Rocky’s Forever Home

Rocky, as some of you already know, went to our son Michael Jr. in Maryland last weekend. Barbara took him in a crate and met with Mike and Emma and their two boys Ethan and Alex in a park in NY. Also along was Emma’s mother who has been visiting from Mexico. Her name is Emma as well. I was on call again,  so I couldn’t make the trip. We took some photos of the final fun time between Rocky and his mom that morning..

I think his presence for the extra four weeks that it took him to recover from his surgery, helped Emma adjust well to the loss of the rest of her litter.

The meeting of the puppy with our son’s family went beautifully. The photos say it all as far as the excitement and happiness he brought to our little grandsons.

And, of course, now I have some new family poses to add to the wall in my office..

I have no doubt Rocky will grow up with an abundance of love and boyhood energy!

Now for some housekeeping..

My next three weeks will be taken up with getting ready for, and then going to the Dominican Republic for my annual mission adventure. I find it now necessary to shutter the camera and turn off the public lights on dogville for this upcoming time frame. This third world trip has been a year in the planning and much depends on its success. It is taking over my every waking moment.

I am happy to report that we have accepted our first guest blog!! It is being finalized.  Publishing it requires some time and energy on my part to move it into this web site, so you will not see it until after I return. I still have unfinished business with the rest of the great folks who spent time with us around our little pen in the backyard or whelping box in the final weeks. Those photos await my attention as well as publishing the photos of our new owners when they came to pick up their puppy. So much to do and so little time to accomplish it all as usual.

So until I am back, golden hugs to everyone out there..

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.

New Chapters From Dogville

The last few days have been frenetic with visitors, website upgrades, more visitors, and puppy travels. I will try to give everyone a synopsis of what we have all been up to in this past week…

First the big news! Emma got to reunite with her family today. Off antibiotics for 24 hours now, her milk supply has dried up with medication, and it is safe for her to be with her pups again. A very long two+ weeks of recovery, she wasted no time getting reacquainted.

The change in her demeanor is so heartwarming. She is content again. That last photo says it all!

We’ve had lots of visitors to the whelping box in the last two weeks, but with the upgrade changes to the website, I had to learn some new steps to doing this blog. I finally have the know how thanks to Dana Rockel of our website team.

So here are many of our initial visitors, family, clients, friends.. If you don’t see your photo here, it is only because the shot did not do you justice for the world to see.

Friday was a special treat for me. After I got home from call, I picked up Mr Red and Miss Silver and we visited my offices and the hospital. The nurses on the various floors where I work knew I was coming all week, and the excitement was palpable. The puppies were just their simple selves, but just look closely at some of these photos to see how much happiness people inhaled from their hugs and kisses. Amazing! And that is what keeps Barb and I doing this work… So much goodness for such a small price of time and work.

All my medical friends in the above photos have seen life in its full spectrum of colors. From the darkest blacks to the brightest blues. They know how hard the daily struggle of this life is, and how short a time we are given to make a difference. Many of these folks are golden owners themselves, and have experienced the extreme sadness of a beloved companion passing. That is why I felt this visit to the hospital was so important. To bring healing to the healers. It became almost a mystical experience..

Now on to today.. We started the day like any other day we expect visitors: up by 5:30 AM, breakfast for all, and then baths.

Then it was outside for the first time for this litter. The back patio made a nice enclosure for the pups and all the visitors today.

And the day still wasn’t over. My cousin Ron and his wife Barb always come over to see our litters. They are special to us for more than our bloodlines. They have had faith in our breeding efforts from the start. Their first golden, Emma,  from our very first litter, has passed away.  Sandy and Maggie though, were in fine form for their visit today.

Our big girls are very territorial so we left them in the house. They managed though to crowd around the window watching…

We let Lucy out to see if she remembered her litter mate, Maggie.

Sadly enough, dogs do not have long memories for that sort of thing. They may know their masters forever, but not their kin.

Now it is evening and the pups are back in their whelping box resting. This has been an extra long bit of story telling. I have now caught up with the goings on here. Tomorrow brings another day full of different families coming to visit. You can see how this breeding business takes over your whole life for the span of eight weeks. Still, if I count the number of smiles that we brought to young and not so young this week, it would far exceed the number of minutes that it took me to put this together tonight.

I will leave everyone with the picture that Claudia brought for Barbara today. She is five years young and wanted to give Mrs. Bourque her rendition of the whelping box and our puppies after her visit the other day..

Priceless..         Thank you, Claudia, for your gift to us.

Goodnight and puppy hugs to all.

Emma’s Medical Setback

Our lives suddenly got more complicated here this week. Emma came down with a bacterial infection in one of her breasts (mastitis). One minute she was fine, then another minute she refused her lunch and developed a temp to 106 degrees (normal for dogs around 102). A quick trip to the vet resulted in an antibiotic and extra nursing on that breast.

The pups had just started on puppy food in mush form.



Initially all went well. We brought her home and attempted to get the pups to keep her breast empty. I sat with her and now know a new meaning to the word “box lunch”!


Her temp came down and she started to act like herself. Unfortunately the breast wouldn’t empty properly and a large hard lump the size of a lemon formed. Another trip back to the vet today revealed the development of an abscess. This was drained, and a second antibiotic added. To add to Emma’s misery this meant she had to give up nursing as this added antibiotic can affect puppy’s cartilage development. So now poor Emma has to wear a hood to keep her from licking the abscess, has to stop nursing all at once, and can’t be in the box with the puppies. This means a very unhappy golden mother who has no idea why all this just went down today.

