This part of the newsletter is a very difficult one to assemble because it includes the tributes that our adopters have written about their beloved Goldens who have made their way to the Rainbow Bridge. What gives me great peace ~ and I hope it will do the same for you ~ is knowing that these wonderful dogs lived out their years with families who loved and cherished them. It is why we continue to do the work we do ~ so that these beautiful souls can know only love and understanding in their "furever" homes. As you read these tributes, please keep these families in your thoughts. And when you are finished reading them (and you've dried your tears), please go and give your dogs a great big hug and kiss and tell them just how much they mean to you!!!
The following email was received from one of our volunteers, Lilli Girvan, regarding Chase.
I am writing this for Lois Iorio as she is to devastated to do so herself.
Her boy Chase, adopted from GRRI in 2011, has gone to the bridge today. He was diagnosed with kidney failure and, after a brave fight, he had nothing more to give and was sent on his journey to the bridge. Lois had him only 9 short months, but they were filled with love and laughter. I had Chase and Cassie as fosters and he was a very unique and wonderful boy. I only felt like this about a dog many, many years ago. The moment you met him you couldn't help but fall in love with him. I was very happy when he and Cassie were adopted out together to this wonderful lady. It broke our hearts to let them go, but they had a wonderful home and family. We did visit them a few times and it was apparent that Chase was going downhill. We just hope that Cassie will be okay as she was never alone.
Lois wants to thank everybody in rescue for saving Chase and his girl Cassie and for their love and support. She did everything she could for this boy and when there were no more options she did the kind thing and let him go. Her heart is broken and she is devastated. Chase was loved by so many and will be very much missed.
Godspeed, sweet boy
Lilli and Tom
And, unfortunately, not long after the above email, Lilli found herself writing to us again, this time about Cassie.
I can not believe I am writing sad news again.
I got a call from Lois around 9:30 a.m. to let me know that Cassie passed away in her arms this morning. Cassie was not sick, as a matter of fact when she was at the vets a few days ago he mentioned how healthy she was and how good she looked. This came as a total shock to all of us who had her in our care. Lois is totally beside herself and is convinced that Cassie died of a broken heart missing Chase so much. I can not even imagine the pain Lois and her daughter, Korey, must be feeling and the hurt they are going through, first losing Chase and now Cassie not even 4 weeks later. My heart is absolutely breaking for both of them.
I am so very sad.
Our heartfelt thanks to Lois for opening her heart and her home to this wonderful "couple"! Rest together in peace sweet angels!
I just wanted to let you know Sadie Yeager passed away today very suddenly Sunday June 10th, 2012. Sadie had slowed down as she was at least 13 years old but really we did not see this happening as quickly; at least she did not suffer. Sadie was a very special dog with such a kind heart. Please let Judy Lillian know as she was Sadie's foster mother.
Losing Sadie and Charlie within 3 months is hard but I cherish my time with these dogs and the love they gave to my boys.
Thanks Liz Yeager
Godspeed sweet angels! And thank you so much to the Yeager family for all of the love they gave to Sadie and Charlie!
It is with deep sadness and a broken heart that I need to inform you that our sweet gentle girl Sandy made her way to The Rainbow Bridge yesterday afternoon. Sandy was diagnosed with severe arthritis in her lower spine in February. When her condition deteriorated to a point that I was convinced something else was going on, I consulted my vet who than ran further x -rays and it was determined that Sandy had an osteosarcoma tumor on the thorax portion of her spine. She was given a pain patch to help with her comfort level, but that wasn't enough to get her through her extreme pain. We were hoping we would have her for a few weeks, but she declined so quickly that we decided that she had been through enough and we needed to let her go in peace. She was such a special girl, always giving her paw as a sign of affection of her love for you. She didn't have a mean bone in her body. Sandy was known as the "whatever dog", she went with the flow whatever the circumstances. We will miss her today and forever!!!!! Those of you who knew her knew how special she was and will always be! Mommy and Daddy will always love you!!!! Be safe and find Amber who is waiting for you!!
Pat & Joe, our sincere thanks for giving this special girl such a loving home for so many years! Godspeed sweet Sandy!
We recently received the following email from the Behnke family regarding their beloved dog, Parker.
