Behaviorally-challenged Goldens get a second chance

A wish for all Golden Retrievers who are rescued has turned into a special program to help dogs with behavioral challenges...Hope For A Better Life™.

In recent years, GRCGLARescue has seen an increased intake of Goldens with serious behavior issues...Goldens that are 'red-listed' for euthanasia at shelters or misunderstood and mistreated by owners with unrealistic expectations. GRCGLARescue strives to give these Goldens a second chance through a formal behavior-modification program which significantly increases the likelihood of permanent adoption.

But, we can't do it without support...

With an average cost of more than $2,000 to help a single Golden through a specialized behavior modification program, Hope For A Better Life™ requires funding. The Summer Fund was established in honor of a special-needs Golden to assist these dogs.

Please help us to help them by donating to the Summer Fund.


Welcome home Octavia!

I am so very happy to report that Octavia has found her forever home with Don and Alicia!

Octavia came to us almost two years ago, from a family who had left her outside and never properly socialized her. She's a beautiful, loving girl, who has a bad habit of jumping up in your face to greet you, and more than one volunteer got hit in the mouth, nose or forehead. She doesn't care much for other pups, and with energy level higher than expected for her age, she became one of our special needs, Hope For a Better Life dogs. She spent some time at Wags & Wiggles and learned some basic manners, but her jumping up and her feelings about other pups remained. We tried to place her several times and she went to a foster home earlier this year that we thought would work out for her, but things didn't work out for her.

Don and Alicia lost their Golden earlier this year. Don is retired and home most of the time, and although they weren't looking for a behavior challenge, they looked like they'd be a great fit for Ms. Octavia. Hey - it never hurts to ask, right? We explained Octavia's situation and, after talking, Don and Alicia thought it would be worth meeting her. Of course, the imp jumped straight up into Alicia's face and nailed her in the lip! But after that she turned on the charm! We explained to Don and Alicia that if they chose to take Octavia home, she'd go as a foster and we'd provide training to get teach them how to work with her. Of course once Octavia met them she wasn't letting them go, and she finagled her way into their car and ultimately their hearts. We set them up with Terry Long of DogPact, and they admit its been more work than they had thought it would be. But they also realized they couldn't give up on this sweet girl and let me know she wasn't going anywhere. They officially adopted her earlier this month and have renamed her Maggie.

Octavia thanks Jennifer for doing her intake. She thanks Barbara D and the volunteers in the IE who spent time working with her while she was out there and worrying about her every day until she found her forever home. She's so very thankful for GRCGLAR's Hope program and to Leslie for coordinating her time with Wags & Wiggles. She's grateful to the CP Dog Walking Team who got her out every day during her stay there, and Paul for helping to make introductions with her new family. She's grateful to Jan for scouting out her new home and also for going out to complete the adoption paperwork. And she thanks the placement team and PA Eva for finding a terrific family who is devoted to this sweet girl's life and care.


Welcome home Leila!

You don't know how excited I am to tell you that Leila has found her forever home!

Leila is one of our Hope Dogs, who has been with us for quite some time. She was estimated to be about 1-1/2 years old when she came in from the North Central shelter. She was so scared she found her way into the back seat footwell on her transport from the vet where she was spayed over to Culver Palms. We quickly discovered that Leila was not a shy little girl, but an extremely high energy pup who had a problem with impulse control. Twice we tried to place her and both times she came back. We discovered that she easily became excited and didn't know how to calm herself down. With most of our dogs, we give them exercise or training and they get tired out will relax, at least for a little while. With Leila, as she ran around more she became more wound up. If she played with another dog she didn't know when to stop and things would escalate into a fight. In a home she would never settle down and would get into everything. Basically, she was way more dog than the majority of our adopters were willing or able to handle.

We were able to get her into the board and train program at Wags & Wiggles, and Leila slowly started to improve. She learned many commands and she learned that to get the love she craved she needed to remain calm. It still wasn't easy for her, but she was making progress. We decided to add some medication and this did the trick. She left W&W and went back to CP, where the dog walkers reported she was a different dog, and quickly became one of the favorites. Before, many of the walkers didn't feel comfortable taking her out; afterwards she was a joy to walk. She loves to have her belly rubbed, and pre-W&W you couldn't do it because it would spool her up. Post-W&W she could calmly lay there and enjoy loving and belly rubs.

Thanks to Joan and Kriss , we were able to get her into a foster home to get a better idea of how she would act in a home environment. What an awesome dog she had become! She loves to chase the tennis ball, but if her foster parents didn't have time she could throw it and fetch it for herself. She had great house manners, other than liking to carry items around (but not chewing them!). She's still a young girl and has plenty of energy, but was also happy spending time going to work with her foster mom and just hanging out, or taking a nap in the sun outside. Unfortunately her foster parents had sold their home and had to move before we found her forever home, so she had to go back to CP. But sweet Leila never stopped smiling and we assured her we were looking for just the right home for her. She was passed over by several families because of the length of time she's been with us and because she is on meds - silly reasons for such a terrific pup. But, the wait was worth it when she found Mary Ann and Ron!

