March 2014 Newsletter

     Helping Golden Retrievers and Their Owners in Central Texas


March 2014

Upcoming Events


Volunteer Training:


§  April 12, 2014 –Austin Animal Center from 1-4 pm.  Contact Shelia at  to register & details.



Picnic in the Park:


§  March 22, 2014 –Zilker Park from 11-2 pm

For more information about GRR events, email Gail March at


















Need to Renew Your GRR Membership?

Or Become a Member for the First Time?

Click the link below to access the GRR Membership page.















Connect with Gold Ribbon Rescue on Facebook.











How Can You Help a Golden?

Make a tax deductible donation to GRR

Become a monthly donor and we’ll automatically charge your credit card

Volunteer – lots of exciting ways to help a golden.  Contact Shelia at


Foster – helping a golden is rewarding and fun.  Learn more.




























































Gold Ribbon Rescue

PO Box 956

Austin, TX  78767

512 659-4653




GRR Newsletter Editor: Katie Ann Prescott



















Trapper Creek man says dog saved his life after snowmachine crash

by Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News


It was midnight, well below freezing, and Otis Orth was lying on his back on the icy ground off a forest trail.

He couldn't move. A snowmachine crash Sunday afternoon west of the Mat-Su Borough community of Trapper Creek left him with a neck injury and dislocated limbs. For hours, he lay there waiting for help, moving his legs and feet to keep warm. As temperatures dropped to nine degrees, hypothermia took hold.

But he wasn't alone. His dog, Amber, a 2-year-old golden retriever lay next to him with her head and paws over his stomach, keeping him from losing further body heat. He forced himself to stay awake. The next day, it was Amber who alerted passing snowmachiners that Orth needed help.

If not for her, the 52-year-old Trapper Creek resident said Tuesday, he wouldn't be alive.

"I owe that dog my life," Orth said from his hospital bed at Providence Alaska Medical Center. "If I had stayed out there one more night I wouldn't have made it."

What became a dramatic rescue after a night spent in the cold started out Sunday afternoon as a trip to the grocery store. Orth, whose livelihood comes from seasonal commercial fishing and carpentry, climbed onto his snowmachine, preparing to set out for food and gas. He had spent the day with friends, and by that point, he said, he'd had several beers.

Orth lives in a cabin in the Jake Lake area, west of the Trapper Creek. Whenever he travels, he takes his dog Amber with him. She was a rescue dog, and he became her owner about a year ago. He's taken her fishing, four-wheeling and up in a helicopter.

About 2 p.m. Sunday, he was riding his snowmachine near Mile 17 of Petersville Road, standing up, with Amber between his legs. He was cutting across a pair of trails doing 35 mph about three-quarters of a mile away from his cabin when, suddenly, the snowmachine hit a snow berm with a hollow center. The machine fell through and see-sawed violently, tossing Orth over the handlebars.

He fell off his left side and slid across the hard-packed snow. It was like hitting concrete. When he came to a stop, he lay with his left arm out behind him.

He managed later to turn himself onto his back. He said he thought he heard his friends coming back for him, but they would have been about 100 yards away. The longer Orth lay there, the more the snow melted, sinking him out of view. No one else came by.

"It was just me and the dog," Orth said. Amber stayed by his side and snuggled against him as the temperature dropped. He tried to continuously move his legs, but about midnight, he said he lost feeling.

When daylight returned, he yelled for help every 10 to 15 minutes and again was thankful to have Amber nearby when a raven stopped to take a look at his predicament.

"That raven landed there and started to do a little walk about my head and shoulders," Orth said. "I got her to run him off. I know how they are. They like to poke out eyeballs the first chance they get, if they think you're dead. When you can't move much, but just holler at them, I don't think that's much of a defense."

Not until about 1:30 p.m. on Monday did Orth hear the sound of approaching snowmachines.

He got Amber excited: "Go see what they're doing." The dog went off and Orth heard her bark. The snowmachines stopped.

A little bit later, one of the riders, 68-year-old Tom Taylor of Trapper Creek, reported to Alaska State Troopers that a rescue was underway. Help began to flood in -- other Trapper Creek cabin owners rushed out with a generator and a hair dryer, to keep him warm in his wet clothes. Troopers, LifeMed, EMS and a Trapper Creek ambulance with off-road rescue equipment were on the scene by about 3:40 p.m. to find Orth conscious, breathing and alert, but unable to move.

About 26 hours after he first crashed, a LifeMed helicopter took Orth to Providence Alaska Medical Center. He injured his neck, dislocated his arms and frostbite turned his left foot purple. He'll likely lose several toes.

