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Our Rainbow Bridge pages have many tributes to the incredible animals we have loved and lost.

The loving tributes on these pages are stories of loyalty and compassion and of the rescued goldens who conquered their past lives, and came out the other side. Those dogs who have a "heart" icon are NRGRR dogs who crossed the Rainbow Bridge while they were still in our program.

We would be honored to post your tribute and photo of your NRGRR alumni here.  Send your picture and story to us by clicking here.

Please consider a donation in memory of your loved one or one of our NRGRR dogs who never had the chance to find their forever homes.  We will add the name of the person or pet in our list of memorial donations.  If you would prefer that your donation not listed, please choose the appropriate button during the check-out process in our store.  NRGRR will also send a gift card to the family or a friend of the individual/pet you have honored with your donation.

As always, your gift will be used to directly support our rescue efforts.  Thank you.

Kotter was just shy of 14 and the best dog his family could ever ask for. He had cancer, and his back legs were no longer supporting him. He was adopted him when he was just three months old back in 2003. Every weekend he was taken to Duke's campus or gardens, his family centered their lives around him. They attended every rescue reunion and had the best time with their golden friends. When children became part of the family, Kotter never once complained of the kids pulling or riding on him or not getting a walk. He loved the kids and protected them. He has taught how to love unconditionally and will be missed, but never forgotten. His family thanks NRGRR for helping Kotter become part of the family and changing their lives for the better. He was the best dog they could have ever asked for.


Pagiel recently passed away due to liver cancer. She was one half of the bonded pair that her family affectionately called the “Golden Girls" and who were adopted in 2015.

The girls have quite a fan base around town and on social media. Once it was discovered that Pagiel had liver cancer in February of 2016, everyone constantly ask how Pagiel is doing. She responded pretty well to treatment at first. She had a full year of feeling good and won the hearts of everyone at VSH and Grace Park Animal Hospital.

Pagiel was an entertainer, and she never met a stranger. She had the best disposition of any dog ever! She was also in charge of security at the house and would lead the charge with her sister anytime anyone came to the door. This tiny girl made a huge impression on her owners. Even though they are devastated to have lost her, they feel very lucky that they had the opportunity to love Pagiel and appreciate her silliness and her talents.


Heidi passed away recently at age 14 due to bone cancer. She was adopted in the fall of 2009. She was afraid of a lot of things, but her family worked on trust, and she overcame much. She was so warm and always loved unconditionally. Words cannot express how much she was loved. Heidi received many compliments on what a beautiful dog she was.

Her family is grateful to Neuse River for allowing them eight wonderful years with such an outstanding dog.


Nina, the best buddy of a long-time NRGRR volunteer, passed away recently. Nina came to her new home as a puppy, and it didn't take Nina long to become the best dog ever. Soon the volunteer's father was flying in from out of town to see Nina, and sending her gifts for her birthday and Christmas. Friends' greetings were always followed by "how's Nina doing?"

The volunteer knew that she had the best four-legged companion anybody could ask for. She felt an immense sense of gratitude, because this "dog" had been by her side through countless adventures and major life events. Unfortunately the dreaded the day came when Nina was let go of her suffering. Rest in peace sweet Nina girl.

Sophie was adopted only about two years ago. But recently her back just gave out on her. Her vet said that there was very little chance for a good outcome from surgery. She could not walk and was in terrible pain before they began the medications. There was no apparent cause - no accident or anything. She was the absolute sweetest dog - everyone loved her. George (NRGRR 2008) will have to suffer another loss of a buddy.

Duncan passed over the Rainbow Bridge February 15, 2017. He was adopted in 2006, and he was 14 years old when he passed. He was the best, most lovable dog his family ever had the privilege to own. He was dearly loved.

Duke was about nine or ten when he was adopted from NRGRR. He was a sweet boy who loved everybody (except cats and squirrels). He actually caught a squirrel in the back yard one morning, and it didn't end well for Mr. Squirrel. Old dogs can definitely more pretty fast. Duke loved to ride in the car more than anything. He got really sick all within two or three days, and just gave out eleven days short of his fifteenth birthday. He is greatly missed.

