We honor our furry forever friends who have gone on to the Rainbow Bridge and who eagerly await us there. Your tribute on our Forever Friends page will memorialize a beloved pet, and at the same time help rescued Golden Retrievers in need of medical care and new loving homes. We are happy to post tributes to dogs, cats, and other critters. A minimum donation of $50 is requested.
The inspiration for GRREAT’s Forever Friends is Gus (06-212), who sadly passed away at the age of five. He came to GRREAT in November 2006 and was adopted by his forever family the following month. Very suddenly, and tragically, Gus passed away four months later. He is fondly remembered as our first Forever Friend.
To add your pet to our Forever Friends Tribute Page, please visit the submission form here.
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO ENLARGE.
GRREAT's Forever Friends
I am forever grateful to GRREAT for bringing Tess into my life. Tess was a sweet and gentle soul who loved to go on long walks around the city, and then to curl up my my side once we were home. She loved road trips in the car, once she was sure we weren’t going to the vet. She loved to keep watch on all the comings and goings on the block, particularly tracking the pesky squirrels. She loved anyone who might give her a treat, and with her adorable face, she got a lot!
Our beloved Merlin crossed the Rainbow Bridge 7/13/21. Originally named Sully for the airline pilot who guided his plane safely into the Hudson River. Like Sully, he saved us every day with his love, antics, and playful ways! He went from being an abused dog to being a sweet and gentle therapy dog. Meal times were enjoyable: he would grab a squeaky toy, make noise, and throw it in the air on his way to his bowl! We miss him tremendously; he was truly a dog that will live in our hearts forever.
Although he wasn’t our dog, we consider Duncan an honorary member of our family. He was one of the lovable residents of la Casa Tortolero – a friend to us and to our children and a lover to our dog Bella. Duncan was friendly, gentle, resilient, loyal, patient, and, fortunately for Bella, submissive. Play in peace, Duncan. We will miss you and your golden hair (and heart)! – Tyler Petrini
To our baby boy Ballou aka Boo, you loved us so fiercely and we loved you back the same. We pray that you are joyfully playing with your “brothers” Shadow, Joshie, and Copper and just know, that daddy and I will see you again….at Rainbow Bridge…Until then, know that you are in our hearts, being held on to tightly. We love you so Boo boo….
In memory of our beloved Buddy (09-204) adopted in 2012. We met Buddy at an Animal Health & Safety Fair, organized by our daughter for her girl scout Gold Award. Our daughters fell in love with him on the spot. Brought to the US as a puppy from Serbia by GRREAT,he was diabetic and later diagnosed as epileptic. Buddy was the happiest and friendliest of dogs, and a friend to all. He died in May 2019 of cancer; even though he was pretty darn sick he kept his sweet personality till the end.
Bear (Grreat #12-095) passed over the Rainbow Bridge on March 11, 2020. He was 16 years and 5 months old. Bear became my companion when he was 8 1/2 years old and we had a good old time taking three walks a day, going on car trips to Long Island, Charleston and elsewhere. He was wonderfully kind and laid back. Until recent years, he we very healthy, and although a bit blind and arthritic, he still enjoyed his final days at home. I loved him dearly.
Finnegan was our office dog and “Chief Happiness Officer” for nearly 12 years. He brought absolute delight and joy to the staff he worked with and made our work days brighter with his smile and endless need to fetch. While he’s been quieter these last few years, he was still our favorite co-worker and we will miss him terribly. We hope the games of fetch and all the hikes are fantastic on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
Love, SGIM Staff Members
In loving memory of Jessie and Dan Pickard’s ODIE.
(with apologies to Old Blue Eyes):
“He lived a life that was full
He and Dan hiked every highway
But more, much more than this
He did it his way
He loved, he laughed and cried
He had his fill, his share of living
And now as tears subside
We find it all so inspiring
To think he did all that
And may one say, in a truly GRREAT way
Oh no, oh no not Odie
He did it his way.”
Love from The GRREAT Gatsby (12-044)
In memory of Roscoe (09-201), who crossed the rainbow bridge on May 6, 2018 at 15. He was the best boy, friend, companion, and therapy dog anyone could ask for. He was happiest prancing around with his ‘tennis’, swimming after ducks, sleeping on freshly cut grass in the sunshine, making snow angels, and sleeping at his daddy’s feet.
Roscoe was God’s constant gift to us. An ever-present expression of love and comfort. He saw me through so many trials, challenges, and life changes. He traveled cross country to California and back with me. Roscoe inspired our move to St. Croix for his ‘island retirement,’ where he found himself the perfect daddy in Daniel Willis. Roscoe was the best man at our wedding and stole the show. We miss you with all our hearts baby boy.
— Catherine and Daniel Willis
It has been four years since my little girl crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge. You were my first dog and I had no clue what to do but you showed me the way. You were my first love and best friend. I always called you my velcro dog because you never left my side. GRREAT gave me my most precious gift-you!
Our girl went to the Rainbow Bridge on November 8, 2017, at age 13, after a battle with cancer. She went to the bridge with dignity, on her own. She fought every day to stay with us, but like the poem it was a battle that could not be won. She made us smile, laugh and cry. No human was a stranger to Abby … everyone was her friend. Her “happy place” was on our boat, or swimming in the river. She was also tolerant of our grandchildren laying and crawling on her. She touched many of our friends lives too. She was a sweet girl, but could be stubborn at times … just like humans! We miss you so much, Abby! – Beverly and Steve Kreisberg
Tyson was not a GRREAT rescue but was a GREAT golden companion rescued by my friends Carol and Bruce. He was cheerful ALL the time, even at the end of his battle with cancer. He was totally devoted, loving and ready to play or snuggle. He enjoyed many adventures and games of fetch. He lived a good life with many toys and doggy and human friends. Tyson will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
In Memory of Shelby (12/25/2003-03/20/2017). She was given as a gift and she remained a special gift her entire life. She was a furry baby in a childless home so she was our princess that we spoiled. She loved playing in our yard and waiting for her favorite neighbor to visit her. She loved swimming, playing in snow, squeezing her squeaky toys and sleeping in our bed. She loved to lounge in the sunshine with the sun in her face. She gave us much joy. She will be missed and loved always!
In memory of Carson 9/26/2004 – 11/29/2016, King of Dewey Beach ….
With the absolute heaviest of hearts,I’m letting you know of the passing of our dear Carson.He was an amazing addition to our family the past 12 years.The joy he spread to our family, friends and complete strangers is immeasurable.We thank our family and friends for all the support,positive vibes and prayers.We Love You.He will live in our hearts and minds forever.Rest In Peace our dear pup, and wait for us on the other side.
