Client Stories/Photos

Picking Up Puppies and Last Days of Togetherness

It seems very appropriate with it being Thanksgiving week, to look back on our most recent litter and share some of the heartwarming moments that ended our last adventure. At that time Barb was with puppy Rocky at Tufts Vet Hospital, and I was out of state for a long planned neighborhood guy’s weekend away. So our son Brian and a number of our great neighbors stepped in and helped give away the puppies to their new families.

They all did a fantastic job of it, and even managed to capture the happy faces as they took their new family members home.

Barb and I then saw the last few pups leave the following day.

The really neat thing about our last two families was that Lisa and Suzy were college roommates. They have kept close while raising their families, and they each have had two of our dogs now. While Barb and I knew that the house was going to be very quiet when the last two pups left, we had a lot of fun with everyone at the end. Even mother Emma was able to share in some last minute play with her offspring.

We still had those pangs of emptiness, but since we still had Rocky to nurse back to health, it wasn’t as bad as usual..

And finally, I did promise a few folks who came to visit, their moment in the glare of the internet lights, so here is everyone (I think), who came at the end of our last litter days for their puppy hugs and photos.

In closing, Barb and I wish much Thanksgiving happiness to all our readers, friends, and puppy owners. With the number of very happy smiles in this blog alone, you can see why we feel blessed for the opportunity to do what we do for our favorite animals and their owners. Like mission work, you really do gain much in return when giving of your time and energy to others.

The Hand of God

I live an unusual profession. Guarding the unborn and their mothers from the random and often senseless strikes of mother nature against the survival of our kind. It is a world that hopeful parents to be and their family members are best ignorant of. But the battle goes on ceaselessly every day I put on my cloth armor of a white coat or scrubs. Our best weapons are the skills that have become second nature when you work 80 hours per week for thirty years doing the same thing every day. And my closest friends are the medical personnel who work side by side with me trying to accomplish as a team what you could never do as an individual.

But even to us seasoned and weary veterans, sometimes an event will occur that defies expectations or reality. After the fact, you sit back and reflect that what happened was beyond belief, and that meant there was a power higher than yours that made the difference.

This is one of these stories, and it has a happy ending that I will share with you first. When you are blessed to be part of a miracle, you need to let others know. Crazy as the world is, maybe there is a purpose for it after all..

This photo was taken in my office a week ago. I have permission from Ursulyn and Andry to share their story. The flowers reflect our happiness that she and her son have made a complete recovery from…

It started with a phone call while I was working in the Delivery Room. One of my partners phoned and told me one of our full term pregnant patients had arrived for her regular OB visit, and was having serious trouble breathing. He had called 911 and he told me she was being sent to the Delivery Room. I alerted the staff and we made preparations for whatever might be wrong. Minutes went by and no patient arrived. Then the ER called and said that she was being kept there for a serious medical condition. I hurried through several attached buildings to the ER and found bedlam.

In a regular examining room there was my patient, unconscious and trying to be ventilated by the ER staff. Staff from the Delivery Room and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit had just arrived and were watching with shock as she coded and CPR was begun. Like a preposterous scenario from the television series “ER” or “House”, I found myself in a situation where literally a minute or two was to make a difference whether that mother and baby lived or died. The fetal heart rate was present but dropping. Her husband was standing there watching in shock as I asked for a scalpel. Without taking time to do anything but put on a pair of gloves, I delivered the baby. The sound of a newborn cry was a very welcome sound to the large multitude of staff gathered outside the patient’s cubicle. Veterans all, but many crying from the reality of what was happening with that mother to be.

Without being overly dramatic, let me say that this was the first time that I had done an operation where there was no bleeding. Her heart had stopped and her blood was black. This was going to be a very bad outcome. As I closed her incision, the resuscitation team kept on with their heroic efforts. Multiple drugs were given at intervals to get her heart started. And then, someone called out that she had a heart rhythm, and then a pulse. The blood turned bright red again. But nine minutes had passed since her heart had stopped. The question was: would she wake up, and what kind of condition would she be in?

She was transferred to the ICU where a battery of specialists determined that she had developed a very unusual heart condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy. Her heart muscle had slowly weakened over the week prior to her arrival in our office, and she was in heart failure. She was literally drowning with fluids building up in her lungs. The treatment is delivery and allowing the heart muscle to try and recover. That had been accomplished in the ER.

For three days her husband kept a vigil outside her room in the unit. The enormity of the potential problems facing that young man with the reality of raising a new baby without his wife humbled me. But on the third day, she started to become alert. She gradually returned to the world of the living and her faculties slowly recovered. We all held our breath when the neurologist did his battery of tests and reported that she was “neurologically intact”.

Another week went by, and my daily routine in the office kept me busy out of the hospital. With my next hospital duty, I inquired of her location and was told she had just been discharged to the Hospital for Special Care for rehab. So after my weekend on call, I decided to pay this very special person a visit. I brought one of the puppies to cheer her up, since I wasn’t sure what sort of mental state she would be in. I got to the hospital and found she had just been discharged the day before. I called her husband and asked if I could see them in their home. He gave me directions. This is what I found.

Thankfully she has no memory of the events of that day, or even being in our office for her prenatal visit. But outside of her memory lapses, her personality, and sense of self is intact. Her hug and smile made me know that I was part of something very special. I told her God must have very special plans for her.

George Strait recently wrote a country song, ” I saw God today”. It goes..

“I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book, I know he’s here, I don’t look as often as I should. His fingerprints are everywhere, I just need to slow down to stop and stare, and open my eyes. I saw God today.”

Reversal of Roles and Other Puppy Moments

It wasn’t so long ago that two of our clients and golden friends were debating whether to add a new puppy for companionship to their beloved ailing older golden. There are no real rules, but the reality is that just as we irresistibly are drawn to that puppy smile and energy, so are our canine brethren. So young “Rosie” from our 12/2006 litter went to be a friend to aging “Holly”. From the photographs you can see it was a winning combination.

Even at the end when Holly was ailing, I am told, Rosie wouldn’t leave her side.


So when our last litter arrived, Ken and Mary Ann were  wondering how “Rosie” would do as the now older mature leader in the household. Would she accept a younger companion in a definite reversal of roles. I will let you all be the judge…

Both Rosie and Autumn have the same mother and father (Emma and Mulder). With only a year and a half or so in difference in age, they should look very similar when Autumn is full grown.

I would like to give Ken kudos for his fabulous photographs. I am self taught, and use a very small digital camera so I can have it with me at all times. When Ken sent me this last photo, I finally knew why the resolution of his photos was so much better than what I have been getting. He has a cannon (not Canon) for a camera!

Thank you Ken for your help with adding so much life and color to our blog! You have captured the spirit and pure essence of our dogs so well.

Two houses down from us another of our puppies is finding companionship with an older buddy. Lion-like “Bo” has had his domain invaded by little “Minnie”. Bo has only three legs now following his battle with cancer. His spirits seem soothed by the presence of this little ball of love.

Thank you for your photos Barb. I just noticed though the date is off on your camera screen.

Another of our puppies has landed in a family with much younger folks. “Lola” is not quite sure what to make of sharing her space with a larger Niko..

But I am sure she will find plenty of excitement going forward.

Thank you for sharing Shayna. Lola is the first golden yellow jacket I have ever seen.

Then we are back to dog ville here and the last week of “Rocky” before he travels south to be with my son’s family. Our pack is more accepting of him now, but they can be an intimidating bunch. His convalescence with us helped Emma adjust to the loss of her pups. And that is the lemonade from his lemon of a surgical adventure.

