Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Rainbow Bridge - 2016

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.

Niobe's Smile
Recently Niobe began having some problems walking, and she seemed to be a little lethargic. The emergency vet stated that a tumor had ruptured in her abdomen, and the tumor was leaking blood into her abdominal cavity. Niobe was helped across the Rainbow Bridge because the vets did not think that emergency surgery would help her to survive much longer. Niobe was very brave and strong. Her foster parent was very sad to say good-bye to Niobe while scratching her chin and her ears during her final moments in this world.

Bud's Smile
heartIn January 2015, an owner called to surrender Bud, who was blind and in bad shape. Bud was blind because of a condition that was easily treated at little expense, and he had a long list of problems. It was too late for us to treat his blindness as the damage was already done. One of NRGRR's extraordinary fosters made Bud comfortable in her home and introduced him to her wonderful dogs who would help him. If you saw Bud at the Meet and Greets, you probably heard him too. He had a glorious bark that made any bad day better. In the last year, she worked on his coat with good food, supplements and love. He was the most gorgeous golden 14 year old. It is amazing that Bud was so sweet, loving and happy all the time. His blindness was merely an inconvenience. Unfortunately a deadly growth took Bud from us this week.

heartGraham wandered out of the woods and in to a shopping center parking lot, broken, beaten, starving, cold and scared. A good Samaritan brought him home, and called the Wake county animal ambulance. The shelter knew just who to call, and NRGRR came to the rescue. With a dislocated hip that had never healed properly and a shockingly underweight body, Graham needed help to do just about everything, and his foster family was there for him 100% of the time. Multiple feedings per day, warm blankets, and lots of love helped him gain weight and wag his tail. He was even going on short walks! Graham didn't have long, but he did have an incredible few weeks with all the love he needed to heal.

Millie's (NRGRR alum Mary) blood count recently dropped, and it was determined that she had IMHA, (her immune system destroys its own red blood cells.) She wss only going to get weaker, so she crossed the Bridge. Mary was rescued a year ago along with her brothers Peter and Paul. She came so far in that year and was so happy that NRGRR rescued her.

Honey 2016

Honey16, affectionately named Honey Boo Boo, was recently rescued by NRGRR. She had a very hard life and was recently bred at an age the vet thought was as old as 12! She was hungry as heck, HW+, recovering from birthing 11 pups (only 3 made it) but finally found warmth and love through NRGRR. She was a spitfire at her age and wanted to play after she got up from naps. During her spay procedure, they noticed she was full of tumors. NRGRR and the vet decided she had a decent chance at quality of life so she had major surgery. She was up the next day and even wanted to play in the snow. Things were looking good, and she was scheduled to go back home. Unfortunately, her old body and all the years of abuse could not fight the long fight. She took a very bad turn which led to her demise.


Zenner was adopted from NRGRR in November, 2008.  He was quickly renamed in Teddy Bear... because he was just a huge bundle of love. He had seven wonderful years with his family who considered him the best dog anyone could ever ask for.

Darcy a
Darcy was about 4 years old in 2007 when NRGRR rescued him. His adopter had raised Goldens for 30 years when he adopted Darcy and told us times he had never had one like him. One of his favorite pastimes was dropping tennis balls from the second floor overlook and then racing wildly down the stairs to recapture them ... over and over again.


McKenzie and Ceilidh were beyond just dogs for their people; they were sisters and daughters, just family. McKenzie was lost on December 26th, 2011 at the age of 15, and Ceilidh was lost on January 11th, 2015 to bone cancer. They both went peacefully in the arms of their strong Momma. Their loyalty and love was unsurpassed and not a day goes by where their family does not think of their beautiful girls.

Pumpkin13 crossed the Rainbow Bridge today after living a wonderful last year and a half with her forever family. Pumpkin came into the NRGRR program after wandering up to someone's house severely malnourished. She had infected ears and tested positive for heartworms. She was nursed through heartworm treatment, gained weight, and started to de-stuff toys on a regular basis.

She was seen on WRAL's Pet of the Day by her eventual adopters. They understood that Pumpkin had cataracts, was a little hard of hearing, and could be a little cat fixated at times, but they were accepting of this. She lived a wonderful life with them eating rotisserie chicken every night and sporting her pink winter coat when it was cold. She made more than one trip to the beach and was well loved and cared for these past months.


Paddington passed away at the emergency vet recently, most likely due to a hemangiosarcoma on his heart. His people kissed his sweet face and let him go. They know he was the best dog ever. Paddington was adopted last June.

