12 December Teddie


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There is so much to say about this girl--there is just not enough time or room.  We have been proud to share Teddie's life for 13.5 years when she rescued me and then got her very own special forever Dad four years ago.

 I am going to say I think my husband fell in love with her first but that is just my opinion :o)  Needless to say, they are inseparable too.

I was an active foster home for many goldens and had just turned over another puppy to a new forever home when I got "The Call.”  “The Call” was “we have a golden puppy that needs a home and the current owner said she will leave her in the parking lot if we don’t get her.”  As Rescue a Golden does no dog is left behind.  I got ready and met the intake volunteer at the Greyhound station within an hour.  My only thought was, "oh no another puppy couldn’t it be an older dog :o)."  
That was the thought.  I pulled into the parking lot and all I saw was this little head just rising above the window in my friend’s car.  I am not sure if I even parked my car first or just ran out of my car and could not wait to have that little puppy in my arms and said OMG.  Okay, so I am still the foster mom at this point.

The first couple weeks I had her she was a little uncertain of her surroundings.  She preferred sleeping under the bed instead of on the bed.  One day I walked in my room and she was cuddled up by my pillow looking very content. I thought how sweet.  I hopped up on the bed and cuddled with her only to have something fluttering down on my leg.  Yes, she is a retriever.  There was an injured bird that she brought in and put him under the covers and was actually watching over it. Needless to say we don’t have any birds. I had Teddie for a couple weeks and interviewed a few prospective parents and I just couldn’t let go.  She has this look that says, “hey I am home” and that was it. She found her forever home and tears come to my eyes as I think about all the years we have been blessed to be together.

So far this year we have made it to Canyon Point and Big Lake with Teddie and her golden siblings.  They all were able to run and they slow down so they can all frolic together. Teddie had the biggest smile on her face and a smile her dad and I will never forget.  God willing we are taking her on another couple trips back to the rim and White Mountains in the next two months.

 She comes alive in the mountains and we are so looking forward to giving her that joy.  Someday soon she may join her friends at the bridge but until then she will have one special moment after another knowing every day how much we love her.

 I just know that she rescued us and not the other way around.  We are blessed.

Cynthia Halunka

11 November Thunder & Lightning


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On October 4, 2010, Thunder and Lightning found their forever home.  It had been a difficult few months for these girls.  Their first owner had passed away, leaving them without a home. 

The next home they went to did not work out well - three dogs in the house were just too many.  Thunder and Lightning were at first very shy and unsure where they landed.  We fell into a nice routine of walking every morning-- something the girls needed to work their way into as they were a bit out of shape!  They love getting out early while there are lots of bunnies and quail running around on the streets.  Both are experts at the slow sneaking move to try and see if they can catch a bunny unaware.  Even though they never seem to get close enough, the game is still fun.  After about two months of living with us Lightning was up barking in the middle of the night.  Repeated requests to stop were not met.  We dragged ourselves out of bed to see what all the commotion was about.  Lightning had spotted a burglar stealing our patio furniture!!  What a good guard dog :) We feel very lucky to have been able to adopt these fabulous sisters.  They were wonderfully trained, love to cuddle and are the first dogs we have ever had that just lay down and WANT to be brushed!!

Peter & StacieTrompetter

10 October Pumpkin


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Hello! Pumpkin here! Before I was named Pumpkin (got this name because mom's birthday is in the fall), days under another name were a bit rough.  And although I do not and will not revisit those days, I still have to tell you my journey from being a number in the animal shelter to the 1st runner-up in the 2013 RAGofAZ Cutest Golden Contest.

In May 2012, I was found as a stray and brought to the animal shelter. Ring ring...the shelter contacted my owner by the tag I was wearing but to my huge disappointment, owner said it was great that I was off the street but I was no longer wanted. Luckily, a very nice lady with RAG found me there and decided I deserved better than being a number at the shelter. And life as Pumpkin was about to begin...

I went home with a young woman but they said she was only my foster...Well, I knew I didn't want to move, so I became a very good boy and learned the basic commands quickly to prove that I was worthy of staying. AND I DID IT! I never ended up packing my bags and though I was happy to stay, I still had a hard time trusting them 100% because I was so traumatized. After six months, I finally figured that I was home and safe and at last, was able to sleep with my eyes shut. Life as Pumpkin is great except for the once a month Meet & Greet that I attend. It is not that I do not enjoy doing it, it's just that I'm too cute and EVERYONE wants to meet me and pet me and sometimes I get tired afterwards. Since I have made appearances every month for the past year, I have no shame to call myself the official RAGofAZ West Valley Ambass-A-Dog! At the events, I put smiles to shoppers' faces, I entertain the children with my tricks and I comfort those who are sad as they tell stories about their beloved dogs.
I LOVE my life! I DO! And none was possible if it was not for RAGofAZ saving me and finding a good home for me!

