Rescue a Golden of Arizona


Volunteer Spotlight: Scottie McGowan


This quarter we’re celebrating Scottie McGowan. Scottie is one of our most tenured volunteers and has held many different roles over the last 14 years including her current role as Director of Golden Rescue. Many of you may recognize her work as the leader who pulls all of our International Rescue efforts together. You can find her driving her mini-van (with a huge vinyl sticker of a Golden on the side!) back and forth from LAX picking up dogs or flying to Mexico to bring back a bunch of Goldens in crates heading to their new homes in AZ. Her energy is endless and her enthusiasm is infectious. We would not be able to save as many dogs as we do without her. Thank you, Scottie, for all you do!

1. How long have you been a volunteer with RAGofAZ?

Since 2005

2. What volunteer positions have you held and what role(s) are you currently in?
• Meet and Greet volunteer since 2005
• Intake Team since March, 2009
• Transport Team Member since May, 2009
• Transport Coordinator Team since 2009
• Foster since November, 2010
• Home Visit Team since November, 2010
• Assistant Transport Team Coordinator in April, 2011
• Southern Director, K9 Operations
• Board Member since November, 2011
• Rescue to Rescue Transfer Coordinator Since 2013
• Director of Golden Rescue since November, 2015
• International Rescue Coordinator November, 2016
• Currently, Director of Golden Rescue, International Rescue Coordinator, Trainer for long distance transporters moving international dogs from LAX, and McCarron International Airports to Phoenix since 2017

2. In what part of AZ do you reside?

A. In southeast Tucson in Rita Ranch.

3. Tell us a little bit about your family, including any current pets.

A. I was assigned to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in 1997. Ken retired from the USAF in 1993; I retired in 2003. Between us we have 4 grown children, 5 grandchildren, and two Goldens. Ken, my sweetheart of 26 years, supports all aspects of rescue. Twelve-year-old Jake and nine-year-old Morgan rule the roost. Ken is their chef, landscaper, and pharmacist; I am their groomer, chauffer, and social director.

4. Tell us a little bit about any past/current rescued Goldens (from us or otherwise).

A. We purchased six-week-old Abbey from a backyard breeder. Five years later,
we discovered rescue, became foster failures and adopted our first RAGofAZ Golden,
Chad. Little did we know that Chad was destined to change our whole life’s path. He went to the Bridge after only six years from a brain tumor, and we learned the devasting heartbreak of losing a beloved Golden, it wouldn’t be the last. We adopted Crystal in 2009, Jake in 2011, and Morgan in 2012. We learned what “All for the Love of A Golden” means. Crystal went to the Bridge in 2014. We are still grieving her loss.

5. Tell us a bit about why you wanted to volunteer with us.

A. We were invited to bring Abbey and Chad to meet and greets and doggy socials. It sounded like a good way to meet people and socialize our dogs. We discovered what RAGofAZ is all about; we met so many adopted dogs and their dedicated families. Our dogs became Ambassadogs to help rescue more dogs in need, and I found I couldn’t say no to participate in all things Golden. Then I learned about the amazingly synchronized teams that make it all happen, and I was hooked.

6. What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far as a volunteer with us?

A. Every dog has a story and being part of their journey to a new life is very rewarding. But, developing an international program that embodies the meaning of rescue brings tears every day. To see the before pictures of dirty, skinny dogs at meat markets or on the street fighting for survival, then seeing them cleaned, fed, and with loving families is most rewarding.

7. What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t volunteered with us before but may be thinking about it?

A. When you have a Golden in your life, resistance is futile. But even without a dog, there are many ways you can help secure a second chance for a Golden. Every volunteer makes a difference even it’s only for a couple of hours. The benefits are lots of tail wags, sloppy kisses, the knowledge that you help save and improve Golden lives, life-long friendships, and maybe a Golden or two.

