Wisconsin adopt a golden retriever

Cognac - May 2014

Hello my WAAGR friends, I apologize as it has taken me a few days to write. Every time I sit down to begin, my eyes well with tears and I can no longer see the keyboard, or the screen.

Not fate, but rather someone of a greater power would bring Cognac and our family together nearly 6 years ago. Already a more senior dog at the time it has been a magnificent journey full of stories and memories since. From his antics, to his stubbornness, he has blessed our family in countless ways. Adopting him is beyond anything we ever thought we deserved.

Cognac has earned himself numerous nicknames over the years, including, Bazooka Boy, The Yak, Cracker, Big Guy and plain old Mr. C. He at times is best described as one of those dogs that should have come equipped standard with a wet vac.

Stories, we could tell so many; like the time at the lake where Ava and I were in the paddleboat and Cognac decided he wanted to jump into the boat and join us; a maneuver that ultimately found us all in the drink and doing the dog paddle. Or at the dog park, one of his favorite places, where he loved to run and needed to meet and greet every dog in the park, especially the littlest ones. If not totally exhausted, it was nearly impossible to get him back in the car to go home. He was like a giant energizer bunny that did not care whose tennis ball he fetched, he needed to fetch them all. He was not going to waste one minute of life and so often he tried to teach us the same. He loved all the simple things, tennis balls, his stuffy toys and ice cubes. Whenever at home, if not directly in your path he was lying on the floor and would position himself to be sure he was touching up against one of us, or his doggie siblings. He was a friend and lover to everyone, he was our gentle giant.

Somewhere I once heard a dog’s eyes have the power to speak a great language, I believe this to be so true, and Cognac was such a dog. So many times he would push his big head into my chest with the weight of his whole body and then back off only slightly so that he could look upward directly into your eyes. Sometimes the message was simply to say scratch my ears, but most times it was just him expressing in his own way a selfless love. Without trying at all, and without looking very hard, Cognac was able to see the very best in everything and everyone. Even when you scolded him for something, his tail would be wagging the whole time, then to pick up one of his stuffy toys, as if to say let’s play, life is too short, all needs to be forgiven. He was like a giant heart covered with golden fur and I cannot even begin to tell you how we will miss him. Even when his body would say “no more” his mind would continue to want to run and play, it so hurt to watch him slow down these past few months. And although we knew Cognac was a very senior dog, and as much as we knew this day would soon come, nothing, absolutely nothing at all could prepare us for it.

Please know that Cognac passed away cradled in our loving arms Wednesday afternoon May 28th; we will love him always.

Your WAAGR friends;

Rick and Kathy Kennedy

Carl Hardy - July 2014

We are so very thankful to the WAAGR organization and the mission of rescuing these precious angels, educating the community and giving second chances to displaced dogs.

It is with the deepest sadness I'm writing to inform that we lost our beloved Carl in early July. He came to our family only a few short years ago and within that time, he truly changed our lives.

Carl was the very definition of unconditional love.

A few years ago, there was an event happening in Racine, WI where a bunch of rescues had an outreach program with the intent of bringing awareness to the community. I had signed up to bring a few baskets of items for HOPE Safehouse to auction off. While there, I had the opportunity to understand how many wonderful people and organizations are involved and truly dedicated to animal rescue - and this is when I noticed a shaggy dog following me around.


It was only after about 20 minutes (and me telling him "go home Lassie") that a kind woman approached me and told me about this dog, Carl. Carl came from a farm in Bangor, WI where he lived with a little 'ol lady who depended largely on her son to care for Carl. Carl had multiple hematomas lining his ears from untreated ear infections and was obviously beaten at some point. Carl was then dropped off at the Human Society to be put down. I'm not sure if the Human Society is where they discovered he had Lyme's disease or if WAAGR had found out after picking him up.

WAAGR rescued Carl from the Human Society and gave him the treatment he needed to get better from Lyme's disease. This kind woman helped me understand how debilitating the treatment was on Carl, how he mostly just slept a lot and the fact that no one really wanted him because 'he has a disease'. She was surprised to see him up, moving around and following me everywhere. After telling her my intention of just dropping off the donation baskets to HOPE Safehouse and me not here looking for a pet to take home, we parted ways. As I walked away, Carl was whimpering and fighting to follow me back to my car.

I have to tell you, WAAGR-how & why Carl changed our lives.

When I attended that event, I had just recently finished up my treatments of radiation therapy for an advanced stage of invasive ductile carcinoma-more commonly referred to as stage 3C breast cancer. It was a long, tough road for me - surgeries, chemotherapy and finally radiation treatment. I now wear the badge of 'diseased' too. Of course, this information was not shared with the woman who was telling me all about Carl. I only nodded and thanked her for telling me about WAAGR's mission and the care they give to displaced animals.

When I got home that night, I quickly researched as much as I possibly could about Golden Retrievers, WAAGR, Lyme's Disease, food allergies and ear hematomas. As you can imagine, I became overwhelmed at the information. I decided that I didn't need or want another dog because at the time, our family was lucky enough to have a dog named Remington. Remington was an 11 year old Doberman Pincher. He was the most beautiful, wonderful dog a family could have. As the night wore on I tossed and turned and couldn't stop thinking about this dog named Carl, so I did what any girl would do. I had a long talk with Remy, who helped me understand that he wasn't going to be around forever-and I better move on getting another dog so he could teach him "how to be a good dog and take care of the boys"-I have 2 sons, now 9 & 6 years old.

The next day, I filled out an application and Carl came home less than a week later.

Remington held up his end of the bargain and taught Carl the ropes of being a good dog and they instantly became good friends. When the time came to say goodbye to our Remy-Carl quickly stepped up as top dog and held the torch of being the best dog a family could ever ask for.

Carl was such an inspiration to me, personally, because after the rough start he had: being abused, neglected, rejected & being diagnosed with a disease "where no one wants him" -he still found the courage to get up, be happy and love anything and everything this life offered, everyday. I would look to Carl on those "blue days" to help me understand "if he can do it, so can I"-in reference to me dealing with my disease. We'd have each other - walk together - 2 diseased partners - we'd love each other in spite of what life handed us. Through Carl, my then 4 year old son told me he knew why 'God' spelled backwards is 'Dog'-and that's because of how capable Carl was at showing love, forgiveness, compassion and dedication.

Thank you, WAAGR for giving these angels a second chance. my family will forever be grateful.

I realize that you depend solely on donations to continue rescuing displaced animals, so I will be sending you & HOPE Safehouse a donation in Carl's memory to support your mission.

With love,

Stephanie, Sean & Sammie Hardy

Gabe - February 2014

It it with great saddness that we had to say goodbye to our sweet old boy

Category: Golden retriever

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