Golden Ribbon Rescue
February 2019

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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,

China Goldens:
My heart swells with gratitude for our GRR family; I am amazed that we are reaching beyond national borders to rescue five Golden Retrievers from the meat markets of China. The logistics are daunting. The transport costs are high. The volunteer manpower needed to help these dogs is significant. Nevertheless, GRR is pressing forward to change those five lives from ones of utter misery and hopelessness, to happiness and security. On March 9th, when the China Goldens arrive in Texas, their stories will begin anew. Please go to China Goldens for complete information on our mission, the dogs, the adoption criteria and information on sponsorship and donation opportunities.

Another Life Saved:
#19-005 Knight is an example of how GRR pulls dogs from the brink of death. A stray from Palm Valley, near the Mexican border, Knight was emaciated and infested head to tail with Sarcoptic Mange. He was severely anemic, had intestinal parasites, and had deep pressure wounds on both front legs. From Knight's shelter photo, we weren't sure of his breed; but for this boy, what we did know was that he needed our help, ASAP. Dick Elliott headed southward, reaching the shelter three hours before Knight's scheduled euthanasia. Converse Animal Hospital teammates awaited Knight after closing time, so that they could triage him and provide a safe haven. Fast forward 10 days later: Knight's fur is growing in (white with colored spots!) and he is feeling great. His many medical issues are resolving nicely. Knight's favorite nap spot? Valerie's couch.

Knight before

Knight after 10 days

GRR's Success:
As we begin our 21st year, why is Gold Ribbon Rescue so successful? In large part, it is due to our inclusive nature, and our shared goal of helping those in need. The GRR family is made up of volunteers and supporters from differing backgrounds, with varying temperaments, work styles and skills. When we set aside the need to be "right" or always in agreement, we are at our best. By keeping our eyes on the prize - doing what is needed to help the dogs - we are at our best. We are often at our BEST.

As Ever,

The next Board of Directors meeting is March 17, 2019.

Do you have questions or comments for the Board? We value your input as members and volunteers. Please send a note to and include Questions For The Board in the subject line. We hope to hear from you!


Letter From the Editor
Dori Olsen

Rusty Olsen

Hello to you all!

I'm pleased to let you know that the GRR newsletter will be taking on a new and more modern appearance in the next couple of months. We are moving to a different vendor that allows us more quality control and flexibility to communicate our important information. The newsletter will continue as a monthly online publication that is filled with information about our Goldens and our GRR activities and I sincerely appreciate your submissions of articles and photos. Keep them coming!

I ran across an article on the official state dogs for the various states. Unbelievably, no state currently has a Golden Retriever as their official state dog. Delaware did recognize the Golden Retriever for a one year period that expired in 2017. Georgia tried and failed, preferring the Bulldog instead. What are they thinking!!!

Until next month,

This Month's Contributors

Lonni Swanson
Judy Sebesta
Dawn Marie Rae
Jeroen Naus
Diane Hann
Chrissy Hammond
Deanna Hadsell
Rick Gilpin
Paula Ellis
Maureen Cannon


Upcoming Events

Amplify Austin

Amplify Austin Day is the Austin community's annual day of giving. Amplify Austin begins on February 28th at 6:00 p.m. and continues through March 1st at 6:00 p.m. GRR is a participant non-profit and we appreciate your donation in any amount. For your convenience, you can set up your donation in advance. Go to Amplify Austin to donate and read about the dogs whose lives are forever changed with your donations! Thank you so much.

The GRR Volunteer Party

The Volunteer Party will be at Gail March's home on Saturday, April 27th, from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. It will be a spring party with Gail cooking hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and featuring salads, beer and drinks. The Therapy Sisters will perform a variety of entertaining ditties again this year and we look forward to the hilarity. More details soon. Please mark your calendar. This is a humans-only event.


Meet Our China Goldens! Coming Soon!

Gold Ribbon Rescue believes that every Golden deserves a chance, no matter their place of birth. We can’t say no to dogs who would die without our help. So, our first Golden arrivals from China are on their way to Texas. These dogs embody everything that is special about our breed. Our five Goldens arrive on March 9, 2019.

Why focus on China? Because we are needed. These Goldens have been starved, have untreated medical conditions, and have not, until now, known the kindness of human touch or care. Destined for a Chinese meat-market, these Goldens deserve a better life. While some of these Goldens were bred for slaughterhouses, others are stolen pets sold to local meat markets. There is a growing outcry internationally, as well as among the Chinese people who are against this practice. Many Chinese volunteers are working to help U.S. rescue organizations save these animals.

