Category Archives: Feature Articles

Golden Retriever helps Grant Childs’ Make-A-Wish Dream

The Daily Golden

Ricochet the surfice dog is doing what she does best, making others lives a little brighter.  This time it was with cancer fighter Caleb Acosta.  Caleb has stage for brain cancer.

Caleb and Ricochet - Facebook/SurfDogRicochet Caleb and Ricochet – Facebook/SurfDogRicochet

The Make A Wish Foundation contacted Ricochet’s owner, Judy Fridono, after Caleb saw Ricochet surfing with children on ESPN. Judy and Ricochet were moved and honored to help make Caleb’s dream come true.

On February 12, 2014, Caleb and Ricochet met at Del Mar Dog Beach in California where Caleb’s wish was granted.  He was able to escape his pain and suffering and had an amazing time, and I’m pretty sure Ricochet didn’t mind either.

Once again, thanks so much for all you do Judy and Ricochet!  Please check out their Facebook page and tell them The Daily Golden sent you.

Also, please take a moment if you can to visit Caleb’s page…

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It’s That Time of Year..Near Water? Keep an Eye on Your Golden Retriever(s)!

You hear stories of dogs rescued from the icy depths after falling through the ice. Yes, most are Goldens or Labs. Please watch where both you and your dog step during these cold, icy months.

The Daily Golden

I posted several reports last year of goldens on the ice/water.  Some ended well, others didn’t.  If you are near frozen waters, please keep an eye on your dogs at all times…there are too many of these incidents to report!!!  (Please share with anyone who owns a dog and has access to frozen bodies of water!!)

Hopewell Township, NJ – Here’s a story (with video) about 2 golden retrievers, Trixie and Ruby, from New Jersey who

Race Race (Photo credit: samikki)

ventured out onto the icy waters after escaping their home (it happens to the best of us, let’s not judge)   After 20 minutes, they were rescued by the Union Company Fire & Rescue Squad.

Fire Crews Rescue 2 Golden Retrivers from Curtis Lake in  Hopewell Township –

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Huckleberry Update

Huck2huck surgery
Wow, a lot has happened in the last 2 weeks! I went in for my hip replacement on March 2. The surgery went great! When Dr. Murphy called my foster mom to update her, he said, “Huck’s doing great, almost too great. He doesn’t know or act like he just had a major surgery.”

I was so excited to see my foster mom when she came to get me that I wiggled and whined in the waiting room. We made our way out to the car and headed home. As I walked into the house I was greeted with lots of gentle kisses from my foster brothers and sister. I think they understood what I had just been through. Once home, I slept for about 48 hours straight.

The first week was a breeze. Although, I don’t understand why I always have to have that red leash hooked up to me when I go outside. Doesn’t she see it holds me back from running and playing?!?!

Tuesday we went on a road trip back to Anderson’s corner for my first check-up. As we pulled up to the vet I started getting excited, because I knew I had so many friends inside. Well the excitement continued inside and I put on quite a show while waiting to be called back for my exam. Several people had seen my story and were thrilled to see I was doing so good…..again, almost too good. I felt like I was a celebrity!!!

Dr. Murphy checked me out and said everything looked perfect. I was healing as planned! With all the good news I don’t understand why he told my foster mom that I still have several weeks of exercise restriction (whatever that is?), and have to have that little red leash anytime I go outside. What a bummer!!! Dr. Murphy obviously doesn’t understand that there are squirrels that are trying to invade our backyard and I need to help the others protect the fence line!!

I go back in once a week for the next month and will update you on my progress! Thanks again for any donations that will help fund my expensive surgery.


Report on the Thunder Jacket by Patty Mcguire

Willie in his Thundershirt  Pictures taken for the Thundershirt contest

One of the things I love so much about Golden Retrievers is their easy going nature. They are such relaxed dogs, and with a few exceptions, they can readily adapt to most any circumstance.  They are calm, that is, until a thunderstorm is on the way.  This is not an issue for all dogs, but for many. And for the dogs that find it upsetting, it can be quite frightening for them.

Why are dogs afraid of thunderstorms?  Well, there is much debate about that one!  Search it online and you will find a number of answers. Some even say it is merely a learned behavior where the dog receives reinforcement by having their fear comforted by the people that care for them.  Some explanations get into complicated issues of a breed’s specific traits and how those traits can become out of balance in a storm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           For example, a herding dog who’s an indoor dog has no sheep to tend, and becomes frustrated when a storm is on the way.  The bottom line is that a lot of what I’ve read about it is simply somebody’s opinion on the matter.

