Those of you who are on GBR’s mailing list will have already received our End Of Letter in the mail. This letter is an opportunity for us to let our followers know what we did during the year and to, of course, ask for financial support so that we can continue helping our dogs in 2014. For those of you not on our mailing list, please enjoy our End of Year Letter. We hope, as well, that you will make a donation to help us continue rescuing goldens and golden mixes. Happy Holidays!
Dear Friend of Golden Bond Rescue,
Whoa! You may be thinking “Didn’t I just get one of these letters from Golden Bond Rescue?!” Well, it seems to us as well that only a few weeks ago we were sending a letter like this out even though it’s really been almost a year.
This past year, like every other year, there have been some dogs which have just touched us more than usual. Here are brief bios about three of the dogs who came to us with extreme physical challenges – Peanut, Buster and Duke.
Spotlight on Dogs
Peanut (#2370), a very loving seven month old, has a significant genetic deformity of her lower front legs. As she grew, her ulnae became fixed and stopped growing, though the radii did not. This caused the radii to curve outward.
After consulting an orthopedic surgeon, GBR was given four options: 1) euthanize immediately; 2) leave her as is, and she’d probably live another year, then would need to be euthanized; 3) cut the ulnae to see if the radii would straighten some on their own; or 4) rebuild the legs.
Because of the cost, pain and high probability of infection, GBR did not choose option 4. Neither could we euthanize her without giving her a fighting chance. We elected Option 3 – cutting the ulnae.
On July 17th, Dr. Munjar (Veterinary Surgical Center) performed the surgery, and Peanut has fully recovered and is doing very well. At her final post-surgical visit, follow up x-rays were taken which showed that both radii had in fact straightened some, so there was less curve where they meet the ankles. This was excellent news!
Peanut is able to have her two 15-minute walks a day, plus play with the other dogs living in her foster home. However, if in the future she shows some pain due to deterioration of the ankles, she will need to have her ankles fused. She will still be able to walk, run and play but will have limited movement of her feet. Her small size may be part of the deformity but is a big advantage for her, as there is less stress on her wrist joints than if she were a normal sized Golden.
Buster (#2363) was seven weeks old when he first came to Golden Bond Rescue on May 30, 2013. At about five weeks old, his snout area began to swell and turn red. The diagnosis was “puppy strangles,” also known as canine juvenile cellulitis. The treatment consists of large doses of prednisone along with an antibiotic, but unfortunately, for two weeks after the diagnosis, Buster’s owner failed to give him the medication, so the disease rapidly progressed to the point where the fur and skin on his face and legs began to slough off. (At the time his weight was 5 pounds.) Over the course of several weeks, Buster was put on a hefty dose of prednisone and antibiotics, and had cold laser treatments several times a week. He is now six months old, weighs 45 pounds, and hair is beginning to grow back on his face. The vets who cared for Buster said that he had the worst case of puppy strangles that they had ever seen. The scar tissue that formed under his eyes has pulled his lower eyelids down, so he may need to have surgery to correct it at the time he is neutered.
Duke (#1979) was relinquished to Golden Bond in December of 2009 by a couple of young ladies who picked him up for free from a lady at a supermarket in Southern Oregon. Once they got him home and looked past the cute little six month old puppy with half his front leg gone, they realized that they couldn’t keep him. They contacted Golden Bond Rescue.
While in the womb, Duke’s right front leg had begun to form but then stopped about a couple inches below the elbow. When he arrived in Portland he was seen by a surgeon to see if the leg should be removed. [Many three legged dogs can do quite well.] Unfortunately for Duke, it was also discovered that he only had one structurally sound leg and that was his other front. The knees of both back legs had not formed correctly so they kept popping in and out of the joint; this could be visually seen, for the knees stuck out in funny angles. Sadly, these deformed joints were causing Duke to be constantly in pain. It was determined that surgery was not a good option at this point.
Suspecting that his life expectancy was going to be only six months to a year and due to his super sparkling personality, we decided to keep him under our care (aka permanent foster). With all his troubles, we couldn’t believe what a happy boy he was. Our goal was to make him as comfortable as possible for the few months that he had left. A generous supporter paid for Duke’s artificial leg, which really helped him get around but never quite fit him properly. Skip ahead 3.5 years to June, 2013 and Duke celebrated his fourth birthday, plus he’s being fitted for an even better prosthetic! We credit his amazing survival to his foster mom, Dr. Shaw at Back On Track, Diane Kunckle at Paws Aquatic and his extraordinary acupuncturist – Debra Mulrooney.
