Vol 8 No 3

Summer 2006


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GRCA NRC Interview

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Adoption Interviewers

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Remembering With Fondness

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If you know of a Golden Retriever in New Jersey needing our assistance, please call the GRRI Hotline at 973-208-7414.


Lucky Leo

How do you know when a dog is extra special? When it’s one of the many Golden Retrievers that we pull from animal shelters throughout New Jersey, the tip-off is when the shelter staff drop everything to come give a goodbye hug and offer teary wishes for a great life. And that’s exactly what happened when our transport volunteers went to pick up Leo in July.

Until just recently, Leo had been having a crummy summer. The state police found him on a busy stretch of the Garden State Parkway in June, near death. At first, they weren’t sure if a car had hit him, but they knew he was in bad shape. There was some debate as to whether he would survive the trip to the shelter, but the police brought him there nevertheless, placing him in an outdoor kennel used for off-hour drop-offs.

As the shelter staff examined him the next day, they concluded that he hadn’t been hit by a car, but was extremely weak and suffering from a rampant mange infection. They estimated that he was between 5 and 6 years old, and all skin and bones – just 50 pounds or so on his relatively small frame. It also became clear very quickly that Leo was blind.

To their credit, the shelter staff knew Leo was worth saving, and they went to work to get him the care he needed. After three weeks at the vet’s and another three weeks at the shelter,  GRRI was asked to help place this spunky little guy. Despite the miserable few months that he’s endured, his blindness, and his continuing discomfort as his badly injured skin heals, Leo is a loving, brave, happy dog! We suspect his blindness is not a new condition, as he seems accustomed to using his front legs to feel his away around obstacles. We also think that he can probably see shades of light, and as with many blind dogs, he uses his senses of hearing and smell to help compensate very effectively.

Leo’s first day out of the shelter was spent going for a walk and traveling to his new foster home; he alternated between sleeping and trying very hard to sit on our volunteers’ laps as they drove. When he arrived at his foster home, he quickly settled in, following the jingling of tags on the other resident dogs as he explored a big yard and the home. He especially seems to appreciate grass under his feet, a limitless supply of fresh cool water, and a wonderful quiet place to sleep inside, second only to all the love and affection that his foster home is giving him.

GRRI is giving Leo the time and additional care he’ll need to recuperate fully. He’s on an excellent diet and is under the care of one of the vets we work with, who thinks that Leo is in pretty good shape all things considered. We’ve sent him for a consultation with a canine ophthalmologic specialist to see about what, if anything, we can do to enhance Leo’s sight; they report that Leo has irreversible retinal degeneration, likely caused by a virus he contracted when he was younger. From what we’ve seen so far, Leo doesn’t let his sightlessness diminish his confidence or quality of life, and although we hope for improvement, we can also accept that he may live out the rest of his years without regaining his vision.  

It doesn’t take 20/20 eyesight to see what a special dog Leo is.  We can only admire the spirit that allows all that we love about the Golden breed to shine through Leo, despite the adversity he’s encountered. Sometime soon we hope Leo will be ready for his forever home; his blindness will no doubt complicate his placement, but we know we’ll find the perfect home filled with love and understanding for him where he can be safe and happy for all of his years. As with all GRRI dogs, it’s our promise to Leo.


Situation Critical!
GRRI-NJ Desperately Needs
 Foster Homes

Please contact us to find out more about how you can be a friend and help save a life by becoming a GRRI-NJ Foster Home for a homeless Golden Retriever. We'll help you every step of the way! Especially over the coming holidays, our dogs need your help to be safe and comfortable until their forever home is found. Please, won't you help?

Our volunteering Page also contains information about our foster program and other ways you can help, as well as links to our Volunteer Application.

Thank You for Helping Us Help Them!