May 15, 2000 was a very special day for our Golden family. We had our Book Signing Party for the adorable book, Gas Station Charlie: A True Story about a Real Dog, written by Karen Grassmuck Kraushaar, with photography by Doris Kays Kraushaar. This book details a very special Golden guy. Imagine filling up your tank at the local gas station and having a beautiful, friendly dog comes to collect your money. Cash or credit, Charlie took care of it all, with a wagging tail and eager smile that brightened everyone's day. This Golden boy lived in Saline, Michigan and helped Rick and Harry Parsons at the Marathon station on Michigan Avenue.

The Whole Family!!Our party had its proceeds benefiting Golden Retriever Rescue. How really thrilling it was to meet both authors (Karen and Doris Kraushaar) of this wonderful Golden book.

We had Darcy and Alfie as our Golden Goodwill Ambassadors, helping to welcome folks to this fun event. And, hubby Gary, with my favorite Golden sweatshirt on, was helping lots as well! All of the following lovely pictures taken during the party were courtesy of Doris (except for the one pose below of Doris and Karen that we took!).

Karen and Doris, Charlie's Authors!Now, don't Karen and Doris (daughter-in-law and mother-in-law) look GReat together, with pens in hand? There were loads of books on hand, and folks had an opportunity to have their purchases customized.

We were thrilled to be able to have Karen and Doris complete some special books for me. It was thrilling for them to personalize a book for Sally and her Golden family who live in Switzerland. We sure hope that she enjoys this special treat when it arrives!

Karen and her new puppy friendWe met loads of folks and loads of Goldens and made lots of new friends. There were lots of special visitors to Timonium, Maryland's Pet Depot, where the party was held. Dan, the owner of Pet Depot, was on hand, and we couldn't have done the event without him.

And, Shaaron and Cy Plate, rescue officers, were on board. Shaaron brought her special TV/Video Player and everyone shared in special tapes of Gas Station Charlie at work in Michigan.

Karen, Kevin, Bailey and Hogan KraushaarSo many Goldens were in attendance and it became a true GoldenFest. Even some puppies were on board. Doesn't Karen look so content with this Golden boy? She is hoping to have puppies one day with her young Bailey. Hogan, the old man of the house, is still quite active at age 13.

Here is Karen's family, which includes her husband, Kevin (Doris's son), and of course Bailey and Hogan. Kevin is actually pictured in the Gas Station Charlie book. He grew up in Saline, Michigan, and actually went to high school with Charlie's human and owner of the infamous Marathon Gas Station.

Uh, oh, Darcy got into the ice chest!!We had plenty of refreshments for both our 2 and 4-footed guests. But, Darcy, here was forgetting her manners. Here, she is dunking into the ice chest for some refreshing ice cubes. The only problem with this, is that this chest was the same one that our human guests were using to get ice for their drinks. OOPS!!

We loved when Alfie and Darcy got a chance to interact with the kids in attendance. Sean Thiess, son to Pam, was having such a great time with all of the Golden guys at the party. Pam is a very special lady who has been involved with Golden rescue for some time.

Now here's the look of Golden Love!

Just look at the love on Pam's face for handsome Bart, one of our happy Golden party members. Pam says that of all of her children, Sean is the most involved with their Golden family. At eleven years of age, he is the perfect playmate. I've already asked if Pam could lend me Sean so that my guys could have a human playmate. But, she told me to be careful for what you wished for!

We think Sean and Alfie became fast buddies at the party. Could you have any more appealing smiling faces? We were very excited when these pictures arrived from Doris and made up an enlarged version of Sean with Alfie, also framing it for Sean. We hope that it becomes a valued memento of the wonderful time that he seemed to be having at the party.

Sean and Alfie, two happy party-goers!We had some wonderful Golden Retriever Rescue folks attend this event. Sue and Bill Hutt are one of the foster families that provide immediate homes for Goldens. In fact, they give of their time to do this for both golden rescue groups that service Maryland. Boy, don't we wish we had more noble folks like these.

Bill Hutt, Foster DadFoster families provide so much of the hard and important work of a rescue organization. They get Goldens from some sad situations, and must work hard to turn many of our friends around. Health needs must be addressed, and emotional support and loving must also be overflowing. Here are Bill and Sean rewarding some nice sits with tasty treats. 

Below, is a nice big family picture. It shows Bruce and Lynne Zucks with their adored Goldens, Bart and Zoe. Bruce & Lynne have also provided fostering for many Goldens, actually having fostered Pam's Golden rescue boy Hogan before he came to become part of her family. And, there's Pam, with two loving boys seemingly attached to her (Sean and Alfie).