Rescuing our local Goldens:This initiative does not impact rescue of Central Texas Goldens which remains our primary work. Each year, GRR receives 300+ applications from people hoping to adopt a Golden; yet fewer than 150 dogs are available and come in to GRR from area shelters and owner surrenders.

Because these dogs have spent considerable time confined in kennels and crowded shelters, they will have adjustment needs. Go to our China Goldens website page for complete information on our mission, the dogs, the adoption criteria for the Goldens and to our donation and sponsorship sections. Our goal is $20,000 for transport and veterinary care for our five special China Goldens and we sincerely appreciate anything that you can give! Stop back often on the website to learn more about their journey.


A Golden Opportunity With GRR Awaits You!

Does helping dogs find their way to a forever home interest you? Do you crave a fun and rewarding way to help GRR that only requires a few hours of your time per week? If so, our Foster Coordinator team has an incredible opportunity for you to join us and be the difference in a Golden's life! Foster Coordinators are the primary point-of-contact for fosters, the medical team and the matchmakers for each dog in foster care. If you have been a GRR foster mom or dad and would like to learn more about this chance of a lifetime opportunity, please contact Louisa Chandler.


Help Wanted

Medical Coordinator: The GRR medical team needs one more medical coordinator. The requirements are 15 - 20 hours per week and available days and evenings by phone and email. The successful candidate must be responsible, detail oriented and some medical knowledge is helpful. Good people skills are a must. We will mentor you through the learning curve. We love working together on this team; it is interesting, challenging and rewarding. Contact Margo to discuss.

Foster Coordinators (FC): Foster Coordinators are a critical role within GRR. This key position serves as the primary point-of-contact for fosters, the medical team and the matchmakers for each dog in foster care. As the number of dogs coming into GRR foster care grows, we need more FCs. If you have been a GRR foster mom or dad and would like to learn about being a FC, please contact Louisa Chandler.

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.

GRR Website Content Coordinator:
GRR needs assistance to add, edit and publish website content a couple of hours a week.
Requirements: Working knowledge of content management systems such as Drupal or Wordpress. Hands-on HTML skills. Working knowledge with image editing, such as Photoshop or InDesign or similar products. Good writing skills. Optional: familiarity with CSS and Javascript. Please contact Dawn Marie Rae for more details.


Opinions Please! We Really Want to Know!

The Gala Committee is already planning this year's Gala and the TENTATIVE date is September 28th. We want to make the Gala as appealing and enjoyable to our Golden lovers as we can, so please tell us what tickles your fancy and what you would enjoy for this year's Gala:

Where would you like to go? A private home, a vineyard, an event center, your idea

When do you want to go? Daytime or evening

Do you want to: Mingle? Listen to music? Dance? Have a plated dinner? Have a buffet?

How would you like to dress? Formal, dressy casual, informal

What type of entertainment or activity would you enjoy?

What type of auction do you like? Live auction, silent auction, no auction

What sort of auction items are your favorites?

Do you have sources or connections for auction items?

How far are you willing to drive?

Would you participate in a Ride Share with other Golden lovers?

What ideas do you have that would excite you about attending and bringing your friends?

Would you consider volunteering on the Gala committee?

Send your thoughts and ideas by February 15th to Pam Phillips or Paula Ellis. Thanks so much for your participation. We really appreciate it.


The Ongoing Saga of Marvelous Marley (18-042)
Maureen Cannon

Marley (18-042), a five-year-old male, came into GRR on April 8, 2018, as an owner surrender and went to a foster-pending-adoption family in Boerne, Texas.

In May it was reported that he was doing great and he was adopted by that family. In June, however, it was reported that he was drinking four gallons of water and urinating large amounts hourly. He was seen by the family’s vet and an ultrasound and basic blood work was completed and Cushing’s disease was suspected. Typically Cushing’s disease is found in middle-aged to seniors and usually females.

As noted above, Marley is a neutered male and only 5 years old. At night he would be put in their laundry room with pee pads and they would be drenched in the morning. Finally, in early August, the family contacted GRR about returning Marley. At this point a call was put out for someone to take care of this "special needs" dog. At first, this task seemed very daunting to us, but my husband and I felt the need to help this poor dog. We volunteered to take him for about two weeks or until he was definitely diagnosed.

It was an extremely hot day, August 29th, when we drove to Marble Falls and met Marley. He was quickly handed over along with toys, a dog bed, water bowls a container of water etc. At first I saw only his adorable face and I was completely shocked when I saw his body. It appeared he had been shaved and seemed to be very malnourished, as we could see his ribs. In addition, he looked like he was about to have a litter with a much-extended belly. It is important to remember that Marley is a neutered male.

The first few days we took him outside constantly and even got up three times a night to ensure he would not have an accident. Everything the family had reported about Marley was true. He continued to drink large quantities of water and urinate an equal amount. He was brought to CTVSEH and was diagnosed with Cushing ’s disease and a thyroid issue by Dr. Theisen. He currently is on Trilostane for Cushing’s disease, which is made just for him at Diamondback Drugs in Arizona. He is also on thyroid medication. He also sees Dr. Daigle at CTVSEH for his skin condition and is being treated topically for this. He also gets weekly baths with special medication for his very dry skin.

When two weeks had passed we contacted GRR and told them that Marley was welcome to stay with us until an adopted family could be found, since he really has not been a problem. He is rather a great addition to our family. He gets along well with our other Goldens and is great company. He loves to sit at my feet and constantly follows me about the house. He is very smart and learns quickly.

The fantastic news is that his skin looks better and we do see some fur growth. He has a long way to go until he looks like a typical Golden, but he definitely has the Golden personality. He has wonderful bladder control and is left to wander about our house when we go out. He usually goes out at night about 10:30 p.m. and sleeps soundly until about 6:30 a.m., when he goes out with our other Goldens. He does continue to be ravenous for food and eats twice the amount our other Goldens eat. He has learned, however, that he cannot steal the other dogs’ food and must wait to be given the okay to start to eat.

In addition, he wears a T-shirt most of the time since he likes to scratch his back on our house and this has resulted in some open areas. We have bought him a beautiful blue coat, which he wears when it is cold outside since he still lacks a lot of fur. He is a great walker on a leash and can sit up and beg for food very nicely.

When we had to leave town in November, he went to a respite family who seemed to love him as much as we do. They reported he fit in well with their dogs and, again, he was not a problem.

In summary, Marley is just the typical golden who loves to be petted and cuddle with people He likes to look out the window and sit in front of you until you realize he needs a little attention. He also loves to chase tennis balls and squirrels, like most Goldens. Marley would be a great addition to any family but they must realize he will always need medication, which can be expensive, but he is definitely worth it. He is another of GRR’s fantastic Goldens who needs a forever home.


Happy Valentine's Day!


The Lunchables Reunite!


Judy Sebesta

Installment #7 - The Beauty – and Challenges – of Big Dogs

Golden Retrievers come in many wonderful sizes, but according to the AKC, an adult male averages 65-75 pounds. and a female, 55-65 pounds. Some, particularly males, may be even larger. As mentioned before in this column, when Hudson came to GRR he was 121 pounds! Even at a relatively svelte 80 pounds now, he is no small boy.

I have had two Great Pyrenees before, each over 100 pounds. My veterinarian once joked that my penchant for large dogs was left over from my childhood love of horses. Regardless, I do love large dogs, and as soon as I saw my big Hudson, that was one reason for my love at first sight, even knowing he needed, for health reasons, to be not quite SO big.

But as wonderful and beautiful as they are, large dogs bring with them special considerations and challenges. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subjects of canine health, behavior, and training, but I just wanted to offer some things, based on my experience, to think about if you are considering adopting a large Golden (or any other breed):

Increased expense:
This may seem obvious, although some costs aren’t as much as you might think. Yes, large dogs eat more, but their metabolisms may be slower than smaller, more active dogs, so they may not eat exponentially more (Hudson is doing fine on a maintenance diet of 2.5 cups of food plus handfuls of green beans and other veggies each day). On the other hand, heartworm and flea/tick preventative plus other medications are usually based on weight and thus more expensive the more the pounds!

Medical/physical challenges (for the dog):
Although any dog can have issues like joint problems, larger dogs are more prone to them due to increased weight on those joints, so it is even more imperative to keep their weight within an appropriate, healthy range. An overweight large dog especially can be vulnerable to a host of health problems. Also, larger dogs may have shorter life spans in general, so one must be prepared for that.