We wanted to let you know that we had to show our Golden Rocket, Parker to the Rainbow Bridge. He was our second foster and after a few days we knew he needed to stay a permanent part of our family. When we got him he was overweight and his temporary nickname was Porker but we were determined to thin him down and with time, he got his old name back. His three year anniversary of his gotcha date was just a week before he showed us that his time had come. In the fall of 2010 we found out he had autoimmune anemia and we tried one medication after another to keep it a bay. Our sometimes weekly visits to the vet to monitor his count paid off as we temporarily got it under control and he had a youthful happy year after his diagnosis. But with time he failed or could not tolerate one medication after another and his time came near. But despite slowing down and being weak, he still followed us where we went and remained our dedicated shadow.
Some say that we ONLY had him for three years but we took him on every vacation, walk, hike, or outing that we took. He was part of our growing family and his goofy Golden ways are truly missed. He was my office-mate but that was only one of his many roles, including participating in tummy time with our kids, keeping the bed or couch warm, and always sweeping the floor with his tongue of any droppings from the table.
We miss you P-Bear!
The Behnke family
Rest in peace, sweet angel!
The following is an email we received from Jody, foster mom to Keira ...
My weekly report is sad tonight. Today around 2:45 I helped Keira to the bridge. She did not move, eat, drink or go the bathroom all day. She refused treats and a wet rag to wet her mouth. She had to be lifted to my car from the house- I actually got the help of 4 neighbors.
The vet techs were wonderful and helped me. Keira had a 106 fever.
They said she even lost weight.
My doc went over everything and said it could be in her bones at this point. She did give me the option to give Keira fever meds and pain meds but we agreed I would probably be back next week/Monday. I asked her what she would do and she said let go. Keira looked very tired, her eyes were barely open so it was time. The doc said later that her veins were very bad, she made the comment that one looked liked it was pretty used but I said no, just blood taken once. She said at the end tissue starts to disintegrate and that was happening.
She was a very brave and strong girl. Not a groan from her the whole time she was with us. She loved my girls and they loved her-Ella gave her a hug this morning. Even though she was a foster and only with us a short time she was the best and so easy-loved everyone and they loved her (neighbors, vets, techs, and strangers).
Not a mean bone in her body. You would never had guessed she had a hard start.
I have told her story to many friends and coworkers and have had many tears and they can't believe I do this, but I would do it again in a second because she was so sweet and I just wanted her to be loved. They all deserve that.
I loved you Keira!
Anthony, Ella, Lena and Riley did too!
On behalf of GRRI-NJ, a very warm and special thanks to Jody and her entire family for all of the love and attention they gave to Keira while she was in their care. There is no question that Keira will be forever grateful to them for all they did for her and for helping her to the bridge knowing how very much she was loved.
Rest in peace, sweet angel Keira!!!
Sad news from one of our volunteers. I received this from Lorraine this morning. Please keep her and Jack in your prayers and light a candle for Georgie. Georgie just turned 12 :(
Dear Shayne, I just wanted to let you know we lost our Georgie Girl last night. One minute she was fine of her walk, then collapsed. We rushed her to Oradell, but fluid around her heart, she was also bleeding internally.We are so devastated, I can't even imagine that she's gone.
She was the sweetest, most gentle girl ever, we rescued her from a puppy mill at 9 months. She didn't even know how to do stairs or go out to the bathroom. We cherished her so much. Please say prayers for our girl.
Lorraine and Jack Meaney
More sad news for volunteers Lorraine and Jack Meaney. I just received this from Lorraine. Sad sad :(
Dear Shayne, I am so very heartbroken to tell you we had to help Madison to the Bridge this morning. It is so hard to even type this at this time, but I wanted to let you and everyone know. All your kindness and the volunteers when we lost Georgie 2 weeks ago really helped. They can tell me all they want clinically what was wrong, but I believe in my soul, she missed Georgie the most and that's where she wanted to be.
Words can't begin to describe the heartache losing three of our fur kids in a row.
Please keep her in your prayers and I can only hope she is with Georgie now.
Lorraine and Jack Meaney
Sailor and Herbie
Rest in peace, sweet angels!
Ruth Osman, one of our volunteers, received this email from Tom LaPeruta and family.
