Golden Ribbon Rescue
April 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,

Be sure to sign up for Gold Fest on Saturday, April 7th. This dog event will be a blast: new venue, new activities, coupled with new and old friends. It is always fun to shake things up and try new activities. Kudos to Candice Gourley and Shannon Bennett for spearheading the 100 dog afternoon.

Many of you have asked if GRR plans to bring in dogs from Mexico, Turkey, or other areas outside the USA in the future. There are no plans at this time, for several reasons:

  • Our Mexico City liaison Benjamin has moved. He is unavailable to execute the complicated logistics of finding Goldens in Mexico, working with the shelter, arranging vetwork and 30 plus days of boarding post-rabies vaccination, plus airline transport to the USA. We sure miss him!
  • The cost of bringing dogs from Turkey to the USA is sky high. We must commit to 18 - 20 dogs per trip, at a transport cost of almost $2,000 per dog. Ouch.
  • The USDA is apparently tightening up on their permits to bring dogs into the USA.
  • The biggest reason: we are pulling more dogs from Palm Valley and Laredo, near the Mexican border, and our owner surrenders have increased. We have our hands full, saving Texas dogs for now.
Having said that, if a crisis arises, we will scramble to help whomever needs us. There is always room in GRR, with your help.

Thanks again to all who donated to Amplify Austin in early March. GRR received $16,847, which went straight to our Extra Ordinary Golden (EGF) Fund, to pay vet bills for dogs such as:

  • #18-015 Chuck's SIXTEEN dental extractions (15 of those teeth were rotten).
  • #17-103 Harvey's expensive medication for Valley Fever (the meds are working great).
  • #18-020 Athena's surgery to remove 4 masses, plus her spay, plus treatment for severe infections and severe anemia (she has recovered and is doing well).
  • #17-127 Bob’s surgery to remove a mast cell tumor, plus an internal medicine consult for severe gulping episodes.
  • #18-006 Kix's treatment for severe ear infections.
  • #18-025 Boots' x-rays, dental cleaning, lumpectomy and bloodwork.

We appreciate you!

As Ever,


Click here for a look back at 2017, in video, by Candice Gourley.


Letter From The Editor
Dori Olsen

Rusty Olsen

Hello to you all!

Ah, spring is in the air! Along with hay fever, allergies, itchy eyes, runny noses, dry skin and rashes. And, our babies also suffer. Be sure to check out the article in this issue about seasonal allergies in Goldens.

Some of you may have noticed an errant exclamation mark (!) that appears periodically in totally inappropriate places. Please be assured that this is not a result of inattention on the part of the newsletter group, but is a result of a glitch in our vendor program. Just think of it as a joyous exclamation!

Now that I have been the editor of the newsletter for a few months, I would 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. I want the newsletter to be relevant to you and your interests and your input is very important. Many thanks for your participation!

I want to make special mention of an invaluable member of the newsletter team, without whom half of the newsletter would be missing each month. Jeroen Naus inputs all of the photos into the newsletter and does so with great creativity and grace. I cannot thank you enough Juri! I really appreciate you!

Have a great month everyone!


This Month's Contributors:

Chrissy Hammond
Tom Walter
Amy Sebesta
Lawrence Person
Paula Ellis
Jeroen Naus
Dawn Marie Rae


Upcoming Events

Save the date and join us for the Gold Ribbon Rescue Inaugural 2018 Gold Fest!

Entry fee is $20 per dog - the location rental is donor-sponsored, so 100% of fees go toward Gold Ribbon Rescue.

  • There will be much fun!
  • Easy agility contest for dogs of all ages
  • Training tips / Ask the Trainer
  • Photographs with your pups
  • Swimming pond
  • Prizes
  • Plenty of space for dogs to roam
  • Much more fun!
Click here to register in the events section of our website.

Please note: This event is for well-socialized dogs only. Dogs with aggression issues may be asked to leave.

Pints 4 Pups
The Alaskan Brewing Co. and Pints 4 Pups are pleased to host GRR for an event at the Yard Bar on April 14th. Alaskan Brewing Co. will be promoting the new beer of choice, Alaskan Husky IPA, partnering with Pints4Pups. Bring your pups and enjoy a pint. The cost is $5.00 for the day pass per dog, plus pints (all dogs must be current with vaccinations). A portion of the beer sales will benefit GRR.

So, spread the word and come out to support our local rescue pups and community! We look forward to seeing you there!

April 14, 2018
12:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m.
6700 Burnet Rd.
Austin, TX 78757 Map

Kendra Scott Jewelry Night @ the Domain!

April 24, 2018
11506 Century Oaks Terrace #108
Austin, TX 78758 Map
6:00 p.m - 8:00 p.m.

Kendra Scott also supplies champagne, lemonade and light snacks for shoppers. Shoppers *must* mention GRR at checkout in order to receive the 20% donations back to GRR. Same day orders can be placed to The Domain Kendra Scott location via telephone (512-879-3174) for later pickup as well, and will count for GRR if shoppers are unable to make the event. A great gift opportunity for Mother's Day and graduating students!

Apaws! Apaws!

Celebrating all of our volunteers with great food and drinks and friendship, with live music from The Therapy Sisters! (And Gail, too!) 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.


You Amplified Austin - You Amplified Gold Ribbon Rescue!

Thank you to our Donors!

We were aiming for $10,000: then we moved the goal to $15,000. So what happened? In 24 hours we raised $16,847. We cannot thank our generous donors enough! This will enable us to help many more Goldens this year and take care of their physical, medical, emotional and training needs. Clara has her gold back!

Thank you to our Volunteers!

Many, many thanks to Paula Ellis, our Director of Marketing and Dawn Marie Rae, our Director of Communication/IT along with the entire social media team; Michelle Goldberg, Candice Gourley, Eileen Joyce, Megan Noble and Emily Tuczowski. We could not have done it without you.

Huge thanks also to Paulette Lance and AJ Harper for writing the humongous volume of thank you notes to our generous donors.


Fiesta Medals

Join the San Antonio Fiesta celebration by adding to your collection of Fiesta medals. Fiesta begins on April 19th and 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.

Thanks so much for your support!


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.


It is Not Fur


1809 Pounds Of Generosity!

Thanks to all of our members who shop at Tomlinson's! The donated food from their matching food drive was picked up today, March 29th, and we earned 1809 POUNDS of dog food due to Tomlinson's and your generosity.

Thanks to everyone! The photo above is Margo's living room with 75 bags of food!

Attention Foster Families: Please contact Margo if you would like to pick up some bags from her house for your foster!

A last minute note from Margo about Tomlinson's donation, just minutes before the newsletter went out:

Dave Lyons was the big hero today, on the Tomlinson's dog food donation. He brought his big truck and it was filled, inside and outside, with 75 bags of food. Dave, pictured left, lined up 5 buddies to help us unload the food from the pickup into my front room. My mother, Donna Heins, age 89, went along on the dog food pickup. She is still very spry, as she was able to get all the way up into the very tall pickup without assistance.

A good time was had by all!
Margo & Dave & Donna


Spring is Here! And So Are the Allergies!
healthy pets

If Your Dog is Itchy, You Need to Read This
By Dr. Becker

Did you know your dog or cat can suffer from seasonal allergies just as you do?

According to a survey conducted by Novartis Animal Health, over half of pet owners are not aware their fuzzy family members can also spend the spring season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens.

Two Categories of Pet Allergies

There are primarily two types of allergies: food allergies and environmental allergies. If your pet gets itchy during spring, summer or fall, she is probably reacting to seasonal, environmental allergens. But if her symptoms continue year-round, it's more likely her sensitivity is to something more constant in her environment, or to something in her diet.

There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, however. If you live in an area that does not have a hard freeze in the winter, environmental allergens can build up and cause year-round issues for your pet. In addition, seasonal allergies can progress to year-round allergies, which I will discuss shortly.

Signs Your Pet Has Seasonal Allergies

Unlike humans whose allergy symptoms usually involve the respiratory tract, dog allergies and cat allergies more often take the form of skin irritation or inflammation – a condition called allergic dermatitis.

If your pet has allergies, her skin will become very itchy. She will start scratching excessively, and might bite or chew at certain areas of her body. She may rub herself against vertical surfaces like furniture, or she may rub her face against the carpet. She is trying to relieve the miserable itchiness by any means possible.

As the itch-scratch cycle continues, her skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch. Other signs of allergic dermatitis include areas of hair loss, open sores on the skin, and scabbing.

Hot spots can develop as well in dogs (hot spots are rarely seen in cats). A hot spot is inflamed, infected skin that occurs when your dog"s natural bacteria overwhelms an area of his skin. Typically the skin will be very red, and often there is bleeding and hair loss.

Other Signs to Watch For

Pets with allergies also often have problems with their ears – especially dogs. The ear canals may be itchy and inflamed as part of a generalized allergic response, or they may grow infected with yeast or bacteria.

Signs your pet's ears are giving him problems include scratching at the ears, head shaking, and hair loss around the ears. If infection is present there will often be odor and a discharge from the ears.

While respiratory symptoms are not common in pets with allergies, they do occur. A running nose, watery eyes, coughing and sneezing are typical allergic symptoms in both two- and four-legged allergy sufferers.

Typically pets with seasonal allergies to ragweed, grasses, pollens, molds and trees, also develop sensitivity to other allergens inhaled through the nose and mouth. Animals with weaknesses in their lung fields can develop sinusitis and bronchitis, just as people do.

Another sign to watch for if you suspect your pet has allergies is generalized redness. Allergic pets often have puffy red eyes, red oral tissue, a red chin, red paws and even a red anus.

Please click here to continue this article.


Helloooo Spring!


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:



Bloat in Dogs
American Kennel Club

Bloat (or GDV) in Dogs — What It Is and How It is Treated
Dr. Jeff Grognet

I hate this disease. When I first started as a vet, we gave a dog with bloat a 50-50 chance if he could walk into the hospital. Many were too weak and had to be carried in. They often died. Now, 30 years later, bloat still kills about 30 percent of the dogs it affects, even after extremely intensive treatment.

I hope you never see this disease in your dog, but learning about what it is, why it happens, and how it is treated may help your dog fall into the percentage of dogs that survive. Read on for common questions about bloat and new perspectives on prevention.

What is Bloat in Dogs?

Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, is a medical and surgical emergency.

As the stomach fills with air, pressure builds, stopping blood from the hind legs and abdomen from returning to the heart. Blood pools at the back end of the body, reducing the working blood volume and sending the dog into shock.

If this is not enough, there is yet another scary thing that happens, and it is devastating to see. As the stomach flips, it drags the spleen and pancreas along with it, cutting off the blood flow. The oxygen-starved pancreas produces some very toxic hormones. One, in particular, targets the heart and stops it cold. In fact, a dog can go through successful treatment and seem to be out of danger, when suddenly the heart stops.

Even in the mildest case of bloat, which is extremely rare, dogs die without treatment.

What Are the Signs of Bloat in Dogs?

  • An enlargement of the dog's abdomen
  • Retching
  • Restlessness
  • An affected dog will feel pain and might whine if you press on his belly

Without treatment, in only an hour or two, your dog will likely go into shock. The heart rate will rise and the pulse will get weaker, leading to death.

Why Do Dogs Bloat?

This question has perplexed veterinarians since they first identified the disease. We know air accumulates in the stomach (dilatation), and the stomach twists (the volvulus part). We don’t know if the air builds up and causes the twist, or if the stomach twists and then the air builds up.

How is Bloat Treated?

Veterinarians start by treating the shock. Once the dog is stable, he’s taken into surgery. We do two procedures. One is to deflate the stomach and turn it back to its correct position. If the stomach wall is damaged, that piece is removed. Second, because up to 90 percent of affected dogs will have this condition again, we tack the stomach to the abdominal wall (a procedure called a gastropexy) to prevent it from twisting.

To continue reading this article, please click here.


Spotlight on Miranda - 18-005

Miranda has quite a story to tell: she is a humanitarian rescue. She lived on a farm and was too eager to "play" with the sheep. In fact, Miranda was responsible for some major injuries to the sheep. She was an outdoor dog, with little socialization and training and was not given an opportunity to play. One day her owner called the local shelter in Mineola and told them that he was going to shoot her if someone did not take her by 5:00 that night. The shelter contacted GRR and we were Johnny on the Spot, there to pick her up. Oh, by the way, we found out when we arrived that she is not a Golden: she is more of a lab or lab mix but, given the alternative of her being shot, of course she became a GRR dog!

At one year old, Miranda is 55 pounds full of loving energy. She is as sweet as she can be and is coming out of her shell. She LOVES playing chase with her furry foster brothers and races around the yard at full speed. Retrieving is one of her favorite things and she even politely gives the toy or ball back. Then she wiggles and giggles, waiting for it to be thrown again. She needs lots of activity to burn off her energy: jogging partner anyone? She is housebroken and is learning the art of play, both inside and outside.

What a smart girl! Her fosters say that she became an expert at "sit" and "leave it" after only two weeks. She is a definite couch hog and loves attention and sweet scratches and pets. She loves attention so much that, although she loves to eat and is not protective of her food, she will stop mid-meal to get some loving. She loves to cuddle and snuggle.

Miranda may not be a Golden on the outside, but she is pure Golden on the inside. Won't you consider Miranda as a new member of your active family? She is a well-adjusted, cuddly, snuggly puppy that will love you forever!

If you think Miranda is the little lady that you have been dreaming of, please click here to complete an application. The application is located at the bottom of the How to Adopt section. Miranda has an anonymous Golden sponsor who will pay her $350 adoption fee.


What's Up? The San Antonio Golden Retriever Club!

Pictured are Emma 14-120 with Sophie (formerly Scout 13-035)

For those of you in the San Antonio area, there is a new group for meet-ups and general Golden fun on Facebook! Admin, Trenton, plans to get us all together soon. Check it out and join the group here - Golden Retriever Club and Meet Up Group of San Antonio Area.


Thoughts, Prayers and Remembrance

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



In Loving Memory: Jigsaw 04-130
Lawrence Person

Jigsaw, my faithful companion for over 13 years, passed over the rainbow bridge on March 9th after a fight with cancer.

Jigsaw started out as an unrestrained riot of affection. He wanted to chew through everything (including a nylon leash and a shoe, on his very first night!) and jump excitedly on everyone who came through the door. Over the years he calmed down a bit, but he was well into his golden years before losing his puppyish enthusiasm for jumping to greet people.

He loved swimming, chasing balls (though dropping them, not so much), seeing people, and playing with other dogs; all the usual Golden Retriever joys. Going to the regular Gold Ribbon Rescue Swimfests and having people come over to the house were among his favorite things. I will always remember that whenever we went to a GRR Swimfest at the house in Manor, he loved swimming, but he always wanted to keep me in sight at all times. Apparently he was scared that I might leave him. He was always overjoyed to see me when I got back from trips and went to my parents’ house to pick him up.

He mellowed with age into a dog that all of my friends loved. I’ll always remember my father, in home hospice care for his own terminal cancer, scratching Jigsaw’s ears at his bedside. Jigsaw was a great dog who lived to the ripe old age of 14, and he will be missed.

To read more about Jigsaw and view more photos, click here.


Golden Comfort Dogs Go To Parkland!

19 Trained Comfort Dogs Deploy to Florida High School, Offering Hugs and an Outlet for Healing

In the wake of the devastating mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old gunman killed at least 17 people on Feb. 14, a unique group of veteran grief workers were on the scene within 24 hours to help the mourning community of students and adults cope during the aftermath.

Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs deployed 19 animals and 37 handlers at the request of school administrators. No strangers to human heartache and tragedy, this specially trained group of AKC-registered golden retrievers are part of a ministry that began with four dogs in 2008. Galvanized by the events of Hurricane Katrina, this comfort animal network has grown to approximately 130 dogs stationed throughout 23 states. The LCC dogs visited Las Vegas in the fall, and have also visited those affected by the tragedies in Orlando, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, Boston and more.

The dogs begin training at 8 weeks old, and they are taught to work with multiple handlers, so that they can work every day. They are not owned by the handlers or individuals; rather they are owned by Lutheran Church Charities or the church or school where they are placed.

Dogs like Sasha, Jacob, Tobias and more are not only trained to comfort students and parents, but they also work alongside veterans and police officers (active and retired), who act as their handlers. From a young age, these pups become accustomed to working with all ages of people from all walks of life.

When there is a crisis or disaster, they only go where they are invited. "Once we get the invite, we try to put boots and paws on the ground within 24 hours," Tim Hetzner, President and CEO of the Illinois-based Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs, tells PEOPLE. “We had a dog on the ground that evening [in Parkland, Florida] doing some prayer vigils, and the rest of the dogs came in the next day, serving that community in the centers where the high school kids were gathering.”

Currently, the dogs and handlers in Parkland are offering their unique service to about a thousand people, students and adults, who have gathered in places like Pine Trails Park. Hetzner tells PEOPLE the dogs will be visiting seven local schools in total.

"When somebody pets a dog, they relax. And when they relax, they are more likely to talk about what they have gone through. That is a key part of the healing process," says Hetzner."“A person will open up quicker with the presence of the dog than without. We are there to listen, to hug [and be hugged]. The dogs are trained to either sit or lay on the ground. They are not aggressive. They do not bark or bite. A lot of the time, the dogs will just lie on the ground and people will lie on top of them. I call them rugs with a heartbeat."

Hetzner tells PEOPLE that the dogs in deployment now will be flipped in about six or seven days. At that point, they will bring in another group of dogs and handlers, because their work is so emotional.

"The dogs take on the emotions of the people who pet them," says Hetzner. "We have to give our dogs a break every hour and a half or two hours; take the vest off, chill out a little bit, play a little ball and then come back on. Same with our handlers. You cry with those who cry."

It is important to note that the ministry does not call the animals "therapy dogs" or "service dogs." They are called "comfort dogs" for several reasons, and the difference in the training is multifold.

“Our dogs start at 8 weeks old, so we know the whole history of the dogs. We have apprentice trainers, which are volunteers that work with a professional trainer on our staff, and that dog is trained right from the beginning to work with multiple people,” says Hetzner.

To read the complete article, please click here.


What a Difference Time Makes - Leo 17-084

Leo came to GRR in July 2017 as a stray from the Palm Valley Animal Center: 44 pounds, ears infected, cough and upper respiratory infection and positive for heartworms. He was a very sick dog and very much in need of GRR care.

And now: heartworm-free, 90 pounds and all infections are gone; he is now a happy, healthy 9 or 10 year-old Golden. While he came to us very underweight, he gained a little too much so he needs to lose about 15 pounds. He loves his foster dad and, under his excellent care, has become the Golden that he was meant to be. He loves, loves, loves affection and the people who provide it and he is very tolerant and trusting of children. He has nearly impeccable behavior and he is very laid back in the house, enjoying just being able to chill: such a change from life on the streets.

"Leo, want to go for a walk?" Oh yes, this boy is ready! He is excellent on a leash, staying right by his foster's heel on his twice-daily walks. He has some lower back issues, but he is fine as long as he does not push it. He is strong now and very happy with neighborhood walks and light trail hiking.

The most important thing for his forever family to know is to be careful lifting / putting him in a car. As a precaution, he should not jump up or down because he is 9 or 10 years old. His foster dad tries to help him down, and give him a soft landing spot, if possible.

Leo is a very affectionate, sweet, gentle boy with an outstanding personality and he will make your home complete. If you think that you will be a perfect fit for this dreamboat, please go here to complete an application. The application is at the bottom of How to Adopt.


GRR Monthly Status Report: February 24 - March 23
Paula Ellis

Came into care:18-022 Mowgli, 18-023 Molly, 18-024 Murphy, 18-025 Boots, 18-026 Wells, 18-027 Jedi, 18-028 Zussie, 18-029 Hondo, 18-030 Lucy, 18-031 Shadow

Adopted:17-142 Cady, 17-144 Taraji, 17-149 Lincoln, 17-147 Holly, 18-001 Isabella, 18-009 Aurora, 17-139 Clara, 17-090 Sugar, 17-111 Thibeaux, 17-097 Lucy Lou, 18-013 Ellie, 17-091 Spice, 16-065 Becky, 17-130 Trigger

Currently in Foster Care: 42 Dogs - 14 available/available soon, 18 foster pending adoptions, 10 permanent fosters


Oh Behave!
Amy Sebesta, Grant Writer

Pictured are Maya 14-117 with Iris (Sally) 16-018

If you are like me, you have probably been dreading turning on the TV in the mornings or reading up on the latest news. I am sick of having to wade through the endless and laughable state of politics and worse, having to see the faces behind the latest mass tragedy. No matter how much I try to ignore the news, we have a problem. And unfortunately, the problem extends to many of our furry friends passing through GRR's doors every day. Behavior.

GRR is increasingly focused on the importance of not only physical care, but also social and psychological well-being. Failure to address all sides of this fundamental triangle can result in poor adopter experiences and added stress for our dogs who may be misunderstood or, worse, returned to GRR after placement. After 20 years of service to the Central Texas area, GRR is more than ever challenged helping over-crowded shelters and overwhelmed owners rehabilitate dogs who, due to a variety of heart-breaking situations, have been at times left without their basic needs attended to, which we whole-heartedly feel are the rights of our dogs in care.

The cost to address behavior in people and dogs alike is not insignificant. Facing about $125 to diagnose the problem and more than $1500 for most training programs, GRR is seeking additional funding to help our family by applying for a grant from Grey Muzzle. Guided by their vision, a world where no old dog dies alone and afraid, The Grey Muzzle Organization makes grants throughout the United States expressly for programs designed to improve the lives of at-risk senior dogs. They invite shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries, and other non-profit organizations, whose activities include helping senior dogs, to apply for these grant funds.

Keep all your paws crossed that GRR wins! I will update you later this summer on the results. In the meantime, I am overjoyed by the outpouring of support in the recent Amplify Austin campaign. Thank you all for making a difference.


No Free Ride for Oliver 18-021
Tom Walter

No Free Rides. I forget the exact phrase, but that is sticking in my mind. Patricia McConnell, in her books about living with and loving dogs, talks about making your dog work for everything. That means sitting while being leashed, waiting patiently for the door to open, or just being happy to lay at your feet while you are reading your favorite book.

You have to balance this activity with long walks with your furry friend, or lots of ball tossing in the backyard so that they get enough exercise. It is virtually impossible for a dog to be crated for 18 hours and then be a well-behaved dog for the remaining 6 hours. The energy has to go somewhere! Sadly, for one of our latest intake, he had a large family to love him but he had outgrown that cute puppy stage and had turned into an 62 pound untrained dog, who only the Dad could physically handle. This was not a happy situation for the family, nor for a Golden who needed lots of love and attention. Thankfully, they contacted GRR after realizing that it was best for Oliver to be with another family.

We had the pleasure of spending time with Ollie, GRR (18-021) for a weekend. He is one big powerful boy: 62 pounds of pure muscle, but he had yet to learn the appropriate way to curb his enthusiasm. I let him have free run of our fenced backyard and it was obvious that he is starved for affection and proper training. He loves jumping up on people and showing his affection by mouthing your forearms. Oh my! So that Ollie could learn that jumping wasn’t something I appreciated, rather than yelling at him, which just gets him more excited, I would gently say "nope" in a soft voice.

After a few hours, he began to understand the meaning of "nope" in my quiet voice. I think he appreciates gentle, kind words from me as I don’t yell or scream, but give him just a "yes" when he is good or that "nope" when he needs to learn to do something else.

He is slowly learning polite manners. To get his food bowl, he must be sitting down. He loves to jump in the air with excitement, so this is new to him. He is still a big puppy at heart so these little things will take time. If he responds to "sit", oh boy, oh boy, oh boy: he gets petted as long as he remains sitting and is doubly rewarded with a few treats and a spoken "yes, yes, YES." Suddenly charging up to me, he starts to jump with excitement, but catches himself and sits, waiting for praise. Oh, he gets a lot of praise!

I did well in remembering to let him out every few hours to do his business. A friend asked if I had ever used a rolled up magazine to get a dog's attention and I explained that yes, it is useful. Should a dog pee in the house, hit yourself with the magazine three times for not letting them out often enough! Spending the first two years of his life outside or crated in the garage must have been hard on him. Very little interaction meant that his way of displaying affection was not appreciated by his previous family. It took less than a weekend to turn that around.

Being such a large enthusiastic guy with no training also meant that he never learned to relax around other dogs. Even my sweet Emily-Elizabeth (GRR 16-032) was telling me that she did not want to spend time with another Golden who did not know proper boundaries. That too can be addressed by his spending time with a trainer who understands such issues.

Oliver spent less than 72 hours with us, but he made vast improvements during that time, in understanding a few basic house rules. I am a firm believer that only love is to be used in training. Everyone will often look at a diamond and be mesmerized by the sparkle and glitter. For me, it was the hours of understanding and labor in taking a rough, uncut stone and turning it into a gleaming jewel. Oliver will be a diamond, but lots of training hours are needed first. Thank you Ollie for letting me be a small step in the long road of getting a rough diamond of a dog on his way to being the shining light in some lucky family. This is what GRR is all about.

(Editor's Note: Oliver went to Jumping Jack Ranch in March for training to help him become a solid canine good citizen. He did great and is on his way to becoming a well-socialized, well-behaved Golden.)


Dog Parks - Pros and Cons
Whole Dog Journal

The Pros and Cons of Dog Parks
By Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

This is the dog-park dream: Exuberant dogs running and playing with joyous abandon, then coming home with you tired and content. But anyone who has spent much time at a dog park can attest that it is only sometimes like this; just as often, one can see unhappy, anxious dogs, dogs being targeted by "playground bullies," and even dog fights.

Dog park benefits include providing a place to run and play off-leash - an outlet for your dog's overabundant energy. Dog parks can also be places where dogs get to practice undesirable social behavior and develop bad etiquette.

In recent years, more and more dog training and behavior professionals are speaking out against dog parks : yes, those safely fenced, community-funded spaces where dogs and their humans can get together and have a good time. What is there not to like?

If you ask almost any trainer, she will likely say, "Plenty!" As dog parks have become more common (and, indeed, as dog ownership has been on the rise in the past decade) they have somehow morphed from being something that local dog owners band together and fight to build, to places where few really knowledgeable owners care to take their dogs. It seems everyone has a horror story to tell about "that day at the dog park," featuring overstimulated dogs running amok, dogs practicing bully behaviors, dog fights, and even dog deaths.

It is true that all of those horrible things can happen at dog parks, but a lot of good things happen in dog parks, too, especially when they are well-constructed and well-managed, and when park users are smart about bringing appropriate dogs to the park and providing adequate supervision. Dog parks are a lifesaver for the owners of many dogs who need a little extra exercise and outdoor stimulation in order to be able to relax and behave well at home.

So do you take your dog to your local dog park or not? How do you know if you should? Or should not? Just as with so many other dog training and behavior questions, it depends!

7 Things to Consider About Dog Parks

There are a number of factors that determine whether a dog park is a good choice for your canine companion:

How your dog prefers to play.

Does your dog love to play with other dogs? Not all dogs do. Yes, they are a social species; that doesn’t mean they all get along. We humans are also a social species, and we certainly don't get along with all humans!

If your dog is a confident, social butterfly, she might be a good dog park candidate. If she’s fearful around other dogs, she will be much happier not going to the park. (Consider, too, that her fear will likely deepen with every bad experience.) Some dogs are perfectly content with a small circle of intimate canine friends. Other dogs prefer the company of their human companions over any other canines. Bringing a dog who does not enjoy the company of other dogs into an off-leash playground is not fair to your dog or any others who may approach her.

Your dog's play style.

You need some awareness of what sort of play best suits your dog in order to gauge whether a particular park at a particular time of day is likely to provide her with an enjoyable play session or set her up to be traumatized (or traumatize others). Consider what your dog likes to do, and plan accordingly.

For example: Is your dog a fetchaholic? If her preference is to chase balls in a huge open space without being chased or pestered by any other dogs, bringing her to a cramped or crowded park might just set her up to snap at any unwary dog who gets in her way or tries to compete for the ball.

Consider the other typical dog park visitors, too. Does your dog love to play with other rowdy, rough-and-tumble brawlers at the park? That’s great if you can meet up with folks whose dogs enjoy that, too. But if your dog overwhelms other park visitors with his level of energy and arousal, it is not fair to inflict your dog's inappropriate play on them. Other dogs (and their owners) will not care that your dog is "just playing" if, while minding their own business, they get bowled over and hurt; they may respond with a dramatic protest and trigger an aggressive retort from the over-aroused roughhouser.

How much training your dog has.

To be fair to other park users, and in order to be able to keep your own dog safe, your dog should at least have a dynamite recall so you can call her back to you when you see trouble brewing. A full range of well-trained good manners behaviors is even better!

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It is Tax Time!

Tax Deductibility Reminder

As a 501(c)(3), GRR is a qualified tax-exempt organization. The IRS allows you to claim the following deductions as charitable contributions, if you itemize: Mileage for every mile you travel for GRR purposes: vet appointments, transport, home visits, etc. Direct expenses such as food, medical supplies and other items for a foster dog. Money spent on envelopes, postage, containers for supplies, baggies for supplies, membership fees, dues, etc.

From publication 526: "You may be able to deduct membership fees or dues you pay to a qualified organization. However, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the value of the benefits you receive." GRR always recommends that you talk with your tax consultant/adviser on all deductions. See publication 526 here.


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