Physical challenges (for the person):
Dogs, small and large, obviously require varying levels of activity depending on the breed and/or individual dog. Some large dogs may be relatively sedentary couch potatoes, in need of coaxing to be active. But if you have an active dog (as many Goldens are) that also is large, controlling them, both on leash and off, can be especially challenging. Hudson walks quite well on a leash, but he is still a bit difficult to handle when a ball makes an appearance, and his 80 pounds can really strain my arms. Several walks a day can leave me sore. Ongoing training is helping, but I am not sure what I would do if I myself weren’t in really good physical shape. And remember, you probably won’t just be able to pick up your dog when needed; even giving them a boost into the car, as I do for Hud, can be hard for some.

Landlord requirements:
If you rent, be sure to consult your landlord to confirm that you can have a large dog. Some landlords allow dogs but only up to a certain size/weight limit. My landlord had no problem with little Dinah, who is 20 pounds, when I moved into my current rent house, and her lack of teeth, which had to be removed when she was rescued, clinched it, I think (the previous tenants had a young French bulldog they apparently left alone and uncrated for long periods of time, and it had chewed much of the woodwork in the house). But when I inquired before adopting Hud, the landlord initially refused, saying he didn’t want a “little horse” on the property. I was able to convince him that I would continue to be a responsible dog guardian and tenant regardless of Hudson’s size, and he acquiesced.

Sometimes I can't see the TV because of Huds big head, but who wouldn't rather watch him anyway.

I doubt my landlord would see any difference in the condition of his property pre vs. post Hud. Also, do consider the impact the bark of a large dog could have on your neighbors. I am lucky that neither Hudson nor Dinah bark much, especially after the challenges of having two Great Pyrs that barked a LOT.

Other considerations include things like space, travel, and the mess that more hair, drool, etc. can make. But like any Golden, big ones have a lot of love to give, so if you are not daunted by the challenges I have described, I highly recommend getting a Hudson of your own. When he tries to fit all 80 pounds of himself on my lap and looks up at me adoringly with those huge brown eyes, I fall in love all over again.


Krost Symposium
Contributed by Robin Early

Texas Lutheran College is sponsoring the 2019 Krost Symposium, “What a Dog Nose: Chasing Canine Cognition.” This is a free three-day symposium that extends from February 21st through February 23rd.

Quoting from their website: “Just how did our beloved pets become man's best friend? The 2019 Krost Symposium will explore how dogs became a central part of our lives, how they think, what they know, and how they develop social intelligence. Other themes will discuss the relationship between humans and dogs, and ethical issues concerning dog ownership. The Krost Symposium is an annual academic event that is free and open to the public.”

For further information, please go to Krost Symposium-2019.


In Loving Memory - Hamilton (16-069)

GRR Hamilton (16-069) passed away on December 26, 2018 at approximately 10 years of age. He was adopted by the Hadsells on December 10, 2016 and had a wonderful two years. What a sweet boy!


Five Steps to Stopping Unwanted Behavior - Part One
Whole Dog Journal

By Mardi Richmond, CPDT-KA

Most of the time, when dogs do something we don’t want them to do (such as stealing our socks or jumping on our elderly aunt), the first thing out of our mouths is “NO!” We’ve all done it. But you may have had a dog trainer or two tell you not to use the word “no.” Why not? Shouldn’t you correct your dog if he makes a mistake?

First off, in most cases, simply saying “no” (even if you say it loudly) doesn’t work. (If saying “no” did work, I’m quite sure my phone would stop ringing and I’d be out of a job.) In addition, when we use intimidation to stop our dogs from doing a behavior we don’t like, we may damage our relationship with our dog. Lastly, saying no provides no direction to your dog; it does nothing to tell your dog what she should do instead.

It may be instinctive to shout “No!” when your dog does something that you don’t like, but at best, this might interrupt him for a moment. It doesn’t do anything to teach him what you’d rather he do instead.

So if saying “no” isn’t the answer, how do we stop unwanted behavior? Here is a formula that you can apply to almost any unwanted behavior for great results:

1. Start with liberal doses of management.

“Management” is dog trainer lingo for prevention. It means making sure your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to “practice” the behavior you’d like to stop. Whether that behavior is chewing your shoes, jumping on your kids, or barking as your neighbor’s dog walks by your house, the goal is to figure out a way to stop your dog from doing it until you can teach her what she should do instead.

This may entail getting creative – or at least putting your shoes in the closet. Use baby gates, crates, window blocks, and leashes. If you have a puppy, you may need to keep a toy in your hand when you pet your pup to keep her from mouthing. If your dog habitually barks at things she sees out the window, you may need to apply a visual block so she can’t see outside. If your dog jumps on visitors to your house, you may need to put up a baby gate so your pup can’t charge up to people when they come in the door. You get the idea. Once management is in place, you can move on to step two.

