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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



Dear sweet Dickens. So goofy and playful and fun to be with. You made us laugh every day. Such a sweet snuggler and always a bright face perking up to welcome us as we arrived home. Such a wonderful friend and soul mate. How lucky we were to be your family.

Dickens didn't just walk, he pranced! Bouncing along, enjoying the speedy pace. Loved car rides, especially those going to those special lakes or playdates with Callie and Reese. Dickens would trail behind Reese like a happy puppy, as Reese walked around the garden, and when Reese stopped to sniff a good spot, Dickens would look over toward us, grinning, as if to say "Look how good I am being, aren't you proud of me?!"

We were truly proud and cherished every minute. He gave us such love and enjoyment. What a treasure he was and we are so privileged to have been able to share our lives with him.

Christine and Brian
December 2015


My beloved Ms. Penny brought so much joy into our home. She liked tennis balls, but loved her football the most. She has been my best companion, always by my side as I was always there for her. She now waits for me by the "Rainbow Bridge" where one day I will join her. I miss you Penny with all my heart.

Love, Gary H.
December 2015


We adopted Angel in July 2005. We knew that her former owner, who had been recently widowed, was looking for a home for Angel. Unfortunately, when we first heard about her, we had another dog that was fighting cancer and we were not able to take in another pet. In July, just days after our dog lost her battle, we learned that Angel had been placed with Golden Beginnings and was still looking for her forever home. I called, filled out the application and four days later we met Angel at her foster home nearby and brought her home to live with us. She was around eight years old at that time, considered a senior dog. However, she was full of energy and settled right into a routine of two walks a day. A very loving, sweet-natured companion, Angel could also get into trouble. She loved to dig large holes in our flower beds and chase rabbits. One day while walking on our greenbelt, I met another dog walker with a large spotted short-haired dog. The owner recognized Angel and introduced me to "Dolly, Angel's puppy." Apparently, Angel surprised her former owners just a few months after they had rescued her with a litter of eleven pups. Some were spotted, some black coated, one or two looked like Angel and they were all healthy. I was so surprised and looked at Angel who looked at me as if to say, "yes, it's true but no more puppies!"

The years passed and Angel started to suffer from arthritis. It slowed her down a bit but she still wanted to go out for walks and would stalk the squirrels and rabbits on the greenbelt. Along the way, Angel spent some time at Gulf Coast Veterinary Clinic; once for pancreatitis and once for pneumonia. When she was 14 years old, she was hit with vestibular neuritis that prevented her from standing or walking. With the help of our excellent local vet and Gulf Coast, we nursed her through it and she got back on her feet after several weeks of needing a sling to go outside. Amazing dog! When I started feeling a twinge of arthritis in the morning, I only had to look at Angel, who was up and ready for her walk, to stop feeling sorry for myself.

When Angel reached her 18th year, we had to make some difficult decisions. Her heart was still strong but the rest of her body was crippled by the arthritis. We managed it with anti-inflammatory drugs for several months but then she developed problems swallowing. On April 10, our vet came to our home and after a nice morning walk, Angel slept away with his help.

Everyone on the greenbelt knew Angel and were in awe when I would tell them how old she was. She still had a gorgeous red coat with just some white around her muzzle. Someone mentioned checking out her DNA. So we did. She was mostly Golden but she shared some genes with King Charles Cavalier Spaniels. The biggest surprise was that there was one pure bred Shih Tzu in her family tree.

We miss her so very much. In her honor, we think it is very appropriate to place an angel on the Golden Beginnings Tree of Hope.

Alice L.
November 2015


Ada's favorite thing in life was being loved on by her humans. She followed us around the house or checked on where we were in the house. I would sit on the floor with her and stroke her face, and she would respond by pawing at my arms or nudging her nose at my hands, so that I would not stop. When we were both at home, she would often 'triangulate' so that she was positioned between the two rooms where we were.

Ada lived at her own pace. She was not an energetic lady in her old age, and walks with Ada were short and slow. In the last couple months, we measured the walks by how many house links she would pass. "Ada did three houses today." Or, "Ada only did two houses and then became a statute until we turned around." She was a champion sleeper, which suited us just fine because she was happy at home when we went to work. She had three beds in the house, but her favorite was the one by the couch we used most.

