I was given the book, Animals as Teachers & Healers, on my birthday in February 1997. An inspirational present from my lovely secretary, Sue, the title tells the entire story. “In their innocence and wisdom, in their connection to the earth and its most ancient rhythms, animals show us the way back to a home they have never left.” These words are from Ms. Susan Chernak McElroy, a cancer survivor who credits much of her triumph over terminal illness to the love of the animals in her life. Animals create meaning in every sphere of our lives which allows us to be our most genuine selves. In the realm of healing, they act as ‘soul-menders.’ And, they act as guardians.

It was Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s belief that until man could extend his circle of compassion to include all living things, he himself would find no peace. For, while animals aren’t our whole life, they do make our lives whole. Yet — how often do we take the time to understand and embrace the power and wonder that happens between animals and people? And, do we truly appreciate the healing power that animals have on humans and the happiness and sense of well being that they engender?

I have personally seen this special healing power, time and time again, and have felt such joy as I continue to celebrate the wonders of the human-canine bond. My website is testimony to this celebration. Created in 1997, this venture has been several years in the making. Goldens are very special beings that deserve lots of protection and care. That’s why I refer to myself as Golden Mom Rochelle. Sadly, my own mom died in 1983, before I began my Golden love, so she never got to see the beauty and joy that they’ve brought to my life. But, the logo for this site has just about everything to do with my mom and my love for Goldens.

LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH (with one large letter L) are the three words that you can see as our logo on many pages at the website. They are also found on a Gold necklace that I have worn now for many years. It was a necklace that I had given to my mom years earlier as a birthday present, because it told everything about who she was. She loved this gift and wore it often. When she died, I asked my dad to let me have it back. And, I’ve worn it everyday since. I think these words also tell everything about what Golden Retrievers are about.

Interestingly, although designed for youngsters, the majority of my visitors are adults. Golden bliss abounds as friends have literally been made all over the world. At the Land of PureGold, all aspects of Golden living are explored. In fact, every service field and humanitarian effort that our Golden gems are responsible for, with respect to enhancing persons’ lives, is highlighted. There are heartwarming stories about rescued Goldens, and Goldens engaged in Animal-Assisted Therapy & Activities, Assistance Dog vocations, Search & Rescue, and drug, bomb and arson deteGary and friendction.

As a School Psychologist engaged in private practice with youngsters, I have primarily utilized my Goldens in the roles of Therapy Dog and Demonstration Dog. However, I am now on an early disability retirement due to a mixed connective tissue disease.

When I finally had the ability to begin my canine family, it was my husband, Gary, who actually suggested we seek out a Golden. And, for that I will be eternally grateful. Here he is wearing one of his most favored sweatshirts (one of many Golden gifts I have given him over the years). Embroidered with the word Golden and a Golden canine figure, you can see why it is a favorite. In an article, entitled Following the Golden Brick Road, that I recently wrote, my first Golden experience is described:

A Golden TeamI was hooked that afternoon. Hopelessly and forever hooked. I had walked down a flight of stairs into a Golden heaven of sorts—a litter of soft little fluff balls all scurrying about, this way and that. Could there really ever be anything as drop-dead gorgeous as these eight-week-old Golden puppies? I doubt it. Nothing could compare to the vision that greeted me that day. And, once seated and cuddling wildly amidst a chaos of fur and licking tongues—with adoration flowing in from far too many Goldens to count—I instinctively knew life would never again be the same.

I was never warned about the Golden obsession that can take over once exposed to such unconditional love. Intoxicating for sure, but addicting just the same. So, now with Golden pawprints forever stamped on my heart, there was understandably no turning back.

I had been a small dog, Poodle person, growing up. And, was comfortable with that given my diminished 4’11” stature. But my husband, Gary, having grown up during the Lassie era, had a beautiful and most cherished sable-colored Collie named Laddie. It was Gary’s idea that we add a more substantial dogClick on me to order this special book. to the family. Maybe not as large as a Collie, but certainly bigger than a miniature Poodle. So, guided by his wisdom, I was led down the Golden Brick Road, my eyes wide open to the existence of these exquisite furry retriever angels.

I cannot imagine that my life would have been as rich or as fulfilling or as filled with laughter as it is without such a discovery. But, my spiritual side has also led me to believe that this Golden gift was sent from a mother, watching out from above for her baby girl. For, at the time, I was still deeply grieving the loss of a much loved mother who had been the heartlight of my existence.

Do be sure to keep Following the Golden Brick Road in order to get the whole story. This is a 38-page PDF file of my 2003 article for the Hoflin Golden Retriever Annual. My Foreword to the book, My Rescued Golden, will also provide more about my strong feelings for the real champions of rescue. My dabbling in photography can be seen here with my favorite puppy photo. And, don't forget to come see videos, gallery slideshows & life stories of my entire fur family, including my appearance on TV with Darcy.


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