Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
rescue. rehab. adopt.
Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Rainbow Bridge - 2015

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. Email your picture and story to:

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 to our memorials web page.  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.


Walker was adopted in April 2003, and he was the best dog his family ever had. Unfortunately he got cancer and was lost to it on December 1. His family is heartbroken.

Gertrude 11-23

A lovely female senior came to NRGRR in October from Wake County Animal Shelter. Gertrude was in terrible physical condition, and we found out last Saturday that she had lung cancer. She spent her time with hospice foster parents where she was well loved and greatly spoiled. She looked beautiful after a short time in foster care with shining fur, a big smile and a consistent tail wag.

When it became clear that Gertrude had no more to give she peacefully crossed the Bridge with her foster parent at her side.


Jeepster came into rescue two years ago. Her foster parent fell in love with her immediately, adopted her, and named her Honey. She proved to be as sweet as her name. Honey was loved everywhere I took her. She was the sweetest and best behaved golden ever known. She loved rides in the car, walks in the park, meeting new people and being close all the time. During these two she came out of her shell and had the best two years of her life.

She will be loved and missed forever.

Zoe died recently. She had lived a pretty bad life before she was surrendered to us through her vet where she had been taken and not picked up. Zoe had a strong personality, and she was opinionated. She was also absolutely obsessed with tennis balls and would fetch as long as your arm would hold out. She had a wonderful life with her family for the past two years.

Sweet and gentle with a remarkable will to live, "marvelous" Minnie showed courage and determination as she pushed on to her 14th year. She charmed her family with her shyness and enveloped them in her world by her big heart. Minnie, go play and have fun with your other Golden sisters at Rainbow Bridge!

Sandy (NRGRR alumnus Baby) was adopted in 2002. She was a wonderful pet, companion and friend until her recent death. Her family included two young boys who grew up with Sandy. They are all so grateful to NRGRR for the gift of joy and love that they received through Sandy.

Emmy came to NRGRR in December 2013 - Christmas, as a matter of fact - as she had lost the only home she had ever known. She was loved, but her family couldn't care for her anymore. Emmy was a very special girl. She was blind and deaf. She came to us with ear infections and lots of lumps and bumps. But, just look at that sweet face! She was so happy and so appreciative of any attention or treats that would come her way. She celebrated her 13th birthday on August 8th.

A wonderful family in Cary met her and fell in love. They were looking for an "Emmy" - a dog they could dote on and make part of their lives. So Emmy found her forever home for the last five months of her life.

Marshall Dillon

Marshall came into our program last August with a number of issues - he was BIG – only 110 lbs. down from 119, diagnosed with cancer, seizures, weak muscle mass in his back legs, laryngeal paralysis, and weepy eyes. However instead of being a permanent foster, he was immediately adopted by one of our volunteers. Unfortunately he died after getting bloat that could not be corrected.

He made everyone smile with all his antics. He always had his purple hippo (pacifier) with him! He spoke with that raspy, deep “woof” – one to go out, two to come in, and three to fill the water bowl. Usually the three came from the bathroom where it was clear that the lid must be down at all times or the big guy would partake enthusiastically! He became strong enough to swim and fetch balls, and he was a big hit at the Golden on the Green Golf Tournament.

Marshall was a gift! He brought smiles to all who met him! He was Golden in every way! He deserved so much more time than he had and so much more love! He was such a sweet, simple guy! He asked for nothing and gave with his whole heart.


Sarvis (NRGRR alumnus Verizon 2006) had very painful arthritis. He had neurological and other problems indicating the end of life. His family only had him for eight years and that was not enough.

Boomer 9-17-13

Boomer came from the Orange County shelter as a little, scrawny dog who was cute as a button, but almost hairless and just skin and bones. He was placed in the Permanent Foster program. As time went on, the good dog we all knew he was came out, as well as a luxurious, curly coat of hair and beautiful full withers. He must have been quite gorgeous in his younger days. Now he was a grand old man. He enjoyed lumbering around the yard, riding in the car, going to the beach and generally getting all the affection he could handle from everyone who met him.

