easier, no matter how many times you go through it. Zoe will always be with you in your heart. Our sincere condolences to you and to Mark.

Eileen, thought you would like to hear how Archie is doing :-)

Here is a photo I took of Archie today. He is such a riot with his facial expressions when I have my camera out. You can just about read his mind ;-)

Archie is almost 12 1/2 now, hard for me to believe. He was always the young, hyper one! I wanted to make sure that he is doing ok before the Holidays so I took him to our Vet to get checked out. He has been doing extremely well on the Metacam/Tramadol combo just as Angelo did. Complete blood work still shows completely normal :-) Liver values, Thyroid, the works...all normal! Good boy Archie!

Believe it or not his back legs have gotten better! He can now feel his feet again! So my Vet thinks he may have had a spinal stroke or something? Although he does have arthritis issues and still needs to keep the harness on so we can help him get up, he is much more steady once he is up. He has even been able to walk in the snow and spend some time outside with us. Now if he would stop EATING all the snow and barfing...that would help! LOL!

The only other issues he has right now is his lumps. Many many many lumps. We are not removing them but I do have to constantly check to make sure they are not causing problems. Especially the larger, bulky ones. He also has some early symptoms of Laryngeal Paralysis but that is not causing any problems right now so we are just going to keep chugging along with him. He still plays with Halo about 2x per day, which I LOVE!

I know how blessed I am to have my 2nd Golden reach this age, and I make sure that I take time to tell him how much I love him each and every day!

Jeanne in NJ


What a wonderful photo, Jeanne. He looks great!  And you’re right….anyone who has the opportunity to share their lives with a senior golden is truly blessed.  Definitely tell them how much you love them every second of every day.

Happy Holidays Everyone,

A couple of weeks ago I realized Molly had stopped whining. It had been a daily thing,and I figured she was mourning her Mom, so I would try to comfort and reassure her. And then one day it was just gone! Now she only whines if I'm not letting her outside quickly enough. She loves to run around the yard and bark at the neighbor's dogs, and to roll in the frost covered grass early in the morning. She loves to run in the cold and I can't wait to see what she does in the snow. I tried to put a raincoat on her, it's like a horse blanket, but she refused to move. She continues her love affair with our school crossing guard. If we get there too late, Molly will insist on sniffing all the parked cars just in case she's sitting in her car. When we go for walks and she sees someone else walking she will stop and wait for them to pass us so that they can make a fuss over her.

The cats are interacting more with Molly, too. Rose will sit next to her and reach up to nuzzle Molly's chin with her head. Henry likes to sit behind Molly and swat at her tail; he thinks this is the greatest thing: it's furry and it moves! So all is well with my little family.



Thanks for the update Susan, and your donation!  We’re happy to hear that Molly and the kitties are all getting along now too.  We’d love to see some pictures of her.

Hi Barbara (GRRI foster mom),
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, belated.  I hope your Christmas holidays were wonderful.  It was a busy time here, I hope you made out OK in the snow.  Woody absolutely loved the snow.  I tried to get pictures of him out in it, but he doesn't stay in one place long enough.  While my son was home on leave from boot camp Woody spent most days with him at our home and even when he was visiting friends, Kyle took Woody.  Woody has adapted well to the invisible fence and is sleeping where he likes in the house, usually in the basement.  I think he likes the couch in the basement better than the floor in my room.  Woody comes up and is my alarm clock for the 5:30 workout.  He is doing well and everyone loves him.  At Christmas dinner he was as good as gold and at New Year's, the fireworks didn't bother him.  When a little girl from the neighborhood started to cry from the loud fireworks, Woody leaned over and gave her a kiss; she started to laugh and hugged him.  We're still working on the jumping, but he's getting better at commands to stay "off". 
Hope all is well.



PS Woody got so many gifts at Christmas I put several away for later.  The candy cane in the picture he loved but it didn't last very long.  I keep a close eye on what he plays with that he may eat.  I usually give him a Kong ball stuffed with frozen peanut butter in the morning.  

It sounds like Woody hit the jackpot this Christmas, didn’t he!  What a wonderful photo of him together with your son. Please pass along to him that we’re grateful for his service to our country, and we wish him a safe tour of duty.

To All Our Friends at GRRI-NJ:

Thank you for bringing Kip into our lives.  While the historical record would indicate that we adopted him back in October 2004, the truth of the matter is that 6-yr old Kip adopted us in that car ride back from his foster home.  He had a total personality change - from crazy lunatic to mild docile 'perfect citizen' - in the span of a few blocks!  He chose us to be his family and that was that.  For over six years he was the perfect companion!