Our beloved GR Baby Jesse, formerly know as "Henry" was helped across the bridge tonight. Six years ago when our first golden baby Scout passed away, I swore I would never get another dog. Three months later I saw a posting on our GRRI website for "Henry". He was the spitting image of Scout and we jumped at the chance to foster him. Well, looks were the only thing that were the same. He had a totally different personality. He was protective of our family, loving and always sneaking away with a sock or two. We became foster failures only a few weeks later and were blessed with 6 wonderful years with our newly named Jesse (named after Jesse Owens since he liked to run away at first!).
His death was sudden and we are all left with a big hole in our hearts. But he was loved very much and our lives were much better having him around, if only for a short time. Thank you for giving us that opportunity to foster and adopt him.
Tom, Janice, Ryan, Sean and Kaitlyn LaPeruta
Thanks to the LaPeruta family for all of the love and affection they gave to Jesse! Godspeed sweet boy!
We recently received the following information regarding Maui Horsting ...
My golden Maui recently passed away. He was a GRRI-NJ rescue. He was blind but was able to get around. He died as a result of a tumor that had grown around his carotid artery.
Rest in peace, sweet angel!
Ruth Osman recently received the following email from Olivia Bergner regarding her sweet girl, Maggie.
Hi Ruth, I am sad to tell you that Maggie died this morning. She had a bad weekend.....we thought it was the first time she was not feeling well.....and this morning she was bleeding from her rectum....lots of blood. I rushed her to the vet. Maggie was bleeding internally and we all agreed that it was time to let her go. Maggie went quietly and quickly...it was her time for peace. We are all sad here and miss her terribly. We think she was a good fit for us and enjoyed our lifestyle.....she had lots of vacations......and companionship and LOVE. Our hearts are broken.
Olivia & Bill
Rest in peace, angel!
The following email was recently received from Cami LaBarbara regarding her sweet boy, Sam.
It is with a broken heart to tell you that Sam passed away yesterday at 2:29 p.m. He was under Dr. Heins care since last week for labored breathing. He had blood work, X-rays, stomach scan, urine test, and heart ultra sound. All came back ok and he was on medication for 14 days. This was since last Tuesday and he finished his tests on Friday night. We are not sure what it was but Sam died in my arms in our kitchen, with me holding and kissing him. He was his normal, happy, loving self to the second he went to the rainbow bridge, where I am sure Buzz was waiting for him.
I want to thank you for rescuing the most amazing dog in this whole world. He truly was my sunshine every day. He has been my support since my son left for school in September. He went every where with me~ my furry sidekick. Not a day will go by with out a tear being shed for him. He will forever be in our hearts with that beautiful face. It turned out to be that Sam rescued me, in more ways then I could explain.
Thank you again for all you do.
Cami LaBarbara :(
Rest in peace, angel Sam!!!
The following information was recently received regarding Murphy Weiss.
Murphy died memorial day 2010.
His back legs were bad, he couldn't stand up, if not on carpet.
His heart was weak, too
He was a wonderful addition to our family. We enjoyed our time with him.
Rest in peace, sweet angel!
We recently received our annual survey back from the Dragan family, and they informed us that Rosie passed away this past February.
Rest in peace, sweet girl!
We recently received the following letter from Marie & Rich Northrup:
Dear Friends at GRRI,
Sadly I am writing to let you know that Pumpkin has passed away. We are not mourning her death but rather celebrating her life. We were so fortunate to have adopted her and Buddy together over 6 years ago. I know that they are once again together and am Blessed with that comforting thought. She would have been 16 years old in a few months which I know is so rare. Thanking you all at GRRI for all the effort and compassion you give our goldens while they are waiting to become our family.
Marie and Rich
ps. On a happy note.. Mytie (formally Mystie) is flourishing- she is healthy and happy and one the most affectionate goldens we ever had!
Rest in peace, sweet girl!
The following messages are about Sonny Foster ...
Hello to all,
Below is sad news about Sonny Foster (along with a couple of emails sent to Terry Messinger about Sonny).
Sonny had surgery for cancer in his rectum on January 27, 2012. It seemed to go well, and Sonny was initially doing very well in his recovery. The surgeon (a specialist) felt that he had captured the entire tumor. However the surgeon did observe that it was not a solid, simple tumor; it had “fingers.” Sonny was able to walk and function normally after his surgery; the post operative check-up seemed good. About two weeks later, Sonny began to struggle with walking…. See email to Terry below.
