Golden Ribbon Rescue
May 2018

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Newsletter Editor:
Dorian Olsen

Technical Editor:
Jeroen Naus

Send comments or
suggestions to:

Gold Ribbon Rescue
PO Box 956
Austin, TX 78767
512 659-4653

A Message from Our President...
Margo Biba

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that it is May and summer is almost here. What a busy year this has been for GRR. To date, we have brought in 53 dogs; all with various medical and behavioral needs. We have hosted or participated in eight events with three more planned on the agenda before summer.

We recently published our 2017 Annual Report. Thanks to your dedication and support, GRR remains strong for 2018 and beyond. Click here to go to our website to read the full report. Just scroll down and click on the image.

I urge you to review Dr. Ron Stried's article on taurine, a type of dietary protein. There is still much unknown about taurine, but researchers at the University of California Davis are finding low taurine levels in dogs on grain-free diets. Dr. Stried's article is an interesting read.

Also below is a list of our Veterinary and Training/Behavior partners. GRR greatly appreciates their support as we couldn’t rescue Goldens without them.

Lastly, I hope to see all GRR volunteers and fosters at APAWS! APAWS! that is our Volunteer Appreciation Party on May 6th. Details below. Be sure to RSVP right away!

As always, thank you for your dedication and time to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home Goldens.

As Ever,


Letter From the Editor
Dori Olsen

Rusty Olsen

Hello to you all!

Dawn Marie Rae, Paula Ellis and Jacky Woolsey have prepared the 2017 GRR Annual Report and it is a work of beauty. Be sure to take a look to see what a fabulous job GRR did last year to benefit Goldens.

I belong to Nextdoor, a neighborhood application, and there have been several poisonous snake sightings in our area. Because so many of our members take their Goldens to rivers and on trails, I thought an article on snakebite prevention and treatment might be useful. Hopefully we will never have to deal with this, but it is better to be prepared.

Gold Fest was a huge success! Be sure to check out the photos of our Goldens (and us) having a terrific time!

Happy Memorial Day!


This Month's Contributors:

Dr. Ron Stried
Chrissy Hammond
Tom Walter
Emily Tuczkowski
Michelle Goldberg
Paula Ellis
Jeroen Naus
Dawn Marie Rae


Upcoming Events

Apaws! Apaws! GRR's Volunteer Appreciation Party!

Celebrating all of our Volunteers and Fosters with great food, drinks and friendship, with live music from The Therapy Sisters! (And Gail, too!) To all of our Volunteers and Fosters - join us!

Graciously hosted by Gail March:
May 6, 2018
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m
11703 Santa Cruz Dr.
Austin,TX Map
Click here to RSVP.


Help Wanted

Website Dog Story Authors
Write upbeat, enticing stories about newly rescued dogs and obtain photos for the GRR website using foster reports and contact with the foster. Approximately 2-3 hours per assignment. Desired turnaround time is 3 to 4 days from date of assignment. This is a critical position that enhances the chances of each dog for adoption. Please contact Barbara Tankey for more information.

Foster Coordinator Lead:
Assign foster coordinators (FC) to new foster and FPA (foster pend adopt) families. Ensure FCs have the materials they need and track information. Time requirement is 3-5 hours per week. For more information, please contact Michelle Goldberg.

GRR Website Content Coordinator:
Must have Drupal, HTML, CSS and FTP skills to manage timely updates to our website re: fundraisers, events and general content changes. Approximately 5 hours per week depending on current campaigns.
Please contact Dawn Marie Rae for more details

Respite Volunteers needed:
We are in need of more respite families to help out with keeping foster dogs on a short-term basis while the fosters are traveling and/or are on vacation. This is a great way to provide socialization for your dog, try out fostering, enjoy playing with and caring for a short-term foster. Volunteers must have gone through the regular adoption/foster screening process, including a home visit. Please contact Robin Early if interested.


And the Survey Says...
Dori Olsen

Please, I would REALLY like your input about how I can improve the GRR newsletter experience for you. Please take a moment to think about the newsletter and then I would really appreciate it if you would complete this short survey. Depending on how much you have to say, the survey should take about 5 to 10 minutes to complete. I want the newsletter to be relevant to you and your interests, and your input is very important. Many thanks for your participation.

