Golden retrievers are amazing, beautiful, friendly, loyal, and loving dogs, but they are also dogs that are diagnosed with cancer at a very high rate. In fact, research has indicated that approximately 60% of all American Golden Retrievers will pass away from some form of cancer. The good news is that there is currently a longitudinal study being conducted on Golden Retriever cancer, so hopefully over the course of the upcoming decades, we will be learning ways to increase early diagnosis and treatment, and also lower the incidence of canine cancer.
However, in the meantime, this page has been created to honor those beloved Goldens who have passed from this unfortunate diagnosis.
If you would like to honor your Golden, please send an email to email@example.com.
IN MEMORY OF GOLDENS THAT HAVE LOST THEIR BATTLE TO CANINE CANCER
On Mother’s Day, 2005, we brought home the best present ever, Jake. Throughout the years, he has been the unofficial mascot to sport teams, a foster brother to dozens of foster dogs, a wonderful Domesti-Pup Petting Pup, and the best companion and family pet we could imagine having. I have met so many of my friends because of Jake and the activities we did together.
Unfortunately he got bladder cancer and we needed to put him down yesterday. I know the raw pain that we are experiencing will slowly ease, and the Lord will fill my heart but it still just really sucks. Please say a prayer for all of us, and give all of your pets a great big hug.
On May 20th, Madison was brought into GRRIN’s care after a long trip from Istanbul, Turkey, to Omaha. Everyone she met loved her, including her wonderful foster mom, Betty, and her caseworker, Pam. After a few months in foster care, Madison had a forever family picked out but her health started to suddenly decline. Betty and Pam worked tirelessly to take her to medical appointments for tests and hopefully a positive outcome. Unfortunately, Madison was diagnosed with late-stage leukemia in August; a few weeks later, on September 10th, she crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the loving arms of her new GRRIN family. After living on the streets of Turkey, she had over three months of luxury and comfort with Betty and her Golden Doodle, Rudy. Please check back for a story written by Pam and Betty. In the meantime, Betty shared with GRRIN volunteers some of the great things about Madison:
- LOVED tennis balls (one got her out of the tall grass in Chicago) and she collected them in the yard (NEVER brought them back into the house!)
- Was mercilessly teased by the squirrels in the backyard
- Could be a bit bossy; ‘requesting’ balls to be thrown
- Rode beautifully in the car
- Loved to be outside and just hang in the yard
- Was a good buddy to Rudy (even if, as a GoldenDoodle, he’s only half Golden!)
Gracie (not a GRRIN dog), passed away from lymphoma in 2015 after 11 years of taking care of her human family, Dennis, Barb, Spencer & Kate.
Dusty passed from lymphoma only about six weeks after we adopted him. We had been lucky enough, however, to foster him for a little over two months before that. He was the sweetest, bravest dog I have ever met. He was such an incredible boy and we still miss him, even though we only had him for a few short months.
Cancer: Mast cell tumor
Moose passed away on November 27, 2009.
“Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. Do not let the thought of me be sad, for I am loving you just as I always have. You were so good to me! I loved you so… ‘Twas heaven here with you.”
–Isla Paschel Richardson, author
Cancer: Mast cell tumors
Sadly, Scooter recently lost her battle with mast cell tumors. It was hard on her, but she never stopped fighting. Scooter came into our lives just over a year and a half ago. Although she was in our home for only a short time, she will be in our hearts forever. We don’t know much about the first six years of her life, but we know she deserved better than she got. They told us that when she was first picked up by GRRIN, she was painfully withdrawn. With the help of the GRRIN volunteers, especially her foster mom Susie, she started to come around. She was still shy when we first met her, but she seemed to respond to us. We knew she belonged in our family. Luckily, the people at GRRIN agreed. Scooter did not let her rough start in life prevent her from loving us, and becoming a part of the family. She found that her trust and love were returned, and she overcame her fear of men. It is a testament to Scooter’s loving spirit and soul that she didn’t give up on people. She quickly became best friends with Kate (a 3 year old Golden) and Hobbes (a cat). Scooter would run and roughhouse with Kate in their backyard. When she had enough, she would just lie still until Kate went away and left her alone. She was happy sitting next to us, or out in the yard sniffing the breeze. I’m sure there were stories in those scents that only she could tell. We will miss her standing in our way so that we had to pet her to get around her. We will miss the thump-thump-thump of her tail. We will miss the howl of greeting when we were gone too long, or when she wanted attention. We miss her terribly, but these, and other, joyful memories help ease the pain. Joe and Nancy
Riley was 11 years old when he was diagnosed with a sarcoma of undetermined origin. He was swimming in the lake on a Tuesday and became ill, going to Iowa State Veterinary College on Thursday for an appointment. He was diagnosed and sent home Friday evening. We had popcorn on Saturday and had a great day. But he passed away on Sunday in the morning. He was a wonderful friend.