Dear Terry and Curt, (Sunday, 2/19/2012)
Although Sonny seemed to do well after his surgery, things now are not progressing well at all. For some reason Sonny is losing the use of his hind legs. The vet is not sure what the cause is – perhaps inadvertent damage to a nerve during surgery (probably unlikely – we had a specialist do the surgery), unrealized extent of the cancer, but suspected, or rapid spread of cancer. He does have pain and currently is doing a bit better with a pain patch that slowly administers relief. It is a struggle for him to get up but once up, he is able to walk with care. There is no more “silly time” after dinner.
The hardest thing has been his plaintive cries when he has not been able to get up to come to where I am or the moans and whimpers from time to time. Some of the moans have been his signal that he needs to go outside. (In better days, he would just come and poked me gently with his nose or done a funny snort while standing behind me.) These are all new sounds from him; he has never cried about anything.
Sadly the end is coming for him – most likely sooner than expected or hoped. As long as he seems relatively comfortable and can function minimally, I will manage his pain and make sure that, when he must depart, he knows it is with intense love for a wonderful, wonderful friend.
This has all happened so fast; I guess I am struggling to handle it. Sonny has been “my” dog from the beginning. What a gift he has been in my life.
Sorry to send sad news,
February 20, 2012
Dear Terry and Curt,
We had to release Sonny from his pain today and send him to the Rainbow Bridge . Even though the pain patch seemed to be working initially, he cried and whimpered throughout last night as I lay beside him. When I took him outside today, his hind legs would give out, and he would struggle to do his “business.” He was in great pain. His heart was good until the end; he worked so hard to be the glorious, ever so well-behaved dog that he always was.
We brought him home from the vet and buried him in the backyard with a list of others for whom to look at the Rainbow Bridge and with one of his toys.
I hope his lessons of loyalty, devotion, love and patience linger always for all who knew him. Thank you for believing we were the ones to be honored with his companionship for the rest of his life. I so desperately hope we gave above and beyond to a loving friend who gave so much to us.
With regret for the sad news,
Rest in peace, sweet boy!!!
The following is a letter we received from Joanne Malone regarding her beautiful boy, Lee.
It’s with great sadness that we must report that our sweet boy, Lee, is no longer with us. He crossed the bridge on 9/24/11, after a year-long battle with a rare form of skin lymphoma. He was finally diagnosed in the fall of 2010 after a long summer of skin ailments that kept recurring. Our boy came to us with an insurance policy with a cancer rider that we had kept up to date. So we were able to treat the cancer with chemo that he tolerated incredibly well. Initially, we prayed that it would work long enough for our college-age kids to get home for the holidays to say goodbye. To our amazement, it worked for almost 7 months before the disease started to take over again. Every day of his last year with us was a gift.
Of course our family misses him terribly. He’s also missed by all the people (and dogs) he made friends with on our walks, including the mailman and the UPS man who loved to give him biscuits. It’s amazing how much happiness one dog can create in our daily lives.
Thank you to all the wonderful people at GRRI who gave us the opportunity to have Lee in our lives. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Godspeed, sweet boy!
We recently received the following letter from the Gambino's regarding their boy Spanky.
We just received an adoption follow up letter for Spanky Gambino. Spanky passed away on March 8th 2011. I am sitting here a mess typing this, because life sure does kick the hell out of you, but every now and then sends you a gift beyond measure. That gift was Spanky. Bubba was his nickname. From the moment I saw him on the rescue group picture, I printed it out and put it on the counter and said to my wife Terry that this was going to be Savyer's ( Spanky's little brother ) brother and that she had no say in the matter. Years before, we had a golden named Sara who never had the joy of a brother or sister. I vowed when the time was right and we were gonna start a new family, that we would have two furry children so that they could have each other. I said to my wife who really didn't need the convincing or me telling her she had no say, that her and I have each other, and that our little Savyer needed a partner. Along came Spanky, and wow what a blessing !! He was the Love Hog as I used to call him. Sometimes I would look at him and my heart would ache with the thought of one day the inevitable. Throughout the years Spanky and Savyer were inseparable as we all were as a family. We got him down from 100 pounds to a strapping 80 -85 pounds. The day we picked him up, he tried to jump up into our jeep and couldn't, but as time went on and with the steady taunting of his little brother, he walked, ran, and dieted the weight off to run and chase squirrels, rabbits, and any other creature that dare venture onto Spanky's turf. He was the King of his castle and he knew it, as well as the rest of us. We were good with that, cause when it was time for love, hugs and kisses, he was not short of any. Sept 2010 we had to put Savyer at 7 years old down because of a brain tumor. That day immediately changed Spanky. We could see a fast decline in him. We comforted him through his loss as well as him comforting us. We felt we couldn't even grieve for Savyer, because we were so focused on bringing Spanky back to health. On March 8th 2011, it was time to help our boy along his way to the Rainbow Bridge and go see his brother. Our lives were so upside down and with that, on March 18th my wife found out she had breast cancer. The day she called me in tears after the doctor called her to tell her the news and I went straight to the doctors office to get a packet that the doctor wanted my wife to go over, I backed into the driveway and looked towards the front door to see a package sitting on the porch. It was Spanky's ashes. I grieved our boy by myself with his ashes and hid them from my wife. How could I kick her when she was down . Almost 4 weeks later, I put the ashes on the table as if they just arrived . We cried until we couldn't cry anymore. We got Savyer as a puppy from a pet store and losing him was devastating, but losing Spanky was beyond. How anyone could have given this gift of God to the rescue is a question I have often pondered, but an action that I have always been thankful for. Thank you for letting me write this healing little note to you and more so for all your organization does. Almost a year later, Terry is almost through with reconstruction and so far cancer free, and in the midst of it all, wanted to rescue two little furry daughters. We didn't go through GRRI-NJ, but that does not reflect the respect and admiration for your organization. I always thought I was a big dog golden retriever person, but now I'm father to a 20 pound Terrier named Matilda and 50 pound Labradoodle named
Scarlett. The one thing that GRRI has ingrained in us is to rescue which we have done with these two girls. I can only imagine how many times it has been said that when you rescue a dog, it is in fact that you are being rescued . Spanky was one big rescue line thrown to my wife and I and his brother Savyer . We wish you and all of your organization , Best of Health, Peace of Mind, and Light of Heart !
Larry & Terry Gambino
We are so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful boy, Spanky. Rest in peace sweet boy!
It is heart-wrenching and surreal for me to sit here and write to let you know that on Wednesday, our beautiful Noah quite unexpectedly made his way to Rainbow Bridge.
Noah came to us just 13 months ago, a handsome and strong but terribly scared boy. He was found wandering on the street and brought in to a shelter prior to making his way into foster care. Unfortunately, in addition to his social issues, Noah was also diagnosed with Mast Cell cancer and had multiple surgeries while in the care of his foster mom, Lynda Neff. Lynda worked so hard to help Noah heal, both physically and emotionally, and when he came here to his furever home, we continued to help him to trust, to learn that all humans weren't bad and wouldn't hurt him, and that life could be full of good things like treats, comfy beds, lots and lots of peanut butter, and a McDonald's hamburger every now and then! He was a strong and noble dog so when he he didn't do hisusual "dinner dance" last Saturday night, we knew that something was very wrong. Diagnostic tests confirmed that he was in kidney failure, possibly due to a systemic takeover by a recurrence of his cancer; we're not really sure. We tried several therapies to see if we could get him through this crisis but it was not to be and on Wednesday, we made the hardest decision ever, the one that we all dread, the one that takes every ounce of our being, the one that frees them from their pain and sends us deep into our own.
Noah wasn't with us very long but the lessons he taught were invaluable and we will never, ever forget him. He was such a strong presence in our house, a noble dog who touched everyone that met him. He helped us to realize that living in the moment is the most important thing we can do for ourselves because it truly is all we've got.
Thanks to GRRI-NJ for giving us the gift of Noah. Our lives were blessed by his presence and we will be eternally grateful.
And to all of you ... go give your dogs a great big hug! Love them to pieces and make sure they know it each and every day. Life is fragile.
Rest in peace, my sweet angel!
This was an email that I got from Jeanne 2 days before she helped him cross and a photo she sent me yesterday. So sad...he was such a sweetheart.
I'm sad to say that Archie is coming to the end of his road. We will most likely be putting him down in a few days. We are having a horrible time making a decision because he is (and has always been) hard to read. But it is inevitable.
He started giving me a problem eating on Wed, Feb 15th. The next day we brought him to the Vet. He hasn't been in quite a while because I was afraid with the LP that he would get too excited and have problems breathing. But I have always been in contact with my Vet via phone.
He did fine at his appointment and was very happy to be there! When my Vet felt his back legs, hips etc...I could tell he was very shocked. He was suprised at how well he was doing and hopping and bopping around when he is basically all bone on bone. He has been on Metacam and Tramadol and now Gabapentin. His blood work came back all fine except for the fact that he is anemic. His PCV was 33.5. (should be 37-55)
After being so excited and doing so well at the Vet's office he has continued to go downhill. He will not eat kibble at all only soft dog food. He will eat everything else though. So we have been giving him whatever he wants. Waffles, bread, eggs, bananas etc...
His gums and tongue are a light pink so I'm thinking he has a slow bleed somewhere from one of his many large lumps but he shows NO evidence of internal bleeding.
I can still get him outside and a 1/2 a house down for a short stroll. He will chew on his bones but most of his playtime has stopped although he did grab a woobie yesterday.
I know what the right thing to do for him is but we are having such a hard time making this decision when he still has some light in his eyes. So please send a good thought our way as we spend some more time with our boy no matter how long it may be.
He has been the best dog anyone could ever ask for. He has been the best little brother to Angelo and the best big brother to Halo. He has never not even once growled or showed teeth and has always gotten along in any situation with any animal or person that he has ever come in contact with.
I'm sure he will be so thrilled to see his big brother Angelo and "sister" Kai again and be able to run again and play at the Bridge with all his friends that have gone before him. We will be happy for him, but will have to add another hole to our heart :-(
We hope you are running free at the Bridge, sweet boy!
We recently received the following email from Pat & Scott Nelson regarding their dog, Mac.
In response to your mailed request for follow up, sadly I must report that Mac died November 23, 2011. He was 12 ½ yrs old and had been declining for several months. He’d been diagnosed with an inner ear imbalance in March, arthritis in his hips and cataracts in his eyes but maintained a decent quality of life. For the last few weeks he was unable to get around without help but had a healthy appetite and was responsive. 24 hours prior to his death he refused all food and water. He died peacefully surrounded by familiar smells, sounds and family. He was a treasure and is sorely missed. What wonderful memories he gave us. Thank you for all your good work in saving these beautiful animals.
Pat & Scott Nelson
Rest in peace, sweet boy!
Sadly we received this e-mail from Kathleen Wehner about her beloved Jack (Jaeger).
I adopted Jack/Jaeger from GRRI-NJ in 2003. He was the best. He was diagnosed last Wednesday with a growth on his spleen and spreading to his liver. He was starting to bleed internally so I had to make the hard choice of putting him to sleep. The cancer was fast growing and gave no warning till it was too late. I thank you for the nine years my family and I had with him. He was full of fun, loved chasing squirrels, hiking with my son's, camping, and protecting my granddaughter who suffers from seizures. My family and friends grieve his passing which was too fast. As you can see he didn't even show any signs of aging.
Sadly, we received this e-mail from Kurt and Joanne Dillon. They adopted Lance from us a year ago at the age of 8 :(
Hello, we are sorry to inform you that a golden we adopted last year, Lance, was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and we had to put him down. He was our second adoption from GRRI-NJ and we loved him very much. He was a great addition to our family and we will miss him.
The Dillon Family.
We are so sorry for your loss. Rest in peace sweet boy!
We received this e-mail from Janice Greiner. She adopted Sunny from us in February 2010 when she was about 8. RIP Sunny :(
I have had Sunny since Feb. 13, 2010. She was a true companion. She had kidney failure. Although I had her back and forth to the vet for a month it got to the point that the vet could do nothing for her and on Tuesday she went to doggie heaven. I miss her so much and just wanted to up date you about her.
We were so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful Sunny. We know that she is now running at the bridge, free from all pain.