President's Message

President's messageGolden Greetings! 

It’s been too long since our last issue of Golden Tales so we are playing a bit of catch-up and have lots to report on in this issue. Going forward, we plan to bring you short and snappy versions of Golden Tales every other month.

You may have noticed that Costco is now listed on our website as a new partner of Rescue A Golden of Arizona – and I’m excited to tell you about it. 

Costco approached us about the sustainability program being driven by their corporate office and asked if we’d be interested in helping them. Specifically, their goal was to reduce dog food waste by finding a use for the many bags of dog food that are damaged - often by a minor tear or puncture - when they are moved around the warehouse. Add to that the nearly full bags that customers return because Fido has turned his little nose up at the kibble.   

My gut tells me the Costco team may have a soft spot for Golden Retrievers ... in any event, the manager remembered seeing Rescue A Golden of Arizona around the Valley over the years. He asked if we could use the dog food. Since our rescued Goldens typically go directly to a foster home and never see a shelter, we don’t have a need for the dog food. But other rescues do, and we felt called to partner with Costco to help feed dogs in transition and reduce waste in their warehouse.  Yes, we said, we’re all in!

We began picking up torn/taped bags of dog food once or twice a week and delivering them to rescues that need it. So far, we’ve given dog food to Ghost Town Dog Rescue in Mesa, Lost our Home Animal Rescue in Tempe, and Arizona Small Dog Rescue in Phoenix. Plus we are connecting with two new groups: (1) Back the kelly and jakeBlue Pet Rescue, an organization that rescues animals and also assists Arizona’s retired public safety K9’s with medical needs and (2) Heidi's Village, one of our vet care partners that offers services to rescues all over the Valley.

One opportunity we’ve had has been especially heartwarming. A volunteer introduced us to the good people of the Aris Foundation who feed the homeless in a Tempe park every Tuesday evening. Homeless people often refuse to go to a shelter because their dogs are not allowed. We’ve given them a ton of dog food, which they repackage into one-gallon bags to hand out to those they feed each week. So if you know of a local rescue that could use dog food, please send their information to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you again for all you do to support Rescue A Golden of Arizona.

Kelly Cook ~ President


Events and Happenings

Our members and Goldens were more than ready to reconvene for our favorite events and programs, some longtime traditions and others shiny and new.

Karsten's Bark in the Park

Bark in the ParkThe bark is back at Red Mountain Park in Mesa! After a two-year absence, scores of Goldens and their humans gathered for a picnic replete with barbeque, drinks, and dessert - and did I mention barking?

Tails wagged during the Rescue Ceremony, tears were shed during the Bridge Ceremony, beautiful raffle prizes were happily claimed, Golden souls were touched by an animal communicator, and peanut butter cups were enthusiastically licked (well done Lucy, you’re a winner!). Kudos to Becky Wetzel, Our Events Director, and all the board members and volunteers who made this such an unforgettable day. Our late board member, Ed Karsten, would have loved it.  
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Cutest Golden Contest

Cutest Golden Contest winnerIt was a dog-eat-dog game of Survivor to see which Golden Retriever could out-vote, out-cute, and outlast the others to win the coveted title of Cutest Golden ... and the cover photo of our 2023 Hearts of Gold calendar.

After a fierce down-to-the-wire flurry of voting, Lucy (whose human is Ruth Ann Steffes) emerged victorious. Tucker (with Tripp) was the proud runner-up and eight others will also strike a pose for our calendar.  Best of all, our generous voters helped to raise thousands of dollars to support our rescue efforts! On behalf of Lucy and every adorable Golden who entered our contest, we offer our heartfelt thanks to you and especially to our fantastic Webmaster, Margie Karow, who conducts this competition every year.  

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TopgolfSunny skies and warm March breezes signaled the start of a great day of golf, laughs, raffles, and the always popular eats and drinks at Topgolf in Scottsdale.

Experience and skill were not required to swing a club at this event although there was an abundance of talent on hand. Many thanks once more to Becky Wetzel and her crew of dedicated volunteers for delivering a well-attended and thoroughly enjoyable event - and for raising beaucoup funds to help rescue Golden Retrievers in need. 

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Chi Chi Rescue Dog Book Signings

Chi Chi the Rescue Dog Our longtime gift wrap partner, Barnes and Noble, invited RAGofAZ volunteers and their Goldens to participate in two book signing events at their Desert Ridge and 90th Street locations.  The author was none other than Elizabeth Howell, adopter of Chi Chi, a seriously injured Golden Retriever who was rescued from the horrors of the Korean meat market. 

Chi Chi’s rise to become a quadraplegic “hero” dog inspired Elizabeth to capture her story in a treasured children’s book. Barnes and Noble generously donated a portion of sales to RAGofAZ - with thanks to all who came out in support.  

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SAHBA Home and Patio Show

SAHBA home showIt was a long but delightful three day weekend in early April for our 12 volunteers at the annual home show at the Tucson Convention Center. This was Rescue A Golden’s second visit to the SAHBA home show, but our first time attending all three days. No surprise, the RAGofAZ booth was very popular, and we have already been asked to participate in the next show in September.

Big shoutout to new volunteers Steve & Katie Jeffers with Parker, Brenda & Mary Murch with Jackson, and Mike and his family with Annie. Much appreciation to Directors Bob Wood and Becky Wetzel and their Goldens for traveling to the southland in support of this event, which raised nearly $1,000.00 in donations! And a special thank you to Scottie McGowan for hosting Becky and Mia. But we couldn’t have done this without all your hard work and planning Miss Diane Weiss. Well done!!



Newsworthy and Noteworthy

All the Golden news that's fit to print!Golden retriever with glasses reading newspaper

A Daily Dose of Joy - a new book by our own longtime member, Kas Mantz

A Daily Dose of Joy

Share in the inspiring and informative experience of Kas and her precious Golden Retriever puppy, Joy, as they travel the difficult path of canine amputation, recovery, and healing.

Through these journal-like entries, Kas gives us a front row seat to the daily struggles and emotional victories as both Human and Golden find their way to a new and different life. You will be enthralled when Joy “takes to the keyboard” and shares her point of view too!  Published by Covenant Books.
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 Morris Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Update 

pictureGolden lovers everywhere tuned in to hear Morris Animal Foundation President and CEO Tiffany Grunert report on the status of the study launched a decade ago to identify the causes behind the high rate of cancer in dogs.

More than 3,000 Golden Retrievers between the ages of six months and two years were enrolled to focus on the risk factors for four diseases: Hemangiosarcoma, Lymphoma, High Grade Mast Cell Tumors, and Osteosarcoma. Why Golden Retrievers? Up to 60% of Goldens will become victims of cancer ... and that is simply unacceptable. With the support of animal advocate Betty White, Golden Retriever families were recruited from 48 states - and over the past ten years have generated a rich data set for researchers to pursue solutions to these serious medical challenges.

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Psst ... Heard Around the Dog Park 

heard around the dog parkGive us two minutes and we’ll give you a gaggle of quick hits, timely reminders, and fun facts!

  • Betty White Challenge

​The late actress and animal advocate would have been thrilled to know that donors across the country raised millions of dollars for rescue on her birthday, January 17th - including our own supporters who donated more than $4,000.00 to RAGofAZ!  Woofing with gratitude.

  • Mozy and Malone's Bully Bakery Fundraiser

​Lucky us, we were the beneficiary of Mozy & Malone's Bully Bakery’s January rescue “give back” program, receiving a portion of proceeds when we purchased special boxes filled with pupcakes, doggie donuts and biscuits.  Thank you so much ... and please may I have another?

  • Seeking Volunteers for Intake​

Would you be interested in conducting structured telephone interviews with people who are considering surrendering their dogs to RAGofAZ? Find out more about the role of our Intake Team - contact Scottie McGowan at 520.360.4414 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • It's Hot Out There!

The temperature is rising and so is the “hot paw” algorithm. If the sidewalk is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your furry friend. Time to switch to early morning and late night walks. Or some doggie paddling in the pool! 

  • Snake/toad training​

Deadly rattlesnakes may be slithering through your yard (toads too) posing a threat to your dogs.Train your dog to avoid these hazards

  • eBay Charity Listings

Are you in the market for some fabulous artwork or jewelry? Your purchase will benefit RAGofAZ. Check out these beautiful items

  • Fry’s Community Rewards/Amazon Smile

If you’ve been meaning to sign up for these two programs now is the time. You’re shopping anyway so why not also support RAGofAZ without spending an extra dime? ​
Fry's signup   Amazon Smile signup

Mark Your Calendar

CalendarBecause you know you don’t want to miss out!

With the hot summer months descending upon us, most of the action will be taking place in Prescott.  Woof Down Lunch on May 21st and Woofstock on June 11th remain popular gatherings for canine lovers year after year.  Hope to see you there!​

Woof Down Lunch    


Waiting at the Bridge​

pictureGone from this earth but living on in our hearts ... 

View a memorial to the beloved Goldens that have recently journeyed to Rainbow Bridge.

Visit a loving remembrance of dogs that have gone to the Bridge previously.