Badger was adopted from NRGRR nearly 4 1/2 years ago at about 9 years of age. His family loved having him during his retirement years, and he brought joy to all those around him (including two cats). He was extremely gentle and well-mannered, and made a point to greet each person he met. Although his cancer progressed quickly during the last year he still loved his long walks and family time. His friendly face and the happiness he brought to all will always be remembered.

Jake (NRGRR alum Joseph) definitely was a lover. He loved everyone, even the family cat who barely tolerated him and his sister Golden (Petunia). He was happiest when going on long walks, checking out everything and everyone. He never met a stranger. When he started to slow down, it seemed the end was near. He got to the Outer Banks for one last week at the beach. Little did they know that he would cross to the Bridge two weeks later.

Gamble 7-23
Charlie (NRGRR alum Gamble) crossed Rainbow Bridge recently. It was sudden, but not entirely unexpected due to a history of cancer.
His family cannot express in words how much he has meant to them. He was the happiest little guy that they ever met, despite his decrepit and diseased body. They loved him very much. His family will keep adopting senior dogs, even though that is tough on the emotions every 2-3 years, but they wouldn't trade that time for anything.

Misty (NRGRR alum Lucy) recently died from cancer. Everyone who knew Misty called her the sweetest dog. She was the most "perfect" dog with impeccable manors and that loving golden heart. All her wonderful qualities let to her certification as a theory dog. She was a regular at Duke Hospital plus serving in a local school with reading pals and working with students with behavioral and attendance issues. But most important was her being a family member and a constant companion. It seems that every day she was thankful for being taken into a family.


Riley (club name "Jock") crossed over the rainbow bridge recently. He was estimated to be around 12 years old this year. He truly "lived the life of Riley" since he was adopted in 2008.

As Goldens are, Riley was a very loving and gentle soul wanting to hang out with his people. He was a "leaner" when next to you and always ready for a walk or games. He had the unusual trait of intently watching birds fly in the sky; so much so that might have been a bird in another life.


Sweet "Little Bit" (club name "Niamh") crossed Rainbow Bridge recently. NRGRR literally saved Little Bit's life and pulled her from a shelter in Goldsboro, July 2014. She was adopted by her foster family. She had been very neglected and was in very poor condition with multiple skin and ear infections, little hair, a cut tail and injuries to her rear leg and front paw. She required months of rehabilitation with medications, laser treatments, supplements, message, and special baths, etc. Once her personality began to shine during recovery, her family started calling her Little Bit because at 45+ pounds she was the most petite golden they had ever had.

Little Bit was initially aged at between 12 to 14 years so her family committed to making her last chapter the best - she even made the 2016 calendar! She was nothing but a gift of sweetness and joy. Despite her chronic medical issues, she lived in the moment - not wanting to be left out of anything. She and her big brother, Marley (fostered 2012 and adopted 2013), were inseparable and loved the beach, lake, trails and just hanging out on the deck. Marley sensed there was something different this time with Little Bit and was especially caring and tender with her these past weeks. Bella, an ornery female tabby cat, also loved Little Bit from day one.

Six weeks ago a lovely 16 year old Golden girl was surrendered to NRGRR by a family that could no longer care for her. Volunteers were in dismay when she shuffled into the lobby of local veterinarian and they wondered how to best provide for her. Fortunately a veteran volunteer and her family stepped up...the doggy version of foster home jackpot. Lucy spent her last weeks with treats, hugs, love, and cuddles galore; this morning her foster mother was with her when we had to say goodbye so Lucy could join all the other good dogs at the Rainbow Bridge.

Barney marked
Yogi (NRGRR alum Barney) was a a big (120 pound) golden from Wilson that was adopted nearly 8 1/2 years ago. He'd been slowing down lately, probably because he was between 12- 13 years old). When he became especially lethargic he people took him to his vet but by the time they arrived there he had passed. As a foster dog Yogi became a walking buddy to his people. That's how they knew they were going to keep him from the moment they brought him home to foster.