Bruce and Lynne Zucks, Pam and Sean Thiess sharing some fun




By Alice Tippery, Staff Writer, The Saline Reporter

Saline has enjoyed its share of glory stemming from talented poets, writers, performers, lawyers and judges who hail from the community. There have been prehistoric bones and courtroom decisions that have drawn attention to Saline, but nothing quite like a canine named Charlie.
The dog has appeared on several Detroit TV stations, CNN, and has been featured on three Ann Arbor, two Canadian, one Kentucky and one California radio station. Paul Harvey also highlighted Saline's friendly pooch on a recent broadcast.
On May 10, a camera crew from "Inside Edition" will film Charlie at his work place-Harry's Marathon, at the corner of East Michigan Avenue and Davenport.
Even David Letterman is considering having the 6-year-old Golden Retriever, who collects gas money from customers, on his show and filming of Charlie for a new program "Amazing Tails," will be televised this fall.
But Charlie has not let the attention go to his head, although a portion has gone to his belly. "The only thing that's changed is he only gets one treat now," says Harry Parsons, owner of the station.
Since Charlie's reward for his labor is a dog biscuit each time he collects a patron's money, Parsons also is consulting the vet for the healthiest brand to offer the faithful canine, who truly has put Saline on the map.
National and international newspapers have picked up on Charlie's story since The Saline Reporter covered the theft of Charlie's retirement fund last year.
"Nothing would surprise me anymore," claims Parsons, who has experienced a substantial increase in business "thanks" to the pilferage turned blessing.
But don't think for a minute that Parsons and his son Rick, Charlie's owner, are the only ones benefiting from the notoriety. As Parsons so aptly points out, Charlie's story has universal appeal. Letters and personal visits to Charlie prove that people welcome good news.
Maria Lochrenberg of the Republic of South Africa was so thankful to have caught some footage of Charlie at his "job" that she sent off a Rand coin to be taped to Charlie's new retirement fund for "good luck."
Lochrenberg, who says her three dogs are "spoilt" and "could not apply for any kind of job," wrote that around Easter the holiday traffic toll in her country is so depressing that the "short video and lovely shots" of Charlie's story were particularly encouraging to her.    

Mr. Rick Parsons and
Charlie the Garage Golden Retriever
At Some Garage
Saline, Michigan
United States of America

Lochrenberg and her husband were so uplifted by the canine interest story that she jotted off a letter having only the sketchiest information. The envelope reads:
Charlie and Harry have had the letter framed and it is proudly on display at his workplace. Locally, Charlie continues to brighten days of customers. As patron Barb Alderink observes, "How can you have a bad day after you pay a dog for your gas?"


Canine Cashier Misses his Stolen Kitty
By Don Bauerle, The Detroit News 1996

Some low-life rats stole the kitty from Charlie, the celebrity canine cashier at Harry's Service in downtown Saline. Burglars broke into the Marathon station over the holidays and raided a jar full of tips set aside for the 7-year-old Golden Retriever -- a sort of 401K-9 plan, if you will.
"Probably some kids," said station manager Rick Parsons, Charlie's owner. "They got $80 to $100. Nothing else was taken."
But Charlie isn't pouting. A financial planner in town is working on a new retirement setup for the pooch known around the world for his knack to retrieve money. Charlie gained international fame for clenching customers' cash and credit cards in his mouth and heading straight for the cash register. Each time, he gets a doggie treat for doing his job.
Charlie "trained himself to fetch the money," Rick said. One day he just started doing it and the rest is history.
Customers delight in tipping Charlie, and their children delight in asking for a Charlie paw print, which is usually stamped on their wrist. A paw print appears on credit card receipts, too.
Everyone has been wild about Charlie since CNN featured a segment on the gentle gold's routine a year ago. Newspapers in Europe ran photos. A woman in Johannesburg, South Africa, saw the TV segment and sent Charlie a tip for a shtick well done.
Another customer told Rick that her daughter, in her first day on the job in Japan, mentioned she was from Saline. A fellow staffer's response: "Do you know Charlie?"
Rick said Charlie earns about $20 a week in tips and eats about five to seven pounds of treats a week. Rick's father, Harry, who has operated the station since 1959, realizes Charlie is a public relations windfall. "When someone gives you a $20 bill for their gas, they're generally pleasant," Harry said. "But when they give it to Charlie, they're downright happy."


Public Digs Deep to Help Restore Charlie's Fund
By Don Bauerle, The Detroit News, February 26, 1997
An outpouring of support
has added about $250 to
Charlie's 401K-9 fund

Charlie's kitty is healthy again. Following newspaper and television reports that $100 was stolen from Charlie's "tip jar in December, cash and checks began rolling in from across the nation, earmarked for the Golden Retriever's retirement account.
Charlie's owner calls it his "401K-9 fund. The dog works for his pension (and bones) at Harry's Marathon station in Saline. He clenches customers' money and credit cards in his mouth and heads for the cash register. Sometimes, he gets tips.
Once word of the Christmastime burglary got out, sympathetic Charlie fans in Metro Detroit and across the country sent cards, letters, checks and money. In addition to newspaper and TV coverage, the BBC interviewed Charlie's owner, station manager Rick Parsons, and broadcast the dog's plight on the military network in Europe.
"People have been generous, Parsons said. "WJR sent a check for $110, a group of workers at Chrysler's Trenton engine plant sent $60 and the employees and patrons of Roses' Family Dining in St. Clair Shores sent $45. I got a check for $25 from a Warren woman the other day.
"People would walk into the station and put $20 and $1 bills in the tip jar. It's been unbelievable. Altogether, about $250 has come in.
The owner of Asbury, a Golden Retriever in the Chicago area, said: "I'm sorry about what happened. There are some strange people out there. It's a doggone shame.
And the Hovet family in Eugene, Ore., wrote: "We're sorry to hear of your loss. Here's a little something to rebuild your tip fund. We'll stop by the next time we go through Saline.

Sadly, Charlie died in August 1999 at age nine, from lymphoma (the same disease that claimed our own Ollie). Please click here to see the lovely articles in the press about this loss.