Ensign May 17

Maxx (club name Ensign) succumbed to hemangiosarcoma in October. He was adopted in 2012, but it was his "future sister" Lulu (club name Lady), who chose him. She would lay her head on his back during car rides, letting her people know that he was the one. True to the Golden breed he was, Maxx loved car rides, greeting people, chasing balls, and snuggling up with his fans But he will be remembered most for his love of belly rubs, for the endearing way he would get as close to his people as possible. before shaking the water off after a swim, for the playful way he would walk around the house squeaking whatever toy he held in his mouth, for rolling onto his back immediately when Lulu wanted to play and mostly for being the sweetest, most loving Golden in the world.

 Rusty (NRGRR alum Amigo) passed away recently. He was a treasured member of his family for three years. His final month was spent enjoying all of his bucket list items!  He went for his last boat ride on Sunday, napped by the fire pit and had steak for dinner!  Rusty was a calendar pin-up in 2014, (Mr. March).  He was also the runner up to have his picture on a NC wine bottle. He was very photogenic with his golden smile.  Rusty loved being at the lake.  He would swim, swim, swim.  He is deeply missed by his human and canine family.

Starsky, who was rescued and adopted earlier this year, passed away suddenly. His adopter said that Starsky (now named Rusty) suddenly collapsed. The veterinarians couldn't help him as he had some kind of cardiac arrest. He was just playing in the yard, running around, and acting silly. He was such a great dog, and will be very missed!

Bandit 9-15
Bandit crossed Rainbow Bridge very peacefully today and is likely catching up with her brother Drum. Bandit, Drum and sister Sally were three 7-8 year old litter mates who came into NRGRR.  All had been living outdoors and had been fed, but all three had advanced cases of heartworms.   Bandit went to stay with a NRGRR foster parent and during that foster care, the two forged an unbreakable bond resulting in Bandit being adopted by that foster parent.

Maxamillion new

Recently Maxamillion (Max) crossed the Rainbow Bridge. With the incredible medical support and help of NRGRR, Max had adopted his people less than two years previously, when he was nine years old. He was fresh from being surrendered by the only family he had ever known, and subsequently underwent cataract surgery and jaw surgery with the support of NRGRR. Max also developed laryngeal paralysis and arthritis.

Max rushed into nothing…unless you count finding his way into the hearts of those who knew him. His days had their own rhythm; he slept late, preferred to have freshly cooked chicken and rice with his morning and evening kibble, and padded silently around the house to curl up at his people's feet. He was insistent upon receiving his share of head rubs, using his snout to remove forcefully hands from typing, reading or playing the piano if any of those activities interrupted a rub. Max was most energized at the prospect of a car ride. Whenever he was let out, his first action was to run up to the car door. He preferred lying in the comfortable back seat to looking out the window.

Despite loving emergency care from Swift Creek Animal Hospital, Town and Country Animal Hospital, and the Animal Emergency Clinic of Cary, Max’s laryngeal paralysis eventually got the better of him.


Platinum and Gold were adopted in December 2007. Emma (club name= Platinum ) sadly, was euthanized in August. She had a mast cell cancer which had spread.

After considerable adjustment, Maya (Gold), seems to be adjusting to being an only dog and is doing pretty well. She is about 12 years now and a sweet girl.

Emma was always a pleasure.  She was a laid back, sweet-natured dog who is missed.

Louie was tied to a fence and left until he was rescued at 10 weeks old. After three weeks, Louie was adopted. He lived 15 years with his family, who loved him very much. He loved to get pumpkin bread from Starbucks! Louie crossed the rainbow bridge peacefully on August 4, 2015 due to stomach cancer.

Gus (NRGRR alum Ferguson) died recently from complications of hemangiosarcoma. He was adopted in 2010 by long-time NRGRR volunteers and was their first "failed foster". His family is devastated by their loss but so honored to have had Gus in their lives.

Sandy (club name Tashia) was only with her adopters for 2 1/2 years, but they were the best years of her life, and she learned what it was to be loved.  She loved going for car rides, especially if it involved going to Caribou Coffee or Starbucks, where she was adored by all the “window baristas” and got more than her share of treats. She would spend hours just watching the yard to be sure the squirrels were not encroaching on her territory. She was also loved by her pet sitters.

Chance (NRGRR alum Roosevelt) had multiple issues and so recently crossed the bridge.  He had a good 5+ years of happiness which was wonderful considering what an awful place he came from.

Webster (rescued in 2009) passed away recently. He had had epilepsy and was in a lot of pain. He also had several tumors that were not fixable. He was the best dog ever, and man's best friend. He loved his tennis balls. He was a big boy at 125 lbs because he was a mix of Golden and Bernese Mountain Dog.


Two days before the holiday weekend our intake team brought in a golden doodle named Bosco. His owners had adopted him only six months earlier from a vet office, but could not afford his care. Bosco spent a few days at a vet office then one of our volunteers stepped up to foster this young dog. For three days he nursed Bosco the best he could. Bosco continued to be reluctant to eat, and after he went back to the vet a few days ago we found out that Bosco had a very aggressive form of cancer.