If you would like to write an article or have an idea for an article, please send an email to the newsletter editor.

Thanks, Dori


Where are They Now - Xena (Spice 17-091)
Tom Walter

Spice came to stay with us while her foster mom was on Spring Break. Little did we realize what a change it would be for all of us. At this point, we already had four dogs in our household: Bob, our 15-year-old senior who rarely accepts or appreciates visitors; Sandie, our 13-year-old Golden/Husky; Emily-Elizabeth (GRR 16-032) and Leia (GRR) who is just 14 months old.

Baby Xena

Spice is very active, but that is understandable since she was a seven month-old puppy when she came to us. Her mother, Chiquita (17-082), came into GRR care and, as a complete surprise, birthed two puppies shortly after she moved to her foster home. Everyone was astonished when they were born and the two puppies, one white and one black, were of course called Sugar and Spice.

Back at our home; after a day or two, Bob was suddenly accepting the newcomer! This was a completely rare event, based on our last dozen furry visitors. But he likes Spice! After the first week, it was pretty clear this would be a "Foster Failure" and Spice had found her forever home. There is a theme to our dogs’ names and the name “Spice” just didn’t fit. Leia was named for Princess Leia of Star Wars fame, so a more fitting name was needed for our Black/Brindle newcomer.

Xena, Emily, Leia

Xena the Warrior Princess! It fit perfectly. In the TV series, Xena, the Warrior Princess has a sidekick named Gabrielle. Our new puppy, Xena (pronounced Zeena), also has a sidekick, named Leia, who is helping to keep her on the path of goodness! Actually, all of our dogs are involved in this effort. When Xena starts to counter surf, you can hear Sandie scolding her. Bob, despite his age, is enjoying playing with the two youngest dogs. Since Leia and Xena are closer in age, they love a game of chasing each other around the backyard with Emily-Elizabeth joining in.

After an afternoon of chase and playing, they settle down. We still keep Xena crated at night and when we leave the house for an hour or so. Both Pam and I work from home so the dogs spend most of the time playing outside or keeping us company inside.

The last thing I thought we needed was a fifth dog, but Xena is a perfect match for our family. Leia and Xena have become fast friends, spending hours playing and wearing each other out, so that we have quiet nights. Over the past month, Xena's personality has bloomed. She is very much like Emily-Elizabeth, except in a different body. Xena is 100% Golden Retriever in personality and spirit and loves being part of the family.


Gold Fest was Awesome!

Our first Gold Fest was phenomenal! While the weather was a trifle chilly (make that cold!), that did not stop the people, and especially the dogs, from having a wonderful time. There was an easy agility contest for dogs of all ages, training tips and an Ask the Trainer session from Dog Boy's excellent training staff and swimming, swimming, swimming in the pond.

There was plenty of space for all of the dogs to roam and the pups really enjoyed romping with the pack. What fun!!! This wonderful day concluded with the release of Balloons of Remembrance, honoring all of our pets who have moved on.

Huge thanks to Candice Gourley and Shannon Bennett for all of their hard work arranging this magical day. We are definitely looking forward to another Gold Fest event in the future.

If you would like to share in the fun, Candice and Shannon have put photo albums on the GRR Facebook page. Scroll down on Facebook to view about 150 photos of dogs (and their pawrents) having fun!


Taurine and Your Dog's Heart
Dr. Ron Stried, GRR Medical Director

Taurine is an amino acid that is found in high concentrations in heart and muscle. Among its many functions, it aids in normal contractility of these muscles. Taurine deficiency is characterized as a cause of acquired dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that is characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly. With DCM, both the upper and lower chambers of the heart become enlarged. Genetics seems to be a primary cause of taurine deficiency in dogs and some breeds are more predisposed to developing the condition. The breeds include the American Cocker Spaniel, English Setters, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, and Saint Bernard. Before a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy is made, several tests may need to be performed. They include auscultation, blood and urine tests, chest x-rays, electrocardiogram or echocardiogram.