Early yesterday morning Kip passed away in the same way he wanted his every day - in the company of Paula and myself.  He died the way he lived - proud, with grace and presence.  He had a great Christmas, tearing apart squeaky toys! He continued his habit of a daily walk in the park until 8 days ago.  (The attached picture was taken the day before he died.)  No matter how many times you go through this, it is incredible how quickly  a dog's condition can deteriorate!

People always say you should get a dog as a puppy so that you bond and develop a special relationship.  Kip was our 7th dog, some from puppies, some came to us as adults.  I have never known a dog - especially a golden retriever - to be as faithful and loyal as Kip.  He followed me everywhere, and I do mean everywhere!   Three months after he adopted me I got a bad case of the flu.  Kip took his meals at my bedside and left only to run outside to relieve himself, then ran back upstairs to be with me!  And that's just the way it was.  Please tell anyone who considers adopting a dog that age doesn't matter.  Kip taught us the true meaning of unconditional love, of loyalty, of devotion.  His passing leaves a terrible void in our lives.  I sure hope there is an endless supply of squeaky toys to keep him busy at the Rainbow Bridge!

Thank you so much for bringing us together.  Yes, I just lost my best buddy, but - oh my!  - what he gave us for the last six years is beyond words.  He was special!


Joel and Paula Harris

Kip Harris

We’re so sorry to hear your sad news, especially after reading Kip’s enjoyable email to us in December.

We know that he’s at the Bridge, with a lot of furry friends, playing and having a wonderful time.  He’ll wait patiently until it’s time for you to all be united again.  He’ll always be there in your hearts to bring you more of that wonderful “golden” love.

Hi Eileen (GRRI volunteer),

Mystie is perfect!  It took her about 15 min to find the toy box and remove each toy one by one.  It looks like we have a two year old in the house with all her scattered toys.

She is fitting in nicely with my two other goldens and slept with them the very first night in our bed. (It was a little cramped)  Luckily she found her favorite bed so now goes down after a good night snuggle then doesn't return to our bed until early morning. 

Thank you for all you do with GRRI - you have made us the luckiest parents time and time again.


THANK YOU and Rich for adopting so many of our wonderful senior goldens - we wish there were more people in this world like you!  We’re truly grateful that once again you’ve come to us to adopt a senior –  and choose one with a manageable medical issue.  We’re thrilled that she fit in so seamlessly into your home; it’s like it was meant to be! 

Dear friends,

It is with deep sorrow that I write this.  I had to give the ultimate gift to my sweet Barney boy by sending him to the Bridge today.  He really started to decline over the past few months and he let me know it was time to go yesterday.  He was the dog that really changed my life.  Adopting him from GRRI 7 years ago at the age of 9, opened my eyes to how many great dogs were out there that needed homes.   Barney was my heart-dog, one in a million.  I loved him so much that it feels like there's a hole in my heart.   I feel honored and blessed to have had him in my life.  I will miss him more than I could ever express. 

Please light a candle for my sweet boy tonight. 

Attached is one of my favorite pictures of him taken over this past summer.


Barney Maywald

Amy, we all feel your pain and send you our sincere condolences.  Barney’s spirit will stay with you to bring you comfort and peace.  He’s always going to be with you in your heart.

Dear GRRI,

My feisty, spunky old girl was taken away from me this morning by a massive stroke. We just made it into the vet's office and there was no hope for recovery.

I will miss that girl, she was one in a million; don't think there will ever be another just like her. She was truly an unique girl. She had to endure so much in her older years, especially being given up by her owners after 11 years of being a member of that family. Last week was 3 years that I had her and my life definitely was never boring with her around.

I truly love you Emma and I hope you are in better place


Emma Girvan

Lilli & Tom, you’re both in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for all you did for Emma while she was both your foster dog and then your foster failure.  We know she was grateful for all you did for her and she showed that to you in her unconditional love.

To my friends and family,

For the first time in 22 years, I woke up this morning without the greeting of a Golden Girl.... our dear precious Sara died yesterday, so suddenly and without a hint of even being sick.
Right up until Monday of this week, she was still "helping" me entertain Therese in my downstairs Grandma's play room.  Then on Tuesday, she indicated she was very tired.  She fell asleep in the TV room never getting up to come upstairs to bed with us.... this was a FIRST for her as she followed us everywhere from morning 'til night.  Wednesday she slept all day in the kitchen, never getting up.  But yesterday morning, it had become very obvious she was not well.  We hoisted her up with a bed sheet into our car.... thankful beyond words for our friends who came to our rescue as I could not do any of the lifting myself.  Once at the vet, with Xrays taken, it was discovered she had a massive growth in her abdomen, along with incredibly enlarged vital organs,.... the decision was already made for us to give her up.... yet I was not prepared to at all.  We spent a quality quiet hour with her saying goodbye.  She acknowledged us with her eyes and gentle licks.  We thanked her for her love given, and for teaching my granddaughters all about the unconditional love only a canine knows how to give.  She, along with her late sister Stella, began the telling of a love story to Sabrina and Therese, with dogs that I know will continue to read like a romantic comedy novel with Pickles now as the main character.... and now, it is Pickles who will get us through this... a 9 month old spit fire! ..... in fact, as I laid awake last night, I thought about Sara and her "responsibility" after Stella left us only 5 months ago.... she helped us get through one of the greatest losses of a friend like I have never felt before.... and at the same time, stayed around long enough to teach Pickles the ropes of this Pursley household ..... when she felt she had done the job that had been unwittingly assigned to her, she felt her job was done, and only then allowed her broken body, NOT spirit, to let go..... and so she did, yesterday afternoon.
Funny how we take in these Golden rescue dogs, and the time frame to fall in love is abbreviated as you know you have taken on the responsibility to give this precious dog a second chance for a loving life.... and Sara, like those before her, was no exception... Thank you for listening, and join me in closing my eyes and envisioning Sara join the ever-chasing of rabbits in the sky with Stella, Lainie and Imus..... my family of Golden Girls
With love and sorrow,


