Hello Mark!

I just finished reading your book and cried like a little baby! So I decided I must tell you our story….

We had a beautiful Golden Retreiver named Dusty. She was born June 3, 2001. We had gotten her as a 6 week old puppy and she was a joy! We never had any problems with her chewing anything (as most golden puppies do!) or with housebreaking her. She was so smart and loving and could do no wrong in our eyes. She was the first Golden we had ever owned and because of her we decided we will own no other breed. She loved us like no other dog has done before.
One day we noticed a lump on her rib cage, so I loaded her up and took her to the vet. He immediately suspected bone cancer, but wanted to do a biopsy to be sure. She was only 16 months old at the time. The biopsy confirmed it was osteosarcoma. The vet told us we could do chemo and radiation, but it would probably only give her a few extra months and her quality of life would not be very good. We decided we did not want to put her through that. He gave us pain medication for her and we took her home. We were devastated. After the biopsy the cancer grew like crazy. It wasn’t long and the knot had grown to the size of a softball. Dusty NEVER let on that she was in any sort of pain. She remained a loving, gentle soul comforting us through this, when she was the one who needed it. My husband and I were both torn up. Like you, we made sure to spend as much time as possible with Dusty. We knew our time with her was coming to an end quickly because she was startng to eat less and was growing more lethargic every day.

Then one Friday night (about two months after her diagnosis) my husband had a gig and wouldn’t be home until late, he’s a musician. So I got on the internet to pay bills, as I usually did on Friday nights, and right about bedtime Dusty got up off the floor (she liked to lay behind my chair when I was on the computer) and laid her head on my lap and looked into my eyes as if she was saying, “I am tired and I am ready to meet my maker.” I turned off the computer, called her to the bed, held her and cried. The next morning when my husband and I got up he told me, “When I got home last night, Dusty told me she was ready” I was stunned because I hadn’t told him yet about her telling me the same thing. We decided to call the vet and make arrangements. We sent her to the Rainbow Bridge on Nov. 9, 2002.

We were both sick over it. I had to take a medical leave from my job for 2 weeks and go on anxiety medication. We did nothing but mope around the house for weeks. It was nearing Thanksgiving and my husbands birthday, but we didn’t want to celebrate anything. We weren’t in the mood for the holidays.

Then close to Christmas my husband confessed he was thinking about getting me a puppy for Christmas, but wanted to be sure I was ready. The funny thing is … I actually contemplated getting him one for his birthday a few weeks back, but didn’t know if he was ready. We laughed and decided to get another Golden Retreiver puppy. The house was way too quiet without our little Dusty. We started our search for a new puppy. Enter Louie. Another 6 week old golden with a completely different demeanor from our little Dusty. Louie was truly a clown. A comedian in the form of a dog, sent from the good Lord above to cheer us up. He has done just that. Wait, that’s not all! One day I was on the internet researching Golden Retreivers when I came across the web site of a local Golden Retreiver Rescue group. On their site they had a picture of a “Special needs” dog that was up for adoption. Her name was Kacy and she looked identical to our little Dusty, even had the same purple collar we’d had for Dusty. I could not believe my eyes when I read her story and learned she had the same exact birthdate as Dusty. I thought, “There is no way!” I emailed the lady that runs the rescue to ask the name of Kacys’ breeder. It was the same as Dustys! This was our little Dustys’ sister! I immediately set into motion the adoption. There was no way this dog was going to anyone else but us. We didn’t care that she had severe hip dysplaysia, she was coming to live in our home and we’d take care of her. We had to fill out an application, go thorough a home visit and then we had to drive about 2 hours out of town to meet her and the foster parents, and Louie had to come along too. He was about 16 weeks old by then I think. We all got along famously and we were allowed to take her home that day! She immediately attached herself to my husband and it remains that way to this day. She adores her daddy and he feels the same about her.


I think it is an amazing story and love to tell anyone that will listen. These dogs saved our lives after the devastating loss of our Dusty. We truly believe that Dusty led us to the web site to discover her sister there because she knew Kacy would be well taken care of here.


Susan from MO

2 Responses

  1. Debra Burger Says:

    Hi Susan,
    My name is Debbie and I run a rescue in Maryland. I am sure you have probably researched alternatives for Kacy.
    I just wanted to mention that adequan injections sometimes help hip dysplasia. You might want to check with your vet. I currently have a Pekingnese, that is the love of my life. I adore her and she has degenerative disc disease. She was only two when she had her first episode and it was horrible. They scream and run under furniture and you don’t know what is wrong. It was shocking, because she was so young. After 4 vets , her last episode paralyzed her, I was not giving up and I did not want to put her through back surgery. So, with the Grace of God, I was able to rehab her back to walking. It was alot of work and time and worry but she is the love of my life and I would do it all again.
    Also, there is a site called Dodgers List. It is an excellent site for information on joint or back problems. Kacy is a lucky little dog to have you as a parent.

  2. Kelly Says:

    What a wonderful story! I too have 2 golden retrievers..it must me a law of some sort..if you have one, you get a second. They bring more fun and joy to everyones life. How blessed you were to find Dusty’s sister! I’m sure Dusty had his hand in that. He wanted to make sure his sister had the good life that he was provided. Nothing can ever replace the loss, but thanks to you his sister will find joy! Thank you for sharing your story!