2. Remove Reinforcement.

There is always a reason a dog does something that we don’t want her to do. It may be an expression of normal dog behavior and we need to provide other outlets for that behavior. The dog may be anxious and exhibits the behavior to alleviate anxiety. Dogs practice some behaviors we don’t like because they are fun (such as jumping on us), but sometimes these behaviors are an expression of frustration or fear (such as barking or tearing up the carpet).

Try to figure out why your dog does the behavior. Does jumping on you get your attention? Does getting into the garbage alleviate boredom? Will racing around the house with a sponge entice you to play the keep-away game? Does pulling on the leash mean the dog gets to drag you to and make you wait at the source of an interesting odor? Before you can effectively stop an unwanted behavior, you have to be able identify what is reinforcing the behavior and either remove that reinforcement or meet the dog’s need in another way.

3. Teach the dog what you want her to do instead.

Remember, saying no fails to tell your dog what to do instead. Teaching your dog what to do instead of (fill in your behavior issue here) is a major factor in successfully solving that problem behavior. For most of us, this is a huge change in our thought process.

  • Instead of jumping up, I would like my dog to greet people calmly with all four paws on the ground.
  • Instead of begging for food when we sit down to eat, I would like my dog to go settle on her bed.
  • Instead of barking out the window, I would like my dog to come and tell me if there is something to worry about outside.
  • Instead of lunging toward dog friends, I would like my dog to sit while I snap off the leash before play.
  • Instead of pulling on the leash when we walk down the street, I would like my dog to walk next to me.
  • Instead of running off into the woods, I would like my dog to stay within 30 feet of me on off-leash jaunts.
When we come up with something our dog can do instead of the undesirable behavior, we have identified an achievable goal. And from there we can lay out a training plan to meet that goal!

(Editor's Note: This is Part One of a two-part series. If you are a subscriber to Whole Dog Journal click here to read the rest of the article. Many thanks to Rick Gilpin for submitting this article.)


In Loving Memory - Bella (07-014)
Diane Lann

We adopted our beloved Bella (07-014) in the spring of 2007. We actually brought her home on April 1, 2007 from her foster family. She lived a long and wonderful life and loved summers in the pool! Bella truly lived the good life.


GRR Monthly Status Report: December 26 - January 25

Adopted: 18-123 Gunner, 18-082 Avery, 18- 118 Hank, 18-121 Nick, 18-069 Benji, 18-075 Christi, 19-001 Savannah, 18-122 Wyatt, 18-092 Mayo, 18-120 Winter

Came into care: 18-124 Charlotte, 19-001 Savannah, 19-002 January, 19-003 Dallas, 19-004 Gibson, 19-005 Knight, 19-006 Maya, 19-007 Serenity, 19-008 Lila, 19-009 Jax

Currently in Foster Care: 28 Dogs - 12 available/available soon, 10 foster pending adoptions, 6 permanent fosters


Thoughts, Prayers and Remembrance

Our Rainbow Bridge: January 2019
Rest in peace, our friends and companions.

Bella (07-014)
Hamilton (16-069)
Jake (04-133)


Tax Deductibility Reminder

As a 501(c)(3), Gold Ribbon Rescue is a "qualified organization". Due to the recent tax law change, GRR strongly recommends that you consult with your accountant or tax adviser on all deductions. IRS Publication 526 may be useful to you. This link to also has information regarding deductibility.


Meet Our Preferred Partners!

Click here to view our 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!


GRR Facebook Group

At the request of the GRR Facebook Group, we're beginning a list of dog-friendly stores, so if you have an establishment to add to the list, please send an email to the newsletter editor.

It would be a good idea to call ahead to the store that you're interested in, just to be sure that dogs are allowed at their location. Some establishments may be subject to mall requirements that do not allow animals.


  • Macy's
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe's
  • Tuesday Morning
  • Home Goods
  • TJ Maxx
  • Petco
  • Petsmart
  • Tomlinsons
  • Tractor Supply Co.
  • Thom's Market (Central Austin)
  • Estilo Boutique (Central Austin)
  • Hemline (2nd Street District, Austin)
  • Luxe Apothetique (2nd Street District, Austin)
  • Tarrytown Pharmacy (Central Austin)
  • Free People

We will keep an ongoing list at the end of the newsletter. FYI: The BringFido website gives you more information for hotels and restaurants in your specified area.

Thanks to Shannon Bennett and the Facebook group for this great suggestion!