Bashful was the most amazing and loyal companion our family could ever have had. When she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she joined both her soul sister Stella and my husband Dennis who were undoubtedly waiting for her with joyous hearts. My heart will remain forever heavy with Bashful’s loss. I am, however, eternally grateful to GRREAT, in particular, Harry, Sarah, and Bronte for bringing Bashful to us after providing her a loving foster home. Our lives are enriched beyond measure because of their contributions. Laura
Tucker was the happiest dog I have ever known. He derived great joy from almost anything. He was happy going camping in the White Mountains, walking around Burke Lake, riding the ferry to Martha ’s Vinyard, walking to the end of our driveway to get the newspaper, eating breakfast, riding in a canoe, visiting the Vet, getting company, greeting people at a GRREAT adoption, eating supper, or just getting brushed. He brought happiness and love to everyone who met him.
Tho each of our 4 GRREAT adoptions was unique, Happy Jack was truly special. He delighted in playing KONG and actually returned, dropped and waited for us to throw again, over and over and over.. He was a water dog at heart. When we first adopted him, he learned to open the door and go out for a swim (had to install new lock/no swimming alone!) and he loved swimming at Assateague Island. His cremains are in his fav corner and we talk to him still. Love you forever Happy Jack!
Trevor you were a very special golden – you never met a person you didn’t charm with your warm personality and the only dog your “Grand Dad” ever allowed to live under his roof. You were dearly loved by your family and the entire neighborhood looked forward to your visits and now will miss your smile and wags. Your spot at the top of the stairs can never be filled. Taken too early by the big C – here’s hoping that dogs and people share the same heaven and we’ll see you again! Aunt Gail
It’s been almost 6 years since you left me. You truly were the dog of a lifetime, my most faithful companion. I talk of you often, and you will never be forgotten. You have left me with lasting memories of good times together. This is your third memorial in forever friends, my tribute to a wonderful friend and companion.
Duchess (07-161) was truly a queen — and she let us know it! Our loving girl ruled the roost and our hearts. She was the sweetest companion, and she had the most original way, in true Golden fashion, of letting us know when she wanted something. She would quite literally retrieve us by grabbing our arm or shirt and leading us to where she wanted to go — usually the refrigerator! She loved her pal Buddy, too. Duchess unexpectedly passed to the Rainbow Bridge on Jan 15, 2015. Forever love.
Rosey (Rita 08-180)
Rosey joined our family in 2008 on my mom’s birthday however she was a gift to the whole family. She had a rough background although she did not have a mean bone in her body. Her favorite activities included eating, smelling every blade of grass on her walks, and endless petting. Rosey was a therapy dog at a retirement home. As with anyone who came into contact with her, she was adored. Rosey passed away on February 16, 2015 but has left behind thousands of heartwarming memories. -Sroka family
In memory of our sweet Ruby. Adopted in March2014,Quiet and shy, she was our princess. She helped us heal from the loss of our 2 goldens to cancer. Her time with us was to short. She loved her tummy rubs and legs scratched and watching the neighborhood from the front door. Ruby never met a dog bed she didn’t like. Thank you to Deb and Jim, her fosters, who gave us the opportunity to share our love with such a special girl . We will forever love you and miss you.
We brought Belle home July 2, 2000 as a puppy, born May 13, 2000. It wasn’t long before people that didn’t know our names in our neighborhood knew Belle’s name. She was a beautiful girl inside and out, beloved by everyone who met her. We always believed we had the best dog in the world, and fourteen years never seemed so brief. She made us smile every day with her “grass dances” rolling in the yard, her love of pancakes, and her happy tail. We will miss her forever, and love her forever.
Juliet was 7 when we adopted her, and we were luck to have 7 GRREAT years with her. Whether it was our annual trip to Deep Creek Lake, or her weekly outing at the Canine Fitness Center, there was nothing that Juliet loved more than swimming and retrieving a stuffed fish. She was the sweetest girl, our Princess Juliet, and we will remember her always.
Buddy Matthews (03-115)
In memory of Buddy 03-115 who spent the last 10 years with us. He came to us in June of 2003 as a 2 year old and crossed the Rainbow bridge November 19, 2013.He had the strongest nose when he wanted your attention. He could pull you up the side of a mountain on a hike. He always posted himself in the corner of the porch at the river so he could be our look-out for bad guys. He never met a person he didn’t love instantly. We will miss you our big Buddy boy.
We adopted Frisco from GRREAT 8 years ago after fostering him for a short period of time. He left us on 30 December 2013 at the age of 16. He was truly a loving, loyal dog and an amazing big step-brother to his little sis Addie. He was able to bring our family great joy. Frisco will be missed greatly and even though he left us sadly; he will be remembered for filling our hearts with many good memories. We love you and miss you lots, Frisco. Love, Lonnie, Jacque, Caleb, Declan and Riley
This donation is made on behalf of our beloved Sammy, our 2nd GRREAT family member. Sammy passed away unexpectedly while playing outside with his step-sister Zoey on 10/3/13. His resting place is close by at our home.
Sammy gave us 6 amazing years, and our sudden parting has left a huge hole in our hearts and our lives.
Sammy was an amazing big step-brother to Zoey, she looked up to him, cannot figure out what happened to him and keeps looking for him.
I wish I had one more day with Sammy to hug him face to face like we always did, tell him what a great dog he is, assure him how much we all love him, and thank him for all his unconditional love, enthusiasm, joy, affection and friendship. He gave us everything and asked for nothing in return.
Wait for us Sammy, we look forward to our reunion down the road.
Sam, Lisa, Samuel, Rachel, Tasha and Zoey.
Bullet Emmitt Gasn
We decided to get a dog for my (then) 9 year old son, as he was an only child. We wanted him to experience that particular kind of unconditional love. As it turned out, we all experienced that special love.
We decided on a Golden Retriever. When we went to the breeder to pick out our puppy, we found there was only one left…..the largest pup in the litter with paws the size of baseballs! We were very nervous about this pup becoming a huge dog, which of course, he did, and we do not have any regrets. In fact, we think he was saved just for us.
Bullet was a beautiful dog with a heart of gold and a funny personality.
All he needed and wanted was love and companionship, which he returned in massive amounts. We will be forever grateful that Bullet was in our lives for 12 years, and will miss him and always love him. Rest in peace our beloved Bullet.
Sammie was the epitome of the Golden rule. If ever there was a dog that loved to make other people feel welcomed and loved, it was him. We just hope now that Sammie can run free and do all the things he always loved. We are content in knowing that he’s watching over us, waiting until the day we finally reunite. We love and miss you Sammie, but we thank you for making our lives that much better.