She is still an amazing sport as she manages to smile despite the hood..


Our youngest Lucy came over to me for some reassurance as Emma banged her way around the kitchen knocking her siblings and the furniture around with the hood.


We were lucky the pups were old enough to start puppy food this week.  So we just have added an expensive  milk supplement to the gruel. And then Barb decided after trying unsuccessfully to bottle feed a pup, that it would be simpler to just add this special milk to the bowls. They took to this very well as you can see.



Almost like a bunch of kittens around the milk dish. The daily weight becomes much more important now to be sure each one gets their share and continues to grow.

Obviously the amount of work just increased dramatically for us. I have to keep Emma away from her pups and occupied, while Barb becomes the new mother to the pups. Fortunately I am home this week to share the load with Barb.

The puppies though are doing great. All are growing and they just love to pile together in a snuggly group after eating.


We are sorry to announce that all puppy visits are canceled until Emma returns to good health. Her illness has no bearing on any of her pups’ health. She may have actually gotten her infection from some bacteria lurking in one of the nursing pups mouths.

Thank you for your understanding.


Recently, Barb and I have received some very moving email letters from clients, readers of our blog, and just plain golden lovers. I thought that their comments were worth sharing with everyone. They deal with love and loss and living in the moment.

From Bob:


“I hope all is well with the Bourque Family. It’s been almost one year since I took Rusty home. Rusty is doing well and we love him dearly. My dad was battling cancer and was very sick most of the year. Frequently, I would take Rusty to my parent’s home to spend the day. My dad always looked forward to Rusty’s arrival. Whenever I would show up at my parents to visit and Rusty wasn’t with me, the first thing my dad would say was ‘Where’s Rusty.’ He loved to play with Rusty and Rusty loved being with my dad. Whenever Rusty went to my parent’s, as soon as he was inside, he would run to find my dad. My dad passed away in October. The time Rusty spent with my dad brought him great joy and helped ease his suffering. For that I am eternally grateful. You bring joy and peace into many people’s lives, more than you know, through your Goldens. God bless you!”

From Ken:


“Your latest blog about Holly touched me in a special way. (See “A Family Grieves“). Mary Ann and I and our kids all appreciate the time you spent assembling such a lovely tribute to Holly. Being the loss of our very first dog, we were all unprepared for how much of an impact it would have on all of us. At the same time I could never have anticipated the outreach we have received from fellow pet owners like yourselves. Just tonight our neighbors brought a bundle of homemade cookies (human ones shaped as dog bones)! and a card. Only now will I be able to truly understand what another person is experiencing when they say goodbye to their pet. Even after a week it is still strange preparing only one bowl of food, or loading only one dog into the car. As much as I know that Goldens thrive on human companionship, Rosie and Holly have shown us how important canine companionship is to them as well. We are going to be very careful to find a good match for Miss Purple! Again, thank you for that wonderful surprise on your blog… and for being such caring friends.”

From Michele,

“Hello, I love your website, it is so nicely done.. but of course it is your Goldens that really caught my eye. They are so beautiful. My husband and I recently lost our golden and I had no idea how quiet and empty the house would seem without her. She was medium sized, about sixty pounds, but her heart filled this whole house, and we miss her. We would like to get another puppy, not right away, but sometime in the future. From your website, I could see that your love for the dogs is the reason you have them.”

From Molly:


“Dear friends, I am writing to let you know that we put our dear, beloved Golden, Maggie to sleep last night. Her cancer returned recently and she became very sick very quickly. She would have been 12 on June 30th. She was a remarkable dog for our family, so full of love an compassion. She was also a miracle dog, surviving two rounds of cancer and living with epilepsy. She just kept rebounding. Her passing was incredibly peaceful. I held her head in my arms and told her how loved she was, and when it was over the bells in the West Congregational Church next door to the vets chimed.”


“I picked up Maggie’s ashes today at Animal General. BOY THAT WAS HARD!! What really hit me like a ton of bricks was the paw print they did of Maggie after she died, set in a circle of plaster. I wasn’t expecting it and seeing it released the flood gates. I’ll treasure it. I’ve therefore spent many moments today remembering even more things about Mags. We wanted to thank you for the beautiful card you sent us after our Maggie died. We miss her so much, but are enjoying knowing we had her for almost 12 years, against so many odds.


From Yalda,

“I am not a former client of yours, but I hope you don’t mind if I still drop you a note to say how much I appreciate the wonderful work you are doing. I recently moved away from home (and consequently, from my precious Golden named Lucy), and I was looking at pictures of golden retrievers online (just having a nostalgic moment) and I ran across your website. I must say it thrills me to see such caring breeders who are devoted to the health and happiness of their dogs. And your close relationships to your clients is truly amazing. I am a young attorney who works unbelievable hours, so I am not a good candidate for having a golden retriever at this point in my life. But when I have children someday, a golden is a must! I cannot wait to watch them grow side by side, as you watch your goldens grow up alongside the neighborhood children.”

“Please, please keep up the great work! You are adding an invaluable amount of love to so many families. I really feel that you don’t know love until you have seen it in the face of a golden retriever smiling up at you. Thank you for the opportunity to send you a message.”

It has been said that we cannot know the time or manner of our death. But we can choose how to live. Golden Retrievers as a breed have somehow incorporated that essence of living into their DNA structure. Would that we as the supposed more advanced civilization had gotten that right. I will leave you with two photos that my friend Cindy recently sent of her Katie and cat. They give living testimony to the blessings and love a Golden brings to your life.


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