Sara Pursley

Sara Pursley

We all join you in envisioning Sara running and playing with her pals up in the sky…what a wonderful vision it is. To see her happy, healthy, and carefree.  Please know we’re thinking of you.

Dear friends,

With the great joy we experienced in our home this week, we now have great sadness. Our beloved Cleo has passed after 11 years of gracing this world. She
had a wonderful life and was happy and healthy until yesterday. She saw our family vet yesterday, but today declined terribly and we had to help her to the bridge to end her suffering. She was given up by her first family because of a preemie's allergies and after she got into my car, I could hear her former dad sobbing as I drove away. She never had a day in her life that she didn't feel love. She was fostered by Judy Lilien, for whom I will always be grateful, and
was our first foster "failure". Cleo was a big and very beautiful girl, my beauty queen, with the paws of a polar bear. She loved to eat, run at the farm, and every single person she ever met, even if they were sticking a needle in her arm. In return, everyone always loved Cleo. She will be greatly missed by everyone in our family. Stetson has been looking for her, she was his favorite playmate. Attached is a pair of photos of Cleo taken during our trip to Florida last year.

Cleo Kazahaya

Cleo Kazahaya

Amy Jo Kazahaya

Cleo was indeed a beautiful golden girl, inside and out. You couldn’t have chosen a better foster failure!


In 1999 we adopted two year old Slider from the home of Bea Villa in Monmouth Beach, NJ.  He was so afraid of everything that Bea said we could return him if he didn't work out.

My ten year old son fell in love with him immediately.

He was the most gentle, loving dog I have ever known.  He suffered from many idiosyncrasies from his abuse, but we worked with him over the years to make him feel secure.

In November 2010, Slider left us at the age of 13.

Thank you for all the wonderful work that you do, and for giving us 11 years with Slider.


Bruce Robinson

Bruce, we all extend our sincere condolences to you and your family.   It takes a great deal of love, time and patience to help an abused animal learn to trust again.  Thank you for not giving up on him.

Dear friends,

Just a quick note to let you know that we are head over heels in love with Max!

Tonight, after supper, Max and Sophie were in the living room.  Max runs over to Sophie, stops short & play bows in front of her. She gives him a nudge with her nose, play growls & runs into the kitchen to Joe wagging her tail.  She's really curious and excited, but still playing hard to get.

Tonight we gave each of them a rawhide chip.  Sophie has a special towel she lays on in the dining room when she chews her chip.  We gave Max his towel and chip in the kitchen so I could sit on the floor with him to watch him and make sure he didn't try to swallow it while it was too big to swallow.  Well, he got up & walked toward Sophie's towel.  I called him back.  He came, but immediately sat & got up again & headed toward Sophie's towel.  I called him again, he came, sat & then got up.  This time, I left him alone.  He went by Sophie, circled once and sat down smack in the middle of her towel right next to her & proceeded to chew his chip.  Max and Sophie don't have a jealous bone in their bodies.  They just laid there like this is something they've been doing together for years!

When we took Sophie & Max out a few minutes ago for their last pee of the night, Max came in with us and Sophie stayed out by herself for a couple of minutes while I cleaned Max's paws of snow balls. Sophie goes into her regular howling at the moon and Max starts to whimper, wanting to know what's wrong with Sophie.  I swear, I really think he's concerned for Sophie and expects to watch out for her.

OK, so this wasn't such a short note.  I just had to let you know how well Max is doing and how well he has fit into our family.

Lots of happiness,

Marcia, Joe, Sophie & Max

What a great big brother Max is turning out to be!  We can’t thank you enough for adopting one of our “golden oldies”.  May you have many happy years together.

Dear GRRI,

Here are some recent pictures of Miley enjoying her family! Hope all is well!