Studies are ongoing by Dr. Joshua Stein at UC Davis. According to Dr. Stein, most of cases they are seeing at UC Davis are from grain free diets that are high in legumes, like Acana Pork and Squash Singles. If dogs are currently on or have been fed grain free diets in the past, have your veterinarian submit baseline whole blood taurine levels. After submitting the whole blood levels, switch diets if indicated. Taurine supplementation may be necessary. Consultation with your veterinarian is advised before supplementation.

Taurine is naturally found in animal-based ingredients. The type of dietary protein and other ingredients may affect taurine status. Some evidence suggests that diets containing lamb meal and/or rice, low protein or high fiber diets may play a part in causing DCM. As a precaution, many lamb-based diets are supplemented with taurine.

Sources of Taurine:

  • Food of animal origin: chicken, pork and beef heart, eggs(boiled), cheese, or octopus.
  • Food of vegetable origin: yeast, green beans, or beans. Only 15% of your pet’s total diet should be based on fruit and vegetables.
  • Prepared taurine: capsule or powdered form.
Veterinarian consultation is advised.

There are still a lot of unknowns about taurine and dilated cardiomyopathy. Studies are being conducted in many universities across the United States and abroad.


Happy Memorial Day!


See What We Were Up To In 2017- GRR's Annual Report

Introducing Gold Ribbon Rescue's 2017 Annual Report that was beautifully designed by Jacky Woolsey of Paper Moon Graphics. To review all of the marvelous things that Gold Ribbon Rescue accomplished during 2017, please click on the image above.


It is a Bright, Bright, Bright SUNNY Day (18-040)
Emily Tuczkowski

Rescuers LOVE to get emails from our supportive shelter folks with the subject line “Boy, have I got a cuuuuuuutte Golden Retriever puppy for you.” It is usually followed by the inevitable “…but..”.

Meet 18-040 Sunny


Found wandering alone and hurt on a road in Williamson County, this sweet, 8-month old young puppy was picked up by a Good Samaritan and brought to the local shelter, who in turn contacted Gold Ribbon Rescue.

Would we take him? Of course! And we immediately whisked him to CTVSH in Austin where he was diagnosed with a growth plate fracture on the right femoral head. The damage was a month old already. Poor fella was likely hit by a car and left to cope with the pain, on his own, for a month. Can you imagine?

Sunny's Femoral Head before surgery

Growth plates in puppies are very important and any damage to them can, at its worst, be disastrous. So we all worried; would the damage be too great? Was there any damage to the spine? If not, would he need to have his leg amputated? Would the plate damage cause him to have discomfort and perhaps have his leg grow properly? We worried A LOT because it was so obvious that this little guy was so sweet, had suffered alone in pain for so long and needed to catch a break.

Good news for Sunny! Our wonderful doctors at CTVSH determined that they were going to save his leg and perform a Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO). He will never be a big-time athlete, jogging partner or be able to go for long hikes, but the surgery will give him a chance to lead an otherwise normal life.

Sunny resting with big brother Leo

True to his name and his breed, Sunny is sweet, a major snuggler and has a tail that goes a mile a minute.

The cost for the surgery and medications was almost $1400, after a tremendously generous discount by CTVSH. Thus, the GoFundMe fundraiser that raised $1565 for Sunny from 28 donors in 14 days! THIS is what rescue is all about! Thanks to everyone who donated! It really made a difference for this lovely boy.

UPDATE: On April 19th, Sunny’s foster wrote “He is doing well putting weight on that back leg and practicing "sit" and "down". (He is) Closely watching big brother Leo's every move and command response.” Less than two weeks after his surgery, Sunny is enjoying the good life!



Snakebites in Texas
By Nicole Dockrey, DVM, DAAPM

Texas Coral Snake

A snakebite is something we all hope our pets will never suffer, but unfortunately they are a very real problem for pets and owners in Texas. Texas is home to a variety of venomous snakes whose bites can potentially harm pets, so it is essential to recognize dangerous snakes and know what to do if your pet is bitten. Texas pit vipers, rattlesnakes (especially in central, south and west Texas) and Copperheads are most often responsible for venomous bites due to their prevalence and relative aggression. Water Moccasins in Texas, also known as Cottonmouth snakes, also have venomous bites. Coral snakes are also present, but bites are less common because they must “chew” on a victim in order to introduce venom, but they are particularly hard to treat and the antivenom can be very difficult to obtain. Venomous snakebites in Texas are a problem in both rural and urban areas. Urban sprawl into snake habitats brings people and pets into frequent contact with snakes, as those living in Austin and central Texas know all too well.

