New Beginnings

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My Name Is Bella

please click the above link to read her story

Maggie Update

It has been almost a year since we welcomed this beautiful Golden Retriever named Maggie into our home. It has been a wonderful year and she has brought our family so much joy. We rescued Maggie last summer (2011) after losing our beloved Golden named Bindi in the Spring of 2011 to cancer. Bindi’s sudden death left a huge void in our family and we knew that she would want us to rescue another Golden in need. We contacted GCGRR and Yvette worked with us until we found just the right dog. We had very specific criteria because we have children, another small “senior” dog and cats. We met a couple of different dogs before Yvette introduced us to Maggie. Maggie came to us sort of sad and needed some FUN and activity in her life. We have given her PLENTY of that!

Maggie gets walked everyday around our neighborhood – sometimes even twice a day! She loves her walks and we have made huge progress in her leash etiquette. Maggie got along with our other dog named Ernie right from the start; we are continuing to work with Maggie on getting along/socializing with other dogs in our neighborhood. It took us about 6 months to get Maggie used to our cats. Our cats lived upstairs for about 6 months until Maggie figured out that they are part of our family and that she does not need to chase and bark at them everytime she sees them. That was definitely a learning experience for all of us but it was SO worth it because they are all BEST friends now and we catch the cats snuggling up with Maggie all the time! Maggie also loves to swim! She has a favorite frisbee that she loves to play catch with out back and/or loves to dive in after in the pool. The kids love to take Maggie swimming and we do that as often as we can.

We feel so fortunate to have found Maggie when we did. She has become such a HUGE part of our family and it’s so hard for us to believe that it’s only been one year. We are so thankful to Yvette for truly listening to what we were looking for and for matching our family with the exact, right dog for us. She is amazing and we are forever grateful.

With much respect for all that you do,

The Bickel Family

Dustin’s Story from Len, Bill, and sister Golden Retriever “Rain”

Well it’s hard to believe, but we are celebrating Dustin’s new life and 3 month anniversary of coming into our hearts and home.

In his former life, he was relegated to living outdoors 24/7/365 in a pen without any companionship, toys, shade, or protection from the elements, other than a dog house that was too small for him to seek sanctuary in.  He so wanted to be with his family, but was rewarded with beating, kicking, and ongoing abuse.  Finally, neighbors could no longer endure watching the undeserved hostility, and called in the authorities, along with Gulf Coast Golden Retriever Rescue to save our boy.

After receiving the protection he needed from GCGRR, and John, his new foster Dad, Dustin was finally safe, but very scared and unsure of himself.  He had no idea of what it meant to have a comfortable indoor home, regular meals, going for walks, having toys, and lots of love.  But with John’s support, he slowly began to experience the life that every dog deserves, without fear of being abused.

Our story goes back to the sad day that we lost out 13 year old Labrador Retriever 19 months ago.  We missed him so much and the house felt empty without him. But we knew that there would be another dog soon in our future.  Shortly thereafter we adopted our female Golden Retriever,”Rain”.  She is so sweet and loving, as Goldens are, and our house felt like a home again with her in our life.  We had always wanted to have a second dog however, and with Rain’s arrival we knew our next pup would be another Golden.  So, we searched the Golden rescue sites until we found Dustin, and our hearts melted when we read his story.  We knew that we would be able to provide him with the forever home and safe haven that he deserved.  Without hesitation, we contacted Yvette and John, and made arrangements to meet with Rain the following weekend.  That sealed the deal and the rest has become history.

After having such a rough beginning, Dustin is now thriving and learning what it is to be a happy boy, that at 1 ½ years old is finally able to experience the joy of being a puppy, having toys, a playmate to romp with, learning how to swim, and being showered with lots of love and affection, without the fear of being mistreated and abused.  We love him so much, and he has completed our pack!

When Dustin first arrived here, he was still a little unsure, and very needy, needing to be constantly petted and next to one of us.  He is now settled in, is more independent, and has his favorite place to hang out in the kitchen bay window where he can keep tabs on the whole house.


After having his morning walk with Rain, he knows that breakfast will follow when we get home and he anxiously waits for it with Rain.  Nap time follows with periodic trips outside to take care of business, but he knows now that the summers here are meant to come back inside.

Shortly after he came to live with us, we were outside playing in the pool and it began to thunder and rain.  Dustin would not come inside, but we finally coaxed him in.  After some though, we concluded that in his former life, enduring the heat of the summer outside, he probably enjoyed rainstorms because they cooled him off, and got the ground wet and muddy for him to roll in and cool off.