Caleb was adopted from NRGRR in 2009 as a puppy and unfortunately came back just a few weeks ago a very sick dog. We fought hard to fix Caleb, but in the end we knew that a bigger decision had to be made because his quality of life was suffering. His fosters gave time, love and compassion to Caleb in his final days. He was lucky enough to enjoy some very good days, swimming, walks and hanging with furry friends before we had to say goodbye. He was not alone when he passed.
NRGRR saved Caleb's life, not once but twice. It's why we always tell our dogs their lives are about to change forever.

Annalise was rescued by NRGRR in 2014 from a shelter. She was so sick that she stayed with us as a permanent foster for two years. She was well loved by her foster family and everyone who met her.

Last year Shaila came in to our program, retired after eleven years as a breeding mom. Recently she was discovered to have inoperable lymphoma. The best option to keep her from further suffering was to let her sleep and cross the rainbow bridge. Her adopter reports, "the silver lining to this is that Shay and I both had the opportunity to love and positively impact each other's lives". Shaila had a safe and happy home for her golden years.


Petunia, adopted by a NRGRR volunteer, crossed the Bridge recently. She had a difficult time recovering from surgery but seemed to be doing OK. Her back legs weren't as strong as they had been. She tired easily, so walks were few and far between - and very short. She was spending almost all of her time in the family room with her head buried between the bookcase and wall - but came out for meals in a heartbeat. In the past couple of days, she had no real interest in eating. When her difficulties mounted, her family knew it was time, so holding her, they helped her cross the bridge.

Faeden 3-9-13
 Faeden was fostered and then adopted and renamed Sami. She recently crossed Rainbow bridge after she developed an aggressive cancer that was not operable. She lived 4 months after being diagnosed even though they only gave her 4-6 weeks. She definitely had a second dose of sweetness. She is greatly missed, especially her sister Isabella (now named Lily Grace) who was also adopted from NRGGR. Lily is still grieving.


Maggie ( NRGRR Peace 2013) went from an unsure girl to queen of the house; overseeing everything her family did! She was a constant companion and she adored children. So the children in the neighborhood fell in love with her, as did the grandchildren! She loved balls, car rides and swimming. And she loved her bedtime: urging everyone to the bedroom when she thought it was time.

Three years was not long enough to give her all she deserved. Arthritis got to her and in five months she was in a lot of pain. Her eyes said she'd had enough of pain and she was ready.


Buddy (NRGRR Boyd) recently crossed over the Rainbow Bridge after a cancer diagnosis. He loved his walks and going to the beach. He was a fixture at our golf tournament every summer. Buddy came to the rescue after he was found lost in a hurricane. He certainly found his perfect home after the storm.  We will sure miss this sweet boy.

Gandolph 5-5
Lady Gandolph crossed over the bridge recently. She had refused food and water for the several days so it was time. She was raised from a puppy by a loving family. They were in the military and could not take her overseas so, reluctantly, gave her up to us.  Initially she was adopted by a couple in Morehead City who already had another Golden.  After a few months, she was brought back to the program because the owner had a dog allergy and could only handle one dog.  Her initial foster leaped at the chance to take her in.  She and Oliver Darwin were adopted the same day and were best buds. She was a sweet girl right up until the end, a shining example of how much Olden Goldens can teach us about love and companionship.  Olden Goldens are the best!


Amber (NRGG alum Addie/Abby rescued in 2003) passed away recently at age 13. She suffered from arthritis, bone spurs, hip dysplasia, and angled tibial plateaus, in other words most every problem a purebred Golden can have. NCSU's veterinary school invited Amber to take part in a pain management study back in 2007. She did very well there, and she helped them get a better understanding of their drug and its uses.

She was happy and loved the outdoors as much as she loved her family and her canine siblings.


In 2003 Hoppa was adopted by a family in Morehead City, N.C. He was recently lost to cancer. His family is devastated but say that he had a wonderful life and brought them great joy.