Help your pets avoid snakebites

The best way to avoid snakebites in Texas is to know when you and your pet are most likely to come in contact with a snake and use appropriate caution. Snakes are coldblooded creatures that are most active during periods of warm temperatures, usually anytime the temperature creeps above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Most venomous snakes found in Texas frequent tall grasses, bushes and woodpiles, though Water Moccasins prefer proximity to water. When you take your dog outside, keep it on a leash and away from such places. Also, keep your yard from becoming a good snake hideout by keeping grass short and shrubs trimmed.

There is a rattlesnake vaccine available for dogs but limited scientific evidence available documenting how much protection it actually provides. Vaccines do not offer 100-percent protection, and antivenom is likely to be administered despite being previously vaccinated. Discuss your options with your veterinarian. Snake aversion training programs aimed at teaching dogs to avoid the predators are offered in some areas. Lastly, consider enrolling your pet in a health insurance plan if you live in or travel to high-risk areas. Because antivenom and associated tests and treatments for snakebites are quite expensive, pet insurance can be a good way to offset the cost.

Signs of a snakebite

Most dogs and cats are bitten on the face or mouth and sometimes the feet and legs. The bite punctures themselves are often tiny and may be difficult to see due to associated swelling or location of the bite. Signs and severity of a bite are related to how much venom was introduced into the pet, as well as the location of the bite and the size of the pet. Smaller animals are often more severely affected. The size of the snake and the time of year are not accurate predictors of how much venom is associated with a bite, so all bites should be assumed to be venomous and serious.

Most pets will display similar signs in the event of a venomous snakebite. Snakebites are associated with rapidly progressive swelling, bruising, significant pain and a small amount of bloody or black drainage from the punctures. Bites to the head and mouth can lead to difficulty breathing due to the profound swelling that may develop near the airway. Some dogs and cats can progress rapidly to cardiovascular shock, which includes a precipitous drop in blood pressure accompanied by pale gums, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, collapse and/or vomiting and diarrhea. Occasionally dogs and cats can demonstrate nervous system signs as well, such as tremors, weakness or even seizures. Coral snake bites are unique as they are particularly dangerous and usually manifest mainly as nervous system signs and difficulty breathing, showing little or no local signs. In the time following snakebite, it is not uncommon for the skin at the bite sites to become black and necrotic (dead) and fall away, leading to secondary wounds that can require significant care and sometimes surgery.

To continue reading this article, click here.


Where are They Now? - Thibeaux (17-111)
Susan Dumas

I am so grateful to the whole GRR village who brought Thibeaux to his forever home with me, Mylee (15-096) and Hannah. He is about 9 years old, and spent much of his life chained to a tree in LaPorte, Texas, near the Houston Ship Channel. As the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey rose, Thibeaux was dramatically rescued by the Cajun Navy who, of course, gave him the Cajun name of Thibeaux. They turned him over to FEMA, who then placed him in the LaPorte Animal Shelter. A Golden Retriever rescue group in Houston was contacted by the animal shelter and they, in turn, notified GRR. GRR volunteer Heather Elizabeth drove all the way to Houston to retrieve him and JC and Cathy Smith kindly fostered him for the next six months.

Thibeaux dismantling a braided bully stick

Thibeaux has now been with me and my girls for about six weeks. When I first got him, he seemed to be entirely deaf but, after a few weeks of thyroid supplementation, most of his hearing seems to have returned. We learned that his thyroid levels were extremely low, and thyroid supplementation over this past month has really perked him up. He's having a blast!

Thibeaux at Laser Therapy

We have been working with my veterinarian on pain management for his arthritis: laser therapy has been of tremendous help. He has responded really well to laser therapy of his neck, back, and hips. He is chasing squirrels, playing with toys, and is even playing bitey-face with Hannah. For a dog who apparently had little socialization over the years, seeing him play is my greatest joy! Thibeaux has the hugest (my word) feet and he pads around like a big St. Bernard puppy!

