From the President's desk

Golden retriever at desk in Oval OfficeSummertime Greetings to All!

I’m delighted to open this issue with two important announcements.

First, please help me welcome my esteemed colleague, Stephanie Corns, to our Board as Director of Community Relations, a new position that encompasses and expands the role of Director of Fundraising. As the needs and demands of rescue evolve, we want to be positioned to step up and step out - whether it’s meeting the special challenges of living in a desert community or flexing our leadership muscles in the arena of international rescue. When you read Stephanie’s bio in our Newsworthy and Noteworthy segment, you'll see how perfectly her experience and expertise have prepared her for this job. Please show her our best “meet and greet” skills when you have the opportunity to say hello.

Kelly and JakeSpeaking of international rescue, the CDC may soon allow rescues to resume importing dogs from the 113 countries they banned last July. Regulators plan to enact safety measures while seeking a permanent solution. We expect new testing requirements before dogs can leave their home countries and big changes in procedures for receiving animals in the US (LAX is one of four airports allowed to accept these dogs). If you read that to mean more time, more effort, and increased costs, you're correct — but we're up for it — we know it will be so worth it. 

For those who gave so generously to help us try to get those 12 dogs out of China last summer prior to the ban going into effect — that money remains earmarked to bring International dogs to Arizona. If any of those 12 are still waiting to be rescued, they'll be first on our list. We’ll keep you posted in future publications of Golden Tales, e-blasts, and on social media.

For now, please enjoy these quick reads about our “Woof-tastic” events in Prescott, inspiring stories of courageous Goldens (and their puppies!), our tremendous success with our Costco partnership, and the hilarious story of Jake, a model Golden for every dog who is in “home visit” training. Stay cool!

Kelly Cook ~ President


Events and Happenings

Woof Down Lunch

Woof Down LunchWe hope you didn’t miss our favorite perennial event at Courthouse Plaza in Prescott on May 21st!  If you weren’t at Woof Down Lunch, you didn’t get to shake paws with our fabulous Golden Retrievers who did an outstanding job of representing RAGofAZ.  Our Goldens were in good company, with dozens of other groups there to celebrate all things canine ... with contests, vendors, demos, live music, and delicious eats and drinks.  The person we have to thank for organizing our participation is our own Director of Events, Becky Wetzel, with outstanding support from our Prescott based volunteers: Robin Fox, Ruth Ann Steffes, and Lynn Lassen.  Now add a big shoutout to our intrepid travelers from the Phoenix area who helped make Woof Down Lunch such a wonderful experience: Bob Wood, Mary Ellen Baker, and Sharon Steigman.  But the “Road Trip Warrior” award goes to Barb Jefferies and her family, who made the journey from Tucson to Prescott and back in a single day.  Thank you to all!!





woofstock 2022The day dawned hot and sunny at Prescott Valley Civic Center on June 11th as we gathered with fellow animal lovers to kick off Woofstock.  Although the heat dictated an earlier end to the festivities than initially planned, the focus was on quality and not quantity.  It was gratifying to see that a number of adoptable animals from other rescues and shelters found their forever homes at this event.  Others strutted their stuff at the photo booth, the pet/owner lookalike competition, and in “best tricks” and “beauty” contests.  Our own Ruth Ann Steffes is thrilled to report that her Lucy won a trophy and gift card for best looking dog!  Once again, Events Director Becky Wetzel and our stalwart team of volunteers made it happen.  Said Ruth Ann: “Becky put so much time and effort into planning our booth ... we had such a good time.”  Huge thanks to every single two-footed and four-footed friend (too numerous to list but no less loved) who came from near and far to support RAGofAZ at Woofstock.   




Newsworthy and Noteworthy

Golden retriever with glasses reading newspaper

All the Golden news that's fit to print!



Introducing Stephanie Corns, Director of Community Relations

stephanie and luluStephanie brings twenty years of experience and expertise in the field of communications strategy and planning, reputation management, and corporate storytelling. Marry this with her love of all things canine and her devotion to the cause of rescue, and you have the perfect candidate for this newly-created position. Stephanie will oversee fundraising programs for RAGofAZ - both established events and new campaigns. But her broader goal is to elevate our presence in the rescue community through strategic partnerships, unified stakeholder communications, and positive messaging using multiple media platforms. We all look forward to meeting and working with Stephanie (and her adorable senior rescue dog Lulu) in what promises to be an exciting future! Welcome aboard!




She’s a Pearl of a Girl ...

Pearl and puppiesPearl's puppy circle
I guess that’s what you might say!!

What seemed to be a typical surrender process took an exciting turn when we discovered in late May that Pearl was expecting puppies.  And soon!  In a single day turnaround, Pearl was transported from her adopter’s home to a fully outfitted nursery at the home of experienced puppy fosters Robin and Toby Fox.  Pearl gave birth to 8 puppies - 6 girls and 2 boys! - and has proven to be a devoted and attentive mama.  The puppies have little round tummies and have been nicknamed “The Golden Nuggets.”  Many thanks to Robin and Toby for your dedicated and loving care of this Golden family. 


