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It was love at first sight for both of us.  The date was June 25, 2016.  I drove over 200 mile and almost 4 hours (one way) to meet RUDY.  It was a month earlier when we lost our beloved Golden Hootie and my sadness over his loss at times was overwhelming.  Goldens bring such joy to your lives that it is hard to imagine not living with one.

So once again I turned to GBGRR to begin the process of matching me with my new four-legged kid.  Every day (and several times a day) I checked the website and also their Facebook page to see if any new male Goldens were coming into the system.   It was on Facebook that I first saw Rudy (named for the Football “walk-on” player Rudy, from Notre Dame).  Rudy was about 1 ½ years old and like so many of the Goldens that are rescued he was pretty skinny but fortunately Rudy did not have heartworms.

I immediately contacted my coordinator Mike Patterson (he matched us with Hootie)

He then put me in touch with Lauri Neale, who was fostering Rudy.  From our conversation Lauri felt that Rudy could be a good match for our family.

It was a great match, but Rudy turned out to be like no Golden we ever had.  In the house Rudy was almost a perfect gentleman. I had never allowed our dogs on furniture or on the bed.  But, Rudy had other ideas.  He enjoyed spreading out on the sofa and had his “spot” on the bed and no one had better take his pillow.

But once outside he was wild.  On the leash he dragged me down the street and when he got off leash…well. Rudy was a runner and a chaser of cats and squirrels.  I came to understand that he didn’t want to run away, just follow his nose and enjoy his new found freedom.  But, it was still concerning when he managed to get out and run.

During our first 6 months together, Rudy and I worked with 2 Trainers.  Rudy even spent 2 weeks at “boot camp” working on his off leash training.  It became a joke that Rudy had “no gear gaps” when it came to his collars and accessories.  He wore a name/phone number collar, with a GBGRR tag and a microchip ID tag, as well as a prong collar for walking on leash and a collar with a GPS tracker.  If we were out hiking an e-collar was added.

Everyone in the neighborhood knew Rudy.  We live on private roads and every day we would meet a group and their dogs for a walk and swim.  Afternoons he and I would walk alone.  I always returned home before Rudy, since he made “his rounds” to visit different neighbors.  If I wanted to find Rudy, all I had to do was “track” him.

Rudy loved to travel—be it a car or plane.    His short life was spent on a lake in Texas, at the beach in Rhode Island and the mountains of Colorado.  We were preparing to head to RI, when Rudy first showed signs of what we thought might be a pinched nerve in his neck.  But, sadly 19 days later at A & M small animal hospital we had to say good bye to our Rudy.  An autopsy revealed he had the aggressive cancer hemangiosarcoma.  The tumor on his heart had metastasized to his brain and bone on the right side of his head.  This is why it was first thought Rudy might have a pinched nerve in his neck.

As I am writing about Rudy I am in RI looking out at the beach Rudy loved to run on endlessly.  Both his 4-legged and 2-legged beach friends are missing Rudy.   Rudy loved the bone shaped donut treats Natalie who ran the local donut shop had for him.  And of course, the College girls in the ice cream stand always had a cup of vanilla ice cream for Rudy.

Rudy took a piece of my heart when I had to say good bye, but I know that hole will be filled when a new Golden finds his way to me.

Heidi Kenny


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