Ada was an extremely gentle soul, and we loved this about her. She wanted to be where we were. She was a marshmellow with humans, and had a knack for identifying which new person would be one to love on her. When we got her (about age 11? 12?) she was already mostly deaf and partially blind, which was actually part of her charm because communicating with Ada meant getting really close to her face and telling her what a sweet girl she was.

Ada was a wonderful dog for us, and we loved her very much. She came to us in September 2014. Golden Beginnings did a great job getting her ready for adoption. We said goodbye in October 2015, after she had stomach surgery and her quality of life changed. For better or worse, I couldn't bear the thought of saying good bye at the last moment (too heart wrenching for me), but my partner did that and he was with her at the end.

Most of all, one year was not enough to be with Miss Ada Potato (one of her many nicknames).

Mary Conner
October 2015

Toby Keith

Ambassadog extraordinaire! He loved his job representing GBGRR. When he passed of Hemangiosarcoma on 10/6/15, not only did we loose him, the world lost him. He was such a sweet natured pup who will be missed by many. He joined his sister, Abby, who passed 7 weeks before him. He really missed her, I'm glad she was able to meet him at the bridge. We miss him, but he will live forever in our hearts.

Pam Frank
October 2015


Katie, formerly known as Kaya, left our world August 15, 2015 and forever left my heart broken. Jake, her golden retriever brother, and I gave her a new start 3 years ago when she was 10 years old and she was never loved and appreciated more. She was perfect in every way and I miss her terribly, and always will. Love you and miss you, Katie, my loving girl.

Sharron Reilly
August 2015


Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.    ~J.H.Newman

Faith came to Golden Beginnings as a found stray. She was a senior golden about 8 or 9, a little overweight, moved a little slow, had allergies, but her heart was pure gold. When I was asked to be her foster, I knew she might be with Nadine and I for awhile, but never imagined it would have been for a year.

Faith was never a 'velcro' golden. Just to be in the same room as you were or a quick pat or hug was all that she required. Very low maintenance. She would always greet you at the door every time you returned home with her dancy, dance. So glad you were back.

Faith loved her doggie beds (she had two...one in the family room and one in the master bedroom) and she also loved the love seat. She would walk up to it, look at me (I guess waiting for me to say no) and then up she would go. Lay in ball at first, but then would stretch out taking over the whole love seat. Soon she would be snoring away.

Funny as it sounds, Faith also liked to stop and smell the flowers. As she passed the flowers on the patio, she would stop, take a sniff, then continue on her way. She did this quite often.

She was a pretty good watch dog. She'd let me know if someone was at the front door. You would always get a few barks every time the doorbell rang. Unfortunately, she would also bark if a doorbell rang on TV. Do you know how many doorbells ring on TV!!!???

She loved her stuffed animals. I hear her tags clinking on the side of the toy basket and then here she'd come with one in her mouth. She play with it and then start the shredding. I would tell her to stop. She'd give me that look and would reluctantly stop and just lay her head on it.

We had a health scare in the summer of 2014. Fluid built up around her heart, but after it was drained, she did great. Kept a check on her with follow-up ultra sounds, all was ok. Then in early April, she started acting sluggish. She was a more picky eater and just generally seemed a little off. Since she was due for her annual vaccinations, off to the vet we went. It was determined that she now had tumors in her spleen and liver. Worst news ever. Faith came home and lasted only a few more days before she crossed over the bridge.

Faith, I hope, did have a new beginning here with Nadine and I. She didn't ask for a lot. Just a soft place to lay, good food, kindness and no yapping little dogs. As a foster mom, I become attached to each foster that comes in the door. A few tears are shed as they drive away with their new family, but there is also such joy knowing they have found their forever home. This time is very different. Both Nadine and I miss her, but know we will see her again.

Candyce and Nadine Davis
June 2015


"We have another foster for you. She is a senior" That was my introduction to Brandi. She was surrendered to Golden Beginnings because her owners were moving to an assisted living facility and could no longer keep her. After eleven years her world would change.

Brandi came to Camp Grey Hair and rapidly made it her palace. I would become her domestic. Over the next year I would take the Queen to Meet and Greets and other functions in hopes of finding her a forever home. Her sugar face and soft coat gave her plenty of curb appeal. Brandi tolerated the other fosters at these gatherings, but always insisted they keep their distance from the Royal Personage.

After a year of meet and greets, I accepted the fact that Brandi had found her forever home and let her adopt me. On our daily walks through the kingdom she had to mark Her territory. The Red Queen was always gracious to any humans we met, particularly children. Brandi never barked, except to greet me when I came home. A new foster would be given a brief sniff and a look that said, "This is my house, don't piss me off."

I am celebrating our time together. Sadly, it was too brief, but all gold.

Ty Smith
June 2015


It is with a huge heavy heart and tears running down my face that I write to let everyone know that my foster Pappy, AKA Stanley, went to the rainbow bridge Sunday. Pappy came to GB Oct 2014 as a found stray in Patti Friedman's neighborhood. When we took him in for his neuter they discovered a large tumor in his throat. It was determined to be thyroid cancer. Based on the advanced stage of the cancer the vets recommended making him comfortable and letting him live out his life in a foster home. Little did I know when Patti brought him to me that he would live another 9 months never really slowing down until the end. The only way you really knew he had something wrong is that he went from having a ball in his mouth 24/7 to holding the ball at the end of his mouth 24/7. Pappy's tail was in constant motion and he loved everyone he met. He was an amazing dog and worked his way into the hearts of everyone he met especially my daughter and husband. My daughter would say that Pappy's New Year resolution was "to live" and that he did. We are so thankful for GB bringing him into ours lives and miss him more than possible. Run free happy Pappy with the biggest ball you can find!

Kathy Billig
June 2015


On April 25, 2014. We were deeply saddened to have to make a decision to help Dempsey go to the Rainbow Bridge. It was an honor (albeit heartbreaking) to sit with him and help him go through the process. He had only been with us five years but his positive impact on us seemed like he had been with us much longer.

His name on all papers was Dempsey but most often we called him Dude, it just seemed to fit! He was loving, gentle, compassionate, laid back & his coat was stunning. One of his talents was as being a great communicator! He would look at what he wanted and look at you, look back at what he wanted and look at you and then sit down and wait for you to take care of whatever it was . He would tell me he wanted ice water and if I didn't get it fast enough he would just lay down and stare straight at me! As if to say "bless her heart she doesn't move as fast as she used to". I don't know if someone trained him to wait to eat/drink until we were out of the way but that training held until the end. And he most often looked at us as if to say "are you going to stand there and watch? I'm waiting...." So funny. He had Daryl & I trained so well. Daryl's jobs were: feeding, walking and peanut butter. My jobs were: ice water, letting him in and out, brushing and sleeping on the couch when he was scared. He was definitely thunder-phobic! Poor baby was petrified of thunder. As the thunder rolls I think to myself Dude doesn't have to be afraid anymore he doesn't have to shake and pant in fear of the noises anymore. He can run and play, always beautiful, always at peace. Now he doesn't have to be scared.

Technically Dude was not a therapy dog but certainly could have been. He acted as a therapy dog to all the children and parents that we encountered on the Dude & Daryl daily walks. Dude had a very happy dance at 5:00 time for their walk. Dempsey "dude" did not play. He came to us an adult dog and I assume he had never been introduced to play. We tried on many occasions to get him to play, to chase stick, ball, play with a squeaky toy. We only got a puzzled look of "what do you expect ME to do with this." And then he would go lay down or walk around.

Everyone who ever encountered Dempsey commented on how lovely his amber eyes and red/blond coat was. He was indeed a beauty. children wouldn't ask their parents please let me pet him. Generally those parents were a little bit nervous about such a big dog (105#). Dude would walk up to them gently and sit down with his head down scooting closer to them. He put almost everyone at ease! Such a precious gift!

When we got Dempsey from GBGRR he was so well-trained. Someone had spent much time training him, he sat outside our bedroom door and refused to come in. I decided that was the first thing that had to be broken. I retrieved and ottoman from the living room and immediately began teaching him how to get on the bed! He didn't particularly like getting in the bed it was too hot for him. He preferred the coolness of the tile floor! But he knew he could get up there at anytime. Frankly if he wanted in the bed he wanted in 'his' bed! His bed had belong to our previous golden Jack who never slept on it!!! (he slept in our bathtub, his choice! Too funny) I was so excited when Dempsey was attracted to that bed.