–Mary Jane and Jim
Age: 11 1/2
I lost my Golden Retriever GRRIN dog in Sept. of 2013. She was 11 and a half years old. Her name was Gracie and she died of cancer within two weeks of diagnosis. Don’t remember the specific type of cancer. I miss her every day!
Cancer: Evan’s Blood Disease
Act justly, Friend and faithful companion. Love tenderly, Walk humbly with your God.
This was our sweet Daisy we adopted from GRRIN in December of 2013. She died on June 11, 2016. She was 10 years old. She had cancer of the spleen. We miss her terribly but treasure the time we had with her.
-Chad, Heidi, Carter, Landon, and Millie Bautch
Cancer: Mammary (Breast)
Age: 4 1/2
Josie was not a GRRIN dog, but a hostess to several foster dogs in our home. She was diagnosed with melanoma 1 year 8 months after her heart surgery, not related to the heart problem at all. She had just one toe amputated, which was palliative as the cancer had already metastasized to her lungs by the time it was diagnosed. She had amelanotic melanoma, which I understand is very aggressive.
Cancer: Lung cancer
With sadness I wanted to let you know that on Easter Sunday we put our sweet Roxie to rest. We found out 2 months ago that she had cancer in her lungs. Being 12 we didn’t think it fair to put her through a surgery that would be painful, possibly fatal, and probably not helpful. We spent the last couple of months spoiling her with all the attention she could take (that’s a lot for a golden), any food she wanted and privileges she deserved . . . I guess that wasn’t all that different than how she lived her whole life! A year and a half ago when Marco and Marley came as foster dogs, Roxie decided they would be her successors. Her love for them was the final deciding factor for us to adopt these big baby boys that we never would have known would be perfect for us. She knew. She welcomed them in and taught them the Ryan lifestyle. In the last couple of months Roxie was very tired and she weakened. Jeff would carry her upstairs to our bed every night, and we cherished our time with her. On Easter morning I knew things were different. By late afternoon we felt her labored breathing had crossed over to suffering and it was time for us to let her rest. As we’ve told our friends, I know that none of them will understand so clearly as you, our GRRIN family, how we feel, how she will never be replaced, how nothing will fill that hole that’s left, but how we just thank God for the gift He gave us in her, that we were the chosen ones to live with this sweet pup.
15 May 1979 – 26 May 2004
and his beloved Golden Retriever, Rocket
21 May 1991 – 8 April 2003
The friendship started simply enough – an energetic and fun-loving 12-year-old boy welcomed a gangly, curly Golden Retriever puppy into his home and heart. Matt loved the out-of-doors and was soon introducing his new buddy to his favorite pastimes – exploring, baseball and hunting. Matt taught Rocket (aka Rocky) to fetch, catch Milk Bones and later catch the errant baseball. Rocket assumed a position in the outfield and was, in Matt’s words, a “great center fielder.”
The family plan for Rocket to be an outdoor dog went by the wayside early that first winter. Rocket could be found sleeping on the floor by Matt’s bed. The outdoor games and fun grew to include indoor wrestling matches between the two best friends.
Matt joined the Marine Corps in September 2000, and after his basic and advanced training as a combat engineer, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, California. “How’s Rocky doing?” was always one of Matt’s first questions to his family during telephone calls home.
Rocket was taken by cancer during Matt’s first tour, the initial invasion of Iraq, and died on April 8, 2003. Matt learned of Rocket’s death upon returning home. Matt was shaken and saddened by the loss of Rocket, and one of the first things he wanted to do upon returning home was to visit Rocket’s grave.
Matt was again deployed to Iraq in February 2004. He recognized the increased danger and took his job as a squad leader and combat engineer very seriously.
On May 26, 2004, Matt and two fellow Marines were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated as they approached. Matt was able to warn the rest of his squad to retreat before the IED exploded.
To the love and friendship between a man and his Golden Retriever, we dedicate this web site to the honor and memory of two best friends – Matt, a true hero, and Rocket, a great example of man’s best friend.
Cancer: Abdominal bleeding tumor
Tribute to Sheyanne
By Gregg Christensen
May 23rd (Memorial Day weekend 2015) marks the one-year point since my beloved Sheyanne succumbed to cancer. She had been fine when I dropped her off at the groomers a few days before but when they tried to get her out of the kennel to bathe her, she could not stand. They tried to reach me but the call went to voice mail so they left a message and rushed her to Dr. Hal Smith, who had been Sheyanne’s veterinarian since the day I adopted her. I listened to the message, called Highlands Clinic with my heart in my throat, and rushed to check on her.
After X-rays, it was clear that Sheyanne had a large tumor that was bleeding and had weakened her significantly. Dr. Smith explained the prognosis and suggested that I take her home, watch her closely and indicated that sometimes the bleeding stops and that extra time with her might be possible. Her condition did not improve over the next two days, and wanting to find out if there was anything possible I could do, I was able to schedule a consultation at VCA Animal Hospital in Omaha. The prognosis was the same and, not wanting her to suffer, I called Dr. Smith to see if he would assist her over the Rainbow Bridge. Their offices were closing but he agreed to return to meet me later. There has never been a longer, sadder drive…and the rain and mist that was falling matched how I felt. Difficult? Heart-rending? You bet, but Sheyanne was dignified, beautiful, and sweet, so allowing her to waste away because she could not eat was just unfathomable. She left me peacefully and with dignity…with my tears to send her on her way.
Sheyanne was rescued by GRRIN from a bad breeder situation. The foster family caring for her shared that she was probably bred several times. It was also likely that she had been beaten because of her fear when approached by someone holding any “stick-like” object.
I had been encouraged by friends (Brad, Gena, Laticia and Heather Anne Burwell) to check out GRRIN when I thought about adopting a dog…and I’ll always be grateful for that encouragement. I was amazed and pleased that GRRIN was so careful to make sure there was a good fit. Two phone interviews, a home visit by a GRRIN volunteer to check out my house and fenced in yard (a requirement) and asking more questions, culminated in a trip to her foster home in Iowa for a meet and greet with Sheyanne. Let’s just say it was a perfect match. Sheyanne walked up to me, lay down on the deck where I was sitting, and gave me that perfect “golden grin.” Who could resist THAT??!!
How could I have known at that time that Sheyanne would carve out a permanent place in my life and in my heart. She was an amazing companion, a gentle soul with an ever-present “happy grin” that touched my heart each and every day.
I feel incredibly blessed to have had Sheyanne as part of my life, for what seems like far too brief a time. There may be a day when I bring another Golden home, but for now, Sheyanne seems like a one-of-a-kind companion that can never be replaced.
Thank you GRRIN, for all you do for Goldens like Sheyanne. Your impact is far-reaching. I will continue to donate in her honor. It is one small way of “paying forward” and paying tribute to Sheyanne.
Cancer: Liver cancer
It is with the ultImate sadness that we all have experienced that I am letting you know that Rex #08-36 has been set free from this earth.
It was a blessing that his pain was short lived – one week. First symptoms on Saturday-perfectly well on Sunday. But Monday came and all was not well. Blood tests, then X-rays, then an ultrasound. Cancer was destroying his liver from the inside. He had stopped eating and was having difficulty standing by the end of the week and he made the decision quite clear. Dr. Jensen graciously came to my home to send him on his way to meet up with all of my other dogs. He will be in good company until I get here.
