Two Who Survived: Story Updates
August 1, 2002 Update
After 23 years living in New York City, Nan is working hard to only see “the rainbow that awaited.” However, she sometimes awakes thinking “It had to have been just a dream,” the reality still seeming unfathomable. Unfortunately, Hope is now scared of loud noises since her ordeal. Yet, in being blessed by two Goldens who remain lovingly by her side, Nan considers herself very lucky. The Family: Nan, Hope, Darwin and Eric

While many do not feel comfortable in continuing to discuss the horrific events of 9-11, remembering helps build our resolve. It has helped Nan, who like many other survivors, has “kept so much bottled up inside.” Now, she feels there will be a much better level of understanding, sharing the following: “All the dog lovers out there understand me when I say nothing mattered but Hope and Darwin. I will never be able to look at these beautiful loving animals and forget their plight. Nor will I ever forget the shrouded bubble of fortune we rode all the way to their rescue.”

Love is a powerful emotion, so sustaining our Golden rescue champions as well as moving two frightened parents through staggering obstacles to get to their babies. Surely, Nan was reminded of love's sustaining energy in the following recollection: “There was a love letter that blew into our apartment and lodged itself on our window sill next to a plant, during the impact of the towers collapsing. We will never know if the writer or the intended recipient received it, and there was no name on it. These are the little snippets that are so hard to forget.”

We asked Nan about the air quality controversy as her apartment was so close to the disaster site. This was her response: “Our building, across the street from Battery Park City, was re-occupied in December. I could walk ‘home’ from work, so I started spending my lunch hours there packing and taking photos from outside the window and the roof. I think there is a toxicity level around there that will take a cancer cluster to prove to those who deem it safe 10 years from now. Our apartment had come up ‘hot’ and when I went there one day, my door was sealed with plastic. When I ripped it off, I found a huge machine venting the air to the outside through the window. Yet, no one would give me a straight answer about what the air quality tests produced.”


August 2, 2002 Update
We received some very special posts from Jenny O'Brien, Golden Rescue Operated With Love Statewide [GRROWLS] Vice President and Intake Coordinator. Jenny has touched our hearts in more way than one because she, too, has been blessed with an Ollie (our site dedicated to our once-in-a-lifetime guy, Ollie, formally MistfieJenny's Ollie!ld Oliver CGC). And, Jenny, very sweetly always signs her posts with Ollie's name, then adding this special phrase: The Golden rescue boy who stole my hear forever. We certainly adore her most fitting email id of OllieGold.

Jenny's Ollie has his CGC too, and also TDI certification. He is always a Golden ambassador when they are out and about town. Her Ollie's formal name is Oliver Twist, and if Jenny ever gets his ILP, his official name will be Obie's Resq'd Lord Oliver Twist CGC TDI. Hope you enjoy this handsome photo of Ollie, so patriotic in his support!

Jenny has shared the following background on Hope, as she has personally watched and seen what the miracles of rescue can accomplish: “Hope, was a miracle baby of GRROWLS-NY. Her mother, father and littermates were all rescued from a horrible back yard breeder situation. All undernourished, her mother, Callie, was severely undernourished and had no milk for Hope and her four other two-week-old littermates. All of the puppies had oozing, infected sores over their bodies and Hope almost lost her tail (and her life!). Baby Hope feeding a horse

Very special people were selected to adopt Hope and her littermates, and only the most special for Hope, as she was the smallest and the sickest of the group. Nan and Eric, who had adopted another Golden in need, Darwin from LIGRR, were referred to GRROWLS and a match made in heaven was born!

The rescue of Callie and her babies was an amazing time for me. I helped transport them to Patti Conroy and am the ‘poor rescue girl’ Patti mentions in her story. I was over at her house several times a week and definitely each weekend to help, visit, love and socialize Callie and the pups. That all the pups and Callie survived and then thrived is truly a miracle!
A 5-month-old Hope
Hope has more than flourished with Nan, Eric and ‘brother’ Darwin and will turn two years old this month! Patti Conroy, the wonderful breeder who fostered mom Callie and the litter and brought Callie and all of the pups back to health, wrote about their journey from initial rescue to adoption.