But he wonders how much worse it could have been, if not for Amber.

"She probably saved whatever foot I'm going to have," he said, grimly.

After Orth was rescued, Amber was left with one of his acquaintances in Trapper Creek. But they wouldn't be apart for long -- on Tuesday afternoon, Amber was on her way to the hospital to be reunited with him.

Reach Devin Kelly at or 257-4314.

Read more here:

    10 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog   



1. What You See Is What You Get          

Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you!

2. Easy to Train

Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.

3. Seniors are Super-Loving

One of the cool parts of our job is reading stories from people just like you who have opted to adopt. The emails we get from pet parents with senior dogs seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It's an instant bond that cannot be topped!

4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job

Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus.

5. They Settle in Quickly

Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!

6. Fewer Messes

Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.

7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.

8. They Enjoy Easy Livin

Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.

9. Save a Life, Be a Hero

At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.

10. They’re CUTE!   Need we say more……Maggie, Charlie and Dooley

Click the link to see all of our seniors available for adoption.


Looking for a Good Book? 

Review from


 “My dogs have been the reason I have woken up every single day of my life with a smile on my face. I am among the ranks of millions of people who appreciate the souls of dogs and know they are a gift of pure love and an example of all that is good” ~ Jennifer Skiff, author of The Divinity of Dogs


The Divinity of Dogs by Jennifer Skiff is about the moments you learn something profound about life from an experience with a dog. Featuring more than seventy stories culled from hundreds of submissions to the author’s website, these inspiring and heartwarming true stories show where love, tolerance, comfort, compassion, loyalty, joyfulness, and even death have provided experiences that have led to spiritual enlightenment.


You’ll meet Little Bit, the Chihuahua who detected a small lump in her owner’s breast, a growth even doctors couldn’t find. There’s Emma, the devoted Rottweiler who ferociously grabbed her owner’s arm at the moment he was trying to commit suicide, saving his life. You’ll be inspired by Luna, the Retriever who dragged her owner to safety after she collapsed late at night in a field. And you’ll fall in love with the many dogs who simply provide steady comfort when needed; dogs like Bo, the Boxer who soothed his mistress after the loss of her son. The author also weaves her own experiences with dogs throughout the book, showing how they comforted her through mistreatment as a child, a divorce, and a cancer diagnosis.


The stories that make up The Divinity of Dogs provide hope, help, and healing for readers in the complex and difficult times in which we live. Whether you believe dogs are divine or are actually a gift from the divine, The Divinity of Dogs gives you permission to accept what you know: dogs are healers, educators, protectors, and tangible examples of pure love.


Shop Online and Support GRR Using iGive


Since 2004, GRR has raised over $5,100.00 by using the free resource iGive to generate donations to GRR.  And just this year, GRR received $2,005.00 just by people shopping using the iGive links located on the GRR website. 


Wondering how it all works?  For each purchase made through participating websites, GRR receives a donated amount.  To shop (and donate), it’s all automatic and completely free to use the service; you don’t need to enter any special codes or donate any extra money.  Each website will pay GRR a percentage of your purchase at NO COST to you. iGive is really as simple as it sounds.


Participating Websites and Businesses:


·       Flint River Ranch—One of the best-rated dog and cat food on the market.

o    Use this link and enter id code: 2hw2


·       Randalls The next time you’re at Randalls, link your Remarkable Card to our GRR #8583. Use your card every time you shop, and GRR will receive a portion.


·       Syn-flex The special Syn-flex formula combines the latest advances in liquid Glucosamine ingredients into one product that can significantly reduce arthritis pain and effectively promote joint health (for both humans and pets)

o    Use this link to shop and donate to GRR



o    Shop on Amazon with this special link and donate to GRR at the same time.



    Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Tuczkowski   


How long have you been volunteering with GRR?                 

A long, long time!  I've been with GRR since 1999.


What made you want to volunteer with GRR?

I've always loved Goldens, and my then 4 year old non-GRR Golden Shadow whispered in my ear one day that he would like a buddy to play with and keep him company while I was at work.   I wasn't too sure I could handle being owned by two Goldens (something I laugh at now) and thought fostering was a great way to not only provide Shadow with a little bit of company but to help out all these wonderful Goldens that had lost their first home. 


What volunteer position do you hold?

I've been "almost everywhere, man" with GRR - Intake director, medical supply, home visitor, phone interviewer, transport, volunteer coordinator, board of directors member... But the most rewarding has been that of being a foster mom, most particularly to the Golden puppies that occasionally come in.  It's especially rewarding when you take in a lost, perhaps sick, maybe scared, foster and watch them blossom.  It's even more fun when there's more than one!