Bella (GRREAT #03-148) aka Beanie, my kindred doggie spirit, loved nooks and crannies, being underfoot, squirrel sightings (then followed by chases), bones, head scratches, hugs, kisses, songs, walks in the park, nudging, hogging the bed, and psyching out the cat next door. She did not love the dastardly vacuum cleaner, loud noises, baths, rain, ear cleanings, thunderstorms, or having her bed moved during vacuuming. I loved her indescribably and think of her every day. I was blessed to have her and am so grateful to GRREAT for making it possible. (130716)
I first met Dutch (GRREAT 03-266) when his foster parents were walking him, and it was love at first sight. I knew we would adopt him. Dutch was the most loving Golden boy with the biggest smile. He preferred to be with his humans more than anything else, well maybe not more than eating, but close. He loved to taste whatever we were eating and made us laugh as he munched on corn on the cob, watermelon, and mango. He loved car rides, especially the convertible, and starred as Mr. July in GRREAT’s 2006 calendar. He was a blood donor for EVBB for many years. Dutch lived a great and happy life and was well traveled as we criss-crossed the country in our RV. The great outdoors was
the place he loved to be and we enjoyed so many adventures together. We were so fortunate to be Dutch’s forever family for almost 9 years when cancer reared its ugly head and we helped him to the Rainbow Bridge on February 8, 2013. Our hearts are filled with sadness as we mourn his loss, but the wonderful memories he gave us and all who knew him will last forever. Dutch, you will always be missed and forever loved. Sharon & Jay Dehmlow
Our beloved dog Denali was a rescue from Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue in 2001. He died peacefully in his sleep at 14. He was very loved by his family. He never met a stranger and always was up for a belly rub. He loved to roll over on his belly and close his eyes and be pet by anyone who would succumb to his demands. He loved to eat doggy ice cream and to wrestle with his brother T-bone. We will miss him dearly.
October 2, 1999-December 17, 2012. Bailey was not a GRREAT dog but she was a great dog, and she shared her entire life once she arrived in the States from New Zealand with one GRREAT dog or another (including several foster dogs some of whom became residents of the Palais-Stevens household). Bailey volunteered for over 10 years as a therapy dog (registered first with TDI and then with Delta Society (Pet Partners). She was also a certified crisis dog with National Animal Assisted Crisis Response (NAACR) and helped on several local events where crisis dogs were needed. When she was not volunteering at the Capital Caring Halquist Inpatient Center in Arlington, she was enjoying swimming in the pond at Golden Meadows Farm in Louisa, VA. Bailey’s first GRREAT sibling was Sundance (95-085), followed by Sassy (02-042) and then Buddy (06-177) who is in the 2013 GRREAT calendar. Bailey was dearly loved by her family and by the many people who met her. Bailey was also featured on a Dogs Purpose web site several years ago in a write-up about her work as a therapy dog.
Nick and Emma
In memory of our beautiful girl, Emma, and our sweet boy, Nick. These two loved the beach and we’re so happy they were able to enjoy their last year actually living at the beach. Emma loved to swim and, in her younger days, it was amazing to watch her time it just right and jump the waves to retrieve her favorite stick. Nick, our Butter Bean, preferred to wait for the hard retrieval work to be done and then “help” Emma carry the stick to shore. After 13 1/2 years, Emma decided she was done and we gently helped her to the Rainbow Bridge on April 17, 2012. Nick grieved Emma’s loss and then gradually learned to relish the role of “only” dog – accepting all the love, all the hugs and all the treats for himself. We enjoyed a great summer with our boy and on September 14, 2012, Nick very unexpectedly passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. He was only 6 years old. We miss our guys so much but loved every moment with them. As we try to find our peace, we know they are now at peace, carefree and happy with all their friends, new and old, at the Rainbow Bridge. Barb Hals & Sharon Dyke (1301212)
Murray joined our family on June 10, 2008, after having been rescued and lovingly cared for by his “foster mother,” Connie Trivits, a volunteer for GRREAT. He came to our family and filled a void in our hearts and home. He quickly became the gentle giant for our neighborhood kids and was even welcomed into our childrens’ elementary school to participate in a unit on volunteerism and animal rescue. He was so gentle that our rabbit and guinea pig, as you can see from the picture, found comfort nestling in Murray’s coat. We lost our wonderful companion of four years on October 27, 2012.
You were a good friend Nick, Love, Greta
Golden Retrievers will teach you that sometimes it’s more important to roll in the snow than shovel it. When you’re traveling, sometimes it’s more important to stop and sniff things than hurry to your destination. When you start to get frustrated, or lose your temper, sometimes everything comes into focus when you get a wet nose pushed into your palm. When somebody yells at you, most times you need to just go pout for awhile, then come back and be friends again. And always, always, always, it’s better to wag more, and bark less.
Barkley (GRREAT #00-080) went to the bridge in November of 2012. She was the greatest airport dog ever. For her, hanging out at the airport meant making new friends, and getting in the airplane meant new adventures at the other end. If you could pin wings on a dog, she’d be wearing ’em right now.
Bailey joined the Edmonson family when he was ten months old. He was our first Golden Retriever. Our family fell in love with both Bailey and the Golden breed. Bailey came to work with his “Dad” every day for several years; he was the official office greeter. When Bailey was 3 years old we adopted his sister Lulu through GRREAT. Bailey and Lulu were seldom more than a few feet apart. Our family began fostering for GRREAT in 2011. Bailey accepted each foster dog as his best friend. Bailey especially loved making snow angels and chasing his glow-in-the-dark ball. When it was time for Bailey to to the Rainbow Bridge due to cancer, he said goodbye with his tail wagging and lay down in his Mother’s lap and crossed peacefully to the other side.
Sweet Olivia Streett
Donation made from Allyson Hope on behalf of Bud and Diane Streett. From Diane: We were abundantly blessed to be able to share our life with Olivia. She was the most gentle and calm dog we had the pleasure to live with. She was pure joy and is deeply missed by her human parents and Golden pack.
Baxter was such a GRREAT dog. Baxter, known as Dusty (GRREAT #01-125), went to Rainbow Bridge on August 30, 2012. He was a high energy, tail wagging, people person dog who would have turned 13 on October 8. He was 20 months old when we adopted him in June 2001. Actually, I think he adopted us. Baxter loved swimming, going for walks, motorcycle sidecar rides around the neighborhood, and greeting the Halloween trick-or-treaters. Baxter was never ashamed to let it be known that he was an “attention junkie,” yet he would curl up next to you to let you know he was here for you. Baxter was an eager and avid participant in life and didn’t like being on the sidelines watching everyone else having all the fun. Baxter enriched and enhanced our lives more than he will ever know.
In memory of our beloved Golden Girl Sally who we were lucky to have for over 13 years. Sally was an intelligent and athletic girl and loved her walks, time swimming and early days of agility training. In her later years her loving sweet disposition made her a natural for therapy work, something she loved to do at the local hospital with her mom. She was a special girl and will always be in our hearts.
(Jan 2001 – May 2012) Named after the dog in the Tom Hank’s movie “You’ve Got Mail,” Brinkley (GRREAT #01-148) touched many hearts. We fostered Brinkley after he suffered a shattered femur, broke the plate, and then began rehab at the vet’s office under heavy sedation. He was but 10 months old at the time of the accident, and his military family could not afford the necessary care, so GRREAT took over care responsibility. We took Brinkley from the vet and nursed him for 2 ½ months. This required separation from our previously rescued Golden named Comet. Once Brinkley was well enough to socialize and the boys worked out who was the “Alpha” dog, the boys got along marvelously. We were privileged to keep Brinkley. Brinkley had an all-teeth smile that scared some but endeared most. We retired to a golf course community in NC and Brinkley became a famous “retriever;” some might even say, “Thief!” Brinkley retrieved golf balls, golf gloves, and hats from unsuspecting golfers plus a knee brace from a tennis player’s hand. Most people tried to hide obvious objects but Brinkley was not deterred. Multiple times I had to go home, wash an item, and then return it to the owner. Unfortunately, Brinkley was diagnosed with anal sac carcinoma on Oct. 7, 2011. The disease sapped his muscular strength but not his spirit. We enjoyed 8 precious months with Brinkley before he went to the Rainbow Bridge on May 27, 2012. He was our friend and companion. We will miss his face every morning at our bedside. There is nothing like a Golden! (120627)
In loving memory of Billion (GRREAT #07-011), fostered by Lucy Wichlacz. Billy had a hard life until GRREAT rescued him. GRREAT brought him to Lucy, who brought him to our family, where he found love and peace and the forever home he always wanted. We loved him so much, and the big fellow, with his great big heart, loved us back just as dearly. We were so lucky to have shared nearly 5 years with Billy. We loved you so much doggy. You will forever be in our hearts. Daddy and Mommy and the boys. Photo by: JIM POOR Photography
In memory of Sassy, who went to the Rainbow Bridge on March 20, 2012. Sassy was cherished immeasurably by Julie Palais and Rick Stevens, whose lives she blessed with her loving eyes and wagging tail. She will be deeply missed and yet fondly remembered by Julie, Rick, her two furry canine companions, Bailey and Buddy, and all those who ever had the privilege of meeting her.
Joshie was our first golden whom we had for 10 glorious years. His special-ness was almost beyond words. His joy of life and ability to love fully and unconditionally amazed us every day. His bond with his Daddy was even more remarkable. They were truly kindred spirits. When we lost him suddenly to cancer in 2009, we weren’t sure our hearts would ever recover from the loss of this angel puppy but time does heal the pain. We have opened our hearts to two new GRREAT goldens, Copper and Ballou, that we love so much, but Joshie is still with us every day. We think of him often and still tear up every time his favorite song “New Soul” comes on the radio. Joshie, we loved you completely every day you were with us and still do. Until we meet again…
Lou, Helen, Katie and Rachel Salafia
On November 4, 2011, just several days shy of his 15th birthday, Rusty (GRREAT #06-055) passed on peacefully. Though he came to be with us through unfortunate circumstances in August 2008 following the passing of family members who had adopted him from GRREAT and taken him to NC to a much better life, we are grateful that he graced our lives. We will always love and remember him for his boundless zest for life (the way he’d throw himself onto the grass and roll around as if there was nothing better), his goofy antics, and his endless tail-wagging. Mostly he’ll be known for his endearing disposition, which touched everyone he came in contact with. He brought immense joy to our lives. We will miss him. Kevin Stephens and Shelley Sarrin
Sparky was put to rest at 11:00 AM on October 3, 2011. He went very peacefully. Sparky was born in December 1997. He lived a great long life, and he was the best friend and companion I ever had. I truly miss him, as he touched my heart in many ways, as well of others who knew him. I always told Sparky he was the Sparkles of my Life. Sparky was my 4th Golden Retriever over the past 25 years. During that time, I had three others before him, all females. Sparky was the first male Golden Retriever that I ever had, and words cannot convey the bond we had. GRREAT Golden Retriever Rescue was the best organization I ever went through to place a pet in a home. Thank you for the 5 years we had together. They were the best years Sparky ever had. I let him go to Rainbow Heaven. Kristine J.Guess
Pixie (GRREAT #02-194) left us for the rainbow bridge on Sunday June 12, 2011 during a family weekend at the beach. She waited until our family was all together before she decided it was time. She was almost 15 years old. The first day we met her, at age 5, she jumped right over our coffee table and claimed “her” couch. She was in the middle of napping on the couch in this picture before her sister rudely interrupted her sleep. She was the best dog anyone could ask for, and was always there for us when we needed her. Every person that ever met her fell in love with her. She gave them her “paw of trust,” and demanded their attention instantly. We miss her very much, but our fond memories keep her with us. The Wildasin Family
We adopted Morgan (GRREAT #98-133) in 1998. She had her issues; there was most likely abuse in her past. It took years before she trusted everyone, but she loved us quickly, and we loved her, too. Morgan was the gentlest dog we’ve ever known! She lived a good, healthy life until a tumor was discovered on her liver in March of 2009. We chose not to have surgery on our 12 year old girl, and Morgan lived another year and 11 months before she let us know that it was time to let her go to the bridge. We miss her soulful, brown and blue eyes staring up at us in adoration. Good night, sweet Morgan, until we meet again. Anita & John Funk
It’s with a heavy heart to share that our GRREAT dog, Hollie (GRREAT #00-282), has gone Home to be with her Master and Creator last month. She was 13 1/2 years old and lived a wonderful life with us for 10 years. She was gentle, sweet, and sensitive, often coming to me and nuzzling her face on my lap. Her thoughtful, deep eyes always seemed to say, “It’s okay! I love you!” She was always up for a long snuggle. She was a part of our family life: playing outdoors, watching us do laundry or cook, and of course, joining us at the dinner table hoping for some people food. Hollie enjoyed watching birds, chasing chipmunks and squirrels, smelling everything, digging in the dirt, racing the neighbor’s dog along the fence, and chewing sticks. Sometimes she was naughty and went “exploring.” She always returned home, with tail wagging and eyes sparkling… and covered with Lord knows what! It was hard to get mad at her knowing she was so happy! What a wonderful dog and friend! We love you and miss you, our Hollie Girlfriend! Lee Ann, Rick, Andy and Ben Borden