Heather Yan

09 September Lady


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Lady’s story is a perfect example of the old adage that for every dog in need there is the perfect “forever” home out there somewhere. 

Little is known about Lady’s first eight years of life, but she was rescued by RAGofAZ and placed in a loving home in Tucson.  Lady was a fearful dog who did not tolerate other animals well, and would not accept the resident dog in her new home.  We had just applied to adopt, had no children or animals at home, and could offer Lady a quiet and calm environment.  The RAGofAZ placement people made it clear that we could probably never have another animal around Lady and we agreed to that.  Poor Lady---she panted with anxiety for many hours following her arrival at our house, and stayed glued to our family room rug except when she needed to go outside.  We didn’t even make eye contact for five hours.  Finally, she looked up at me and blinked in the way dogs do when they are acknowledging you.  Slowly I slid over on the rug and gently petted her.  After a few days she clearly was bonding with both Bob and me.  In fact, she became deeply attached to us, though still would not tolerate other people or dogs.  In time, even that began to change, as Lady learned that yes, people will come into our home and nothing bad will happen.  Finally, more than two and a half years after adopting Lady, we decided to try adopting another Golden from RAGofAZ.  
But that’s another story . . .    

Judi and Bob Schillaci


08 August Katy & Daisy


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My name is Daisy and the first year of my life wasn’t that great.  I was kept in a kennel, in a shed, outside, by myself.  Once I was ready to have babies, I was put on Craigslist to be sold to the highest bidder.

Then Rescue a Golden of AZ came and got me, and brought me to my family. 

I have an older sister named Katy, but we look and act like twins.  I was only 46 pounds when I came home a few years ago, and when I got home they had food out for me all the time.  I gained almost 20 pounds in six months – and now I look hot!

At first it was kind of weird, because I was allowed to roam around the house and I didn’t have to go into a cage.  My mom and dad tried to convince me that if I stopped moving or pacing I wasn’t going to be put in a cage.  My sister Katy taught me how to chill out and relax.  I love doing whatever Katy is doing.

Katy and I have four doggie beds, multiple couches, and mommy and daddy beds to sleep on.  I usually find out where Katy is sleeping, and then I lay down on top of her.  Katy and I have about 50 tennis balls at our house, but I only like to play with the tennis ball Katy has.  When Katy is interested in something in our backyard, I am too.  Being a younger sister is awesome.

During the last year mommy thought daddy and I needed to practice better manners, so she sent us to school.  I learned two things.  1. I don’t like the cats at PetSmart.  2. I love the birds at PetSmart – and I think they like me too from the way they reacted when I lunged at them.

Overall I am one lucky girl.  Thank you to all of the Rescue a Golden volunteers for everything you do.

Daisy, Katy & Kristi Rivera

07 July Buddy


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We adopted Buddy in February.  He had been the stud dog for a backyard breeder for the past nine years, and a divorce left him homeless.  We met him at a foster home and immediately accepted him into ours. 

He was initially frightened by his new surroundings and all the change and uncertainty in his life, but daily walks and tennis balls quickly changed his perceptions.  Some malignant skin cancers needed removal, and he had two surgeries soon after coming to our home, but he did well and was soon enjoying his walks again.  When summer came, he discovered the pool, and now his days consist of waking us up by rolling on the bed, followed by a long walk, which includes chasing tennis balls.  On returning home, he takes a swim, has breakfast, then goes to work with his Mom.  Much to his delight, the walk, swim, and food repeat themselves in the evening.  Last week, Buddy learned how to dive, and now does graceful dives into the pool at every opportunity.  Well, it's time to quit writing--Buddy just pushed away my keyboard and dropped a tennis ball in my lap.  I think I'll go play with my old friend...

Cindy Nelson

06 June Sampson


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Sampson, a nine year old Golden Retriever, came into rescue on April 21st from a situation where he had been living outside for all of his life.  Our transporters relayed him from northern Arizona to Paradise Valley to one of our very best and experienced foster homes. 

