Letter From the President

I am so very impressed, in awe, and totally amazed at the daily efforts and accomplishments of the SEVA GRREAT team of volunteers. As you all know, I have been in transition with Jane Frye and I could not be more thankful for her willingness to share her knowledge, patience, and time to navigate through the issues and to take the time to train me and bring me up to speed in my new position of president. Jane is the kind of lady that not only gets things done, she instantaneously becomes your friend. Thank you Jane, and one and all for helping me get my feet on the ground. I sincerely look forward to working with everyone and I actively seek your feedback and opinions on the issues and priorities that become our focus in 2013. I also want to thank each of you for your vote of confidence and giving me the privilege of working with such a professional and dedicated group of Golden volunteers. We all know that we have something very special in common and that is we have been bitten by the Golden bug.


I would like to share a wonderful training and education success story about a 5 year old golden named Chance whose situation came to us through our hotline number. Chance was adopted in January 2013 from the newly opened Chesapeake Animal Control Center and his new forever family is the Woodruff’s. Brooke Woodruff and her dad submitted a heart-warming story in this newsletter of how they found this beautiful golden only to find out before adoption that the dog was blind. From what we know, Chance came from the Harrisonburg, VA area and had at least two homes before being surrendered to the Animal Control. The Woodruff’s saw something special in this dog and the next thing you know Chance had found a new home. A special chance so to speak. But as all transitions go there were some initial ups and downs. SEVA GRREAT was contacted after Chance displayed stressful behavior when he first came home and we received a request for any help we could offer. Off we went with a team of superb volunteers ready to help. Rose Bennett knew that the Grahams had accomplished untold successes with their blind foster golden Amber. Once contacted, Bob jumped in and did an awesome job giving advice and recommendations on how to understand and care for a sight impaired golden. We also had a local Richmond dog trainer volunteer with recommendations. I asked the Woodruff’s to keep me apprised of the progress and you can only imagine how thrilling it was to get the latest update. Chance is now doing GRREAT. I know you will enjoy the enclosed story by Lester Woodruff and his 10 year old daughter, Brooke. Their family has fallen head over heels with their new Golden buddy and we delivered a solid “bulls eye” with our training and education mission.


We are already off to an amazing year with new ideas, energy and opportunities. Some examples include: SEVA GRREAT being contacted by students at William and Mary to form a possible partnership to help educate against animal neglect and abuse; our Calendar Committee is already off and running and we are optimistic that this will be an even better year for sponsorships than last year; several requests for grants and donations have already been submitted; and we came in second place with the Metro Productions Video Contest, thanks to Jim O’Connell’s efforts and your votes.


As I grow in this position, I look forward to reviewing, discussing and outlining plans for our 2013 SEVA GRREAT priorities as we assess our overall strategic objectives. Things we need to consider include where do we want to be in five years, what do we need to do to get there; what kind of a budget is needed/desired? Equally important is what do we need to do to raise the necessary funding to accomplish these goals? I am committed to this challenge and to helping the SEVA GRREAT team adopt, foster and care for virtually every Golden Retriever that comes our way if humanly possible.

Your President, Dottie Cleal

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