Thibeaux and Mylee (15-096)

He's now learned to use the ramp up onto my bed, so the four of us have to jockey for position every night. I am delighted that every night here is now a three dog night!


The Watering Can

Watering cans are replaceable - a dog's joy isn't - Thibeaux (17-111)


Thoughts, Prayers and Remembrance

Our Rainbow Bridge: April 2018
Rest in peace, our friends and companions.

Bella B
Miss Bunny


 In Loving Memory - April (18-047)
Margo Biba

I have sad news about my foster gal, #18-047 April, the senior from WCRAS with the baseball- sized necrotic mass on her chin. Dr. Ron aspirated some of her many growths, and they were confirmed as mast cell cancer. The radiologist reviewed the x-rays and found that the cancer had spread to April’s lung after all. Surgery to remove or reduce the size of any of the masses was no longer an option.

We hoped that April might have another 1 to 3 months of quality life left. Instead, April lost interest in food and refused to eat more than a few bites, even when hand fed special soft meals. The mass on her chin worsened and she lost her zip. Late yesterday afternoon (April 27th), Dr. Ron came to the house to re-examine April. Due to her worsening condition and grim prognosis, we made the difficult decision to euthanize April.

As you can imagine, it sure was devastating to lose April, after our earlier optimism. She was a lovely girl: gentle and sweet, friendly and mellow, appreciative and happy. I am very, very grateful to Linda Gunter for getting April to GRR, and to GRR for giving April every chance toward health.

Thank goodness April had this last week of kindness and compassion from her GRR friends. April felt loved and cherished at the end.

April (18-047)


Last Chance! Fiesta Medals

The San Antonio Fiesta celebration is over for this year, but you can still participate by adding to your collection of Fiesta medals. Gold Ribbon Rescue is selling beautiful GRR Fiesta medals that are embellished with our Gold Ribbon Rescue logo and our motto. The price is $10 per medal plus $3 shipping. To order one of these beautiful medals, and to help our great cause, go to our website at Gold Ribbon Rescue and click on the PayPal button on the home page. It will guide you through your purchase.

Be sure and order your medal now because our sale is coming to an end. Thanks so much for your support!

Note: Camp Bow Wow, located at 11931 Jones Maltsberger, San Antonio,Texas, has generously offered to sell the GRR medals as well. They are also available for sale at Traveling Tails, 2250 Thousand Oaks, 102, San Antonio 78232.

Thank you Camp Bow Wow and Traveling Tails! ❤️


MVVC Backyard Bash!

Thank you Manchaca Village Veterinary Clinic (MVVC) for hosting the fund raiser this past Saturday - just for GRR! Margo even won two raffle prizes. Special thanks to Beth LaCocq from MVVC for organizing everything: the vendors, the advertising, prizes etc. Such a very nice gesture from out great partners!


Where are They Now? - Mello (Rainbow 11-121)
Reprinted from Berry Creek Life

“We adopted Mello (GRR 11-121 Rainbow) on February 18, 2012,” Mary Sharp said, as her husband Tom tossed a stuffed toy to their pet. “And we got her through Gold Ribbon Rescue in Austin. She was a 3-year old foster dog adopted by a couple, born and raised in a cage. It took her 45 minutes to come to us and to this day she likes the safety and protection of her bed. It’s her comfortable space."

“Our kids all swore that Mello had some other breeds, like Labrador Retriever, in her bloodline.” Mary continued. But a DNA evaluation revealed that the dog was a perfect match between English and American Golden Retriever: she is a purebred. Her laid-back, accepting nature prompted the name Mello (sans the “w”) and about the only creatures she dislikes are squirrels. “They are her nemesis,” Tom said.

Mello rarely barks and she is “accepting of ducks”, Tom added. The Sharps have had five Goldens as pets, but Mello is the only one that resolutely refuses to retrieve. She covets golf cart excursions and also enjoys riding in the car. “She is not aggressive and likes other dogs and cats,” Tom explained. “She is absolutely wonderful with kids and loves people,” Mary said. “She was very skinny when we got her and we gave her good dry food, but she gained a little too much weight.” These days Mello gets a half cup of frozen green beans (unthawed), one cup of dry food and a whole carrot each day. “She loves raw carrots,” Mary said, “and ice cubes, too.”