Rexy Rex, Rexie Boy, Rex Rex, T Rex, The Poopinator, Rexy Dog, Crazy Dog, Goofy Boy, Sexy Rexy, Silly Boy, Mr. Peebody. This sampling of his nicknames over the 7 years I had him kind of gives you an idea of who he was. He has left a deep hole in my heart and my home. Nicki #11-22 always used him for visual cues on what to do and she still hesitates and looks for him.
Rex was 7 days from his 13th birthday. He was the GRRIN adoption I have had the longest. He taught me so much but most of all that there is always time to MAKE time for one more scratch behind the ears, one more crazy dog roll around on your back, one more truck ride, one more full body stretch from your front toes to the back toes, one more treat, one more swim, one more security check of a rogue leaf, and most of all – and most importantly – there is always, always, always time for one more tennis ball.
No words can express how much he is missed. He was a spinning, neurotic boy who blossomed into a fun loving, up for anything, happy boy. I am overjoyed to have been his mom for those 7 years!
Cancer: Abdominal tumor
We got Ginger from the Mound City, Missouri animal shelter in 2005. My wife, Joni, accompanied a friend and coworker who was looking for a young male golden. Ginger had come into the shelter along with an about 1 year old female and male, so the assumption was she was the mother. When Joni was told that Ginger was going to be put down the next day, she couldn’t resist bringing her home. Ginger was about 6-7 years old at the time. She was very under-weight, her coat was terrible, she had infection in both ears and her teeth were in bad shape. When Joni arrived home with Ginger, it became immediately apparent that she was not an “inside dog”. She had no idea how to climb stairs and knew no commands. Luckily, with lots of time and patience, Ginger settled into living inside and she mastered the basic commands (sit, down, stay, etc.) fairly quickly. Ginger loved to go on walks and spend time running around the backyard. Her favorite thing was to run as fast as she could in a large circle, come sliding up to you, then flop onto her back and squirm around for a long belly rub. About a month ago, Ginger had surgery to remove a large malignant tumor. Even though it left her with a wound that did not fully heal, her sunny personality never left her. Our wonderful vet, Dr. J. D. Fink, came to our home yesterday to help Ginger cross the rainbow bridge. She even managed to stand and wag her tail to greet him one last time. She passed peacefully in the backyard she loved so much. We will miss her greatly.
Cancer: Transition cell carcinoma
Not every story has a happy ending, but the journey can be very gratifying.
Take one special dog named Maxx. He was a wonderful 7-year-old Golden Retriever that started having health problems that his owner could not manage. She was very concerned about his well-being, but was not able to provide the medical care he needed. Her love sent her to call GRRIN to get him the care that she was not able to.
The wonderful family of GRRIN volunteers, each with their special talents, took over and got Maxx into a foster home. He spent some time at the vet initially, getting worked up for his medical problems and treatment was begun. His final diagnosis of cancer was not initially known due to some other medical problems that had to be taken care of first, including getting caught up on vaccinations and treating an infection.
Then the work began; diagnosing his underlying problem. After some time and more in-depth testing, it was found that he had a rare type of cancer. After much discussion between GRRIN members, the vet and the foster family, it was decided that keeping Maxx comfortable for the duration of his life was the best thing to do. The treatment for the cancer would not have provided him any longer or better quality of life. He was treated with steroids and lots of love and care for several months until it was obvious that the cancer had taken over and he was very uncomfortable.
His foster family was the key to giving him a wonderful few months at the end of his life. He was a member of their family and they treated him with great care, love and respect.
GRRIN cares for all dogs, young and old, sick and healthy, to improve the quality of their lives. Most dogs are adopted but a few live out their lives with foster families due to age or illness.
Cancer: Bone cancer
Maggie was such a gift! She was always happy and ready to let anyone pet her. …And, excellent at ‘tricking’ you into it! A friend said Maggie’s motto was “People were put on earth …to pet Maggie.”