Mary Ann and Ron had applied to us last year, after they lost their 15 year old Golden, Kaysea. They were still grieving their loss and decided to put their search on hold for a bit, when a co-worker asked Mary Ann to take in her 9 year old Golden. Sadly, this pup recently passed from cancer and both Mary Ann and Ron came back to us to help them find the right match. When they came out to CP to meet Leila, she took to them immediately. She showed off some of the things she's learned and how cute she is. Of course Mary Ann and Ron were smitten, and Leila quickly jumped in the car to head off her her new life. (Before she went to her foster home she was so scared of riding in the car - now she loves it!) She's doing great and her new family adores her.

Thank you to Laura M. who bailed her from the shelter almost 2 years ago. A HUGE thank-you to the CP Dog Walkers who spent so much time with her and fell in love with her, particularly Chevy, Corrina and Paul (I'm sure there are others of you who put lots of effort into this sweet girl and I'm sorry if I forget to mention you here). Thanks to Leslie who helped to get her into Wags&Wiggles, and of course to the W&W staff and Ranaye, for helping to give her the skills to be a "normal" dog. Thanks to Cecily and Andrea for doing the HV on this terrific family. The PA's worked hard to get a number of families to consider Leila, and finally Lisa Marie was able to convince Mary Ann and Ron to consider her. She's also grateful to Paul for making intros to her new family. And, of course, Ms Leila is so very, very thankful to GRCGLARescue for being there for her. Her spirit and happiness never waivered as we looked for a home for her. I know we don't want our dogs to have to be in kennels this long - it tears me up. But I'm sure if Leila hadn't been with our rescue she would have been bounced from shelter to shelter, home to home and who knows what would have happened to her. I'm grateful and humbled to work with such a terrific rescue and wonderful volunteers who care so much for our pups. THANK YOU ALL!


Fosters help keep HOPE alive

Like all of our rescue work, as important as it is, we need a special foster home for our HOPE FOR A BETTER LIFE ™ Goldens so that they can continue to assimilate back into a normal home setting. Returning them to a kennel would be a definite step backward and would probably dilute much of their progress and training.

A special foster home is one that has no other dogs in residence and the fosters are committed to participating in the dog’s on-going training.

If you can make the commitment to one of these special dogs or you know of someone that you could recommend, please contact us.

Making room in your heart and your home holds special rewards both for you and the Golden you help. There is no question that this is a special commitment and isn’t for everyone. Think about it, call or e-mail comments, questions or recommendations.

We look forward to hearing from you and we know for sure our Goldens do as well.


Congratulations Euphoria!

Euphoria came to us in February, 2010, from an LA County shelter where he was turned in by his owners for food aggression. It became apparent to IE Team members that his food aggression was much more serious than anticipated with reports from the kennel that he growled and threatened over food. In addition, a food bowl test confirmed that he was serious about keeping people away from his food. While Euphoria's behavior was not acceptable, it was also clear that this was the kind of dog who, if trained properly, stood a good chance of improving enough to be placed successfully.

With the formal implementation of our Hope For A Better Life Program™ for behaviorally challenged dogs in Summer, 2010, Euphoria entered the program as one of our initial and most challenging candidates.

Euphoria went to Wags & Wiggles for a 6-week residential behavior rehabilitation program with specialists. His story and progress is documented here.

Thanks to the specialists at Wags & Wiggles, Euphoria made progress to continue his rehabilitation in a home environment. Volunteer and foster, Janet B. stepped up to the plate and participated in training sessions with the team at W&W to learn the techniques regarding feeding Euphoria as well as overall management of his behavior around food. Through Janet’s disciplined focus and handling of Euphoria over the past 4 months, he demonstrated a reconditioning of his behavior around food and is no longer a risk to himself or those around him. Janet appreciated where he’d come from and the progress he’d made so much that she adopted him in order to continue her commitment to this sweet Golden.

Euphoria thanks the Rescue knowing things could have taken a very different direction for him without GCGLARescue's Hope for a Better Life™ program.


Hiram Flaversham progress report

Hiram's been busy at boarding school. He was extremely anxious and a bit depressed when he arrived, but he's brightened up quite a bit and had become the favorite of his instructor. Hiram is a relatively mellow fellow, but is very uncomfortable with other animals, particularly smaller ones, including little dogs, cats, birds, etc.

Hiram's been acing his homework and is coming along nicely in all his subjects, but it is very unlikely that he's going to change his mind about the other animal situation anytime soon. He does very well in school and enjoys it a great deal, so people who would want to continue his training would be his first choice. Once he's done with school, he'll be looking for an all-adult home where he'll be the only non-human in residence as other critters make him nervous.  He's learning to tolerate their presence in a social setting, but he would prefer they kept a respectful distance; his personal "bubble" is about 10 feet right now. With time and work that could be improved, but that's where we are right now.