A Tribute to a Golden Champion

All for the Love of a Golden

EdkidsOn Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 at 4:07 PM, Ed Karsten, Director of Golden Rescue, the beloved friend of all, and the bravest warrior we have ever known went to the Rainbow Bridge to greet his dogs and cats. We're sure he is running through those fields pain free surrounded by Goldens galore and his kitties, throwing lots of tennis balls. Then over the bridge they will go to reside with the Father in heaven.

Ed is a five year survivor of pancreatic cancer exceeding much longer than usual for this deadly disease. In keeping with his quest to serve people, he chose experimental chemotherapies paving the way for more research and helping others in the future to beat this awful disease. Although he has been in excruciating pain for many months, he never gave up, fighting the battle right to the very end.

The backbone of Rescue A Golden of Arizona, he fostered many changes to improve procedures to benefit the dogs and strengthen our organization. He provided expert training and mentoring to so many volunteers. A multitude of shelter dogs owe their lives to this wonderful man. He leaves behind a legacy filled with service to mankind and animals.

We will always remember the upbeat, funny, positive, sometimes crazy man who made a huge difference to every life he touched. Rest in peace, dear friend. We all miss you terribly, but we will carry on as you have taught us to do. God Bless.

If you would like to make an online donation to RAGofAZ in memory of Ed, please click the donate button below.  


If you would like to make a donation by check, please make check payable to "RAGofAZ", enter "Ed Karsten" on the memo line, and mail check to:

Rescue a Golden of Arizona - P.O. Box 71987 - Phoenix, AZ 85050

Ed's Wall 

300px Rainbow Bridge heavenIf you would like to leave a remembrance of Ed on this page, please click here

 Although we didn't know Ed Karsten personally, he obviously was a brave, dedicated, and strong man. His determination to help Goldens must be part of what drew so many into working with RAG of AZ. Our sympathies go to his family and friends for their loss.

Barbara and Marty M.

I have so many positive memories working with Ed on transports. He always had such a great attitude and was a tremendous ambassador for RAGofAZ because of his helpfulness. Thanks to him – I never felt uncomfortable asking questions or sharing concerns because I knew he was friendly and only wanted what was best for the goldens. He demonstrated by example and soon became more than a RAGofAZ contact but rather, a friend. I hope he was greeted in heaven by all of the golden retrievers who were saved because of him and have since crossed the bridge.

-Nancy N.

Ed had a warm heart and made everyone feel special.
He always made me smile. Missing you Ed, see you someday again.

Rae P.

I met Ed  when I  joined the organization in 2005  &  RAG was invited to  have a booth at The  Arizona Pioneers Home Festival.  Ed drove up with his dog, RAG flyers, & showed me how it was  done.. When I first volunteered  for Transport, Ed drove up to  Prescott with his computer to  orient me to the  process.  At that time  he had already been  diagnosed, needed to check his blood sugar, &  administer medication  during the afternoon.  Ruthann from Prescott

I met Ed about 15 years ago thru RAG. He was the transportation coordinator and the member at large for the Board. I was a volunteer and later on the Board with him. He would bring his beloved Lady and later Neutron to events such as the Glendale Fireman's Parade and Bark in the Park. I know he love carousels and ham radio. He was always there to help both in his work and his volunteer activities. There are many communities of friends that will miss his presence and humor.
Ruth D.

I'm so sorry; thats a horrific cancer.

Thanks for the update, I hope he has the most brightly polished wings in heaven…Garry K.

As we are all in a special group of longtime friends of Ed’s, I’m sure we are all experiencing the same pain and heartache at the loss of him. It is hard to even look at my dogs without thinking of the dozens of transports, dogs, laughs and memories we all shared. Like the time he sent me on a transport and when I got to the house, it not only was not a golden, nor even a golden mix, but some tiny little Chihuahua mix of some sort that insisted on putting its paws on the steering wheel as I drove it to her new home! And of course, we all will never forget Russell, the dog who escaped on my watch at AMSC and spent 4 days on the lam before he was captured. All of us spent hours looking for him. And then how I did not want to leave him at Jay’s for training because I didn’t think it was safe there. Ed was one of several who called me and had to diplomatically tell me that I HAD to do it. Boy that was hard. And there was the time that I called him crying hysterically after being bitten by the dog I was to pick up and he started going thru his “911 checklist” asking if the skin was broken, if I was bleeding, if the dog was up to date on shots and finally telling me to sit down, take some deep breaths, and get some ice on the wound as soon as possible!

We always had a date to attend at least ONE Barnes and Noble gift wrap at the same time, it was tradition. I reminded Ed that he had a date with me coming up soon just a few weeks before he died. On that phone call, I had no idea just how limited his time was to be. Now, I feel so lucky that he even took my call., but I deeply regret that I didn’t make plans to go see him. Those volunteer requests will soon be in my inbox and I will be reminded again of his absence.

For someone who gave so much to so many, I feel overwhelmingly sad that we could not rescue him from the curse of cancer and that I could have/should have done more for him in the years since his diagnosis. I know that Lois will have a TON of work to do on his behalf and if there is anything we (not necessarily just us but RAG as a whole) can do to help, I hope it can be communicated in some way to show our true love and commitment to him and his memory. Is there any gathering that you know of, at this point?

Thank you all for all you have done for RAG and for Ed in the many years we have all worked together in this mission of passion for golden retrievers. It has created a very tight bond and has given me some of the best years of my life.

It is still so hard to believe that my beloved friend is gone.  It seems so cruel that someone who has dedicated his life to rescuing others, could not be rescued from the dreaded curse of cancer.

I have been on the transport team for about 15 years.  It would be hard to count how many goldens Ed has had a hand in rescuing.  One time, however, I had to call upon him to rescue me.  I had gone to pick up a wild, backyard dog. The owner lead me outside to meet the dog and as we were getting acquainting, the dog bit me on the wrist and would not let go.  Thankfully, I was wearing a RAG sweatshirt that day, and though my injury was not serious, I called Ed crying hysterically to inform him that I would not be bringing this dog in and that I was waiting for the police so I could file a report. There was a very long silence. Finally, Ed, having been a 911 operator for over 32 years, began to assess my situation, asking if the skin was broken, if I was bleeding, if I had had a recent tetanus shot, if the dog was up to date on shots and then he told me to sit down and take some deep breaths, and ask for some ice to stop the swelling! We laughed about that many times over the years and how different it is when you actually KNOW the person who is having the emergency!

Ed, like the goldens he is so passionate about, is forever faithful, loyal, joyful, happy to see you and the kind of friend who would do anything for you.  We are all richer for having known him, and poorer for having lost him.

Sandee D.

The big news and bad news of the week was the passing of Ed Karsten. I knew and worked with Ed for the better part of five years on Transport and on the Board of Directors. The best way I know to honor his memory is to keep on doing what we do: Be ready to figure out a way to move a Golden from one side of the state to the other at a moment’s notice, if need be. Rest in peace, buddy...Bob S.

Years ago I did a home visit for a gentleman who was 99 years old. The home was perfect and the care takers all said that they would be more than glad to help with the care of the dog. I wasn’t sure I should approve the visit. I called Ed and we talked for a long time and after talking to him, I realized that I should approve the application. The gentleman was so very happy when his dog arrived. The man had a little over a wonderful year with his dog. The dog was there to help the man celebrate his 100th birthday. It was Ed who made me realize how happy this man would be and he was so right. Thank you Ed.

I will miss Ed more than words can express.

Thank you,
Sue L.

 I did not know Ed very well, but I knew of his love of goldens thru other RAG members. I do remember how caring and supportive he was when my late husband Jerry was diagnose with pancreatic cancer in September 2013. Ed will be deeply missed by the entire RAG family and continuing to rescue goldens is best way to honor is memory.

Becky B-W and Miss Maddie

 Ed loved photography. I will always remember him as the official photographer at so many RAG events. I would hear a "click" (usually after taking a big bite of something), look up, and there would be Ed with his camera and that sly grin of his. Gotcha!

Kathy M.

Ed was always upbeat and loved talking Golden retrievers.

I met Ed at the Virginia G Piper Cancer Center. He was there for treatment and I was there visiting with my RAG adopted Golden, Boone. Ed called from behind the curtain," Bring that Golden in here." In our ensuing conservation, we discovered that we both worked with RAG. He was so pleased to see Boone, and we talked about the wonderfulness of owning Goldens. Every time I visited, the receptionist let me know of the man, who always wanted to see the dogs. I knew immediately, it was Ed. We talked of the dogs waiting for us across the Rainbow Bridge and how happy the pack would be. Never was there a negative expressed by Ed, about his condition. His eyes lit up at the sight of Boone every visit.

I know that he is pain free romping joyful with his pack across the Bridge. Just keep romping with the dogs, Ed, even though you are sorely missed here.

Peggy E.

Ed was a special person. He was a very caring person, and very compassionate. He had so many interested and touched everyone he came in contact with. He always kept his cool and you knew whatever the situation, with his help you would come through it. He will live on in our hearts because his passion for the dogs was infectious. We will carry that passion in our hearts with every dog we touch. Ed always had a positive attitude and great sense of humor. If he was every stressed by a situation, you would never know it.

I met Ed at my first annual meeting and we talked about volunteering. The next thing I knew, I was on the transport team. I learned a lot from Ed about transporting over the years. He was always available when you needed him. I served with him on various events and also on the board. To say he was a huge part of RAG just doesn't explain it. Even yesterday, I was thinking I'd like to call Ed, just to talk. Ed is missed beyond words.