Patti's story won an award and appeared in the Golden Retriever Club of Central NY's newsletter and recently appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of the GRCA News.

9/11 affected all of us, but for Hope (and Darwin!), who had gone through so much before finding Nan and Eric—Nan and Eric are truly their guardian angels. . . I'm 100% confident that Nan and Eric have more than made up for everything Hope and Darwin didn't have, and have filled their cups to overflowing. Love is a miracle all in itself.”


August 3, 2002 Update
Nan has continued to share such Golden Goodies with us, including many of the personal photos above. Wait until she sees the Golden Care Package we are sending her way as thanks! And, she has promised that the family will come visit, since she is only 90 minutes away. But, now we may be in trouble as we don't even have living or dining room furniture after being in our home for 15 years. To top it off, Nan is the past New York Chapter President of the International Interior Design Association [IIDA], and a highly recognized designer and consultant for healthcare environments. 

Nan has shared two recent IIDA NY Chapter News publications with us that take us through the WTC tragedy and those first few months that followed. The covers provide her moving President's Messages.


August 4, 2002 UpdateCutie Gaston
Nan has been so excited about becoming a part of our site, and of course let all the family members in on her debut here. Remember her mentioning how she found her husband Eric? He had been on the phone speaking French, to his mother, Nicole, who lives in St. Irénée in the province of Québec.

Well, Nicole did visit and wrote the following: “Yes I am lucky to have such a wonderful daughter-in-law and a GREAT son. Hope to meet you one day and I'll introduce you to Gaston (Dachshund), my pet who simply adores his cousins.”


I sent out a post on this sad day, hoping to provide something to uplift folks' spirits. This is the reply that I received from Nan:

“Rochelle, I took a long hike today with some beautiful music and reflected upon just how lucky we really are. I will never loose sight of the fate that could have befallen Hope & Darwin or us for that matter. Hope has been very quiet today and is wearing her tail very close to her body as if she is nervous or afraid of something. She almost always stays downstairs with Eric, but today she has been upstairs on her bed. Even the big rawhide bone I gave her did not get a rise out of her. Perhaps she can feel our pain, which we thought we had hidden from her.

Most of what I have been reflecting upon today lies with the families of the victims who met such untimely and horrible senseless deaths. And then I look at the clock and remember where we were at this hour one year ago as I suspect many Americans are doing. Sometimes those events feel like they are a century old, and sometimes I could swear it was yesterday. What happened to us in New York has changed our lives profoundly and it is without reservation that I say, mostly for the better. I am sitting here looking out at our beautiful yard and am being serenaded by birdsong which prior to today, I had not heard before.” 


I received this devastatingly sad post today from Nan:

Rochelle, we had to say good-bye to Hope today. She developed spinal lymphoma in the blink of an eye and Thursday could not get up. We are in the darkest place we have even been and I simply cannot remember a pain so acute. She was our one in a million girl. The vets wondered if 9/11 dust somehow brought on this rarity.

I know you know EXACTLY how we feel tonight. A candle has been extinguished that we can never replace. I pray the good memories will someday replace this grief.




I received this incredibly sad, and somewhat final post today from Nan:

Rochelle, we lost Darwin three weeks ago. It's the end on an era with both Hope and he being gone. Darwin was diagnosed with melanoma last summer although we are not sure if this is what made his health decline so late this summer. He had surgery on his muzzle last year and had almost a year of good health and his trademark insatiable appetite. I know you are well versed in this terrible and deadly disease. We had a hospice care team come to the house when he collapsed and could no longer walk. They afforded us time to say goodbye and left us alone with him during his last moments. We believe he was 14 or so. Such a gentle and calm giant who will live on in our hearts forever.

I have to go and pick up his ashes tomorrow and I will place him next to Hope. I will never forget them.

We presently have a stable of three dogs, one female Golden whose irascible temperament and antics keep us on our toes daily, a stunning English Setter from a local (kill) shelter and a little faux setter who is as sweet as the day is long. The gray weather matches my mood on this somber 8th anniversary of the 9.11 attacks.”