The Young’s


Miley Young

Miley Young

Thanks for sending the photos, Sue.  We particularly love the one of Miley hanging out with her kitty; who says dogs and cats don’t get along!  Give her a hug and kiss from us.

Dear Judy (GRRI foster mom),

Hope all is well with you.   Cannot believe we are almost celebrating one year with Apollo!   Time goes so fast!  

Linda Pennypacker

Apollo's Friend

Happy “gotcha day”!  Looks like Apollo is enthralled with his new friend!

Hi everyone. Some well overdue shots of the pack. Shylow is more of the camera ham & enjoys the outdoors more than Sammy. I'll send more pics in a few days.

- Vince

As usual, the Sbraga gang doesn’t disappoint…great photos. And a belated Happy Birthday, Shylow!

Hello Lilli (GRRI foster mom),

Sorry I have been out of touch.  I have been fighting a potent virus and bronchitis since Saturday.  Doc wanted to admit me to the hospital but I refused as I can care for myself at home.  Feeling a bit better now but have a ways to go.  Toby is doing great, he appears happy and totally acclimated to our home. He did deserve my chin on his nose/snout a time or two as he loves to grab my throw rugs from the kitchen and run all over the house with them. Boy is he fast.

Toby is such a little lover, attention is his middle name.  And he gets a lot of it. It didn’t take long for the adjustment, Reno and Toby now sleep in the same bed together…very sweet. Toby is quite a character. Mark or I will go out to the road to get the mail and come back to a warm reception as if we were gone for hours. You can’t beat it; it’s the best feeling in the world. 

Thanks for the article, will be reading it later as I am getting tired enough now to sleep.

Keep in touch,


PS…have you looked into the shoe tags?  I can’t find much on them.

Hi Cheryl, we hope by now that you’re fully recovered from your illness.  Can’t say we blame you for not wanting to go into the hospital!  Toby and Reno are probably doing a fabulous job being “nurse dogs”; there’s nothing like a golden retriever to snuggle with to perk you up and make you feel better. Thanks so much for the update.

Dear friends,

I'm sorry to share the news that our bold, survivor boy, H. P. was helped to the Rainbow Bridge by Dr Scott Stekler, my daughter, Chris, and sil, Joe.  I am still in rehab — have been here for 3 weeks after 10 days in hospital.  Before that neither Harry Potter nor I were able to do the stairs often and so missed one another most of the time.  Michael (my youngest son who lives at home) became HP's faithful companion and nursemaid.  As I talked to all my kids and their spouses, it became clear that even the most sympathetic of them felt that the quality of HP's life was too poor to continue to support.

So Chris and Joe took him for a final work up at the Glen Rock Animal Hospital at 5 PM.   Dylan is staying at Chris and Joe's with their three little girls whom he loves and their crazy 6-month-old cock-a-poo puppy whom he has begun to civilize.  Scott Stekler is always reluctant to put an animal down, but when C&J returned at 7:00, he told them he fully supported the decision.  HP could barely walk, was continually losing weight despite a healthy appetite until very recently.  I'm sure my precious Harry Potter is in a better place--back to  the energy to wrestle and enjoy all his favorite foods, to say nothing of being able to hear the birds and squirrels in the back yard.

Sorry this is so long. My laptop works very sporadically---so I'm taking advantage. TIA for the candles and happy memories of our Harry Potter.

Mary Jane Roethlin

Oh MJ, we’re so sorry to hear about your sweet boy.  HP was such a character, and his escapades always amused us. Thank you and your family for all you did for him. He had such a tough life prior to coming into rescue, and we know that he was happy and well loved with all of you.  Our candles were lit to guide him on his journey.  We’re sending good wishes for you and Michael as well.

Hello GRRI!!!!  I get the annual adoption follow up each year and have great intentions of filling it out but then time gets away from me and . . . well you can guess what happens!  Laci is still with us although she is slowing down and having some issues.  Laci is a very friendly and loving dog.  She gets along with everyone - human and animal.  She loves her two doggie sisters - Lexi and Miley and her cat sister, Sassy.  I find Sassy (age 15) and Laci curled up together quite often.  She loves to play and to be wherever the action is.  She and Lexi do not like to go in the pool but one of their favorite things to do in the summer is to lay out by the pool and watch Miley swim around.  Laci has no behavioral issues per se - she is fearful of some things.  As for her health, she is slowing down some and she is very stiff when she first gets up.  She is having some trouble with her bladder and I find puddles when I come down in the morning - we have been leaving the doggie door open for her so that she can get out when she needs to.  I am attaching a picture of Lexi (left) and Laci (right) from Christmas morning. 

Karen Garofalo

Lexi & Laci Garofalo

Hi Karen, thanks for the email. The girls look great!  We know Santa was very good to both of them!