Like all fosters/adopters, his family miss him terribly, and Molly (club name Tegan) misses her “older brother.” He was a poster child for older dogs who can come into the program, adapt to their new circumstances and spread so much joy to those around them.


Casey crossed Rainbow Bridge after fighting an invasive cancer for many months this year. She was a magnificent foster Mom to all the many puppies and dogs who spent time with her family. It takes a special dog to tolerate and teach an ever changing parade of new dogs, and none better than Casey. Her family learned about a month ago that Casey had little time left, but Casey didn't know that and continued her life's work of shepherding and caring for the busy family. They loved this beautiful girl for 9 1/2 years.


Cabot (NRGRR alumus Lex) passed away very peacefully due to lymphoma. He had a favorite Teddy that came with him at adoption, and it remained his most beloved toy. Teddy was with him at the end, too. His people added a baby two years ago, and Cabot loved her from the moment they met. He brought Teddy over and placed him in her car seat when they arrived home from the hospital.

They are struggling to understand how this disease could have suddenly happened to their sweet boy. He was not yet six years old. Cabot was truly a once in a lifetime dream come true.


Jake (NRGRR name Timothy)( 2009) crossed the rainbow bridge. He would have turned 9 next week. This summer after many tests, the vet found that he had an auto immune disease which resembled Lupus. With several months of tests and medications he did not seem to be making any progress. His people had to make a very difficult decision when he became unresponsive.

Jake did not like other furry animals, but loved his adopted sister Lily, then a 2 year old Golden. He was always remembered by everyone he met by his signature black back leg.

He learned to swim two years ago, although not very well. He didn’t get the concept that you needed to put your paws under the water. He would hop along the bottom of the pool. Jake was a very kind, gentle old soul. He loved being close and was often referred as "Velcro". He was Mama's little sous chef in the kitchen.

Casey NY very unexpectedly needed to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Casey came to us last summer from NY, at 8 years old and with a long history of seizures. His loving owner, who was also ill, could not care for him, nor could she find a local rescue to help. NRGRR transported him, and he was adopted by a couple as their 6th NRGRR dog. He lived a wonderful new life on Lake Gaston with his brother Golden, Satchel. Boating became his favorite past time!

His family became experts in dog epilepsy. In early 2014 everyone was encouraged with the news of his new treatments from NC State and the reduction of the frequency and severity of his seizures. In fact, he had not had a seizure since April. But for the past two weeks things did not go so well. The years of seizures and heavy medication had finally taken a toll on his brain. after a last boat ride he was allowed to pass in the loving arms of two amazing people who dearly loved him

Tucker was the very definition of the perfect Golden Retriever who embodied all of the reasons people love the breed so much: gorgeous to look at, smart, polite, funny, and loving to all. He was like a visiting movie star who touched many hearts and was such a splendid ambassador of the breed and our rescue that we'll never know all the good Tucker did in his too brief time with us.

Tucker was a great ambassador for NRGRR. Activities included the Golden on the Green golf tournament, marching in a parade, consoled grieving children at an elementary school who lost their teacher, sat through many books as third graders read to him, helped mentor several NRGRR and Love Mutts dogs, gave out smooches at Duke University to support Wags for Tags, helped open a new Camp Bow Wow, and volunteered at Dog Olympics.

Ginny (Savannah)

Ginny (NRGRR alumnus Savannah)  crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She had reached a ripe old age with some of the ills that go along with it. When a cluster of problems occurred and the emergency vet did an examination, her people decided it was time to help her cross over. They wrote, "She passed peacefully with my arms around her, and I know is much more comfortable now.  She was so lucky to have found NRGGR. She forever has left a footprint on our hearts!"

She was found in Chapel Hill wandering early in 2009 and was close to death. By mid- 2009 she had recovered and found her wonderful forever home in Burlington. They also adopted another NRGRR dog from us on the same day.

Charlie (NRGRR alumnus Vector) came to the rescue in November 2013, and he was in horrible shape. After recovering in foster homes,  he found a wonderful permanent home last March. However, his condition worsened over the weekend, and this morning Charlie crossed the bridge. He is now pain free and running with the rest of the dogs. 