In loving memory of Sydney, my once-in-a-lifetime Golden girl who graced me with her unconditional and loving companionship from June 1994 to May 2007. A gentle, wise soul her entire life, Sydney was by my side through many milestones: my first home, first horse, first real broken heart, and more than a few jobs, some of which were enlightened enough to allow her to come to the office, where she brightened the days of me and my coworkers with her constant smile and gently wagging tail. She asked nothing more of me than to be near me, and she brought me comfort and joy no words can express. Rest in peace, darling Golden girl, I miss you every day. Gwyn Donohue
Sherman was the most amazing Golden we ever knew, (and there have been quite a few in our lives). He was a four-legged person whose beauty, honesty, intelligence, patience and kindness were apparent to all who met him. There was never a soul that Sherman met who didn’t get a genuine tail wag. When we had foster Goldens living with us, he would take them by the paw and make them feel wanted, loved and respected. At the end of his life (a way too short 10 years) after suffering through surgery for removal of a cancerous mass and all of the painful rehabilitation, he never changed his outlook or attitude. He loved and was loved by all who knew him…he went to the rainbow bridge with his tail wagging and a smile on his face. He tolerated us humans gladly and we are better humans for having had Sherman in our lives; he will be missed every day for as long as we live… Jan Ambrose
In memory of Murphy Aaby…who could not let you leave the room without laughing. His sense of humor and human insight were irreplaceable, and his family and friends are better after knowing him. We would have kept him forever if we could, but we’re comforted knowing he’s now playing with Maxey and Jenny, keeping them laughing as he hangs his tongue out and lays like a frog. We love you Murphles (right)…and Sunny Bunny (left) says hi! Donett, Jim, Kate, John, and Sunny Aaby
Corey (GRREAT #02-128) came to us on July 22, 2002. He came so far from the insecure, shy, uncertain guy we adopted to a fierce protector (well, until you opened the door and he’d lick you to pieces – especially a food delivery person). We’ll miss the way he crinkled his lip when he knew he was begging, his love of tearing napkins or paper towels into tiny little pieces, how he’d pull the stuffing out of a toy just to get the squeaky, his howling when he thought no one was home, how he’d collapse on you if you sat next to him on the floor….the list could go on and on. Most of all, we’ll just miss him. We had to make the heart wrenching decision to send him to Rainbow Bridge at 1:00 am on Sunday, July 11th. He went peacefully to sleep with us by his side. Patricia Messenger
Ginger (GRREAT #07-158) came into my life from GRREAT in 2007. From the first day I brought her home until she passed away she was nothing but a pure joy. She was the happiest and friendliest dog I have ever seen. She loved running outside, long walks, car rides, and any food she could grab at her eye level. Her tail would wag so hard that whenever she got too close to a neighbor’s door they thought someone was knocking on the door! She loved locking her gaze upon a squirrels and birds and sometimes even an object moving in the distance that she later discovered upon further inspection was just a piece of paper. To her family and Dutch, her brother Golden, she was the “Possum Queen” and “Tomato Princess.” Ginger loved all the people she encountered in the neighborhood, all of the family members that cared for her, and even her veterinarian. Above all she showed me attention, affection, and love everyday. Nothing can replace the special place Ginger has in my heart. I will never forget the joy she brought into my life or the amazing loyalty she showed me. I pray that she rests in peace. Jim Twaddell
Ruby Dee Davidson
“So sweet” is how little Ruby Dee (GRREAT #07-086) was described by all who met her. She charmed so many people with her gentle way and boundless love, and was present at many GRREAT events to spread her Golden joy. At the recent GRREAT 3K Walk, she was a darling princess in her sparkly white party collar, mingling with everyone and easily completing the walk, despite her 15 year age. Ruby Dee came to GRREAT as a very sick dog who was not expected to survive, but she became healthy and brought smiles wherever she went over the next 3½ years. It was especially heart-warming to watch her interact with nursing home residents, always bringing them such happiness. Ruby Dee, I’ll miss you walking with me to the end of the driveway to get the newspaper in the morning and the mail in the afternoon. I’ll miss your quiet presence among the other dogs and the cats. I’ll miss you snuggling next to me at bedtime. And mostly I’ll miss your incredibly sweet face always looking at me so adoringly. I will love you forever and ever and ever; you are my very special little angel. Louise Davidson
Sadie (GRREAT #01-196) passed away on November 2, 2010 after being diagnosed three days before with a fast-moving cancer that had enveloped her spleen and liver. In August, she tore her ACL, had surgery at Southpaws, rehabilitated for three months, and never complained at all. But we were concerned that she never built back the muscle in her leg; now we know why. Sadie was the greatest friend a human could ever have, and was certainly one of the most loved. She lived life to the fullest, enjoyed friends, and was our constant companion, accompanying us on journeys from Nova Scotia to Florida, Texas to Alberta, and Michigan to Ontario. As one of her friends wrote, “I can’t remember ever meeting a dog who was so irrepressibly cheerful, who radiated happiness as much as she did.” She is sadly missed, not only by her parents, but by all of her friends. Dawn & Marshall Bowen
Ebbitt (GRREAT #07-048) was my sixth foster and I fell in love with him, so I joined the ranks of foster failure. He was diagnosed with cauda equine syndrome and GRREAT paid for his surgery performed by Dr. Walker. The surgery helped Ebbitt to have 3 wonderful years with us. We will remember how he was like a puppy when he ran off leash or played in the snow. Ebbitt would sing a “Woo Woo” and dance in anticipation of a meal, greeting a family member or friend, or if he was promised a ride in the car. He was the one who followed me here, there, and everywhere. He was the one who waited for me while I got ready for work. Ebbitt passed away peacefully on July 20, 2010, in his favorite spot by the front door. He was loved greatly and brought us much joy. Sue Erbele, David Breininger, Ryan and Erin Shumate, donation by Emilie Danco
When Ollie (GRREAT long term foster dog #10-023) arrived, he had been called Smiley. He didn’t respond to the name, but it certainly described the look on his face, and his happy personality. He was rescued from a shelter in southern Virginia, described as a Golden, but his origins didn’t matter to his foster home. Jane and Mike Landis loved and cared for Ollie, trying to free him from pain. Ollie suffered from severe arthritis. Despite therapy, acupuncture and lots of caring and love, it was still hard for him to move around. He loved his tennis balls, and was given the opportunity to play ball every day – Jane sat on the floor and rolled the ball so he could retrieve it. He was an angel sent to earth to be with his foster home for a brief period of time. Ollie made those who met him realize how precious life is as he welcomed each day with his smile. He was a lucky boy to have lived with them, but Jane and Mike feel that they are the lucky ones to have been blessed to share his last months with him. He gave so much joy and love to his foster family, and we know he is watching over them from the Rainbow Bridge, happy that they ensured his life with them was perfect. Robin Heinecke
In memory of Holly in tribute to her final journey to the Rainbow Bridge that brought our family to GRREAT, and as a foster home we have been blessed to find other Goldens their forever homes, including Ben who we adopted in January 2010. She was our special Golden brought into our family in 2001 to distract us from the emptiness we felt with the loss of a family member. She immediately took all our attention and brought so much love and laughter into our lives watching her grow from a puppy into a beautiful Golden full of life. She was obsessed with tennis balls and would try anything to get you to play with her, from dropping her ball into the dryer while you were emptying it, placing a wet ball behind you when you were sitting in a chair, or just staring at you with a ball in her mouth begging you to play. We miss her every day and cherish the memories we have with her, from holidays, boating on the bay, and being the Grandpup to her favorite family member who she adored. We will always love you Holly. Debbie, Jerad, Fallon Bakalich, and Grandma
We don’t know how old he was or who he belonged to. We just know that one day in July, 2008 this old guy was found wandering the streets in rural Virginia very sick and alone. An angel brought him to GRREAT and he lived out the last one and half years of his life well loved and cared for. No one knew his name; that didn’t matter since he couldn’t hear well. Jasper (GRREAT long term foster dog #08-130) had his ‘issues’ – he was cranky with dogs (all neighborhood dogs parted ways with him); he was large and clumsy and decrepit (when he fell, he just rolled over for tummy rubs), and medically challenged (the list is too long to discuss). But he was always a gentleman and gave limitless love and devotion. Look into his eyes and see the sweet soul he was. What a gift it was to foster an old guy like Jasper. He will always be remembered and loved. Linda Scher, and Alan & Mollie Dickerson
We had the privilege of being Bailey’s (GRREAT #02-259) forever family for almost eight years, after adopting her at age four. Bailey was a gentle, loving, sweet “soul.” She’d greet you with a wagging tail and a toy or bone in her mouth. Our angel will be missed by many and remembered as a special dog and a loving companion. She brought us licks, love, and laughter. She was so tolerant when the kids would dress her in all types of outfits. We didn’t need a fenced yard because Bailey never roamed far from family; she was always by my side. We’ll miss the jingle of her collar as she woke us with her loving eyes saying “feed me.” Oh how she loved to eat! Our Bailey Girl will live in our hearts forever. Thanks for the happy memories. Jim, Elaine, Daniel, and Anna Soya
In loving memory of our Big Red Dog Jake (GRREAT long term foster dog #08-147). He will always be remembered as the dog that would flop over on his back for a tummy rub as soon as he met you. Jake lived for tummy rubs. We will never forget his curly hair, white face and the strange looks he could give you. He was loved by both his families, Jan Brown & Greg Russell and Alan & Mollie Dickerson. He will always be in our hearts and never be forgotten. Alan & Mollie Dickerson
Today, January 22, 2010, my big beautiful red boy went to the Rainbow Bridge. He joined his pals Rosie, Hannah 02-134, Oliver, Sophia, and Timothy, who have been waiting for him. Cooper came to me from Chattanooga where he had been kept outside 24-7, except when he dug under the fence to go to the neighbor’s to get some attention. He was not the kind of dog that would tolerate being ignored. In my home, he pushed the other dogs and the cats aside to be the center of attention, and he was always ready to climb onto a lap if invited. It was the men that especially took a liking to him and would call to him to join them on the couch, despite my disapproval. But what a sweet irresistible cuddly big lap dog he was. I was honored to have been able to provide Cooper with a very happy life in Virginia. Penny 07-024, Ruby Dee 07-086, Kate, and the kitty kats will all miss the boss, but I’ll miss him more. I love you my Coopy. Louise Davidson
Our youngest Golden of three, Roscoe (GRREAT #07-060) always deferred to the other two. When our 15-year-old could no longer go on long walks, Roscoe always looked back for him. And he was hopelessly smitten with our 10-year-old female, adoringly following her everywhere. Roscoe was the only dog we have ever known to “talk.” When it was time for dinner or walkies, he would stand before us and soundlessly move his mouth in extraordinary contortions, in an apparent attempt to simulate human speech and thereby get quicker results. He was always “there.” During the night, he left his bed to lie on the floor next to his people’s bed. When the first person got up and went into the shower, he followed and stood guard throughout. Wherever you were, Roscoe could be depended upon to join you. His devotion was unwavering and, in kind, he will be forever cherished in memory. Mary Ann McFarland and Steve Soderberg
In loving memory of our devoted Simba (GRREAT #02-079) who we adopted at age 4 and passed away January 3, 2010 at the age of 12. We gave him a home filled with lots of love and he returned that love every day of his life. He was the “king” of our street and the classic alpha male Golden. He loved his home filled with stuffed animals, toys, and treats but most of all he loved his family. The tremendous void in our hearts will be tempered only by all the wonderful memories of Simba as part of our family. You will always be loved and missed Simba boy! Bonnie, Howard, Lauren and Jamie Sachs
Mattie’s humans had already had two Goldens when a family member introduced them to Mattie who had been found wandering in the woods. She got her name because of her matted coat. The vet thought she was probably only a year or so old. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge much too early at the age of six just a few days after Christmas. She hung on strong through the holiday, enjoying all the attention she got from her visiting human siblings and their children. She was a sweet and loyal girl who loved playing with tennis balls, walks to Bull Run, and just being a loyal friend to her Mom and Dad who miss her very much. Kristen Steffen
Bailey Simanek- Kochan
In memory of our beautiful friend Bailey (GRREAT #98-167) who shared his happy life with us. Bailey was a smart and loving gorgeous Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix who was 6 years old when we adopted him. He lived a healthy long life until he passed away at age 16 in the summer of 2008. He inspired me to paint this portrait. He will forever be in our hearts! Kristin Simanek
In honor of Annie, who was a very special member of the Clark family. She is missed very much by those who loved her. Annie brought happiness to everyone who met her, especially her proud parents. It won’t be the same the next time we visit Bob and Bonnie’s home, without Annie there to greet us at the door! Stephanie Ross (Annie’s aunt)
In memory of Dixon, our wonderful Golden Retriever who died much too early, at age eight and a half. He was loving, fun, and very goofy. He adored his daily walks, his kitty housemates – Georgia and Willow, visiting with his dog friends, and swimming in his “grandparents” pool. He warmly welcomed baby Alden two and a half years ago and was a great playmate. We miss him every day. Rebecca Benner
Kelly Baker Oot
In memory of Kelly, a book shredding puppy who became a wonderful dog. She adored people, other dogs, and even a pet guinea pig. She was a classy girl with sophisticated tastes, she loved sweet potatoes, apples, and poached salmon. She logged thousands of hiking miles, loved the beach, the mountains, and swimming across the Potomac chasing ducks. We were lucky enough to have her to 15 incredible years. You will always be loved and missed Kel! From Malee, Lisa, Lesley, Jean, and David. Malee Baker Oot
In memory of Portia (GRREAT #07-198), a grand lady with an even bigger heart who gave so much love to all of us. Portia came to GRREAT with giardia, lick granuloma, and laryngeal paralysis. With the help of GRREAT, she overcame the first two ailments and managed the third. Ultimately Portia died from Cushing’s disease, attendant diabetes, and an enlarged heart. These diseases did not define Portia, only the boundaries within which she sought out all living and dead creatures; befriended all humans, small and large; and cherished her toys, especially “baby.” Even to the end as Portia investigated the yard late at night, she would raise her head and tail, and hoarsely bark at … who knows? … the moon, bats, or wind whistling through the trees, or maybe all three. Her paw prints are forever on our hearts and we are so grateful. Shawne Lampert
For Chelsea Bottomley from her friends Aida, Lee and Duncan. Chelsea was a gentle, courageous, sweet Golden. A gracious lady. Her mother and dad (Susan and Dick) devoted incredible efforts to care for her and provided her with so much love. Her sister (Bailey) was a faithful companion who looked out for her and kept her young for so long. Chelsea will always be remembered. Aida Leroy
In memory of Maxwell Pinette, a gentle Golden who always lifted our spirits. He was most happy spending time with his family, especially his “parents,” Joanne and Rick, and playing and wrestling with his doggie friends. He loved taking walks and swimming in the lake with his mom. And he was his dad’s best buddy, always by his side. Patient and calm, Maxwell was a Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog who loved to spread joy to those who often needed a smile. Sadly, Maxwell had to leave us far too soon, but he lives on in our memories. We love and miss you, Max. Good boy. (written by Philip Pinette, son of Joanne and Rick Pinette). Joe and Virginia Fry
Link was an abandoned dog I rescued from a hunt club into which he wandered in 2001. He was about 2-3 years old. He became my best friend and near constant companion over the next 8 years, and I had to put him down July 28, 2009, as he developed cancer of the spleen. He was incredibly intelligent and expressive, and loved every person and dog he met. He never liked cats very much, and he loved to hunt squirrels. I will miss him dearly–a part of me is gone forever. Paul Kupferberg
In memory of Bella King who lit up our lives for 10 years since we adopted her at 2½. Bella was our exercise coach, security guard, friend and constant companion. She brought us energy and entertainment, and she even babysat the other family dogs. More than anything, she rounded out our family. Bella, the whole family misses you, but at no time more than when we come home and you’re not there to greet us at the door showing us your latest discovery. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Love, Marcia and Norman Marcia and Norman King
Rossy (pictured with Zoe the cat) was our beloved Golden Retriever who lived to be 14 years old. We knew he was the one for us from the first moment we met him when he was just 12 weeks old. He was a cute little fur ball who grew into the best dog we could ever ask for. To say he was a bit of a maniac for the first few years of his life is an understatement. His funny prance, his fear of balloons, his love of tennis balls, his obsession with cheese… we miss everything about that quirky little cuddly guy. He brought us more joy than I can truly articulate. He was our best friend and it is hard to imagine our lives without him. The only thing that seems to bring us some solace is knowing in our hearts that we could not have loved him any more. Amanda Dice, for Ken and Tracy Lisse
We adopted Rudi (GRREAT #97-175) after meeting him at his foster home in February 1998. According to his foster parents, he was found as a stray in King George, VA and GRREAT took him in as a foster dog. The first year after adoption was a challenge for both Rudi and us. Rudi went to “dog school” and we were immersed in Rudi’s joyful, typically Golden Retriever ways. We quickly learned that if Rudi slipped off the leash, you would most likely find him either in the nearby creek or at a neighbor’s house begging for dog treats. In turn, Rudi learned basic obedience such as how to walk on a leash without pulling your arm off. All in all it was an unforgettable relationship that we hoped would go on forever. Unfortunately, Rudi succumbed to cancer on 5/26/2009. He was loved by all of us and we miss him greatly. Conway, Martha, Martin, Silvia Robinson
To honor Shelby (GRREAT #03-209), the cherished Golden girl and first GRREAT dog of Ken and Mary Collings. Shelby was especially sweet and loving, even by Golden standards. She came into and filled the lives of Ken and Mary in 2003 at the age of 6, and for the next 5½ years she brought them boundless joy. I met Shelby only once, and it was after her diagnosis of cancer. She was so happy and friendly that I never could have guessed that she was not a perfectly healthy dog. Shelby learned to be a happy Golden dog in the Collings home, figuring out that carrying stuffed animals and chasing balls were great fun. While her passing has left a big hole in the hearts of Ken and Mary, the many wonderful memories they have of their beloved girl will surely fill the emptiness and heal their hearts. Shelby will be greatly missed. Louise Davidson
Mary and Ken Collings lost their beloved Shelby after a valiant battle with cancer. She was diagnosed in December 2008 and stayed with the Collings until May 7, 2009. She brought love and joy into the world and will be missed forever. Marie Lavallee
This is in honor of Brady, our “Granddog,” who belonged to the Stricker family in Catonsville, MD. He came into a house with 2 children, but helped bring up 2 more from infancy. Brady was without a doubt the sweetest, best behaved, and most patient dog we have ever seen. He died in April at the age of 12. He was much loved by all and will be much missed. Dave and Kay Larson
My wife and I first saw Bailey (GRREAT ID# 08-121) at a GRREAT Adoption Day in Annapolis. We had planned the day to look at Goldens, and had looked at a few when we met Bailey. After seeing him we started to leave and looked at each other and knew Bailey was the one. He was the most lovable dog we had ever met – 13 years old with a white face and always happy. You were his best friend from the moment he met you. He became part of the family from the first day. Everyone we met loved him. However, 3 weeks later he became sick. We took him to the vet only to find he had cancer. We were told he had only a few months to live. I don’t know what Bailey’s life was like before he came to us, but he was loved and pampered by us until the day he passed away. We knew when we took an older dog he would not be with us long, but we could give him what every dog always needs – LOVE. Bailey died Feb. 28, 2009. He will always be missed. He gave us more that we gave him. Alan and Mollie Dickerson
