A phrase attributed to John Lennon (but coined by author Alan Saunders) — “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” — epitomizes GBR’s 2023 year. The heroics of our volunteers this past year can only be compared to the Avengers’ Ironman or the Justice League’s Superman. Before introducing you to a few “standout” rescues, let’s briefly discuss the tall buildings our volunteers leaped in a single bound this year.
We began 2023 with a strong rescue plan which was to have included rescuing 50 dogs from South Korea, but then –POW – we were presented with 69 dogs. We had hoped to finish bringing over the last of our 30 China goldens (18 were left at the end of 2022) and then –WHAM – we managed to guide the 18, plus an additional 22 goldens, through the labyrinth of government regulations (both USA AND China) for a total of 40 (some are shown here to the right). Lastly, we had set our local dog estimate at 60, and then –W00f – the calls came flooding in so, our intake/foster volunteers and foster homes put on their capes and their utility belts and managed to help 111 local dogs! This brought our overall total for the year to an astounding 220!!!! SHAZAM – Thus 2023 broke all past yearly intake records by 60 dogs! (We’ve used an extraordinary number of exclamation marks in this paragraph, but this year has been über extraordinary and deserves each one!)
Now that you know how busy we’ve been, let’s introduce you to three distinct rescues that we feel are good exemplars of the work we did in 2023: Daniel #3985, “A Plethora of Litters”, and Brimley #3916:
Daniel is a three-year old yellow lab that came to us from our rescue partner, SY, in South Korea. After being found as a stray in Korea, he was taken to a high kill shelter where he weighed in at a “whopping” 50 pounds and tested positive for heartworm. Knowing that SY had connections with a rescue in the USA (GBR), the shelter reached out to her hoping Daniel could find a forever home in the West. Without GBR’s help, Daniel would have been euthanized 10 days after entering the shelter. Upon his Seattle arrival, his foster mom began experimenting with various diets until she found one that helped Daniel gain weight and would support him through the four months of heartworm treatment. (The treatment involves a series of steroids, antibiotics, injections, and plenty of rest.) By the end of his treatment, his foster family couldn’t let him go, so they adopted him. This is a short statement they shared with SY: “…Most of all we’ve found him to be a gem of a fellow. He is SO sweet, attentive, smart, and devoted. He is also a very well-behaved family member. We have totally fallen in love with him and decided to adopt him.” We commend and heartily thank Daniel’s new family for caring for him all these months and for giving him a place to unpack his bags.
A Plethora of Litters
Our 2023 litter adventure began mid-December of 2022, when we accepted two pregnant goldens (Honey and Heidi) from a puppy mill located in Ohio. Both girls were in terrible health, and we were worried that one or both might die during labor. Honey was the first to deliver at the end of December 2022 and had 10 puppies. Sadly because of her poor health, she was unable to nurse the puppies and only three survived (Blue, Red and Yellow). In early 2023, Heidi had her litter of eight puppies (seen in the photo at the left; the red tint is from their heat lamp) and, miracles of miracles, all of them survived; however, they all experienced several bouts of intestinal problems which resulted in GBR having to wean them early.
A few months later, SY offered us Romeo and Juliet plus their litter of six puppies. Romeo flew early followed by Juliet as soon as her puppies were weaned. When the puppies reached four months of age (mid-June), three GBR volunteers flew to South Korea to escort them to the USA. To the right, is Scout #3844 one of Juliet’s puppies.
Then in early July, SY once again asked us to take another litter of six puppies as well as their mom and dad, Kate and Leo, plus Abbey, their nine month old puppy from an earlier litter. As with Romeo and Juliet, Kate, Leo and Abbey arrived first, followed by the puppies as soon as they became four months old. The puppy to the left is Willikers #4000, one of Kate and Leo’s brood.
All 13 South Korean puppies and 11 Ohio puppy mill puppies went directly to their forever homes. Parents Kate, Leo, Romeo, Juliet, Honey, and Heidi have also found their forever homes. A happy triumph all around!
When GBR first took Brims (chocolate lab), he had just turned one year old. He was a local rescue and a case that appeared, at first, to be a simple, straight-forward rescue from his owner. Initially, his owner had taken him to the Oregon Humane Society for release but because OHS was full to the brim (no pun intended), they had no place for him and could only offer euthanasia. His owner reported that he had urinary crystals that she had been unable to cure. While Brim and his owner waited, OHS personnel called GBR to ask for help. Of course, we took him and then the “fun” began. His owner had assured us that his excessive peeing and water consumption had been diagnosed as being related to urinary crystals. Because of several other health factors that cropped up, e.g., a severe kidney infection, his big health issue was not diagnosed until 1.5 months later: a congenital portosystemic liver shunt.
In a nutshell, when a liver shunt is present, nutrient-rich blood from the intestines can bypass the liver, allowing undesirable compounds to enter the general blood circulation. Thus, unfiltered blood was being pumped from Brimley’s colon directly into the blood flowing out of the heart.
This condition leads to ammonia and toxins building up in the brain, a small liver, oversized kidneys, bladder stones, reoccurring urinary tract infections and eventually seizures. The ammonia fooled his brain into thinking he was thirsty, which caused him to drink almost continuously and then pee almost non-stop. His brain had also become enveloped in a “fog,” which resulted in him acting as if he were a 15-year-old dog instead of a one-year-old. His condition could have been medically managed, which would have given him a life expectancy of only two years.
In early October, Brims had corrective surgery which, we hope, will close off the shunt over the next couple of months. If successful, his blood will go directly into the liver and will be filtered before being sent back to the heart.
How You Can Become a Paladin for Rescue
Now is the time we ask you to open your hearts and wallets to help us prepare for the surprises awaiting us in 2024. No amount of planning can prepare us for litters of puppies or special medical conditions like Brimley’s.
Our greatest expense, as it has been in past years, is veterinary expenses. As the price of bread, milk, shoes, cable, etc., continues to rise, so do veterinary costs. The average cost for us to provide medical care for each dog has reached $1,800. As a comparison, the average cost per dog in 2006 was $800 for medical care!
For those of you who have helped us in the past, the opportunities to donate remain the same. However, to those of you new to donating to GBR, here are ways you can painlessly donate:
Mail a check to Golden Bond Rescue, PO Box 25391, Portland, OR 97298
We now have our Virtual Christmas tree live on our website. Go to the tree and donate to decorate it with Christmas balls, presents, toys, snowflakes, or twinkling lights. You can even dedicate your donation to a loved one. Here is a link to follow: https://goldenbondrescue.com/givingtree/.
For those of you who have retirement accounts with annual required minimum distributions (RMD), consider donating it to GBR. A simple email or call to your IRA advisor is all that is required.
Before closing this letter, we wish to remember two of our long-time supporters and three-time return adopters Janet and Floyd St. Clair. Janet and Floyd lost their lives in the Maui fire this past August. In 2016, they sold their home in Vancouver, WA and moved to their retirement dream home in Lahaina, HI, located just a short drive from Lahaina’s historic village. Over the years, the St. Clairs adopted from GBR Honeysuckle #316 and Matilda #254 in 2002, then Honey #2332 in 2013. We’re grateful to them for the love they gave to three of our rescue goldens and we’re saddened by the tragic ending of their lives.
A Special Thank You
We’d like to say a ginormous “THANK YOU” to every volunteer who touched the lives of the dogs we rescued this year. Although you may not have physically touched one of the 220 dogs, the hours spent on the phone arranging transportation, or searching for a foster home, or cleaning a crate, or one of the many, many other volunteer jobs involved in keeping GBR running, is so, so appreciated. GBR has grown rapidly over the past decade, which equates to being able to rescue more dogs. Without our dedicated, hard-working volunteers, 4,000+ dogs would not have found their loving forever homes.
From all of us at Golden Bond Rescue, we wish you, your family, and your furry loved ones a happy and safe holiday season. Thank you in advance for your financial support. Oh, and remember to buy your 2024 GBR Calendar that can be found in our Store … https://goldenbondrescue.com/product/calendar-2024/. What a great gift!