Bosco didn't get to be an NRGRR dog long, but he was deeply cared for, and he will no longer be in pain. His foster Dad said, "He's always going to have a special place in my heart, even if it was very temporary. He's better now. That's all that matters."


NRGRR alum Nomar was adopted quite a few years ago by a man who became a good friend of NRGRR and named the dog Nugget. The now elderly Nugget crossed the rainbow bridge recently. He was found unresponsive in the early morning and must have passed quickly.

When Nomar and this man met it was love it at first sight. The man interested in Nomar lived near the coast but he was happy to bring Nomar/Nugget back to Raleigh for his heartworm treatment. When that was completed, Nomar was adopted, and he officially got his new name of Nugget. Since then they adopted Willie Nelson, and we have seen them all at various NRGRR events.


Freedom (NRGRR alum Freida) was the 35th foster dog for one of our volunteer families. She was 12-years-old and was surrendered when her owner moved and couldn't take her five dogs with her. After fostering Freedom for a few weeks the family had to go out of town, so she went to a temporary foster. Upon returning, they were asked if Freedom could stay with that temporary foster so that they could take a young dog coming into the program. That young dog never came in so they went a Meet and Greet to say hello to Freedom, knowing she'd be there with the new foster. The minute she saw them, she began to bounce up and down and bark. When they walked out to leave, she began to cry and bark. Once they walked back to the entrance where she could see us, and she began to happily bounce up and down again. When repeated they realized that she had definitely chosen them to be her forever family.

Last week she became ill with an infection. She started doing better but the vet realized that she likely had a very aggressive form of lymphoma. She crossed the bridge yesterday with her family by her side. Although they only had her for two of her 14 years, these last two years were her best.


Coach passed away after he underwent emergency surgery this morning for a twisted stomach. At first everything seemed to be OK but later he passed peacefully from surgery complications.

When Coach came into NRGRR he was able to get cataract surgery. His adopter was thrilled to report that after his recovery she took him for a walk after dark, and he was able to see deer.

Coach's last day was one of the best days his family ever had together. He took his first boat ride and loved every second as this picture shows. His adopter says that Coach changed her life and that he will always hold the most special place in her heart . She treasures the most amazing last day together swimming and doing what they loved most.. just hanging together!

Regan's health was failing, and he passed away recently. His family misses him immensely, but Regan lives on in their hearts through photos and videos. When they look at his ashes or paw print or collar, they know that Regan is still a part of their family, and that he always will be.

Diamond adoptathon 5-19b
Samantha (NRGRR alum Diamond) passed away recently after a brief illness.

Casey (NRGRR alumn Lambeau) was adopted from NRGRR several years ago by one of our long time volunteer couples and was very much loved by them.  He lost his battle with osteosarcoma early in 2015.  He is very much missed by his family.

Geneva was adopted in 2011 and had come to NRGRR as an owner surrender.  She had a permanent neurological issue with her face but was otherwise healthy. Her adopter saw beyond her issue and loved her very much.

Marigold 8-29

Marigold died recently. She came from a hoarding situation. She had never seen the light of day. She had been kept in a basement her whole life. She lived at Grace Park Animal Hospital for awhile to get socialized and then moved into foster care. She was ten years old when NRGRR rescued her. A wonderful couple adopted her, and she lived happily ever after.

Gus crossed the bridge today. He was his person's from puppyhood and her best buddy for 12 years. Gus was a big guy and a dog's dog and a people's dog. He was just the best dog you could have. He put up with lots of foster dogs, some fun and some not so fun. He loved to swim and just go places with his family.

His family recently lost Shaggy unexpectedly, and that was hard enough. Then they opened their hearts to Margaret, one of our permanent foster dogs who has cancer even though they were still grieving Shaggy. Sadly, now Gus is gone, too.

Dickens (NRGRR alum Max13) crossed the rainbow bridge. He was having a lot of seizures that could not be controlled. The vet said they thought he may have had a brain tumor. His family took a chance on adopting a senior dog, and they loved him like he had never known. He lived the good life.

Mahi was adopted in 2008. He died from cancer late last year.

Chloe and Catherine

Through the years as one NRGRR's volunteers fostered many dogs (often puppies), her black Lab Chloe was the mother hen to those visitors. It seemed Chloe would go on forever but she crossed Rainbow Bridge at 17 1/2 years old. This dear, sweet girl liked to watch the younger dogs play even when they were a bit raucous for her. We will not forget this gentle foster mom who helped so many puppies learn the rules of the pack.

Sweet Tegan (NRGRR alum Molly) lost a brief battle with cancer. To the end her adopter says she was a sweet and comforting presence and loving companion.

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