Sampson was very timid and fearful, but was starting to become more comfortable in his new home.  On Tuesday, April 23rd, a service person at the home inadvertently left one of the gates open.  While his foster mom was out with him, she could not make it to close the gate before Sampson took off up the hill behind her property.  His foster mom followed him, but he was able to elude her.  Sampson was spotted later that evening by one of the neighbors and, again, on Friday, by some of our volunteers.  Since then, despite concentrated efforts involving night vision equipment and dedicated, thoughtful searching, Sampson has continued to remain on the loose.

We have had dogs go missing in the past and most of the time, we do manage to find them.  Unfortunately, Sampson is not your typical Golden and is afraid of most people, especially men.  Trapping him is probably our best option (We were able to safely trap Russell last year).

Sampson, however, has proven to be elusive.  For a while he was travelling in the same area, but now seems to be moving about in wider circles.  Because of this, we have expanded our search area.  With funds donated specifically to be used to help recover Sampson, we have purchased cameras and have set them up in areas where Sampson has been sighted.  We have twice hired a tracker and her dogs to determine where Sampson has been.  This is exactly how we learned that his travel area has broadened.  Our volunteers and the tracker work for hours with dogs out in the heat trying to determine his location.

“Sampson’s Angels”, volunteers that have moved heaven and earth to try to recover him are still out in force---placing signs; speaking with area residents, police and service people; working with the tracker when necessary; baiting the areas near the cameras; checking the camera memory cards for sightings.  We follow up on every lead.  In the process, we have managed to help return other lost Golden Retrievers to their homes, but have not found Sampson.  Sampson is VERY fearful and if located, he should not be approached as he may well move farther out of his comfort zone.

If we determine that he is staying in one particular area and feeding in that location, we can try again with a trap.  In the meantime, we continue to post updates on our Facebook page and our volunteers do what they can to try to bring our lost boy back home.

05 May Molly & Rocky


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 Rocky came into our lives when we first saw him at a RAGofAZ anniversary for three rescued overweight goldens, a mother and her two daughters in 2012. 

Rocky was brought to the Tucson area by DJ and Judy so he could go to Jay’s Boot Camp for a month.  It was an instant love affair for Fritz.  He lay claim to Rocky immediately.  After Rocky’s time at Camp, Jay and Scottie brought Rocky to his new forever home with Fritz.  Rocky still had issues, and we worked with him, sometimes under very trying situations.  Rocky harbored a lot of anger, frustration, and anxiety, and was thin.  So Fritz fed him Taste of the Wild.  When Rocky went for his second Vet checkup, Fritz was so proud since he had filled out--only to be told by Dr. Behrens that Rocky was obese.  Six months later, Rocky has slimmed down; he is Fritz’s best “bud,” follows Fritz where ever he goes and cries like a baby when he cannot find him.  He has his own “Binky” that he sucks on every night—obviously with previous owners he severely lacked attention and never had any toys as a puppy.

Rocky’s best friend is Molly, our other rescued Golden who will be five going on two this year.  Both Molly and Rocky love to swim, no matter what the outside temperature might be; both love to play water ball; Molly is my alpha girl and is a fantastic wrestler.  Just ask Rocky--she can pin him any time she chooses.  Molly has a mind of her own.  She will give you those “eyes” and knows how to “work a crowd.”  Having been Molly’s mom since she was eight months old, she has finally matured, or as much as an active golden can.  She is my guard dog, my best friend, and always has at least one ball along with another toy in her mouth all the time.  Molly hates the words, “I am going on errands and you must watch the house,” knows when I am dressed to play golf, dressed to go work out, and dressed to take her for a walk, and knows “night time treat time” at 7 pm, and knows how to “talk back” when she does not approve of my saying “no.”  

Molly sorely misses Destiny who went to the Rainbow Bridge in January.  Molly was able to say her good byes to Destiny, so she does not look for her.  We can tell when she really misses Desi, as she will take Desi’s “Ducky” and shake the living daylights out of it.  Sometimes she gathers all of Desi’s toys in one corner and then lays on them.  

Our family is Blessed to have our Rescued Goldens—Rocky and Molly--in our lives and are grateful for RAGofAZ for rescuing them.

Barbara & Frederick Klink

04 April Maddie


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Say "hello" to Maddie, RAGofAZ Mom of the Year 2012. Maddie came into RAGofAZ in March of 2012 with six little bundles of joy in tow. She and her two day old puppies were found abandoned just days before the big snowstorm that struck northern Arizona in March 2012.

Thanks to some very caring folks, Maddie and her puppies were out of harm’s way. Thanks to RAGofAZ, they are now in loving homes.

The best word I can use to describe Maddie is "joyful." She is loving, gentle and very tender-hearted. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Her summer pastimes include chasing lizards and bird watching.  Winter brings the hope of a fresh snowfall. Tennis balls, walks and playing with her cousin Sadie are year-round passions. She goes shopping and to Starbucks with mom and to the bank with dad. Her dad sings her a song "You are my Maddie" every day. She loves the mail lady, the UPS man and all the events where she gets to be an ambassadog for RAGofAZ. Everyone is a friend in Maddie's eyes.

Someone thanked us for rescuing and adopting Maddie, but she rescued us right back. We had lost Molly just a month before and our home seemed so empty. Maddie is loved more than she may ever know. Maddie is our sunshine, and we plan to keep our sunshine around for many years to come.

Becky & Jerry Wetzel



03 March MeMe


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MeMe's relocation from Tucson had one superior perk. It would result in the gift of eye sight. That is a fitting reward for a young lady with a sweet and caring disposition who charmed everyone who cared for her.

Those attributes were not lost on the support group who, including the eye surgeon, joined in wondering what MeMe would be like after the surgery. That was answered in short order when I was told I could return her to activities outside the house. Our first exploration was on the lawn in front of my house, an area replete with rabbits.

Almost immediately she focused in on a rabbit about 25 feet away. As she sat there she cocked her head left and right in a quizzical way. She obviously had no memory of rabbits.

Almost every day that I took her out, she would go to the same spot, look at the place where her rabbit buddy had been. This ended about a week later when she decided that she needed closer inspection and she bolted off the lawn with me strung out at the end of the leash. The bunny understood the potential and has not been seen since.

Joe Ettinger

02 February Daisy Dukie


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Jake and I lost our best buddy Winston to the bridge November 17, 2011.  We were lost.  Judy and Dean encouraged me to take all that love I had for Winston and give it to a new fur kid.  Our vet suggested a puppy to bring back out Jake's young ten year old side.

I got the call in April for Daisy and she has been one of us since that day.  She was so fearful and afraid of every noise.   Daisy spent the first six months of her life in a backyard without much human interaction.  It took her a while, but now she is a fun-loving, crazy golden puppy.  That first night she was on the floor snuggling up to Jake.  She loves to swim, go for walks, go for rides, and sit in your lap for a snuggle.  Every morning she climbs up into my bed with one of her babies and makes a loud yawn.  Some days I find her in the back yard tossing tennis balls to herself.  I can't imagine life without her and her sweet smile.
Thank you RAGofAZ for helping Jake and me to heal after the loss of Winston.  You were so right; I needed to take all that love and give it to a Golden Rescue.
Caren Solberg

01 January Sunshine


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Sunshine, true to her name, brightens my world with her presence.  I can’t imagine how anyone could have surrendered her. 

She always seems happy and her tail wags when anyone comes into the house as she greets each person with a toy in her mouth.   Sunshine rarely barks and likes dogs and people whether we meet them when we are out for a walk or at the dog park.    She tilts her head from side to side when she doesn’t quite understand what is happening and runs in the opposite direction when she hears the vacuum cleaner or when it is time for medication, but if she hears the refrigerator door open or the treat box come out of the cabinet, she is there in a flash.  Although we have been together less than a year, we know each other so well.  Sunshine is where she belongs – with me.

Richard Kalpousos

00 Cover Dog Simba

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This huge “horse” of a dog was surrendered by a busy family who did not have time for him and could not give him all of the attention he needed. 

We had already adopted Lady from RAGofAZ several years earlier and were unsure if she would accept another dog because of her history of intolerance of other animals (and many people!).  RAGofAZ brought in a professional trainer to oversee the introductions, and sure enough Lady growled, barked, nipped and lunged at Simba.  For his part, Simba remained passive and obedient to the trainer’s commands.  Within one hour, the trainer had Lady and Simba lying quietly in the same room.  Within the next few days there was only an occasional minor kerfuffle, but the two dogs began to bond – and now they are inseparable!  Simba is the friendliest and sweetest Golden I’ve ever met, and he does indeed crave attention.  Every time we walk into the house, he runs and jumps with joy and brings us all of his toys to demonstrate his fervent devotion!  And every night I whisper in his ear “I’ll always have time for you.”

Judi and Bob Schillaci