Every six weeks she goes to the beauty parlor for a bath, cut and groom. Mello has the most robust good health of the five Goldens Mary and Tom have owned: they are Murphy, Max, McKenzie, Molson and now the granddaughter-named Mello. She is the third Golden the Sharps have adopted from Gold Ribbon Rescue, a nonprofit that Mary described as “fabulous”. They take a one-mile walk each day with Mello, and her eye-catching good looks have not gone unnoticed by Berry Creek residents. “Yes,” Mary said with a smile, “she is very well known in the neighborhood.”


GRR Monthly Status Report: March 24 - April 22

Came into care:18-032 Feeney, 18-033 Sully, 18-034 Celia, 18-035 Raven, 18-036 Radio, 18-037 Duke, 18-038 Gibbs, 18-039 Baron, 18-040 Sunny, 18-041 Angie, 18-042 Marley, 18-043 Ginger, 18-044 Gabe, 18-045 Grant, 18-046 Hudson, 18-047 April, 18-048 Bonnie, 18-049 Ollie, 17-104 Banks

Adopted:18-012 Francesca, 18-015 Chuck, 16-018 Reese 18-022 Mowgli, 17-023 Molly. 18-024 Murphy, 18-003 Dax, 17-135 Hero, 18-027 Jedi, 18-037 Duke

Currently in Foster Care: 43 Dogs - 19 available/available soon, 18 foster pending adoptions, 6 permanent fosters




Fight the Bite
Reprinted from the GRRNT May 2015 Newsletter

Just about every kid wants a dog, and if you’re a parent bringing a new furry member of the family into your fold, you need to know how to teach your kids to interact properly with their new pet. Remember that what you teach your kids about how to act around their own dog will also help them learn how to act around all dogs. This can be especially crucial knowledge when a strange dog approaches. Here are some tips:

Learn dog body language

Just like people, dogs show how they are feeling through body language. Some of the signals that dogs use to indicate they may be uncomfortable include:

  • Tense body
  • Stiff tail
  • Tense stare
  • Eyes rolled back so whites are visible
  • Ears pulled back
  • Furrowed brow
  • Backing away from you

Respect their space

Respecting a dog's space is especially crucial when it is eating or playing with a toy. Teach children not to bother a dog at mealtime or when sleeping, and not to try to snatch a toy away. Do not get in a dog’s face, even to give hugs and kisses -- most dog bites to the face occur when this happens.

Be gentle

People do not like rough handling, and neither do dogs. Teach children the importance of having a gentle touch, and that a real dog is not a stuffed animal. No pulling on ears or tails. Never allow children to hit or pin a dog down.

Supervise play

Parents need to supervise playtime between their children and a dog. Put down your smartphone and pay attention.

Train your dog

Use positive reinforcement techniques to train your dog and be sure you are properly socializing your pet by taking it on walks and having it around other people and dogs.

Be a tree

Teach children to act like a tree if a strange dog approaches. They should not try to run or scream.

Teaching your children the proper etiquette for interacting with dogs will help ensure that they only have positive experiences with the family pet and that you don’t have to make a frantic run to the emergency room.


Pints for Pups
Michelle Goldberg

Pints 4 Pups
The Alaskan Brewing Co. and Pints 4 Pups were pleased to have hosted GRR for an event at the Yard Bar on April 14th. Alaskan Brewing Co. promoted their new beer of choice, Alaskan Husky IPA.

Here are a few photos from Pints for Pups at the Yard Bar. There was so much excitement that it was hard for all of the puppies NOT to want to go play. Thank you to those who came out to support GRR!


Kendra Gives Back Party - Thanks!

On April 24th, Kendra Scott at the Domain sponsored GRR in Kendra's Gives Back program. Kendra Scott donated 20% of all sales to GRR, if the purchaser mentioned Gold Ribbon Rescue at the time of sale. Michelle Goldberg was there with Sedona, representing GRR. Enjoy the photos.

Many, many thanks to Kendra Scott for her support of GRR!


Meet Our Preferred Partners!

Gold Ribbon Rescue has several preferred partners that help us with our mission to save our beautiful Goldens. We are truly grateful for their relationships and support. We thank them for all they do for GRR everyday, all the time!

Training and Behavior: