Golden Ribbon Rescue
December 2017

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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,

The holidays are here! I hope you’ll join us at our annual Holiday Party on December 10th. There is still time to RSVP via the GRR website. Click here to RSVP. This is my favorite GRR event, with tons of delicious food, good friends, and wine. It’s a great time to relax and chat with GRR volunteers, foster parents and adoptive parents; shop the silent auction and purchase GRR calendars. You can also order your calendar here.

I’m sweating bullets, due to a quartet of expensive young Goldens this month.

  • 17-126M Cody from Mexico is at the Canine Center for boarding and training in order to help the little emaciated fellow learn to relax around food.
  • 17-132 Oakley has wonky hips and we suspect she may require hip surgery.
  • 17-133 Trigger had two emergency surgeries due to an intestinal blockage; his meal of one sock has cost us a bundle.
  • 17-135 Hero is 8 months old and his hips are also suspect. He’ll have x-rays and, if needed, a surgical consult.

    Please remember GRR for your tax deductible gifting; we’ve launched our annual Tree of Hope fundraiser and we sure can use your help. Click here to donate.

    Silly update: All eight dogs are crowded into my not-so-big office this evening, fast asleep. Love having my pals nearby.

    Enjoy the newsletter!

    As Ever,


    Letter From The Editor
    Dori Olsen

    Rusty Olsen

    Hello to you all!

    Some of our best resources are each other. Be sure to read the article with a compilation of tips from our Facebook members on how to get a pill into your pooch. This can be an "exciting" event and some of the tips I never thought of, but I will certainly keep them in mind if it becomes necessary to give my boy medication.

    It's been two years since the Turkey Goldens came into care and joined the ranks of GRR dogs. Donnie Smith and Sandy Balch share their personal stories in this issue. I had just joined GRR a few months earlier and I was enthralled with the drive to bring the Goldens here from halfway around the world. What a great organization!

    Check out the Holiday photos in this issue. Adorable!

    A very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all!


    This month's Contributors:
    Jen Micyk
    Lonni Swanson
    Paula Ellis
    Donnie Smith
    Sandy Balch
    Robin Early
    Shannon Bennett
    Amy Sebesta
    Vicki Schnell
    Lynn Turner
    Michelle Goldberg
    Jeroen Naus
    Dawn Marie Rae


    Help Us Decorate! Our Tree of Hope 2017

    The Tree of Hope is our annual online holiday tree that your donations decorate with ornaments, lights, presents and Golden angels.

    The 2017 online holiday tree is a wonderful way to honor a family member (two- or four-legged), friend or special occasion for the holidays. It’s a meaningful, easy holiday gift for all Golden lovers.

    Simply drag the item you have chosen to the place you desire and click on 'Check Out' in the blue box to process your donation. When you are returned to the tree, you may have to refresh your browser to have it updated.

    Click here to get started - and thank you!


    Upcoming Events

    Gold Ribbon Rescue Annual Champagne Holiday Brunch - Join Us!

    Painting by Lonni Swanson

    Reservations are $25 per person and should be made by December 5, 2017. Please bring your favorite holiday salad, vegetable or dessert to share. This is a human-only event. Click here to RSVP.

    When: Sunday, December 10, 2017
    Time: 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
    Where: The home of Jack and Peg Crownover
    Address: 421 Malabar, Lakeway, TX 78734

    If you have items to donate for the silent auction, contact Pam Phillips or Paula Ellis.

    Note: Lakeway streets are narrow so the city requires that one side of your car (two wheels) be off the street. It's ok to park in graveled areas of neighbor’s homes on both Malabar and Flamingo streets. Full street parkers will receive a ticket by Lakeway police. The front door entrance on Malabar has multiple steps. If you have mobility issues, please use the side door entrance on Flamingo.

    Come and celebrate the season with old and new GRR friends!
    Happy Holidays!


    Help Wanted

    Video producer:
    Knowledgeable of at least one application to produce videos from existing dog profiles and photos. Used during fundraising campaigns and events. Please contact Paula Ellis.

    Newsletter contributor:
    1 hour/month. Contacting adoptive families and foster families for features, external subjects. Collect or write articles and solicit for photos. Time volunteered flexible. As little as 1 hour a month depending on how much you want to do. Please contact Dori Olsen.

    Foster Coordinators:
    Guiding foster families through the fostering process, answer their questions as they arise and show them where documentation resides. The foster coordinator must have minimal experience with the drawing up of contracts. Anyone interested can contact Lonni Swanson.


    Gold Ribbon Rescue's 2018 Calendar!

    Our 2018 GRR calendar is off to production. You can order yours here. They're great holiday gifts!


    Just a Couple More Minutes PLEASE!


    Where are They Now? - Lacy (17-101)
    Dori Olsen with Vicki Schnell

    Lacy Girl, PLEASE get out of the pool! This 11 month-old little lady is all Golden! She didn’t like the water and didn’t know how to swim when she first came to the home of Vicki and Kenny Schnell but boy, has she changed her mind! The Schnells have a pool with steps at both ends where she can get in and out easily and you can’t keep Lacy out of the water. In fact, while Vicki and I were chatting, there she went – into the pool again.

    Lacy is a typical puppy. She eats anything, chews everything and she explores the world through her mouth. Absolutely nothing is safe. Last week they went for a walk and she picked up a Doritos bag and stuffed her adorable little face into it. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get it off, but Vicki to the rescue. She picks up everything: trash, rocks, sticks – all of it is exciting to Lacy. In fact, Vicki has to get dressed in another room because Lacey steals her clothes while she is trying to get ready. Vicki walks her four to five times a day to wear off some of that frenetic puppy energy

    She is a crazy girl who drives the Schnells crazy at times with her energy, but Lacy is their fifth Golden so they’ve been around the block a few times. Lacy is so gentle and sweet, sweet, sweet that all is forgiven quickly. She’s very smart and hasn’t had any accidents in the house at all ; great for a young girl who hadn’t had any training.

    They live on a greenbelt and Lacy is quick to greet all passers-by by barking. She has a very deep bark and you would think that she weighs 150 pounds. She’s not a guard dog but anyone who doesn’t know her wouldn’t know that. Halloween was a great adventure for Lacy: she barked at everyone who came to the door and, unfortunately, ended up isolated in another room due to her exuberance.

    Although Lacy has only been with the Schnell family for a couple of months, she fits right in. She is a Velcro dog and loves to be around any member of the family. They feel blessed to have her!


    A Little Story for You...
    Shannon Bennett

    A year ago in November, our little boy got sick because he ate a few things that he really shouldn’t have. Duke ended up needing emergency surgery and many, many prayers. In such a difficult and scary time we felt completely defeated, but we didn’t feel alone.

    Many people from GRR were there for us in many different ways. That’s how we made it through that hard time. It’s how we stayed strong during both of the surgeries that Duke has had. It’s how Dukey made it through.

    At the time of Dukes first surgery I had been following GRR for a while and wanting to get more involved, but I didn’t know how. A day after Duke got home from surgery and during recovery, a post hit the GRR Facebook page asking if someone could transport a beautiful male GRR had tagged up in the Dallas area. It was the least I could do after what all of the people of GRR had done for us.

    So I made the drive to the Dallas area to pick up Pilgrim. He was a beautiful, older male that had an injury to his mouth and he was scared. He was microchipped, but the family just didn’t want him. I did the initial intake evaluation and spent some time with Pilgrim. He was my first transport and evaluation and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

    Pilgrim sat down and just looked up at me and then gave me his paw and I promised him then that he was on his way to a beautiful life where he would be loved and cared for. On our drive to Austin, he rested his head on my shoulder the entire drive. I even drove a little under the speed limit so that I could have just a little more time with him. We made it to his foster home, met his WONDERFUL foster family, who later ended up adopting him, and he’s doing great!

    It was such a rewarding experience and one I will never forget. It was the moment that I said no matter what, I’m going to get more involved, in whatever way I can, and do transport when I can.


    SA Chiropractor Donates Free Cold Laser Therapy To All GRR Goldens
    Robin Early

    Romeo (12-166) getting his hip lasered at Oliver Chiropractic.

    Arthritis? Spondylosis? Pre- or post-op pain?

    Dr. Emily Oliver of Oliver Chiropractic Clinic in San Antonio is offering free laser therapy for all GRR dogs in need of healing. Cold Laser Therapy helps with circulation, arthritis pain, joint or muscle pain and disc inflammation. It is a viable, non-invasive pain relief option that can significantly alleviate your pet's aches and pains, including joint or muscle pain and disc inflammation. Pre- or post-op surgery patients can also benefit by reduced swelling. The Class IV MLS laser is the same one used by vets and is the highest frequency allowed by the FDA for reducing inflammation and speeding healing. The Class IV laser goes 6 centimeters into the tissue to help with circulation, arthritis pain, joint or muscle pain and inflammation.

    Typical treatments take about 15 minutes and are non- invasive and painless. The effects are cumulative and most patients experience positive results in 1-3 treatments. The patient can expect to see improvement as he/she proceeds through the treatment plan.

    Dr. Oliver's offer extends indefinitely. Call for an appointment now!

    Oliver Chiropractic Clinic:
    110 Melrose Place
    San Antonio, 78212

    To find answers to common questions about Cold Laser Therapy for pets, click here.


    Merry Christmas to You All!


    Pound4Pound - Tomlinson's!
    Tomlinson's Pound4Pound

    It’s the happiest season of the year: Tomlinson’s Pound4Pound Pet Food Drive is happening NOW!

    Between now and Christmas Eve, purchase a bag of pet food for donation at Tomlinson’s, and your gift will be DOUBLED–pound for pound.

    Last year, Tomlinson's shattered records to raise 150,000 pounds of donated pet food. This year, as with every year, they intend to break their record once again.

    In 2018, the goal is to raise 175,000 pounds of donated pet food.

    Tomlinson's is a great partner to Gold Ribbon Rescue! They have donated 1485 pounds of food to GRR and we’ll pick them up in installments in February! Let's support their drive and help GRR at the same time!


    Duke LOVES His Bubbles...


    Happy Hanukkah!
    Photos courtesy of Lynn Turner


    A Wish Grant-ed
    Amy Sebesta, GRR Grant Writer

    In November, Gold Ribbon Rescue was one of the lucky few to be awarded a $5,000 grant from the Golden Retriever Foundation (GRF). The GRF is dedicated to Golden Retrievers and supports research for common diseases, defects, and injuries. In addition, the Foundation promotes education, proper care, the health, and training of Goldens. More specifically, the April Fund grant is offered to rescues with extraordinary medical expenses. The journey to health does not come without a price to GRR, but our wishes continue to come true, one Golden at a time, thanks to help from every corner. We especially appreciate our generous GRR family and the work of amazing foundations like the GRF.


    GRR Monthly Status Report: October 24 - November 23
    Paula Ellis

    Came into care:17-126M Cody, 17-127 Bob, 17-128 Winter, 17-129 Dakota, 17-130 Bella, 17-131 Carley, 17-132 Oakley, 17-133 Trigger, 17-134 Midas, 17-135 Hero, 17-136 Sadie, 17-137 Sandy 17-118

    Adopted:17-122 Zelda , 17-113 Atikus, 17-118 Rusty, 17-125 Biscuit, 17-008 Barley, 17-098 Chase, 17-104 Banks, 17-123M Toby

    Currently in Foster Care: - 34 - 13 available/available soon, 12 foster pend adoptions, 9 permanent fosters


    Take That! Maya Kicked Cancer in the Tail
    Amy Sebesta

    I’m back for one more update on my pup, Maya (14-117), who was diagnosed with lymphoma in June. The score is in with Maya in the lead: Cancer 0 - Maya 1. When I started thinking, I realized there really isn’t a way that cancer can win. The reason is simple - cancer takes and never gives. Winners always give so that they may receive, and not take what matters in the life they are given. Maya has experienced what cancer and chemo takes including, but not limited to, comfort, vet time, fur and whisker loss, time, sleep and more.

    As I type today, by the grace of her resilience and the wonders of canine oncology, the score is even more compelling because Maya is in clinical remission! The evidence is in and unchanged; cancer, you still suck. While cancer may still try to make another run, Maya has even more time to give and receive. I could not be more relieved for her and am thankful for every day that she is a part of our family.


    Tails & Trails…Discovering Austin’s Outdoors with My Golden Gal!
    Jen Micyk and Kerbey

    Well friends, this series of 12 articles started with a New Year’s Eve resolution I made to explore more trails in the Austin area. It was a way to be accountable for creating new experiences for both myself and my trail-loving GRR pup, Kerbey. The year went quickly, as they all do, and I’m sitting here writing the final December article with a whole list of hikes left to try. This is my favorite time of year to try them; Kerbey’s as well, since she’s part chow and SUPER furry. She much prefers the colder weather. Unfortunately, I also sit here with a stress fracture and my foot in a boot, which means Kerbey and I missed our new trail for this month. What I have to offer in its place is a list of suggested trails and a way to find trails on your own. So let’s get to it.

    Suggested trails:

    Commons Ford Waterfall Trail -This is the trail that I was intending to hike this month. We actually went out here over the summer to enjoy the lake; this is where this month’s photos were taken. The trail is 2.4 miles round trip and 219 feet of elevation. The reason I wanted to try this trail is because it’s located in Commons Ford Park. If you haven’t been to the park, I highly recommend it! It’s a large open area on Lake Austin with plenty of water access, a volleyball net and places to grill and hang out. Officially this is an on-leash park, but there were no leashes in sight. The dogs all played well and the owners paid attention to their dogs, who were enjoying running through the field or jumping in the cool water.

    Upper Shoal Creek - This is a 5.5 mile loop. Kerbey and I recently walked this paved trail: the portion between the 24th St and 29th St bridges is an official off-leash area, and there are a couple of areas accessible to the water. It’s a great option for a paved run!

    Mount Lakeway Trail - this one should be pretty hilly!

    Valburn South Loop - 2.3 miles and 334 feet of elevation gain in the Bull Creek District Park.

    River Place Nature Trail - 5.5 miles out and back trail with 823 feet of elevation gain and STAIRS! Think Texas is flat? Think again! This one is a quad killer.

    Once you’ve tried all of these trails and are looking for more, I suggest downloading the app ALLTRAILS. You can also create an account online and search beforehand, if you aren't interested in an app. This site will give you trail information, directions, distance, elevation, and photos for any part of the country you’re visiting. Another option is Hiking Project by REI. Click here to explore the possibilities.

    And there you have it - so many places to explore and enjoy! We’ll be back on the trail soon and I hope to see you there. Happy hiking!

    (Editor’s Note: I want to thank Jen SO much for her monthly articles and photos of her hiking adventures. I don’t even hike and I want to go!)


    7 Reasons to Give Coconut Oil to Your Dog

    Have you heard the buzz about coconut oil? While its popularity has recently exploded for human use, it may also benefit our pooches! Coconut oil is composed primarily of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), also known as good fats. MCTs are metabolized quickly, so they’re a great source of energy. Keeping in mind that you should always talk to your vet before changing your dog’s diet, here are 7 reasons to give coconut oil to your dog.

    #1 – It can improve their skin.
    Coconut oil, especially when used topically, helps improve your dog’s skin and coat. It can help clear up eczema, flea allergies, and itchy skin. It can moisturize dry skin and make your dog’s coat shiny and smooth.

    #2 – You can use it for first aid.
    It can be put on your dog’s skin to help heal cuts, scrapes, hot spots, stings, and bug bites. It can help treat and prevent yeast infections and it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It may also have antiviral properties, as well.