A Little Red Wagon and the Search for the Perfect Puppy

Growing up in the 1950’s was a very different time from the chaotic, frenetic, multitasked world of today. The only thing that required batteries was a flashlight. The only way you kept time in those days of simple childhood days was that you had to be home when the street lights came on. There were no parents hovering just out of eyesight or cell phone contact, because there were no gadgets, and your parents were too busy working their two jobs just to put food on the table. One of my first means of transportation was a “little red wagon” that everyone in the neighborhood had. These were the days before you were old enough to have some real freedom with a bike. I have clear memories of my sisters pulling a red wagon filled with their dolls going to visit their friends down the street. I remember myself piling my few possessions of metal trucks and tin soldiers and bringing everything to the sandbox at one of my friend’s home. So whether your wagon was a red American Flyer model with a metal platform with big black wheels like mine, or like the wooden version above, for us older folks it is one of those enduring symbols of a simpler and very innocent time.

So I was moved when one of our prospective clients came to visit our puppies with this special photograph.

Every family that visits our home looking for a dog has a story. Some stories are more compelling than others, but each has merit that is listened to and respected. This mother and her now teenage son told the story of recently losing their best canine friend. After years of friendship, their “Lexy Girl” had passed on leaving a huge hole in their lives.

From that first photograph above you can see that she had an elegance about her with an especially beautiful coat. They were hoping to find that special puppy that would most likely have her look.

Now if you are a Christian, you probably go through that ritual at Christmas time where you go to find that “perfect Christmas tree”. When your children are still at home, the task is more arduous because everyone has to weigh in. What starts out in your mind as a warm Jimmy Steward adventure, ends up usually with everyone cold and squabbling. Even now with just Barb and I home, finding that special tree sometimes means visiting three or four places, and then ending back with the first location, picking the tree that you thought about first. And you are lucky if you are still talking!

Picking a puppy from different breeders is not so different, although now with temperament testing and numbered choices to match the families, the process is changed. Gone is that special moment of first eye contact where the puppy and you choose each other. Instead, with the advance of genetics, the litters are usually very similar in temperament and color and coat. You are assigned a healthy puppy that will be the best fit. That is if you go to a breeder who makes a science out of doing their task correctly, rather than someone selling pups in the newspaper.

We regard our puppies as our canine children. From our blog stories you know the attention and hard work that is lavished on our charges. So it is sometimes difficult to accept that your pups do not fit “the look”, “the color”, or the “size” that a family is searching for. This family did not find their special pup among our little ones. The initial reaction is usually to take offense, but on further reflection, Barb and I thought back to our underlying philosophy. Barb and I do this for the love of the breed. We do this work to make golden retriever lovers among children who will grow up and carry on our passion. And this unique quest for that perfect puppy shown in the photo really moved my spirit. So..

I asked her if I could copy her photo. And I also asked her if by any chance she still had that special red wagon. She did. And she was kind enough to drop it off for this story. She is now a new friend, still on her quest, but a golden friend nonetheless. We wish her well in her search and we are confident that she and her son will recognize that special puppy when it crosses their path.

I hope you enjoyed this story that had a lesson for me. But I want to end with a smile on everyone’s face, so before I brought her wagon back to her, I took a few photos of our crew, big and little. All who thought maybe they could fit the bill of being that “perfect puppy”.

Wishing you all a happy autumn weekend!

Emma’s Pups Are Four Months Old


We’ve been getting some great updates from our most recent puppy owners. Here are photos from some of their dogs.

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The word on the street from the different vets taking care of our puppies is outstanding.
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Reports are that Mr. Green is now the biggest at about 40 plus pounds. We are anxiously awaiting those photos.

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It’s also nice to see other dogs getting muddy and swimming! Normal behavior for this breed.

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Our Lucy is now over thirty pounds herself. While I was putting this blog together, the four older goldens were keeping me company at my feet. Our puppy though had to go back in her crate. She managed to chew through my computer speaker wires while I was typing. Suddenly it was a lot quieter without the music. I keep forgetting we have a puppy again, and she needs constant supervision.


“But she is so darned cute!” That is Barb and my litany whenever she misbehaves in some way. I think we are getting soft.

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