In conclusion Dempsey wasn't with us very long but his impact on our lives will last forever. The pain of losing someone you loved so very much is worth the great love you shared with each other!

Thank you Kathy Billig and thank you Golden Beginnings for allowing us to share our home & lives with our precious Dude.

Gods blessing on all of you!
With grateful hearts and our love,
Daryl & Vickie Gerken
May 2015


2293 days: Six years, three months and 12 days. Every day with Monte was precious.

Monte came to me as a four-year-old at the end of 2008. He was my third foster for Golden Beginnings. He had been held by Ft. Bend Animal Control for 30 days because they wanted to charge his owners with animal cruelty. They had abandoned him locked inside their foreclosed home. Monte was very thin and heartworm positive. He also had permanent kidney damage from going without water so long. Over the next few months, Monte did not gain any weight and would not eat much. I routinely grilled hamburger patties and boiled chicken, begging him to eat. I had several long conversations with Cil (GB president) about the possibility of letting him go.

At the suggestion from the fourth vet who saw him, a tick panel was run and Monte was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The road to recovery began. Due to his kidney damage, Monte could not undergo heartworm treatment. His vet told me not to worry about the heartworms as the kidney damage would likely take him from me sooner (a few years later his vet told me he never expected him to live longer than 6 months to 2 years).

When I first got Monte, he was so afraid of the TV he wouldn't enter the room. He was so afraid of the car he cowered to other side when the window went down.

In just a few months like most rescued dogs, Monte blossomed. He became bold. He'd run across a room towards you, jump up and nearly knock you down (or worse into a Christmas tree, wall or whatever was nearby). Monte had bad (some would say HORRIBLE) party manners. He'd lift his leg and want you to scratch his ... well, let's just say he made the "The Under Belly" famous before it WAS famous. He absolutely would not allow toilet paper or paper towels to be within his reach. Imagine the joy of telling guests that your pup dictates where the toilet paper goes.

In spite of his boldness, Monte was a quiet leader in the house. No dog ever left here because they couldn't get along with this alpha. He welcomed every dog with open paws and really loved the ladies (dogs).

Though Monte never really warmed up to watching TV, he did grow to love car rides. He would pace the house and come stand at the door to my office with his ears pitched a little higher with the "MOM is it time for a car ride??" look. I remember one time trying to fake him out and take him to just get gas in the car. When we got home he stubbornly refused to exit the car. No pushing, pulling or begging on my part would do. Instead I backed out of the garage and off we went down the road with his head flying high out the window.

Monte and his brother from another mother (Kipper) helped save more than 60 dogs in 2,293 days.

Every day with Monte was a gift I will forever cherish.

Shari P.
May 2015


My Hanna - We took Hanna (my Golden) to the vet in Floresville, Wednesday, 24 March 2015 at 5 p.m. And, as I sat and held her in the back of our SUV, I told her how very much I loved her and thanked her for coming into my life, sharing her life with me and our family. I also told her she was going to a better place called the Rainbow Bridge where there is no pain, no getting old and lots of love, food and love for all. Our lady vet talked to us for a few minutes and she then administered the anesthesia that put my Hanna to sleep. Hanna's head jerked twice and then she was gone.

Hanna fought Lymphoma - the horrible cancer that invaded her precious body. She didn't want to leave us! She didn't want to leave me. The Lymphoma really took a toll on her sweet body and progressed so very rapidly

Oh, I miss her so much. She was always by my side. She was funny - she was sly - I adored her and she adored me as well. She was my best friend! I catch myself calling Kayenta (my husband's Golden) Hanna.

When we adopted Hanna she was called Annie, but I changed it to My Hanna. We picked her up at the Leeke's home in Houston. We brought her to our farm and she fit right in with the other 3 Goldens. With Hanna, we were now blessed with 4.