    #3 – It can improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
    It is important not to give your dog too much coconut oil, however, as it can cause loose stools. A few tablespoons of canned (plain) pumpkin can help solidify watery stools.

    #4 – It can improve your dog’s breath.
    Some people even brush their dog’s teeth with coconut oil. It’s a tasty treat for your dog and can help freshen their breath while caring for their teeth.

    #5 – Coconut oil promotes mobility in arthritic dogs.
    Since coconut oil can improve your dog’s energy and help him lose weight, it’s a great choice to help get dogs back on their feet.

    #6 – It has many overall health benefits
    It helps regulate insulin, so it can prevent diabetes. It helps to maintain normal thyroid, heart, and brain health too!

    #7 – It can eliminate hairballs

    While dogs are not as prone to hairballs as cats are, greasing up their insides with coconut oil can help any hair they ingest slide through their digestive tract more easily, helping to prevent hairballs in dogs who are prone to them.

    If you plan to add coconut oil to your dog’s diet, you should start slowly (1/4 teaspoon per day for small dogs and puppies, 1 teaspoon for large dogs) and gradually increase his intake. You also want to make sure you’re accounting for the added calories when considering the rest of your dog’s diet.


    Here Baby Baby! Come to Mama!
    GRR Facebook Group

    A recent post on the GRR Facebook closed group page elicited a huge response. A member wrote “Sophie will not take tablets, liquid or soft chews for Hip and Joint meds. She doesn't like peanut butter. She smells this stuff a mile away. At a loss for what to do. She's 10 and getting slow to get up. I know my 15 year-old Emma has benefitted greatly from this.”

    There were so many responses and ideas that I thought it would be helpful to summarize the responses. I know that there were ideas that I never thought of that I’m sure that I will be trying.

    Our member suggestions:

    • Put the large pill in a broth popsicle.

    • I put the pill as far back as I can, close her chompers and rub her neck as she swallows. If no swallowing is occurring, I blow a burst of air into her nose which causes swallowing. Even though she will take with food, I've just always done it this way.

    • Wrap it in chicken, a slice of cheese or sweet potato and hand feed as a treat.

    • Our vet told us to get the Jimmy Dean turkey sausage links, warm them up, cut into pieces, slip the meds in, give a piece without, a piece with quickly followed by a piece without.

    • Pill pockets. They work great. Also, our vet told us to use large marshmallows. Worked like a charm.

    • I've had to crush up my senior dog's heartworm pill and mix it in with an entire can of wet food (she can smell it with only half a can and won't touch it). But I only have to do that once a month... every day wouldn't be fun! I used to pry open her mouth and put it down her throat.

    • Cream cheese. My picky Golden cannot resist it.

    • Mine would eat it wrapped in a kale leaf so not used to picky Goldens, ha ha.

    • Does she like pumpkin or yogurt? You can try making a sandwich with those versus a PB sandwich. Maybe wrap the pill in a turkey lunch meat slice

    • How about with something from your dinner, so something different every day.

    • Mine would do anything for cheese. She was easy to dose though, except for Tramadol.

    • We used Pill Pockets made by Greenies to get our girl to take Yunnan Baiyou, which she knew was coming from a mile away. Once I found them, she never, ever refused her meds. They come in 3 flavors and are more affordable if you buy online or in bulk.

    • Velveeta cheese is the only thing I can use. I used to pill a senior cocker who has arthritis. He got the pills out of everything else, but this cheese spread is sticky so the pill stays put and he seems to like the taste.

    • My parents could only use Velveeta for their dog too!

    • Our dogs will only take meds coated in a small pat of unsalted butter aka butter treats. They even sit and give paw for them.

    • Velveeta was the only thing that ever worked for my picky boy.

    • Above comment about Velveeta cheese is what my parents did for their dog. Good luck.

    • A small pat of unsalted butter to coat the pills is the only way to get ANY of our herd to take meds. Pill pockets, PB, etc. never worked.


    Thoughts, Prayers and Remembrance

    Our Rainbow Bridge: (November 2017)

    Rest in peace, our friends and companions.