A return visit to an orthopedic specialist this summer gave us all hope that with surgery on his rear legs, Duke can look forward to a normal golden life span and he’ll begin looking for a forever home. All the physical therapy Duke has had over the past 3.5 years has strengthened his muscles to the point that they can support his “dodgey” join
Some Stats You Should Know In 2013, GBR took in 100 dogs and adopted out 106 dogs. Even though we took in somewhat fewer dogs than in the preceding several years (this is happening nationwide), our vet costs were way up because a higher proportion of the dogs had moderate to severe physical challenges. This, by the way, is among several things which makes trying to budget our modest non-profit maddeningly difficult.
New Training Programs To more cherry news, there are other ways to assist dogs besides medically, and now we want to tell you very briefly about new efforts we are going to make on behalf of our dogs. GBR has had a terrific track record in placing dogs because we are so careful in evaluating both our dogs and our applicants prior to making a match. Two new initiatives for the coming years will involve foster home training (if you’re a foster home, listen up!) and dog evaluation (ditto if you do “dog evals,” ).
Dog Evaluations If you’ve ever done one, you know that dog evaluations can be tricky because the dogs are usually “not themselves” – they sense something is up. To help insure that all of our volunteers who do dog evaluations are on the same page and feel confident in what they’re doing, we will be partnering with Synergy Behavior Solutions to develop a training package for dog evaluator volunteers. We’re just in the beginning phases, but we know some of the pieces we want to be part of this training: For example, how can you be sure that you’re seeing a friendly, open personality? What is “reactivity,” and what do you look for to see if a dog has it? If you’re using your own dog to assist your evaluation, what steps do you need to follow to help it give insight into your evaluation? Even though we’ve had excellent success in the past, we think this new initiative will make our dog evaluations even better, especially because in recent years we have noticed an increase in the proportion of dogs exhibiting negative behavioral traits.
Foster Home Training We appreciate so much that we have wonderful foster families (never as many as we would like, of course), and a goal we have had in mind for a long time has been to give them some tools they may not have currently to help prepare our dogs for the transition into their forever homes. This new, in-depth training is intended to help the dogs grow so that adopting a dog from us will be even more of a “turn-key” operation than it has been to date. In brief, we plan to use reward-based games to train the dogs in at least the following activities: getting used to being crated; knowing the commands “sit,” “down,” and “come;” walking nicely on a leash; and lastly, giving new people a polite greeting (i.e., not jumping and/or slobbering all over them. Curiously enough, there are actually some people who don’t like that.) We are hopeful both that our already high rate of “customer satisfaction” will increase and that our foster families will appreciate learning some skills they can use with their own dogs.
We Cut to the Chase! There are only so many ways to ask for your money, and that of course is what this letter is about. Much of what we do has costs, although our reliance on volunteers minimizes them, and our new initiatives will have some associated costs as well. We feel fortunate that for the last several years we have not been forced to cut corners on what we can do for our dogs, and it is no exaggeration to say that “it’s all due to you.”
With tongues firmly in our cheeks, we want you to know that your donations go completely “to the dogs!” Seriously, contributions to Golden Bond Rescue are a great way to direct your charitable giving because we are a 100% volunteer staffed organization, and only about 8% of our costs are administrative. Over the last several years, this letter, our end-of-the-year appeal, has raised nearly one-quarter of our annual operating budget – it’s a crucial piece of our fundraising. We know that you’re aware that the end of the tax year falls on December 31st, so we invite you to be as generous as you can in writing a fully tax deductible check made out to “Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon” and mailing it to this address: Golden Bond Rescue, P.O. Box 25391, Portland, OR 97298-0391, or you can donate online by clicking here.
In closing, we want to say, without the slightest hint of flattery, we truly believe that Golden lovers are to humans as Goldens are to dogs: the best of their kind! Please be as generous as you can to help us guarantee our ability to continue our work. We and a whole bunch of dogs THANK YOU SO MUCH! And because we know that it’s highly likely that you volunteer for us as well, we want to say “THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!” for that, too. Oh, and remember that you can donate on-line at our website, www.goldenbondrescue.com.
With sincere wishes for a wonderful holiday season to you and your family (including Goldens and other pets),
The Board of Directors
Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon