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In Memory of our beloved friends....

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them; who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together......."


"...Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you...I loved you so - 'twas Heaven here with you."
---Isla Paschal Richardson

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005



Our Saya, who turned 15 in May, left us on Thanksgiving night. She was my love, my buddy from day one and she never left my side.

The pictures are of her with my son Michael, who was 12 at the time and is now 25. She loved to play with him and chase the many tennis balls he would throw for her. She was 2 at the time we were able to adopt her, and made it to the wonderful age of 15-1/2. As you can see from the picture with me, which was 3 Christmases ago, she was a doll and the sweetest soul.

Up until the day she passed, she loved to chase balls, swim and play with the kids in the neighborhood.

She lost her hearing a couple of years ago, but could always hear our pug, Lucy, when she barked, so they formed a bond of Lucy being her ‘hearing’ for her. (This is them in the sun where we live in WA.)

We have a huge empty hole in our heart, but know she filled our lives with such love and gentleness.

I want to thank your organization for taking her in when the breeder wanted to put her down.

The thought of that loss is unimaginable, and that we were the lucky ones to be able to call her ours, makes all of the heartache and sadness worth every minute.


Peggy S.
Nov 2013


Luke loved veggies and fruits. His favorite was green pepper, but he wasn’t picky … any chopping noise on the cutting board was enough to bring him running into the kitchen. Once there, you couldn’t move left, because that’s where he would plant himself, eyes looking hopefully at yours and following every move of your hands as you chopped away. It got to the point that if you planned to peel a banana, you had to go into another room and shut the door before you cracked it open. And even then, more often than not, you would open the door only to find our long-legged boy standing in the hallway, ears up, tail wagging. We ate a lot of half bananas at our house, after Luke got his cut.

But maybe our favorite image of gentle Luke was him dwarfing our then-4-year-old daughter, as she held a treat in her hands and he waited for her to give it to him. She weighed a fraction of his 75 pounds, and he could bowl her over in an instant if he wanted. But he never did. And she stood, fearless, asking him to sit to receive his treat. It was always an amazing sight, watching the two of them. And he was never far from her, or our son’s, side. That was true to the very end, when he could barely hobble down the hallway because of the pain caused by cancerous tumors pressing on his nerves in his legs. During his last few days, he would flop over on our daughter on the futon we had dragged into the family room, where the kids would sleep each night so they could be close to him, since he could no longer go up the stairs. We were his pack, and he will always be
part of our family.

Scott M. and family
October 2013


Calamity Jane

My dear sweet Calamity Jane went to The Rainbow Bridge on September 25, 2013.  Calamity was rescued by Cil Henson with GBGRR in April of 2006, she was 7 at the time and had already had a life time of neglect and misery.  I became her foster failure in October of 2006.  Oh, a lot of people wanted her but I always found a reason why it would not be a good “fit”.  I believe she knew how much we loved her and spent the next seven years as a happy, well loved dog.  I never expected to get to keep her as long as I did.  She was 14 when she left us.  What a blessing she was to me and my family.  The term “Who Rescued Who?” could not have been more true.

Calamity Jane was not just my dog, she was everyone’s dog.  Everyone loved her.  All the Vets, Techs, Groomers  and of course, everyone at GBGRR.  Everyone loved seeing her at the picnics.  She never missed the Senior Walk.  I love her and miss her.  We will walk together again someday.

Beckie Lamb
Sept 2013




My dear precious Lady left for Rainbow Bridge last night. As an 11 or 12 year old dog, I knew our time together would be relatively short when she came to live with me last fall but it still feels like she left way too soon.

It was a race to see whether heart failure or multiple inoperable tumors would get to her first; heart failure ultimately won. Throughout it all though she was such a perfect friend and companion, so sweet, gentle, well-mannered, and loving toward me and everyone she met, animal or human. And happy. She was always happy.
No matter how bad she felt, as soon as she saw me or anyone else she knew, her tail was wagging like she was a puppy, and her paw was extended in a perpetual greeting. She was such a wonderful companion, friend, and teacher, and I can't imagine 10 years with another dog being any more rewarding than the 10 months I had with her

She changed me, she blessed me every day with her presence in my life, and she'll live in my heart forever.

Tom M.
Aug 2013




Buster Hill was found wandering in Montrose in 2005 and fortunately Golden Beginnings fostered him until he came to live with us. The organization thought he was five, but he always seemed like an old man. He was truly a sweet soul. He had a special affinity for men, and the feeling was mutual. If he were human, we would say he was a good ol' boy. He loved to swim and go for leisurely strolls, but his very favorite occupation was eating. Like many Goldens, he was a little on the portly side, and consequently, we were always watching his weight.

When I knew the end was near and there was no hope for his recovery, I bought a pint of Blue Bell and two big peanut butter cookies. I sat on the floor at the vet's office and let him eat the entire thing. Then I let him go. I can truly say he died happy.

Thank you, Golden Beginnings, for allowing us to know and love
sweet ol' Buster.

Sharon H.
Aug 2013




Sam was found by his foster dad Chuck in 2007, hiding under a Yukon at a car dealership off the highway. He was skinny and scruffy and heartworm positive and about 18 months old. Chuck lured him out with food, took him home to his wife Suzanne and they fostered him for months, even helping him through heartworm treatment.

My husband, Allan, and I were lucky enough to be chosen to provide Sam with his forever home through Golden Beginnings. He was a little skittish at first, afraid of loud noises and sudden moves. He collected our shoes and put them in his bed, but didn’t chew on them. He never took to fetch or swimming and remained terrified of thunder and wary of tennis balls. But he soon relaxed with us and was excited for every morning and every moment of his new life. He loved to travel with us, meet new people, and run on the beach, but he also was thrilled by everyday moments and he was content to curl up on the couch or sit with me on a park bench or take a walk through the neighborhood. He greeted us always when we came home, barked at every passing perceived threat to warn us, enjoyed stuffed animals, and loved and entertained our golden girls, first Mandarin, and then Lily.

He was constantly attentive, hung on our every word, and we talked with him often. He always gave us his paw to hold. When he began seeming short of breath in July 2013, I took him to his doctor, who X-rayed his chest, and I was stunned to learn our sweet happy dog was ravaged by cancer. There was nothing we could do to make him comfortable, and we had to force ourselves to say goodbye to him on July 25, less than a week after that devastating diagnosis. He was only 7 or 8 years old. We thought forever would be longer than five and a half years, but we are grateful for every minute we had with Sam.

Eileen McClelland
Aug 2013



Jackson (aka Jack)

After my first Golden passed away, I was looking for a new best friend and contacted Golden Beginnings. While I met several sweet Goldens through GBGRR, none of them seemed like “my dog”. Then I saw Jack’s picture. I knew he was the one. He was seven months old and had been surrendered to GB by his first Mom when she became ill. I went to visit him at his foster home. He came running in the house, fresh from their pool and hurdled his foster Mom’s sofa. I was in love. Everyone – dogs, cats and people – loved Jack. From the beginning Jack was the sweetest young man in the world. There was not a mean bone in his body. All he ever wanted was to please.

That’s not to say that he couldn’t be a mischievous guy. He was a consummate counter surfer, able to eat an entire rum pound cake off a plate on the counter without leaving a crumb. He loved to chase squirrels. After moving to Santa Fe, NM we got Jack a best friend, Flurrie, and they were best friends. She loved him so. There aren’t many squirrels here so the two dogs took up rabbit chasing. Jack accidentally (I believe) caught a baby rabbit one day and brought to me as if to say, “fix it”.

He loved water whether it was a pond, lake, a horse trough or his kiddy pool. But most of all he liked to run and play with Flurrie. And he was my best friend. He seemed to know if I was down or not feeling well and could always cheer me up. Finally, at 12 years old severe arthritis slowed him down. He was still a happy dog with good spirit. He was excited to go on our walks, even though he trailed behind. Then one day, he had what we think was a stroke and he crossed Rainbow Bridge on May 3rd of this year. A little bit of me went with him. Yet his spirit is with us still. Flurrie and I miss our good friend.

Wendy J.
July 2013



Danni (aka Dani)

August 10, 1998 to May 28, 2013
My parents lost their Brittany in March 2009. My father started hunting for another dog almost immediately. With the help of our vet, he decided on a Golden. We started looking and happened upon Golden Beginnings. Boy, does the name fit because it was.

We drove to Houston in July. As we approached the gathering of Goldens and their people, my mother exclaimed that a particular dog had to be the one they were getting, and she was. It was love at first sight. Danni and my father were constant companions until his death in October. Since my mother had health issues, I moved in with her, and Danni became mine. She woke me up every morning — rain, shine, sleet or snow — so that we could go walking. She went with me almost everywhere, even into the bathroom if I did not close the door completely. If I did not take her with me, she was the first one to meet me at the door. People would stop us on our walks to tell me how well behaved she was, how beautiful, etc. The world seems to be a nicer place with her by my side.

This morning while I was walking, I took a route that we had not taken in a long time. A lady, whom I did not know, stopped her car and told me that they had missed seeing my dog. Of course she felt very bad when I explained that Danni was no longer here. I imagine her in heaven with my father once again, and yes, they are talking walks.

Patti W.



Sandy (formerly Mercedes)

Sweet Sandy first came to Golden Beginnings in 2006 and was welcomed back into our program six years later when her owner passed away in 2012. Sandy was energetic for a ten year old. She was curious, and at first handled stairs easily and enjoyed chasing squirrels. She gradually lost her hearing, and her arthritic hips and back began to slow her down. She also developed high blood pressure. Still, she was walking about a mile a day, and was always the first one to greet her foster mom when she got home from work in the evening.

Then one evening she developed a sudden illness, and despite our best efforts could not be saved. Sandy was loved by all who knew her, and will be missed. Many thanks to the fosters and other volunteers who stepped forward to give this sweet girl a warm bed, plenty of food and lots of affection each time she needed them.

Sandy’s Golden Beginnings family
May 2013




In Celebration of Cinda

We made the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to Cinda after learning that her cancer had spread and would forever affect her quality of life. Cinda came into our lives in 2008, when she was about 6 years old. Our most recent foster had just been adopted, and Cil Henson handed us the leash of our next foster: “Here,” she said, “Take Cinda.”

Cinda earned her Miss Manners nickname that same day. She was appalled that our other dogs were on the furniture, and barked at them to get down. She also barked at them to hurry up when they didn’t come inside quickly enough. She always came immediately when called, and never even entered the kitchen without being invited. Without being taught or reminded, she’d pick up her bones and pile them in an out-of-the-way area. She was affectionate and loved people.

Randy thought he was being sly by trying to hide Cinda behind his chair at adoption events, but we all knew what he was doing. He cried when I presented him with her adoption contract that Christmas.

At first, Cinda was not happy about new fosters coming into our home. She eventually accepted them but refused to interact. That changed in her last year. She began welcoming new fosters with a wagging tail. Most notably, there was Bentley. He was silly, crazy in love with Cinda. Bentley was the only dog with whom Cinda ever shared a bed. Not just once, but almost all the time. Bentley passed away in January, and we’re sure that he eagerly welcomed his best gal to the Rainbow Bridge.

Cinda and Brandy would happily race each other to get the coveted spot beneath my desk each morning. Most days, Cinda won. We hope she is happily racing now, pain-free, her gorgeous soft white coat flowing in the breeze. We will always love and miss you, Cinda.

Robin and Randy Miller
May 2013



It brings sadness to our hearts to have to tell you our dear Jake (“Jakie” as he known to our 2 year grandson) made his way to Rainbow Bridge last week. His 13 ½ year old body just gave out. He had a wonderfully joyous, long and happy life. He brought love and joy to ours, and we will miss him. Jackson, his sweet brother, is also going through his own grief, but seems to be handling better than us two legged family members. Their little buddy Landon (our grandson who is with the dogs daily) asks for “Jakie” every day. How blessed we were to have Jake in our lives for the past 4 ½ years. It is comforting knowing he can once again run and chase balls without falling and without pain.

Thank you GBGRR and to Golden Retriever Camp.

Terri and Brian F
May 2013



There's another Golden Angel at the Rainbow Bridge today and a new empty space in my heart. Talbot lost his battle with kidney disease and is now pain free and healthy, and away from thunder and other scary noises. I will never forget his big brown eyes looking up at me with love from the very first day I met him in 2008.

He was emaciated, intact, heavy heartworm positive and the sweetest boy ever! After nursing him back to health, I couldn't let him go and I adopted him in early 2009. He has been my faithful companion ever since. I will miss his gentle soul more than words can say.

Midge Leonard
April 2013


Trooper (formerly Sierra)

It is with heavy hearts that we wanted to let you know that our beautiful 'baby' Trooper passed away yesterday at the age of 14 years old. When we first contacted Golden Beginnings, we were going to see about fostering him. At that time (Dec 2000) he had been hit by a car, had heart worms and weighed about 50lbs, full grown and our vet gave him a life expectancy of 10 years. We met him at the foster's home and after about 10 seconds KNEW he was supposed to be a member of our pack. He was the most playful, gentle, kind spirited dog we could have ever imagined. He helped babysit our 4 kids (all of their first words were "Trooper"!) had 3 different addresses and made countless friends over the years. Thank you so much for the opportunity all of those years ago to have such a beloved member of our family!

Jennifer and Clayton M.
April 2013



In Remembrance of Ben (formerly Conner)

Benjamin came to GBGRR in the summer of 2005 as “Conner”. Found wandering the streets of Dayton, Texas, he was nearly 25 lbs underweight and heartworm positive. His hips and shoulders clearly visible. He was a mess.

We learned of Ben thru an email after inquiring about adopting, and paid a home visit to his foster Rechelle even though Ben was very sick and still months away from being ready to go home with a family. That was providing he responded to, and survived, the heartworm treatment. Benjamin practically climbed into our laps and lay his chin on my shoulder. That was it. It would seem that we had been chosen, and from that day forward we prepared for his homecoming. We visited Ben often thru his treatment and recovery, strengthening our family bond before finally bringing Ben home in early November 2005. He was an instant hit, our 3-year-old Black Lab, Sampson, was elated to have a brother, and the two of them proceeded to wrestle daily, often moving furniture in their romp. Life was grand, sweet, silly and always filled with mischief with these two. Never was an alpha status established between them; it was perfect harmony.