    Bailey Boy


    Where are They Now? - Travis, the Turkey Dog
    Donnie Smith

    As we are coming to the two year anniversary of our Turkey Goldens coming to America, I thought I would reflect on it and ask how the other dogs are doing since arriving.

    November 15, 2015 was a very joyous day for 18 Goldens (14 for Texas and 4 for Oklahoma) arriving from Turkey. For those who were there that chilly night at the Houston airport to meet our new Texans, it was a time of great excitement and happiness to greet them after their long flight. I know that for myself I was wondering what Cheryl and I were getting ourselves into, adopting a dog from the other side of the world. All that we knew about him was the two photos that had been sent. We had no idea if he would fit in with our other three dogs. Was he some feral dog that was going to destroy our house and cause general havoc in our lives? We already knew him as Travis and were so happy to give him a new life here, but very apprehensive.

    On finally meeting Travis coming out of his crate, I was immediately taken by his beautiful crème color and his English Golden build. I also noticed that he walked with a limp and later found out that he had, at some time earlier in his life, suffered an injury that was not treated correctly and did not heal right. After later meeting with GRR vets, we determined that there was nothing that could be done and he would have to live with it. I was a little disappointed and thought that we might have received a “defective” dog, but later found out that was definitely not the case. We all loaded up and headed to Dripping Springs to board the dogs so that they could be examined, cleaned up and fed. Driving back with Travis I talked to him, though I think he had no idea what I was saying and, to be honest, was not too interested in me. He probably thought that this guy was one of many that were here today and gone tomorrow. I thought about the injury and how this would affect the future, but decided if he could deal with it and not let it keep him from enjoying life, then I would deal with it also. We would just deal with whatever came our way.

    As a lot of you know, Travis and I bonded quite well the next day and we have been the best of buddies ever since. He fit in with our others and, to this day, we have not had a single incident between any of the four males that we have. As a matter of fact, Travis has pretty much become the alpha dog of the group. In the past, we did not allow any of our dogs on the furniture or bed but Travis decided he wanted to and who were we to stop the “Turkish Prince” with all that he had been through. Travis runs around chasing squirrels or wrestling with the others and doesn’t let his injury affect his life. He’s been to the beach twice but does not get in the water. Instead he lays on the beach, waiting for others to walk by and pet him and he is always the center of attention. Though I love all of our boys, Travis holds a special spot in my heart and I am so glad we took a chance on him and he took a chance on us.

    I hope all of the other Turkey Goldens are doing well and I hope someday we can get them all together again


    Where are They Now? - Austin, the Turkey Golden
    Sandy Balch

    Donnie Smith shared his beautiful story of Travis the Turkey Dog so I’d like to share Austin, now Monk, with you all on this two year anniversary.

    It is a testament to the great skill of our matchmakers and the fact that sometimes you have to give it up to them and to the doggie spirits to match you with the right soul. There was so little info on him from the volunteers in Turkey that we couldn’t be sure what his personality would be. When Austin came out of his crate at the Houston airport I just kept saying to myself “Oh my gosh, I’ve hit the jackpot – he’s the most wonderful sweet boy ever.” He was incredibly well- behaved and the little gentleman from day one.

    But beyond that, as I realized over the coming weeks, was a sweet, lovely dog who was shut down from his experiences. There was no joy, no happiness, no light behind his eyes and his perfection seemed like a desperate need to please.

    It took months for him to begin coming out of his shell, but he is blossoming and such a happy boy two years later. He’s traversed across the country with me three times, has visited the beach (but like Travis, won’t put his paw in the water), loves his car rides and walks and has become fast friends with his brother, Cooper the Bassett, and all of the foster Goldens who have lived in our home. He healed the heart broken by the loss of my beloved permanent foster Goldie and has been the best decision I’ve made in years.

    Thank you Gold Ribbon and the Gold Ribbon matchmakers for all of the work it took to bring the dogs to Texas and find the right forever homes for them. Thank you to Mollie Mitchell for being Austin’s sponsor. We’re so grateful to everyone.