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Our Important Mission

The Land of PureGold Foundation became a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit corporation in February 2005. We are totally volunteer-run with no salaried employees, The formation of our organization followed a period of 8 years that the Landofpuregold.com had been a presence on the web, supporting and engaging in various charitable endeavors and providing numerous educational activities to promote the human-canine bond.

We have personally seen this special healing power, time and time again, and have felt such joy as we continue to celebrate the wonders of The Bond. And, this 1,300+ page website is clearly testimony to this celebration.

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 may not be our whole life, they do much to make our lives whole. Yethow 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?

According to Dr. Marty Becker, “Our pets lend a touch of grace to our lives. They teach us the real meaning of unconditional love and bring out the kindest and most generous impulses of humanity.” And, Dr. Allen Schoen speaks to the premise that “Far from a luxury, pets are now recognized as a necessityfriends who fortify us daily with their gifts of love, loyalty and laughter.”

Our foundation's goals include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To support and promote holistically healthy and responsible dog care and ownership as well as respectful and consistent training practicesthe love shared between mankind and dogs so engendering a mutual strength and healing power.

  • To raise monies for research in comparative oncology and cancer treatment in working dogs (e.g., assistance, animal-assisted therapy, search and rescue, scent detection, and law enforcement) through donations and Foundation Store product sales.

  • To develop creative media that embraces 'the bond' to raise monies for research in comparative oncology, which is the study of cancers that occur similarly in companion animals and humans.

  • To support and disseminate information on canine cancers; and, to educate and promote interest in research of those cancers in companion animals that share a similarity to the cancers that afflict children.

Working toward Achieving our Vision
February 2005
Formation of Foundation

Year 2007
Although only a small organization run totally on a few volunteers' efforts, this calendar year we have provided $10,200 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs and $15,000 in support of research in comparative oncology through Dr. Gregory Ogilvie, Special Care Foundation for Companion Animals. Dr. Ogilvie is one of the first board-certified veterinary oncologists in the nation.

Year 2008
The recession hit us hard and donations, as well as sales, plummeted. We did manage to provide $2000 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs and provided $10,000 toward production costs for Gotta Dance.

Year 2009
The recession has continued to hit us hard and donations, as well as sales, plummeted. We did manage to provide $2500 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs and provided $18,500 toward production costs for Gotta Dance.

Year 2010
We provided $10,800 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs. And, although the recession has continued to hit us hard and donations, as well as sales, have plummeted, we provided $20,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano for one of his exciting comparative oncology research projects. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following:

PROJECT TITLE Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma)
PRINCIPAL
INVESTIGATORS
Dr. Jaime Modiano (Veterinary Clinical Sciences), Dr. Jim Cerhan (Mayo Clinic), Dr. Matthew Breen (North Carolina State University), Dr. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh (Broad Institute)
PROJECT GOALS We propose to identify and characterize heritable (genetic) traits that contribute to risk and progression of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in golden retrievers. This project is developed as a partnership between the GRF and the Investigators, Drs. Modiano, Breen and Lindblad-Toh. The goal to “make a major impact” carries some risk, but in this project, risk is mitigated by the financial commitment from the GRF and MAF, as well as by the investigators’ entrepreneurial spirit, the extensive preliminary data from their laboratories, and their collective expertise applying state-of-the-art genome-wide technologies to cancer investigation. Our long-term goals are (1) to institute simple, straightforward tests to allow assessment of the specific genetic risk carried by an individual dog and thereby to allow breeders to develop strategies that will slowly reduce the incidence of hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma in golden retrievers, while retaining the positive phenotypes of the breed, and (2) to develop effective diagnostics, risk reduction, and treatment strategies for hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma that will benefit not only golden retrievers and other dogs, but also humans with these diseases.

Year 2011
We are still involved in Gotta Dance's post-production, musical scoring, and final editing with hopes of completion in the winter of 2012. Although the recession continues to hit us hard and donations, as well as sales, have plummeted, we provided another $20,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following project: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma).

Year 2012
We provided $15,555 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs. We provided $15,000 toward the final costs of the film production, and $15,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following project: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma).

Year 2013
We provided $3,000 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs. We provided $5,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following project: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma).

Year 2014
We provided $4,000 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs. We provided $5,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following project: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma).

Year 2015
We provided $4,000 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs. We provided $5,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following project: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma).

Year 2016
We provided $2,000 in support of cancer treatment for working dogs. We provided $2,000 to Dr. Jaime Modiano. The funding went to Minnesota Medical Foundation's Comparative Oncology Research Fund for the following project: Discovery and Characterization of Heritable and Somatic Cancer Mutations in Golden Retrievers (this project also involves Hemangiosarcoma).