In March of 2011 Ben began losing his appetite and having difficulty eating, often choosing not to. The doctors at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists performed upper and lower GI radiology, and motion studies on Ben, and he was diagnosed with an esophageal mass. Because of Ben’s age, estimated at 13, and the incredibly invasive surgery required to biopsy the mass due to its positioning anteriorly, a Leiomyosarcoma or Leiomyoma (benign) tumor was suspected but not verified. We took Ben home and made him comfortable for what we all believed to be his final weeks.

To all of our amazement Ben rallied quickly, and while still showing mild signs of illness and aging, returned to our happy, silly fully functioning and energetic boy for another 2 years.

In early March 2013 Ben began to lose his appetite and began vomiting his food daily. In mid-March he began vomiting blood and quit eating all together. After 3 days of no food and growing weaker, we made the difficult decision to relieve him of his struggle, and on Friday March 22, 2013 resting in our arms, he made his way to the Rainbow Bridge.

Benjamin will forever hold a special place in our hearts and family. He was the picture of appreciation and devotion, sweet, gentle and kind to all. He is greatly missed. We were fortunate to be Ben’s forever home for a brief but full 8 years, and while it’s “so long” for now to Ben, we will look for him at the bridge, that sweet face and those gentle eyes will be our beacon.

Russell& Mary Gonzalez
Houston, Texas
March 2013



It had not been long after losing Owen, my first golden adopted from Golden Beginnings, that I visited Midge's home to see Astro. I did not believe I was ready to adopt. However, as we all know it happens, I was immediately captured by this sweet, loving personality and could not leave there without him.

We bonded that very first day and the love continued to grow deeper with each month and year. I have had dogs all of my life, but this relationship was simply the most special I have ever experienced. I am sure he was grieving the loss of his owner as I was grieving for Owen.

We forged ahead. He was very overweight at 99 pounds so we set out to get rid of some of that fat. He achieved a healthy weight of 79 pounds. It was funny to me that he cared nothing for the water or retrieving a ball, stick or object of any kind. I admonished him for being an embarrassment to his clan and tried to shame him into at least pretending to like it. Attempted to get him into the pool and he would not go past the first step. Took him to the dog park and while the other retrievers were racing into the water swimming vigorously to retrieve the balls being thrown, he tip toed in up to his "knees" and then backed out.

I always worried that he had no interests other than me, our walks and also going in the car anytime, anywhere, but that was enough to satisfy him. The most endearing behavior of this sweet boy was the way he would literally be sitting on his haunches facing the back door every evening when I would arrive home. I am sure he had not been sitting there all day but had that internal clock and knew when I would be arriving. In the beginning I considered the fact that he might be hearing the garage door opening, however, after losing his hearing he continued greeting me in this way.

This past year was one of poor health having painful arthritis, laryngeal paralysis, and recently diagnosed with a brain tumor that had caused seizures. It was so very difficult letting him go. My heart aches and am very lonesome for my best friend and confidant. He is now whole and healthy. I am sure l will love another but there will always be this separate place reserved in my heart with love only for my special Astro.

Kay M.
February 2013



Remembering Bentley

Bentley (Ben) came to Golden Beginnings in July 2012 and was immediately placed into hospice care. His litany of health issues included being mostly deaf and blind, impaired mobility due to hip and spinal issues, jaw problems that impacted his ability to eat, an atrophied kidney and a tumor in his spleen. He was also heartworm positive, and severely emaciated and dehydrated after having been found wandering in a local park.

As his foster family, it was so easy to look beyond all of that. In fact, it was love at first sight. We were so blessed to get to know the funny, happy, silly, loving sides to Ben. He would simply smile and roll over for a belly rub whenever he lost his balance. In fact, he’d smile happily whenever he caught us looking at him.

Ben also loved the ladies. He would stand muzzle-to-muzzle with our female Golden Cinda, preening like Casanova and making “googly eyes” at her. He’d squeeze onto her bed to cuddle, and seek her out to calm her during thunderstorms. Outside, he’d follow her everywhere.

Ben loved car rides and walks. But more than anything, he loved being with Randy. When Randy was home, the two were pretty much inseparable.

Ben left us too soon due to kidney failure complicated by pneumonia. The giant, over-stuffed bed we bought to give comfort to his tall, lanky body now sits empty on our bedroom floor. He brought so much love and laughter to our lives, and will always be missed.


Robin and Randy Miller
January 2013