Update on our “Costco Kibble Connections”:

Pile of dog food bagsOne of the most gratifying outcomes that President Kelly Cook has experienced through our partnership with Costco has been our ability to assist people who are homeless. These individuals suffer terribly during the sweltering summer heat - and so do their canine companions. We have been able to provide large bags of dog food donated by Costco (that have been slightly damaged in their warehouses) to organizations including The Aris Foundation and The Salvation Army who distribute the food to un-housed people and their dogs. Just look at this huge pile of dog food we delivered in Tempe last month! If you know of a rescue that needs food donations, please email Kelly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Jake’s Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Home Visit

scottie and fur kidsBy Scottie McGowan

I have been a member of the Home Visit Team for years, and have always enjoyed having my Golden Retrievers accompany me on visits to show potential adopters what friendly and clever dogs they are. We had three Goldens, Jake, Morgan, and our Home Visit Diva, Crystal. When our beloved Crystal went to the Bridge, one of the boys had to step into service.

Jake was the first to do a Home Visit. Unbeknownst to me, this prospective adopter had a Cockatiel. By the time I left his home with our high-prey-drive Jake in tow, the bird was in therapy. Jake was done with home visits.  Morgan, on the other hand, attended meet & greets and hung out at a friend’s home with numerous other daycare dogs including an obnoxious little Jack Russell Terrier. So Morgan became quite well socialized, and his home visit training went smoothly. 
When Morgan and I did a Home Visit, Jake stayed home alone. But one day he suckered me into taking him with us with that heart-wrenching “Home Alone” look. Bad idea. Nevertheless, off we went to do a home visit with an unsuspecting couple that lived in a big, beautiful, well-kept home. And, they had an adorable Golden puppy confined to the kitchen with gates at both entrances. Morgan, Jake, and I cheerfully walked in the front door to greet this lovely family. 

What follows is my official report. Click here to read the exciting outcome of this very special and hopefully never-to-be-repeated home visit. 

Psst ... Heard Around the Dog Park

Golden retriever in sunglasses at park

Give us two minutes and we’ll give you a gaggle of quick hits, timely reminders, and fun facts!


rattlesnakeClose Encounters of the Creepy Kind! sonoran desert toadOur Arizona monsoon season has arrived, and along with the usual barrage of rattlesnakes and other slithering serpents come the poisonous Sonoran Desert Toads!  Not only are these creatures the stuff of nightmares (feel free to study these photos), they present a potentially grave danger to our dogs should they encounter them. Learn more about these desert critters from AZPetVet, and sign up for toad or snake avoidance training with Master's Kennels in Gilbert by calling 480-917-3647. Upcoming sessions are on July 17 and August 14. Check out their Instagram or Facebook pages for details.

In Tucson, Suffolk Hills Pet Clinic is offering snake aversion training on July 17. It costs $85 but there is free retesting for dogs previously trained. Contact Scottie McGowan at (520) 360-4414 to sign up. 

 bucket of toads 2

Ever wonder how our gorgeous Hearts of Gold calendars magically arrive every fall? True, our Cutest Golden Contest winners get to strike a pose and tell their rescue stories in our calendar pages, but how do all these photos and write-ups mesh together into one beautiful product?  That’s the result of the creativity, coordination, and meticulous work of our Calendar Committee: Co-Chairs Becky Buck-Wetzel, and Carol Quinn, Kathy Mutch, Luanna Ross, Heather Marcom, Mike Rennie, Margie Karow, and Kelly Cook.  Be sure to thank them when you see them!

Penny the miracle dog smiling by poolMeet Penny, the Miracle Dog!  When Bob Schillaci picked up this desperately sick Golden, she was unable to use her two hind legs and had to be carried into Surprise Animal Hospital.  The poor girl had a painful lesion on her spine from disseminated Valley Fever and was treated with Fluconazole, Prednisone and Gabapentin.  The treating vet actually took Penny home with her for several days to care for her!  Now, this brave girl is walking, eating, relaxing, and living large in Chino Valley with her loving adoptive family.  What a rescue success!

A rescue is still a rescue even in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.  Within a few hours of learning that a Golden named Sophia was apparently starving and in pain, our volunteers delivered her to Blue Pearl Hospital on Memorial Day.  Poor Sophia had a huge tumor that was inoperable and would cause her a cruel demise. Rescuers do not allow that to happen so Sophia was humanely euthanized ... and is mourned by us all. RIP sweet girl.
dog anxiety AdobeStockDog Thunderstorm Anxiety: How to Help. It can be tough to watch your pup get stressed out during a thunderstorm. While some dogs show mild signs of stress, like licking their paws, other dogs can get so worked up during storms they may get destructive. Read more, courtesy of the AKC Nibble Newsletter, written by Saige Driver.


Consider this a "Canine Correction"

Golden Retriever licking peanut butterSternly worded memo from Dozer, Golden Retriever of our own Board Secretary Carol Quinn:  Dozer read that his very good friend, Lucy, won the peanut butter licking competition at Bark in the Park, and would like it to be known that this fiercely contested event ended in a tie!  It all came down to “last licks.” (Both Dozer and Lucy won Petco gift cards, which they have declined to share despite being quite fond of each other.)


Mark your Calendar

Dog holding calendarBecause you know you don't want to miss out!

It’s the summer season ... so like our pups and ourselves, events slow down a bit.  Relax, restore, and revisit your “doggie paddle” skills in the pool.  Things will pick up again in the fall, so enter these dates on your calendar now:

Fall 2022 SAHBA Home and Garden Show ~ 9/30, 10/1, 10/2

Dogtoberfest ~ 10/2


Waiting at the Bridge

rainbow path going over bridgeGone 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.