Both he and Rain love to sit and lie down for treats together, and the large backyard with lots of plants and places to go on patrol has become a great place for him to run. Dustin has also learned to swim in the pool, but is still a little unsure of himself, although he is very strong, but prefers to be carried to the deep end so that he can swim back to the stairs.  Last weekend however, we put him in a floaty, and discovered that this was his calling.  He could relax, get wet and stay cool while hanging out with us, what a life!

Dustin has also become very protective of his new home and lets us know when there are strangers on the street or approaching the front door.  Along with adventure rides in the car, snuggling up in Bill’s lap on the chair in the evening, and curling up on the bed for the night, Dustin is becoming a content guy, and we hope that his former life has faded from his memory.

We just want to thank GCGRR for rescuing our boy, and providing a safe haven for him, until he came to live with us forever.  Dustin also wants to thank you for saving his life, and giving him a new chance at love, happiness and companionship.  That is something that he so deserved, and that we all want.

From Jim and Deb….. 

Somehow, despite all our efforts, this darling, red-haired boy was destined to be ours.  My husband, Jim, and I told ourselves we could foster and “not adopt”…after all, we already had one Golden who was so needy of attention and who, we didn’t think, would tolerate sharing that attention with another of her breed.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  It all began when we decided to take our Golden, Sheba, to the Party in the Park – a fun, festive event for dogs and their owners.  It was there that we discovered the newly formed Golden Retriever Rescue.  After talking with Yvette and a couple from the Rescue who had successfully fostered 15 dogs, we signed up to be fosters…we did not want to adopt..we just wanted to foster.  Twenty four hours after that, Yvette was sitting in our living room conducting a home visit, petting Sheba and telling us about, Einstein…  Einstein, the product of a violent, domestic abuse situation so serious that this confused and frightened Golden had to be immediately removed and surrendered to Animal Control.  There he was met by a compassionate and Golden knowledgeable Animal Control Officer who contacted Yvette knowing that her Rescue would welcome him, make sure he received the best care and work to find him the proper home and thus creating Shelter space for another needy dog.  Would we be open to fostering this precious Golden with the soulful eyes who had some issues, she asked.  Fear of thunder, loud noises, separation anxiety…  Jim and I looked at each other and knew what the other was thinking…been there, done that, piece of cake, so of course we would!

Right after Thanksgiving holiday, Einstein arrived.  He jumped out of Yvette’s car and into our hearts…  It was all over for us…  He wouldn’t be leaving.  Despite several weeks of denying it, we were classic foster failures.  I wouldn’t even let Yvette put him on Pet Finder!  So much for our “fostering and not adopting”.   As for Einstein and Sheba…after a few growls and some posturing, they are best buddies. They love to play tag and Sheba’s taught him how to beg, jump on the bed and be a very, large “couch potato”.    That’s our girl dog!  But Einstein’s also learned that he loves fetching sticks, lying by a campfire, romping through the woods and exploring new places and smells.  Best of all, though, Einstein loves being in a safe, quiet home where he knows he is secure and deeply loved.  Thank you, Yvette and all the wonderful Rescue Volunteers, for saving our boy and for gifting us with his presence in our lives.

From Mom and Dad, Jan and Brian C….. 

Brody has something to tell you….

Dear Aunt Yvette!

“Why I think I’ve died and gone to H-E-A-V-E-N, and I’m not talkin’ about the Golden Bridge Heaven!  Woo hoo!  I am so happy in my new home!  Mom and Dad love me to death, although, at times, they call me “Brody Lee” because my front paws and long nose surf the counter for whatever may smell yummy!  Have scored a couple of times and I hate to say it, but mom and dad are getting smarter every day.  Not much left on the counters any more.  They gave me a middle name for times when I misbehave.  They must think it scares me when they use that tone of voice with me.  (It does, but I don’t let them know that!)  Man, the back yard is great!  I can watch the birds and run wild with my toys.  My two Yorkie friends on the other side of the fence already love me and I race back and forth with them…that’s how I keep myself on the slender side! Walks around the neighborhood are a treat!  I’ve made so many friends and everybody thinks I’m so cute. Oh, but I AM!  Miss Kitty, she’s okay….she’s old so I think she needs more time to get used to me.  I’m confident that we will be friends before too long.  I want to thank my Foster Mom and Dad for taking such good care of me when they were fostering.  I think I’m a better dog because of them and although I’m in my new forever home, I think about them once in a while with a smile on my face.  Can’t wait to see you and collect a hug and a kiss!  Oh, by the way, I have lots of aunts and uncles who shower me with love and attention.  All in all, I’m the luckiest dog in the whole world!