Explain the activities you participate in as you fulfill this position. 

Well let's see:  piddle picker-upper; wild gesturer and high-praiser as puppies learn to potty properly :)  Fostering involves many things, especially with puppies:  teaching them bite inhibition if they have no clue about that; proper etiquette with other dogs; housebreaking; crate-training; acclimating them to normal household sounds; proper leash walking 101; and often times, providing proper medical care and seeing them through surgeries.   You try to provide the best guidance you can to start them off on their journey.


About how many hours do you typically spend volunteering in this position?

With puppies, sometimes it can be round-the-clock, depending on their age and medical condition.  Even healthy young puppies, as most of us know, need to piddle every few hours.  Anyone reading this might think, "oh no, I work full-time, I'd never be able to foster a puppy" - but you can, as long as you can come home every 3-4 hours to take them out and are willing to get up during the night.


What is your favorite part about volunteering in this position?

Let's see:  fluffy butts, puppy breath, pure innocence, pure mischief, pure love.   What's there not to love about a Golden puppy!  


Describe a cute/funny/interesting story while volunteering in this position.

Anyone who's adopted one of my foster puppies can attest to this:  there eventually comes the day that the prospective adoptive home comes to meet the puppy.   No matter how many times this has happened over 15 years with GRR, it always comes with some water-works, which I warn the prospective adopters will come and "to please ignore".   I'm always so grateful if the adoptive home keeps in touch and comes out to our events - it's such a pleasure seeing what once was 10 pounds of fluff turn into 70 pounds of ... well, fluff.


Give one piece of advice for volunteers interested in serving in this position.

Fostering is a win-win situation:  if you have even the slightest hesitation about adopting a Golden, or bringing yet another into your crew, fostering allows you a "try-out" period.   Unless you provide hospice care or become a permanent foster home to one of our seniors with medical issues, your foster dog will get adopted out (unless of course, you decide you simply can't part with them!).   Also, you are helping to save one more Golden and find them their forever home.   Everybody wins.


What is one word that describes your experience while volunteering for GRR?



   Where Are They Now?             

Submitted by Paula Trahan


Though we don’t know Jasper’s story (#13-062 Howser) before he came into GRR’s care, we can only assume what might have been.   When GRR nabbed him from a shelter down south, they quickly realized Jasper especially needed an abundance of TLC. Poor Jasper, emaciated, flea infested, beat up, limping from his front leg, and heartworm positive seemed downtrodden, fearful, and depressed. 


However October 5, 2013 was a landmark day in both Jasper and his forever family’s history. Adopted by a family of Lonesome Dove fanatics, with Jasper’s new compadres, Gus the cat, Woodrow and Newt the mini Dachshunds, it didn’t take long for Jasper to realize he hit the gold mine. 


At first, he was extremely introverted, unable to make eye contact, hiding his beautiful eyes.  Jasper would not come near anyone, choosing to hide behind the sofa.  Any quick movement would send Jasper runnin’ for the hills.


However, slowly he began communicating with Newt, who had begun his life much like Jasper’s – lost in the woods and making his way to the Trahan’s very-own version of Lonesome Dove.  Given time and lots of love, Jasper began to walk the yard, always by the side of his new mom.  Eventually, growing more self-confident, he would let more space open up between them and then one day – he started to trot around like a wild mustang!  Then of course came the rollin’ in the grass, scratchin’ his back as only goldens do.  His two amigos, Woody and Newt, love to chase balls, but Jasper would high-tail it back to the door, waiting to get back to the safety of the house.  But as time went on, he grew comfortable with a deflated play ball, choosing to roll around on it, and carry it around the yard.


A horse farm backs up to the Trahan’s residence, and Jasper has a ball playing sheriff to all the comings and goings on that ranch. He hears the clang of the gates when the horses are being let out, ready to run them along the fence.  The cows are another story: he lets out a ferocious, deep bark, doing his best to protect his family when the cows and cowdogs come too close to his territory.


Jasper loves being the new ranger in town, content to curl up on his pillow with his two buddies, Woody and Newt.  His mom and pop sure do spoil him.  Even granddaughter Ellie has met a friend in ol’ Jasper, decorating him in all kinds of sparkly beads and bangles. His ol’ fearful self seems like a distant memory of the past.  He’s sure is one happy buckaroo.




If you would like to have your dog featured in the “Where Are They Now” column, write up a brief story like Jasper’s and send to



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