I was lucky enough to be Sam’s dog walker. I had the privilege of seeing him and his roomies Buddy and Max every day. Sam was every bit the older brother to Buddy and Max. He was very calm, regal and slightly aloof, which made him all the cuter when he got excited and playful. Sam’s favorite thing was to catch balls thrown to him. He quickly learned how to “speak” and was in the process of learning how to “whisper” (bark softly) when he became too ill to go on. Sam was a loving, good-hearted boy who is dearly missed by those of us who knew and loved him. Jill Freifeld
This donation is in honor of GRREAT rescue Katie Dawson, 97-158. Katie was rescued many years ago and given a great home by Don and Kim Dawson. She was a great dog, playmate to our dogs, and loving companion. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her. Katie brought such joy not only to the Dawsons, but to all who met her. She was a big part of the neighborhood, and everyone knew her. Katie was always the social butterfly, enjoying as many biscuits and treats as she could gather from everyone! Shelly and Mike Windsor
Tally was our prim and proper dog. She would not be caught laying down with her paws uncrossed. She would lick faces (humane and canine) until she was satisfied they were clean. She just knew that if she sat up on her bottom and put her feet in the air (crossed of course) that she would get attention. Tally was almost eleven but you would never know it to look at her. If she was doing something she should not be and you caught her, you didn’t even have to scold her- she just knew. I would imagine a lot of this was her Golden Retriever side coming out. We love you Tally and you are already greatly missed. Samantha Jessee
Big Mack and Maverick Rigsbee
I adopted the “Big Mack” (left) from GRREAT in 2003 because when I saw him at an adoption day, he was so funny and full of life. Mack was a big red Golden and somewhat of a prankster. My wife still recalls when he brought a dead possum to the back door to present to her. I will always remember how he danced when I announced “chow, chow, chow,” for feeding time. He was always so surprised to get a treat or to be petted for nothing. We lost the Big Mack in November 2006. We got Maverick (right) when he was 10 weeks old. He jumped right up into the SUV and never looked back. He knew he had found a home. Maverick had many names, Nug, Nugaletto, Maverico, or anything that fit the occasion. He would always come regardless of what we called him. I can still recall him scooting down the stairs of our home as a young pup, barking the whole way. Even though he tolerated the Big Mack at first, he always made Mack feel at home and grieved Mack’s loss. We lost Maverick at the ripe old age of 13 the first week of October this year. God certainly got two good boys when he got these two. Tom and Becky Rigsbee
Oliver Davidson was a special “puppy cat” whose self-confident, gregarious, and affectionate nature made him an unforgettable guy. Through a leg amputation and a variety of illnesses in the last five years of his life, he never lost his tough yet sweet attitude. He was a dog in a kitty kat outfit, and he masked a woof to sound just like a purr or a meow. He casually approached every new animal to give it a sniff, and any creature that wanted to snuggle with him found a willing partner. Oliver’s early years are a mystery, as he was found as a stray, but in his last ten years he brought happiness and laughter to those who met him. He loved to greet everyone with his cat-chatter, and to be held like a baby and petted, and he seemed to delight in perching on top of the refrigerator to bat at people’s heads as they walked by. In the last six months of his 18 year life Oliver found a treasured friend in Kate, a young Golden Retriever with whom he had a mutually adoring relationship, complete with endless cuddling and exchanges of kisses between the two of them. Oliver was my buddy and he is my forever-and-ever friend. Louise Davidson
We lost our lovely lady, Amber(GRREAT #00-227) on Friday, September 5, 2008. Amber was a free spirit who loved nothing more that to “escape” occasionally and wander the neighborhood and sniff all the good smells. She took a little unauthorized walk Friday afternoon and her body was found by the Humane Society. Our wonderful, kind vet diagnosed internal organ failure. She’d undergone surgery only four weeks earlier for two growths that both were benign and was doing so well, which makes this so sad. Amber was much loved by all who knew her, wonderful with kids and she especially adored our son and his friends. She had favorite places to spend time but just loved to be near and to nuzzle a hand to be petted. Amber and I did a number of home visits for GRREAT and she was a worthy ambassador. One visit I particularly remember was to a home with a child who had some special challenges. Amber intuitively understood this child, and watching her respond to him was a revelation. She had my undying love but also my respect for her innate kindness. Amber was, like all Goldens, special. She came to us aged four and half years old and she leaves us at the age of 12. Debbie, Ric and Avery Uslaner
Gus Turek, GRREAT ID 06-212, was the inspiration for the Forever Friends, and thus is known as our First Forever Friend. He came to GRREAT in November 2006 and soon went to live with his forever family before Christmas. The family had previously adopted two older GRREAT guys who each had spent just a few years with them. Having given their hearts to older dogs twice in a row, the family decided to adopt a younger dog to spend more time with them. Gus was a handsome five-year-old redhead whose amazing ears had hair that hung down at least three inches beyond his ears and looked like it had been crimped at the beauty salon.
Gus was a dog who loved to roughhouse and wrestle, and he had an amazing talent for getting three Kongs in his mouth at once. Like all Goldens, Gus loved tennis balls. Shortly after finding his forever home, Gus visited the family’s beach house for his first trip to the ocean. He kept going to the sideboard in the dining room and looking up and barking. Eventually, it was discovered that a tennis ball was hidden on top of the furniture among old dishes. What a nose to go with his amazing ears!
A few months later in the Spring, Gus spent the morning outside in the yard with his family. At lunchtime when everyone went inside for a break, Gus wandered into the kitchen and collapsed. He was rushed to the emergency vet, but within a short time he was gone. Gus had been stolen from his forever home by a fast moving cancer which had filled his spleen and lungs with hundreds of tiny tumors, despite having been given a clean bill of health just a few months before.
Gus’ family was stunned and heartbroken at their tragic loss. They stowed the Kongs away and debated whether their hearts could handle another dog. Despite the intense sadness, and perhaps because of the joy Gus had brought them, another GRREAT dog eventually found his way to Gus’s family. Now Gus will always be remembered as the dog who inspired a fund to help other Golden Retrievers in their search for their loving forever families.
We would like to thank Gus’ owners Greg and Gail Turek for sharing Gus’ story, and also his foster family Bob and Lynda Lake for providing the regal picture of Gus.