GRREAT's Forever Friends
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.