We said goodbye to young Dublin yesterday. He went into surgery to deal with some spleen issues, but they found hemangiosarcoma, several large tumors in the spleen and evidence it had spread. His people said goodbye to him in surgery. 

In this photo you can see how Dublin loved his food bowl and kept it close.

Spencer "earned his wings" a few days ago after suffering from a neurological problem. It was sad that he had to lose at least two of his homes and his canine family but he was rescued and adopted by one of his NRGRR fosters. He exemplified everything that a golden retriever should be. His smile and constant wagging tail - and his epic wrestling matches with his brothers - always caused smiles and laughter. He was a happy spirit and such a clown. The land beyond the Rainbow Bridge is a better and happier place this morning because Spencer is there.

Shaggy, our beloved beautiful boy, quietly crossed the bridge this morning. Shaggy was surrendered by his owner in June 2012 because her vet said he needed ACL surgery and she couldn't afford it.  Our  vets did  a variety of tests which found that Shag didn't have a torn ACL ... he had a worse  problem that would cause him lifelong pain. The terrible decision was made to remove the aching hind leg.  When he wakened from his sedation, he found new friends sitting in his cage with him, and it was no surprise when they said they wanted to foster him through to adoption.  He recovered from  surgery in record time helped by the physical therapy and exercises provided for him. 

His fosters brought him to an adopta-thon several months later, and he was a superstar. Several people  expressed their desire to adopt him immediately, but his fosters said that they simply couldn't part with Shaggy. He became a forever  member of their family.   He went everywhere with Gus and Gracie, traveled extensively, went camping and kayaking, was a regular representative of Golden Retriever Rescue and he never met a stranger.

Charlie (NRGRR alumnus McDreamy) crossed the bridge June 20, surrounded by the two people he loved the most in this world.  He came to Neuse River from death row and was given a new lease on life.  He took advantage of it and traveled across the United States with his new family and canine sibling in an RV. They explored deserts, national parks and campgrounds. He had a grand life with them.  Sadly, cancer took him too soon. Charlie enriched our lives more than we can express in words.  I will always be grateful to NRGRR for entrusting Charlie into our care.  He will be so missed.  Such a sweet and goofy boy.”


Yesterday Donovan was released from dealing with cancer. He was a little angel on earth. He had the most perfect name, as he was named after NRGRR's guardian angel Tom Donovan. When rescued he had heart worm, had to have ACL surgery and was generally a mess. His foster family helped  him get better, but with his separation anxiety he was returned back from adopters twice. He knew he wanted to be with his foster family, and they are so glad he did.


Happy came to her adoptive family at age seven because her parents who had loved her from nine weeks old were going into a senior care center and could not take her there. Happy was a very appropriate name, as she always was happy. Swimming was her favorite thing in life, which was discovered at the first rescue reunion she attended after her adoption. She had to bribed with a hot dog to get her out of the water after an hour. She brought happiness to her family until two months past her fifteenth birthday.


Wagner came to us in November, a discarded breeding male from a backyard breeder. He was limping at intake but the former owner said he'd been in a dog fight, and he just had a hurt leg. A biopsy revealed bone cancer.  When told his life would be very short, his foster said that she would be his foster until the end. The goal was to make it through Christmas. Christmas came and went and Wagner thrived. She started Wagner's bucket list, and Wagner had a big life. The big guy (over 100 lbs) was so happy that he ended up with "happy tail" and we had to amputate his tail. Wagner never missed a beat and wagged his whole rear. Life went on with trips and days full of play with Regal.

Recently Wagner started to show signs of pain, and we knew we would not allow him suffer. This week was even more difficult so this afternoon, we helped Wagner cross the bridge.

We say goodbye to sweet Joe, who was 9 years old when adopted in 2012.  It is wonderful to have people who are passionate about adopting senior dogs like Joe. His family's world revolved around Joe. He was constantly with them and without him, there is a huge hole in their hearts.

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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P.O. Box 37156 Raleigh • NC 27627 • Phone: 919-676-7144