She was seven when adopted and I wondered if she would ever do her happy dance for me like she did for her long-term foster family. Not to worry, she did. And, did her “run in circles catching my tail routine” to the end. She was a great car dog too. Short errand-running rides or driving to Denver, she was ready to go.
Hoping to have Maggie do a personality transplant, we added a Golden Doodle puppy to the family (allergies prevent two Goldens at once). I wanted her to teach Rudy how to be a great dog. Little did I expect him to teach her how to lighten up and play again. She was happy to have a ‘brother’ to catch those ridiculous balls people kept throwing. …Maggie never embraced the ‘retriever’ part of her breed!
Her last year was quiet, managing her arthritis with meds and acupuncture. Thinking she had a sprain, we discovered she had a break and bone cancer in late September. Saying good-bye was tough, but the memories and good times far outweigh the sadness.
Maggie was a true blessing. Thank you to the original owners who surrendered her to GRRIN, to Laura and Rich for fostering her and to GRRIN for allowing me to adopt her.
(Attached picture was taken this summer. She loved to just hang around!)
Cancer: Abdominal tumor
We adopted Casey from GRRIN in the summer of 2009. He was 3 years old. His original name was Brewsky so we decided to give him a more family-friendly name. We thought Brewsky should be his middle name and affectionately called him Casey B. Our oldest children were 3 years old and 18 months old when we adopted Casey. We fell in love with him instantly. By his third day in our home he was snuggling up for naps with our little ones. Casey hadn’t been showered with this much love before and he soaked it all in and gave us so much love in return.
Casey was a very smart boy. During his early time with us, he would steal the kids’ favorite stuffed animals from their beds at night and we’d find him snuggled up with them in the morning. He was a very powerful chewer with his dog toys and could only have the expensive toys that come with a guarantee, but somehow he knew not to chew up those precious stuffed animals.
We have a general rule that dogs don’t sleep on the furniture and Casey was a quick learner. He never jumped on the furniture unless invited. However, if one of us arrived home early from work or out of our usual routine, we’d catch him fast asleep on the couch! So it turns out, he was so smart that he only followed that rule when we were home!
Casey had a major ball obsession. Any type of ball would catch his attention. He was fondly remembered by his foster mom, Julie, for his craziness about balls. We quickly figured out that Casey really did best with balls when they only came out for the purpose of playing and were put away when we were done. Then he could relax and just be a regular dog instead of worrying about where his ball was. He was an expert at playing fetch and we never met another dog that could beat him to his tennis ball in a game of fetch. He could even carry 3 tennis balls in his mouth at once! Once Casey intercepted a football from a group of boys at the playground and brought the football to me!
When we adopted Casey he was a little out of shape. Long walks and daily games of fetch quickly changed that! We joked that the more we played fetch, we built his endurance up to the point that we could no longer wear him out! He had boundless energy but it was a perfect fit for our family. He became my running partner and we covered many miles together every week. Just the sight of me in my running clothes and shoes would have him jumping straight up in the air and spinning in circles.
Casey loved children. He was the popular neighborhood dog and his favorite places to visit were the nearby school playground and the park. If we let him lead the way on a walk, he went straight to one of those two places. We often joked that if he ever ran away from home, we’d know exactly where to find him!
Casey saw us through some of the best years of our life. He accompanied me through many sleepless nights after our 3rd child was born and was often in our son’s room before I was when he woke up crying. Casey was a true velcro dog and regularly joined us in the bathroom! He was always running into me because he was usually just ½ a step behind. I truly think that Casey felt that his job was to take care of us, and he spent every minute doing just that. He was a true companion and best friend to all of us and a perfect representative of the Golden spirit.
In October 2013 he suddenly stopped eating and we knew something was wrong. After 3 weeks of thinking he was just having some stomach and digestive issues, the vet did an ultrasound and identified an abdominal tumor. Knowing that he had only a short time with us, we spent every minute possible snuggling with him and telling him how much he meant to us. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge on November 30th, two days after Thanksgiving.