Our Vet gave her a glowing report; however, he didn't catch that she had heartworms; he failed to check that on her first visit as we were furnished papers from a Louisiana Vet stating she was not heartworm positive. Nevertheless, Hanna was found to have heartworms so she and I were isolated for a long time while she went through her heartworm treatment and isolation.

Hanna had lots of toys, but her favorite was her gorilla soft toy. She had several of those gorillas, and took good care of each of them. Our other dogs would find one and tear its eyes out or chew an arm off. But Hanna loved them all anyhow - mangled or not! She carried one with her most times. Hanna and her 3 sisters had their very own Simmons Ortho Beds. Hanna's was right beside my side of the bed.

Hanna had 3 sisters at first. Then one Easter, we found a beautiful, very young Great Pyrenees darting in and out of traffic - it took some doing, but we got the beauty in the Yukon with us and took her home; we called all the Vets in the area and placed an ad in the newspaper - no one claimed her - so we now had 4 Goldens and a Great Pyrenees, which we named Lily.

Hanna had some funny quirks. She loved for me to rub the inside of her ear and then she would lick the earwax off my finger. When we were seated anyplace, she would back up to one of us, and she would want her hips/butt scratched. She'd wiggle her butt so cutely when we would scratch her in spots she wanted. Hanna loved to be bathed and wanted a daily grooming. She would sneak a shoe of mine daily. Always the right shoe. We puzzled over this one, finally decided my right foot smelled worse than the left.

Hanna's number #1 fun thing was to go running down our lane-about 1/4 mile; before my knees got bad, I'd run with she and Kayenta; after really bad knees, I rode in the golf cart following both Hanna and Kayenta down to the main gate and back. We did that 2-3-4 times a day, but her last week she would only go 1/2 way down and only a short run or very slow trot. On her last day, she only strolled down half-way. Then she sat down and waited for Kayenta and I to return and meet up with her.

She really made me laugh - she started burying her Milk Bones in my Iris Garden - and also under one of our gigantic Magnolia trees. I had never seen a dog bury bones - but Hanna not only buried bones, she buried Milk Bones. I guess she knew she was sick and she was saving them for when she felt good again.

Hanna would watch with her peripheral vision my every move, and when I moved from one room to another, she was right there with me. When I felt badly or was sick, she was always there beside me on her bed. She pouted when I was unable to take her with me in the Yukon as she loved to go riding in her "Yuki" (Yukon).

Hanna and Kayenta (her older sister) loved to chase our guineas, but the two learned that that was not what Goldens were supposed to do. So they would watch them, but not chase them as long as we could see! She and Kayenta loved their daily Dentastix and a Milk Bone they got twice a week. Hanna would sit very nicely for me to give her vitamin pills each morning before she ate.

She snoozed on her bed each morning until I got up, however, if it was warm she'd go out on the sunporch and sleep as it has brick tile and was cool to her tummy. She loved her tummy rubbed and scratched. She'd sleep in weird positions - and always wound up on her back - all stretched out...sometimes her legs (all four) would be straight up in the air. Hanna loved to carry a leaf around in her mouth.

Hanna loved everyone and just wanted to be a friend to all! As you can see, Hanna was a very special "love" girl that really loved and wanted only to share her unconditional, never-ending love! She gave me so much love, comfort and security and she gave so very much joy to our family.

Her sister Kayenta seems lost and sad since Hanna's gone - she misses Hanna just as her Mama and Dad miss her!!

Hanna gave me so much that I must find another Golden Girl that needs and gives love and wants to belong to a forever loving family!! God is surely getting a gorgeous, loyal companion in Hanna, and I thank Him for every minute He let her share her short life with me!

Hanna, please wait for me and one day you will see me coming to the Rainbow Bridge to find you. We will spend time laughing, playing, running, relaxing and lots of big hugs and slurpy kisses. In the meantime, you have lots of fun in Heaven while you wait for me! I will always have a special place in my heart just for you, My Precious, Gorgeous Hanna! I will never forget you!

We have buried Hanna on the rise in the front of our place - where the other pet family members are buried. My Hanna Banana Girl! I will see you again someday!

Thank you Cil Henson, Cal and Helen Leeke (Hanna's Foster parents), and Golden Beginnings for matching us up with Hanna!!!