8. What else would you like us to know about you and your volunteering?

A. There is a magnet that says, “Who Rescued Who?” It rings so true. I wrestle with clinical depression and found that Goldens are the very best antidepressants. I am so blessed to belong to this organization and to be able to be a part of the mission to save Golden lives.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Preston


This quarter we’re excited to feature Mark Preston as our featured volunteer. Mark has a special gift when it comes to graphic design work and we’re lucky enough to have had him donate his time and talent to the rescue for the last several years. While Mark does a lot of design work for us, the biggest project of the year is putting together our annual calendar. From start to finish he makes sure every photo, every story, every detail is perfectly placed! Thank you Mark!

How long have you been a volunteer with RAGofAZ?

A little over 5 years.

What volunteer positions have you held and what role(s) are you currently in?

I started out working on the annual Links of Gold golf tournament which was our biggest fund raising event at the time. Over the years, I’ve become more active doing graphic design work for RAGofAZ.

In what part of AZ do you reside? 

Originally from Wisconsin, I’ve lived in Scottsdale for the past 32 years.

Tell us a little bit about your family, including any current pets.

I live with my wife of 37 years, my 23 year old daughter and a 7 year old RAGofAZ rescue Golden named “J.”

Tell us a little bit about any past/current rescued Goldens (from us or otherwise).

J is our current rescue, and is the third Golden we have been blessed to provide a forever home for through RAGofAZ. We also rescued a Golden while we lived in Kansas who was lost on the city streets of Wichita. We scooped the four month old puppy up out of the street so she wouldn’t get hit, and worked diligently to find her owner to no avail. Because she was a lost little girl wandering in Kansas we named her Dorothy … and she was with us for the next 17 years. While we miss Dorothy and Cassie & Bart, our RAGofAZ rescues, we treasured our time with them and are grateful every day for the comic relief and genuine love that “JJ” shares with us these days’

Tell us a bit about why you wanted to volunteer with us.

From our first rescue (Cassie) with RAGofAZ, it became clear that it was a very special organization. The dedication, enthusiasm and genuine love exhibited by every volunteer we came into contact with inspired me to want to do my fair share …. All For the Love of a Golden.

What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far as a volunteer with us?

Working with the GREAT volunteers, and seeing the joy that our rescues bring to people throughout the Valley at our annual “Bark In The Park” get-togethers.

What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t volunteered with us before but may be thinking about it?

Do it!!! Like the Goldens themselves, volunteering gives back far more than it takes.

Volunteer Spotlight: Lindsey King


We are thrilled to share our volunteer of the quarter with you. Take a minute to get to know Lindsey King. She has volunteered with Rescue A Golden of Arizona since 2012, and today serves as our Membership Coordinator. Our organization’s work is 

only as good as our volunteers, and Lindsey makes RAG better by keeping the Membership wheels turning, and we are super grateful for all she does, and for the heart she has for this work.

 How long have you been a volunteer with RAGofAZ?

• Have been volunteering with RAGof AZ since the fall of 2012.

What volunteer positions have you held and what role(s) are you currently in?

• Started as a coordinator for our PetCo “Meet & Greet” events, then as coordinator for our Christmas Gift Wrap events at Barnes and Noble and currently as Membership Coordinator.

What part of AZ do you reside?

• My husband and I and our fur babies live in Scottsdale.

What do you do for work?

• I am a pilot

Tell us a little bit about your family, including any current pets.

• My husband, Jason, and I are both pilots. He flies helicopters and I fly for a charter airline, XOJET. We have three fur babies, our RAGofAZ babies, Finnegan and Khaleesi and our Siamese cat, Kitty.

Tell us a little bit about any past/current rescued Goldens (from us or otherwise):

• My first golden baby was Oliver, whom I got from a breeder in Canada, where I am originally from. Oliver and I moved to Arizona in 2012 where we began volunteering for RAGofAZ. After losing my Oliver to cancer at a very young age, my fellow Rescue a Golden volunteers felt that Finnegan would be a great addition to our family and would help me in my grieving after the loss of Oliver. Finnegan came to us at 15 months old, with a partially recovered broken tibia, that RAGofAZ ensured healed perfectly, through multiple surgeries and follow up care. He captured our hearts immediately and has been the best boy a family could ever ask for. Khaleesi, our second RAGofAZ dog came to us at only 9 weeks old, and riddled with health problems. She has healed from all of those ailments, and is now a healthy, crazy, fun loving girl who adores her big brother. We say Finnegan came into our lives to heal our broken hearts after losing Oliver, and Khaleesi came to us to remind us to laugh.

Tell us a bit about why you wanted to volunteer with us.

• Goldens are truly the best dog, and for my husband and I, the best kids ever! I love being a part of an organization that not only rescues and cares for abandoned Goldens, but that also matches this amazing breed to families who will forever be changed by their love.

What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far as a volunteer with us?

• Would have to say the Christmas Wrapping events. My Finnegan and Khaleesi absolutely love meeting the shoppers and spreading their love, and at the end of the day, they come home exhausted and happy.

What advice would you give to someone who hasn’t volunteered with us before but may be thinking about it?

• Do it! Even if you are concerned about it fitting into a busy schedule, or if your skills match our need, just reach out. Volunteering not only helps RAGofAZ Goldens, but it will also bring immense joy to you as well.

What else would you like us to know about you and your volunteering?

• Love this organization and the amazing group of volunteers I get to work with. We are a very dedicated and passionate group, who all love our Goldens and want to ensure that every Golden in need finds a loving forever home.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Norton-Scott & The Home Visit Team


Pop quiz! How many people does it take to ensure safe and loving homes and families for our Goldens? It takes a team of 43 dedicated people led by Sue Norton-Scott, the Home Visit Team Coordinator, to visit about 24 adoption applicants each month. To protect our team and our prospective adoptive families from COVID-19, we proactively suspended Home Visits on March 15th. When we resumed visits on June 1st, the team was deluged with 20 applications in just one week. Virtual tours were added to the procedure, enabling team members at risk of contracting the virus to also do visits and get families approved to adopt that special Golden. Within 11 days, 107 new applications were received. 

Their work is always appreciated, but this quarter, we are especially proud to salute the steadfast Home Visit Team for tackling the massive task of approving homes for our Goldens.

Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Klink, Veterinary Team Liaison and Intake Team Volunteer


Discovering Goldens that are in need of rescuing and preparing them for their potential new adopters takes a village of talented people every step of the way. One of those important steps is to become the connection between the adopters and any possible veterinary help the Golden may need in order to become healthy and happy in their new home.

One of those amazing people is Barbara Klink, who has done this critical work since 2009 in Tucson and has helped hundreds of Goldens and their families come together with the best possible future in mind.

Recently, Barbara has worked diligently with one family, the O’Briens and their new Golden, Daniel as they experienced some health concerns soon after his arrival. The O’Briens contacted RAG to tell us that Barbara has been extremely responsive, calling them promptly, regularly, and organized Daniel’s care with knowledge and understanding. “Barbara has demonstrated great humanity and kept us informed all along the way. We would be lost without her support.”

Barbara is called “The Energizer Bunny” and believes in going the extra mile in getting these wonderful dogs along the road to their great new lives. She won’t overlook a thing and isn’t hesitant to act on behalf of the Golden and their adopters as long as needed.

We think Barbara exemplifies the mission of Rescue A Golden of Arizona and we thank her very much for her contributions over the years. The Goldens thank her too!

Volunteer Spotlight: Margie Karow, Webmaster


Every great team has someone they couldn’t do without, and Rescue A Golden is no different. This quarter, we are thrilled to shine the RAG spotlight on Margie Karow. Margie works tirelessly for the rescue, often behind the scenes, and often seven days a week.