So, I’m going to share my personal opinion on the situation.  I have drawn my personal conclusion by carefully watching my dog’s response to storms, reading and watching a number of science shows on storms.

I first discovered Willie’s fear of thunderstorms when he jumped into the bed with me, panting heavily in my face!  He was shivering uncontrollably.  It was just terrible. I felt so bad for him and had no idea what to do. When a 75 pound dog jumps in your bed in the middle of the night, it’s pretty difficult to ignore!

For a time, the storms were coming in every night either at bedtime or in the middle of the night.  Willie would do the same thing every time:  jump into bed and wake me up!  He would also paw at the carpets, muss up the mats on the tile floors in the bathrooms, and want to go to the basement level. He didn’t want to be there alone, however, so he would go up and down the stairs, jump in the bed, muss up the rugs some more, and just repeat the process.  Poor Willie!  It was terrible to see him suffering so much.  Mom and I would comfort him all that we could, but he was largely inconsolable.

I started to pay closer attention to when he was most upset by a storm and what kind of storm bothered him. I noticed very low pressure was quite upsetting to him.  We were in Virginia Beach the day before Irene came. The pressure was so low, even I was bothered by it.  I could feel a heavy pressure on my sinuses and in my lungs.  Low pressure is a sure fire indicator of a huge storm on the way. At the time, we were staying at a friend’s house.  Typically, Willie would sleep downstairs by the front door.  The night before we left to come home, he was in my room.  It was very unusual.  He looked so worried and wouldn’t leave my side.  In the morning, he didn’t care about taking his walk, he only wanted in the van so we could come home.  So that’s when I decided that low barometric pressure was something to which he was sensitive and it definitely had an effect on him.

Some of the reading I did indicated that the loud noise of the thunder itself could be a trigger that frightens a dog. There’s probably some truth to that.  I find most animals don’t like loud noises, and fireworks upset just about all of them.  But I don’t think the noise of the thunder itself is what scares Willie.  The friend we stayed with lives close to Oceana Navy base.  Jets are overheard constantly, and they fly really low.  This racket bothers me far more than it ever upset the dog!  So, based on this, I really believe that an atmospheric pressure associated with the thunder is what drives the fear, and not just the sound of the thunder by itself.

If it’s not just the sound of the thunder, what else could it be?  What about the lightening?  Lightning is the visible part of an electrical discharge.  Thunder is the resulting sound from the rapid expansion of the air after this electrical discharge.  Thus, thunder results from lightning.  So, if you see lightning there is always thunder.  You may be too far away to hear it as typically thunder isn’t heard 15-20 miles from the lightning strike. ( New high speed photography of lightening has revealed with certainty that lightening storms aren’t just taking place in the skies above us.  The ground itself is actually sending up charges to the lightening discharge, encouraging it to strike.  I saw it myself on Discovery channel.  In an electrical storm, not only is the electricity above us, it is below us.

This is my supposition:  the animals that are fearful of thunder, aren’t just afraid of  the thunder.  The fear stems from their confused reaction to the heightened electrical activity. Poor Willie is extra terrified if there are tons of bright lightening flashes.  And then

once the lightening discharges there is a resultant loud BOOM from the thunder.  I believe he’s learned to associate the thunder with the electrical storm.  It’s the electrical activity he doesn’t fully understand, but is aware of all around him, that upsets him.

Now, how do I help him? Frankly, there’s only so much one can do to help an animal frightened of storms. But, we can help them to some degree, and I think that’s important. I do recommend using Thundershirts.  I think that’s helped him tremendously.  And I make sure to stay with him if there is an event.  It is not a 100% shift, but it’s a big help.

Why does the Thundershirt help?  Believe me, this is a wonderful invention, and worth every penny.  The garment applies a constant pressure that produces a calming effect.  It’s very much like having a constant hug!  Wouldn’t you be reassured if you got hugged when you were frightened?  It is the same idea behind swaddling infants, and in the research from autistic pioneer, Temple Grandin.  Dr. Grandin found that gentle pressure gave her immense relief from anxiety.  Pressure vests are used by special needs teachers to help calm and focus children suffering from a wide variety of circumstances.  ( website)  There is real science behind the Thundershirt.  Willie will ask for his Thundershirt before storms now.  Really, he does.  And he loves it so much that he wants to wear it all the time.  I kept it on him during some of the dog training classes to help him focus.  When I take him to the dog park at Redwing, I put it on him.  There’s far more stimulation in that environment than where we live, so I believe the Thundershirt helps him to be more confident when going into a new situation.  He loves it so much that if he sees me pick it up, he comes over and sits in front of me asking to wear it.  The dog seriously LOVES to wear garments!