God Bless you all for your wonderful work in helping Goldens find their Forever Loving, Secure Homes; and for making it possible for people like us to have those wonderful God's creatures add so much joy and love to our lives!

Mrs. Frankie Jim and John Wm Bockman
Stockdale, Texas
April 2015

Beryl (Sweet B!)
Nov 2002 - Apr 2015

In 2004, I was scouring the internet looking for a dog to adopt. I came across pictures of this 15-month-old golden named "Daly" in the custody of Golden Beginnings. One look at her expressive eyes and face, and I knew that she was the dog for me.

GBGRR initially had concerns. Daly was a "problem" dog who had already been adopted once then returned. She was shuttled from foster home to foster home because she could not get along with other dogs. They did not think she would be the best fit for a first-time adopter like me. Being single without any kids and other dogs, I was undeterred. On Palm Sunday 2004, I took Daly home with me. I promptly renamed her "Beryl" for a fresh start.

Beryl never completely overcame her dog-aggression. (As she got older she mellowed a bit, but still she preferred to be with humans, with whom she was perfectly wonderful.) Because of this I was always hesitant to board her in kennels, and thus I ended up taking her with me whenever I had to go out of town. From vacations to business trips alike, as long as we can get to the destination by car and/or boat, Beryl always came along.

In total Beryl logged over a 100,000 miles as my co-pilot on road trips, walked well over 1,000 miles beside me (ahead of me rather - Beryl was an Alpha and always walked ahead even when she didn't know where we're going) on streets, park paths and hiking trails. She had been on peaks and mountain passes, walked on glaciers, swam in both oceans and the Gulf, taken a dip in countless pools, rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. We slept together in all places from tents to cabins, humble motels to 4-star hotels, and friends' homes. She was always well behaved and never destroyed any property, never had any "accidents", nor ever had a complaint for making noise. And it was really during all these travels that Beryl's most amazing trait was on full display: she had this uncanny ability to befriend and win over any stranger.

Sadly time and statistics finally caught up with my sweet Beryl. Late 2014 our vet discovered a tumor growing in her left upper arm, and this was confirmed to be osteosarcoma by an oncologist shortly after. Beryl fought valiantly against the disease for three months. She did quite well initially especially after radiation therapy, well enough that we thought we could hold off a bit before starting her on chemotherapy. But her condition took quite a sudden turn for the worse, and in early morning hours of Easter Sunday 2015 the only sensible choice was to let her finally rest and cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

I feel truly blessed to have had Beryl as my loving and loyal companion for the past 11 years. And my most heartfelt thank you to GBGRR for facilitating this to happen.

In her final moments I tried to reassure Beryl that she would do just fine on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. With her charm she would win everyone over. And I promised her that when my time finally comes to cross over myself, the very first thing I would do is to call out to her: Sweet B!!!

April 2015


We thank Golden Beginnings, especially Meg, for giving us the opportunity to enjoy and love our beautiful Holly.

Holly came into our home January 2013 she was a funny girl for a Golden Retriever, she didn’t like to fetch or the water. She liked to eat, go on rides and be loved. She was a momma’s girl, we called her our wallflower and doorway dog, she made sure you stopped and loved her before you went into the next room. We lost our baby April 2nd, she crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be with Wendy, Blaze and the rest of her friends.

We miss her something terribly and we have to get used to the emptiness without her. We were not ready for that. The only regret we have is we did not get to have her long enough.

We love and miss her

Dean and Paulette
April 2015



Jansen The Perfect Angel Dog

We first met Jansen at a 2011 Golden Beginnings meet and greet before we even knew we were looking for a dog. Instead of wearing a bandana which said “Adopt Me”, he should have been wearing one that said “I am adopting you”. He came and sat right in front of my husband at that first meet and greet and I said “Look! He likes us!”. However, we had a Golden who was an only dog at home and decided it just wouldn’t be right to bring another dog at that time. So we left without Mr. Jansen that day. I told my husband that if anything ever happened to Wilson, we should consider adopting senior Goldens. Unfortunately, we lost our first Golden to cancer not long after that first meeting. I guess Jansen must have known he would be coming to us even before we did and he waited for us.

At 11 years old, Jansen was already older than our previous dog. I was very nervous and for the first few months I was worried that he was going to be leaving us at any moment. I would sometimes watch his breathing and I would call out to him to make him sit up so I could know he was okay. Jansen must have thought I was crazy but he patiently showed me that he was not going to be going anywhere, anytime soon and so we all settled into a peaceful life.

Jansen’s story about how he came into rescue is that he was living with someone who passed away. He spent a bit of time with the folks who took up residence in the house in which he lived which was in Kemah. This family moved and was not able to take Jansen along and this is how he came to Golden Beginnings. Jansen and I had a few conversations about his previous life and I would ask him if he liked walking on the beach and did he like fish. I wondered about how he was as a puppy.

As a senior Golden, Jansen was the best behaved dog that we have ever had. He was a perfect gentleman. He never chewed a shoe or displayed any bad behavior. He was a very quiet dog but he was not a pushover. He had an inner strength and bit of stubbornness which I could see when I would try to lay him down. He would push back against me until I could convince him he was going to enjoy a massage or a brushing. He also had a funny way of rubbing his face and neck on his favorite toys. He had the most beautiful eyes and we enjoyed many games of peek-a-boo.

As time passed, Jansen grew older and the effects of time caught up with him. He grew slower in his walking and his arthritis worsened. We kept him going with physical therapy, COLD laser treatments, and different joint supplements and arthritis treatments and encouraging him with his favorite treats to keep walking and moving.

Time caught up with us and at 15 years old Jansen suddenly became very ill. Before letting him go, we told him he was the best behaved dog we have ever had and how much we loved him. I also told him that when he went to the Rainbow Bridge that he would see his previous owner and that it was ok to go with him – he didn’t have to wait. It comforts me to think that he has gone back to someone who loved him. We will never forget him and what a perfect angel dog he was to us.



March 2015



The attachment is a picture of my extraordinary friend and companion, Champ, who left me in the early morning hours on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Dear Joanie and the entire Golden Beginnings organization: I want to thank Golden Beginnings for providing me the opportunity, six years ago, to discover Champ. He provided me an immeasurable amount of joy over the past six years and I will never love another pet more. For those interested, here is his story:

It was a stroke of luck that I found Golden Beginnings while doing a "Golden Retriever" internet search about 7 years ago. Soon, following my approval, I adopted a beautiful 3-year old boy by the name of Melvin. It didn't take me long to decide that Melvin needed a companion so I started a second search and that is when I found Champ.

When I first saw Champ on an evening visit to the house of his foster mom, he was very skinny, needed a heart worm treatment, was afraid to look directly at anyone and walked with his head down and his tail between his legs. It was clear that his spirit had been broken by someone. He had been wandering the streets of northwest Houston and had been hit by a car. I good Samaritan took him to a vet who contacted Golden Beginnings and that was when his life was saved. Champ was clearly, from his look, not a pure Golden but his unmistakable golden color was a strong indication that one of his parents was a golden. What was also evident was that someone had abused him and I had never had a dog that had such a background. It was just a feeling I had that night, that I was not going to walk away from him. Following his heartworm treatment, I brought him home and he began his new life with me, Shirley (my wife) and Melvin. Sadly, Champ carried the baggage of his abuse around with him all of his life and would only approach men, and only reluctantly, in the last year or so of his life. Getting him to walk tall with his head high and his tail wagging was something I was never able to get him to do.

Melvin and Champ became instant buddies. Champ was also emerging from his shell a little and we noticed a change in Champ when my oldest daughter asked us to watch her new yellow lab puppy for a week. By mid-week, Champ would lay on the floor, on his back, and the puppy would run in and jump on him, bite his ears and anything he could get his little teeth on. Champ would stay there until the puppy came back, time after time. He began licking and play biting the puppy being ever so careful not to hurt the little girl. Champ was making progress!