Hugs and kisses,

Brody Lee

P.S.  Mom will send more pictures and keep you up to date on current events.  She is a little busy at work right now so when she has some extra time,  she’ll be in touch.  I don’t mind, Dad brings me everywhere.  I am the  golden child!

Miles and Zoe’s Story

By: Miles

Do you believe in fate?  I didn’t always.  I could not believe I was destined to be roaming the streets, scared and lonely.  I certainly didn’t deserve to be in a high kill shelter.   That was just a little over one year ago and my life has changed forever.

My name is Miles.  My Aunt Yvette, my godmother, named me after she rescued me from the shelter.  She said that Miles meant soldier in Latin, peaceful in German and that she knew in her heart that I wandered miles and miles before I found her.  Once I found her, I was forever safe and destined to reach my potential.  We had a good talk that night.

Aunt Yvette interviewed several families before she picked mine.  She only wanted the best for me – the hard times were over.  I promised her I would make her proud.  She promised me that I would be forever loved.

I just celebrated my third birthday.  The past year in my forever home was amazing. .  Mom and Dad took me to school so I could meet friends that play as nice as I do.  I did really well in school and passed my Canine Good Citizen test with flying colors!  I also aced my therapy pet test two weeks later. Mom and Dad take me to visit a neighborhood nursing home every Sunday afternoon. The ladies there say I’m handsome and a perfect gentleman.

My best friend is my little baby sister, Zoe.   Mom, Dad and I adopted Zoe from Rescue just a few weeks ago. Zoe is always at my side and is ready to play.  She is beautiful, loveable and all puppy.  She’s my little girl and I’m going to teach her to be a Canine Good Citizen one day.

Since Zoe came into our lives, our family is truly complete.  We share everything from squishy toys to Daddy’s lap.  We swim, play tug, hug big time and turn heads when we walk side by side together.  We ruff each other and every day is a golden blessing, just like us.

Abby’s Story

By: Abby

HI! I am very photogenic aren’t I?  Well, that was not the case, not so very long ago.   A few months ago, I was found sick and starving, all alone, locked outside on a lanai at an abandoned house…I kept looking inside the house…but no one was there…for days…no one was there.  I remember being very scared and would cower and try to hide when someone tried to come near me but when the people from Golden Rescue came they had kind voices and gentle hands and they picked me up and whisked me away right into the capable hands of my Veterinarian.  He did lots of tests on me and gave me some medicine to start me on my way to good health.  Next, my Foster Parents Deb and Earl came into my life and whispered in my ear that I was safe and that they with the other volunteers were working to find me the most excellent Forever Home that any Golden could ever want.  Well after a few weeks under their wonderful care, I finally arrived at my new home.  OH, it was LOVE at first sight..and sniff, of course!!  I was so, so very happy.  As soon as my Foster Dad kissed me goodbye and pointed me to my new parents..…I ran full speed into the lap and open arms of my Daddy, Lyle.

My Mommy, Sue was taking pictures.   My new Mom said that I was SO Beautiful, SO good, and SO very sweet…just the PERFECT GOLDEN GIRL!   Then she said LET’S GO SHOPPING!  HOLY COW…what a trip.  They let me go up and down every aisle in my now favorite pet store and pick out one of everything.  Daddy and Mommy said that after what I went through in my first 3 years that they promised to spoil me for the rest of all my years.  I sure liked the sound of that so I picked out the BIGGEST bag of dog food that I could find because I figured it would take me forever to eat it all and I wanted to be with them FOREVER.

Well, many months have passed since that day and today you can see that my Mom and Dad have made sure that I have not only regained my health, but have helped me learn to trust people again and have helped me gain back my self confidence.  I know that I will NEVER be mistreated again, that I will NEVER know hunger again, that I will always be totally and completely loved AND that I will ALWAYS be allowed to run full speed and jump into their laps ANYTIME I want to cuddle—which is just about all the time!

Like I said in my “I’m in the driver’s seat now” picture, I AM HOME…finally AND FOREVER!!!