Although we are still very heartbroken and miss our Casey dearly, a part of him will always be with us. Our lives are better because of him.
The Stohs Family
Greg, Brooke, Garrett, Avery, & Emmett
Cancer: Nasal cancer
We adopted Hutch from GRRIN in May of 2010. He immediately fit right in to our family and became ‘brother’ to our older Golden Retriever, Wrigley. Although our daughters were mortified to find Hutch was an adept rabbit catcher, he was also one of the cuddliest dogs I have ever known. Hutch followed us everywhere, and when we had a baby just a year later, she was Hutch’s girl. One of her first words was “Hutch” and for the 3 years they had together, he was her “Hutchy Buddy”. She wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning without a greeting from her boy! He was loved by everyone who met him…and everyone wanted to meet him because of his crazy facial hair! He had wild eyebrows and chin hair and the girls loved all the attention he brought.
One of Hutch’s favorite places was at the lake in Adams, NE where he could run like wild and go swimming. He loved chasing the geese and napping by the fire.
On July 4 of this year Hutch got a bloody nose and we soon learned that he had a very aggressive cancer in his nose. He died only a month later, on August 6. Hutch was a happy boy to the end and we miss him dearly. The kids find solace in picturing Hutch watching over them and their new puppy. Not a day goes by that they don’t talk about him, still!
Thank you, GRRIN, for bringing Hutch into our lives.
Melanie, Matt, Cameron, Paige, and Norah Farber
Queenie loved to play ball, run, take walks, and chase squirrels and birds. She was diagnosed with cancer and crossed the bridge in May 2009.
Age: 12 1/2
Cancer: Liver cancer
Our beloved golden girl Honey was diagnosed with liver cancer at the beginning of this year. We kept her as long as we could but we all knew what was in store for us and it was Heartbreaking. Honey was a family member in the truest sense. We loved her and she loved us. On June 6, it was obvious that she was suffering and we took her to the vet to end her suffering. Honey was 12 1/2 years old.
Cancer: Malignant melanoma
Toby (03-39) came into our lives on May 14, 2005. He was a 2-year-old full of life and adventure. We had lost our golden, Chester, to cancer in 2004. Chester was a GRRIN dog adopted in the year 2000. Nick & Karen had the idea that Chester was lonely so Razzy (02-32) “came home” to them from the GRRIN adoption program. Next Razzy found her new best friend in Toby.
He became Toby ‘T’ because he was always in “trouble”. He was described as an “energetic and lovable dog with a mischievous side to his personality”. Toby lived up to his reputation! Luckily for all of us, he always lived in an environment where he could jump fences and run to the neighbors to get cookies. He started out living in Riverside Lakes where he learned to swim, walk in the fields and jump into the Elkhorn River for a swim. Toby spent most of his life living on an acre of waterfront property in Arkansas. He loved the trees in his yard where he and Razzy could chase the squirrels and swim whenever they wanted. Both took long walks in the forest sniffing and chasing all the little varmints they could find. They loved to dig and would come out of the woods with dirt all over them. Baths were a must for both. Toby and Razzy loved the boat rides on Lock Lomond Lake. Toby was great with children, dogs, cats and other people. Toby would greet everyone with a big, deep bark which could be scary if you didn’t know that he was just a great big ball of fur.
Toby was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2011. Our astute vet consulted with K-state Veterinary College, where we had taken Chester for his cancer treatment, to set up a protocol for his procedures. All was going well for Toby for several months until he showed symptoms other than what he was being treated. Toby fought a valiant fight against the cancer but lost that battle May 14, 2012, his “coming home” date. Nick and Karen are so blessed to have had Chester & Toby in their lives. We now have our Razzy who is 11 years old and doing so well. She has survived her two best friends and is the sweetest “puppy”. We are grateful for the memories and adventures we have had with our GRRIN dogs and are so glad we are able to make their “forever” homes just right for them. Toby you are so loved and will be missed forever. Your pictures and memory book will live on in our lives.
Chester, a GRRIN dog adopted in the year 2000, passed away in 2004 from cancer.