Less than a year after my adoption of Melvin, he became sick; he had an insidious cancer called "hemangiosarcoma" and following a gallant fight for his life, he passed. I was devastated but new that I needed to find another buddy for Champ so I called on Golden Beginnings once again. They found a high energy female golden by the name of Abby, who quickly became Champs buddy. I saw, first- hand, how close he had become to her when, on a night-time walk, a large unattended black dog attempt to attack Abby while we were in a remote part of the neighborhood. By this time, Champ was 100 pounds and strong. Abby was on a leash and on my left hand and Champ was on my right., as the dog approached and went after Abby, she tried to hide behind my legs on my left but then, in an instant, Champ came across in front of me and pounced on the attacker. Champ came to Abby's rescue like a lion protecting her cub. I had to give his leash some slack so that he could do all he needed to do to protect himself and Abby. The fight lasted maybe 15-20 seconds with it ending in the retreat of the black dog. On that night, when the chips were down as they say, Big Man, as I would call him after that, showed no fear and saved Abby from almost certain injury.

Our success with Champ gave my wife and I the confidence to adopt another dog with "issues". This time, we adopted an eight year old three legged German Sheppard mix from the Humane Society. Annie fit into our family perfectly. Sadly, we lost her about six months ago and during the last days of her life, the vet, taking an x-ray, found a bullet still buried in her abdomen. Yes, someone, a long time ago, shot her which probably also took her leg. Sadly, we live in a cruel world but a world that never-the-less, needs as many qualified people to rescue animals as can be found.

Last year, in conjunction with my retirement, all of us moved to the Woodlands and our walks on the trials quickly became a daily activity that both Abby and Champ looked forward to, rain or shine. Everything was great with us until this last Tuesday afternoon when Champ became very ill. As it turned out, Champ was suffering from the same cancer that took Melvin's life. The emergency vet tried to increase and stabilize Champ's plummeting blood pressure caused from internal bleeding following the rupture of the cancer tumor; he was dying and there was nothing that could be done to save him. "Big Man" went to the Rainbow Bridge on 4:20am on Wednesday morning.

Champ's adoption and resulting life was such a success in so many ways and Golden Beginnings made that happen. Champ wasn't one of those perfect looking puppy mill dogs but a dog with an incredible loving heart who was "perfect" for me. I am so hurting right now and as I type this email, I see the empty spot on the floor next to my desk that my "gentle giant" laid nearly every moment that I was at the desk. I know that I need to find another buddy for Abby, but I'll just need a little time to heal. I will always remember how Big Man sat on our bed, like a king, and how I will miss kissing his soft face.

Joanie, thank you and Golden Beginnings for bringing all of these fine animals into my life. Anyone out there just thinking about adopting should understand the amount of work that is required but also the incredible amount of joy that these animals can bring to a family. Yes, there is heart break when one of these extraordinary creatures is lost, but the good times far outweigh those dark times.

Bob Eckerman



Where do I begin to describe our time with Faith? She was our first senior adoption. A former puppy mill mother who got the short end of the stick for most of her life. We were going to change that for sure. I would like to think we were successful in doing so.

We met her one December afternoon a couple of weeks prior to Christmas in 2013. She was a bit timid, but the sweetest soul once you got to know her. We were told that she REALLY loved her orthopedic bed with memory foam cushion. Well, that was an understatement. She loved nothing more than to beeline it for her bed. We ended up buying another one for our convenience as she would always want to sleep with us in our room.

When she first arrived, she truly didn't know what a toy was and we have an entire gourmet basket full of them. Over time, she began to love the little balls with feet on themŠthe blue one was her favorite. She managed to chew the feet off that one and for whatever reason, our other two Goldens would leave that ball pretty much alone. Almost like they knew it was Faith's.

But, perhaps her single greatest trait was the following. When we would leave home for a number of reasons, often we would return and in her bed would be one of my shoes. She didn't do this right away, but began doing it with regularity once she figured out where our shoes were in the closet. She never chewed them up or anything like that. She would simply bring them to her bed in the living room. Sometimes there would be 2-3 there with her. It was the coolest thing she would do. We knew she merely wanted to be close to us.

As one might presume, we love and miss her very much. I miss picking up those shoes and returning them to their rightful place. She taught us more than we bargained for. Adopting Faith was the best decision we could have ever made. We will adopt another senior Goldens, probably sooner rather than later. They all deserve a storybook ending to their lives. We will do our best to help tell those stories.

Jennifer and Tony P.