I absolutely recommend you try a Thundershirt if you have a dog that is upset by storms.  I would even go so far as suggest it for new foster dogs.  It can only help support them in their transition.  I also encourage you to pay close attention to your dog’s behavior.  See if you can tune in to what is upsetting your dog.

I will have more suggestions for working with nervous dogs in future issues.  I encourage you to read about more about it, and to use medications only as a last resort.


Visit Patty & her dog, Willie at


HuckSlipperHello! My name is Huckleberry but they call me Huck. My foster mom says Huckleberry was a little long to call when she needed me, so she is sticking with just Huck. My foster dad, wellhe gets confused and calls me Chuck! I don’t care as long as you call me for dinner! Ha, Ha! I just turned one in December and boy am I cute (just look at my picture)!
Sadly, as I was becoming a grown young man, they noticed I was walking a little funny and seemed to be in pain. My owners took me to the vet where they did x-rays. After looking at the x-rays, it was very obvious that I had horrible hip dysplasia. My family tried everything possible, but just could not afford the surgery that I desperately needed. They did the best thing for me and surrendered me to SEVA GRREAT, who agreed to take me in and have the surgery done by Dr. Murphy, who specializes in hip surgeries. My surgery is scheduled for March 2 at Anderson’s Corner Animal Hospital. They were so nice to me during my intake that I’m not even afraid to go back.
Things have been going great in my new foster home! I have two foster brothers and one foster sister. We are all getting along great and they let me play with all their toys. I can tell that the toys at the bottom of the basket haven’t been played with in a long time so I pull them ALL out everyday. My favorites are the bones and my foster moms fluffy slipper (OOPS, that wasn’t in the basket!!) to chew on. I heard my foster mom say she needs to teach me to put my toys away when I’m done. I don’t understand … why would I do that when she puts them away every night before we go to bed?
So, I go in soon to have my surgery. They say I will have to stay extremely calm for several weeks after surgery. I know this recovery period will be hard, but it will all be worth it when I can run and play without any pain. My surgery is estimated to cost at least $5,000, so any donations to SEVA GRREAT would be greatly appreciated. I’ll send another update once I’m back home.
See ya’ soon!

One Volunteer’s Story

image2Yes, we have Goldens! We have two beautiful Goldens, Macey and Jeter (yes, named after Derek Jeter of the Yankees). Six years ago, my wife and I decided to get a puppy. She had always had Rottweilers and I have always wanted a Golden. After a brief conversation we started to look for a Golden puppy. We found a breeder in Gatesville, NC with an 11 week old blonde male. I wanted a blonde (at first) so we jumped in the car and started our journey.

When we arrived, they delivered a crushing blow. When our perspective puppy was out running around that morning he was stolen. We thought we were out of luck, but breeder’s brother also had Goldens. We drove to his farm and found 12 Golden puppies running around! They were all blonde and gold except for one puppy who didn’t wake up. She just laid there and didn’t want to be bothered. She stood out from the rest because she was red. We knew instantly she was the one. She just looked at as and fell back asleep. Yes, we knew she was the one.

Along comes Jeter! In 2010 we decided to get another dog, a Golden, of course (once you have one you need another). Macey was now 3 years old. We wanted a puppy but weren’t sure so we looked into rescuing a Golden. We found Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue in Reading, PA, about 3 hours from our new home in Philadelphia. I contacted them to learn they had a perfect fit, 8 month old female named Charlotte. We hopped in the car with Macey and started our drive.

DVGRR was a field full of Goldens that was just awesome! We went to the meeting cage with Macey to meet Charlotte. Let it suffie to say Macey was not amused with this energetic puppy so we meet anothe Golden female and again Macey was not amused. I asked if they had any 1 year or under males although that’s not exactly what we were looking for. Well she said yes BUT he is a special needs dog. He is 11 month old Tango and he has hip dysplasia and suffered a torn ACL when he was just a few months old. She said that he has been passed over several times because of his past. We talked and decided that this was a challenge we both felt good about trying but we would need Macey’s approval. The volunteer brought Tango out. As soon as I saw him, I fell in love. He was beautiful. Well I was not the only one who loved him, so did Macey! They started to play within seconds and that’s all it took. We now had our second Golden and since that day, these to have been inseparable! The best of friends!

Jeter is the reason my wife and I are involved with Golden Retriever Rescues. Being in the Navy sometimes makes it difficult to do as much as I would like, but I know how just a few hours by one person can greatly help out.

Well, that’s my Golden story and here a picture of them.

— Patrick & Vanessa Abbruzzi