Margie has been keeping our website going for years – she’s a whiz. If not for her, we would have lost the entire site last year. She took it upon herself to research new host vendors and was able to work with them to transition everything seamlessly. Margie also manages our member communications, including formatting and sending emails to thousands of people. She’s instrumental to our quarterly newsletter process, and manages all of our distribution lists. Margie is a big part of so many things we do, including the annual calendar, fundraising campaigns and the Cutest Golden Contest.

But, it’s not just about what Margie does, it’s how she does it. She is the most caring person. Margie is always available and responds so quickly to every little thing we ask of her. She’s “all in” on Rescue A Golden and we’d be lost without her.

With all the work she does, you’re probably thinking she needs an assistant! Well, she got one earlier this year when she and her husband John adopted DaSan (now MiMi) from China.

Please tell us why you volunteer for Rescue A Golden of Arizona (RAG). 

Margie: I’ve been a member of RAG almost since the beginning in 1998. That’s when my husband, John, and I got our first Golden puppy, Sadie, who was a gift from friends. My two kids, Brian and Allison, absolutely adored this dog, we all did. I had only recently become aware of rescue groups in general and knew there was an urgent need for volunteers, so I just jumped on board.

What kinds of volunteer jobs have you had during your years as a RAG volunteer?

Margie: Well, I’ve worn many hats during my volunteer career, and like it says on our logo, I do it all for the love of a Golden … from approving applications (I received the faxed ones!) to serving on the Vet Care Team when it had only two members, to taking on the role of Vet Care Coordinator, and eventually becoming the Webmaster. I also served on the Links of Gold Golf Committee and volunteered at Gift Wrap and other events year after year. And I’m a longtime member of the Annual Campaign Committee where I collaborate with a small team to develop the messaging and graphics of the appeal, prepare the website, and deliver our marketing plan through weekly e-blasts and other media. Frankly, I can’t imagine not volunteering with RAG! I love playing even a small role in helping these beautiful sweet dogs find their forever homes.

You’ve been our webmaster for a number of years. Tell us about that.

Margie: As Webmaster, I maintain and update the website, and also edit and send out our e-blasts and newsletters. I knew absolutely nothing about what went on behind the scenes of website management when I started assisting our “webmaster emeritus” Dean Mills, but he was an excellent teacher. Eventually, I inherited the position when Dean was ready to step back. The most challenging part of the job came when we moved to a new web host last fall. There were many sleepless nights for a couple of weeks until it was finally up and running … but it was all worth it, of course. I have to say, the program I enjoy the most as Webmaster is running the Cutest Golden Contest and working with the Calendar Committee to produce our annual Hearts of Gold calendars. The photos really are adorable, and the final vote night is very exciting!

Have you adopted a Golden Retriever from RAG since you began your volunteering career?

Margie: Oh yes!  We adopted our beautiful Scooter from RAG in 2007 following Sadie’s passing.  We loved Scooter so much, and after he went to the Bridge last year we felt we just were not ready for another dog.  But … when we learned that a group of dogs from China were “coming to America” this past January, we decided to open our hearts to another Golden.  And we were fortunate to be able to adopt sweet little MiMi.

You’ve dedicated so much of your time to RAG’s rescue efforts – what do you like to do in your free time?

Margie: I love aerobic dance classes, reading, and playing the piano. As soon as I sit down to play, MiMi comes over and lies down at my feet and squeaks her ball in time to the music. Seriously, she is my very own little metronome!

Volunteer of the Quarter: Bob Wood, Director of Golden Rescue


Congratulations to Bob Wood, Rescue A Golden of Arizona Volunteer of the Quarter and an incredible leader! Bob and his wife joined RAG of AZ three years ago as members of the Transport Team.

Today Bob serves as Director of Golden Rescue. He leads RAG’s International rescue efforts along with the Home Visit team and the Transport team. He formed a partnership with Goldens without Borders a couple of years ago to help RAG of AZ save more dogs in unfortunate situations from other countries.

Over the last eight months, Bob has also become the face of the rescue for our new volunteers. But to Bob, bringing new members onto the team doesn’t mean simply signing them up. It means showing them the ropes, spending time with them, and ensuring they have the “right seat on the bus” and that they are comfortable in their new roles, and that they have a great first experience with our organization. If you’ve ever thought about volunteering for RAG, Bob would love to talk to you about what we do, and how we do it.

Bob served in the United States Air Force (thank you for your service!) and had a fascinating career. He is retired now, but you wouldn’t know it. He is often the first to raise his hand on almost everything.

Bob has driven close to 4,000 miles for Rescue A Golden in 2021 alone, and he’d drive another 4,000 before year-end if it meant saving a Golden Retriever or helping a family get united with one. Bob fosters dogs too. Whether for a few weeks or a few hours, he and his family say yes, and their Golden girl Echo is “all in” when it comes to helping her “pawrents” help dogs in transition.

To sum it up… that line from the Ghostbusters theme song, “Who you gonna call…. GHOSTBUSTERS” If you replace the word Ghostbusters with Bob Wood… that is how we feel about Bob Wood and his contributions to Rescue A Golden of Arizona.

December: Meet Parker



Life is Golden

After losing our golden retriever Daisy after almost 16 years, we were not sure if we would ever be ready for a new furry friend. However, we did know that we wanted to help a golden in need and give them a great life. So, we took the first step and signed up with Rescue A Golden of AZ.

After eight months and five days before Christmas we got the call of a golden in need of a forever family. His name was Parker and he needed a new home as soon as possible. Well, let’s just say, it was a shock for us and we were hesitant at first, a boy dog, twice the size of Daisy and with medical issues (seizures). Would he be a good fit with our seven month old son? This was a lot for us to take on, but it was what we signed up for and after four months of fostering him we couldn’t see our lives without him. The love and bond that our son Chase and his “Clifford” share is unlike any other. Parker had found his forever home! We want to send a big thank you to Rescue A Golden of AZ and all of your amazing volunteers who made the process so easy and cared for Parker and us along the way. This rescue means a lot to us and will forever have a place in our hearts.

November: Meet Penny


November Penny5864 Main

Hi, my name is Penny. I came into RAG of AZ in the first week of May 2022. When I arrived I had a serious problem, I couldn’t walk. I was taken to a very nice veterinarian and after labs and x-rays, it was determined that I had a mass on my spine. I was given pain and anti-inflammatory medication and the next day I was up on all fours! My back legs were wobbly, but I was walking again!

The tests showed I had valley fever and the mass was a valley fever lesion. I was put on Fluconazole and I started feeling better and wagging my tail. My mom says that when I wag my tail my whole back end wiggles, so she sometimes calls me “wigglebutt”. I am one of the Special Needs Goldens in the calendar, which I don’t understand because I think all Goldens are special.

I have a new sister Mia, who came all the way from China. I can’t speak Chinese, but it doesn’t matter, we are getting along great. I love tennis balls and chasing the bunnies in the back yard. I went to my first official RAG event and met lots of other Goldens, it was so much fun. Mom said there will be more events in our future. Woo! Hoo! as I love being with people and meeting new friends.

Thank you RAG of AZ for rescuing me, saving my life and finding me the perfect forever home.

October: Meet Zoey


ZoeyFlag3 main

Zoey came to Kate, Gary, Aimee and Alex after the loss of their RAG of AZ Golden, Kira and her sister Shadow. Kira and Shadow were loving companions, have been missed and as a family, we never thought we could find the same kind of love again.

Then, we met Zoey. When I first picked her up as a puppy, she snuggled into my shoulder and seemed to choose me. Zoey is a breath of fresh air. She is a strong, loving dog and seems to understand most things we are trying to communicate. She loves us and her “baby” that she carries with her everywhere and sleeps with at night. Her “baby” was her heartbeat sleeping companion that she slept with as a puppy to comfort her and is in the current photo with Zoey.

We are so happy to have been able to share love with such wonderful pups and thank our good fortune every day!

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