Management Board Members
Rochelle Lesser
, Founder & President Rochelle, a School Psychologist who engages in  animal-assisted therapy, is a consultant with Millersville Psychological Services, located in Millersville, Maryland. Professional publications include two monograph articles: Stress and Illness in the Family: A Linear versus Family Life Space Perspective and The Child with Cancer: A Life Space Study of Six Families.

Rochelle also published the article, Following the Golden Brick Road, which appeared in Hoflin's 2003 Golden Retriever Annual, and wrote the foreword to the book, My Rescued Golden: True Stories of Rescued Golden Retrievers and the People Who Love Them. Her private practice and graduate teaching work, however, have been curtailed due to struggles with a mixed connective tissue disease (currently on a disability retirement). But, memories of her beloved Ollie and Darcy, and her current trained therapy dog expert, Alfie, keep her outlook bright.

Gary Lesser, Secretary-TreasurerGary has been a practicing community pharmacist in Maryland for over 30 years.

Suzi Beber, Board MemberSuzi, the creator of the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund, through the University of Guelph's Veterinary College and Teaching Hospital's Pet Trust, is an important educational resource in the areas of canine cancer treatment options, nutrition, and complementary therapies. Suzi was the 2004 recipient of the Golden Retriever Club of Canada's Silmaril Kennel Trophy, for the human-animal bond.

Carolyn Scott, Board MemberCarolyn, one of the founders of the Musical Dog Sport Association, is a proponent of the human-canine bond through her own Magic of the Match. She is also portrayed in our upcoming Gotta Dance! Documentary Film.

Marti Brown, Board MemberMarti has been married for 26 years [2009], and along with her husband, has owned an automobile dealership for 23 years in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Marti began her interest in Goldens in 1978 when she and her husband, Joe, lived on their horse farm. At the time, they both thought Goldens would be a perfect fit because of their friendly nature. Marti was last Mom to Golden Angel, Carly, and together they enjoyed much pet visitation work. Sadly, in January 2009, 10½-year-old Carly was lost to cancer. However, June 2009 was a time for rebirth as Golden puppy Katly joined the family! With their current home now on the water, Marti's interests include water sports, snow skiing, hiking and, of course, Golden Love.
 

Advisory Board Members
Dr. Allen SchoenA Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with an additional Master's degree in neurophysiology and behavior, Allen Schoen is one of the most celebrated and sought-after doctors of veterinary medicine in the nation. He has been practicing both equine and small animal complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CIAH) since 1981, and has taught its special therapies throughout the world at conferences and veterinary schools, lecturing in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the U.S., and Canada. Dr. Schoen continues to work through the Center for Integrative Animal Health in the organization, Global Communications for Conservation, Inc., and teaches postgraduate courses in Integrative, Complementary Veterinary Medicine at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine as a Clinical Assistant Professor. He is also an affiliate faculty member at the Colorado State, University College of Veterinary Medicine, and is on the faculty at the Chi Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine. He was a past President of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and was honored with a fellowship in the American College of Acupuncture for physicians – also appointed to both the North American Veterinary Nutraceuticals Council and the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The guidelines he helped propose for the integration of CIAH into conventional veterinary medicine have recently been accepted by the AVMA.

Dr. Schoen has written the books, Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans & Animals Can Change The Way We Live, Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine, and Love, Miracles, and Animal Healing : A Veterinarian's Journey from Physical Medicine to Spiritual Understanding, He was a co-editor of the book, Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine: Principles and Practice, and also co-wrote Love, Miracles, and Animal Healing: A Heartwarming Look at the Spiritual Bond Between Animals and Humans. He believes our connection to animals and to other aspects of nature is essential for our soul’s survival, and is now affiliated with The Garrison Institute in order to develop programs reflecting an understanding of healing through this relationship. He is also evaluating new nontoxic approaches to animal health issues that do not respond to conventional medicine, and is committed to the further investigation of what is “ultimate healing” and how mind/body medicine can beneficial all sentient beings.   

Dr. Marty Becker Noted veterinarian and author, Marty Becker, is the Practice Leadership Editor for Veterinary Economics magazine, cofounder & vice-president of the Association of Veterinary Communicators, Chief Veterinary Correspondent for Amazon.com, and a Dog Fancy magazine contributing editor. He is also co-author of the book, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul: Stories About Pets as Teachers, Healers, Heroes & Friends, and author of the text, The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy. Marty has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, all North American veterinary schools, and on six continents and in over sixty countries. And, with his internationally distributed weekly newspaper column The Bond, his online Pet-Pourri column, and his appearances on Good Morning America & Animal Planet’s Petsburgh USA, he is effectively communicating both the science and soul of animals and their relationships with the people who love them. A recipient of the 2002 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award for protecting and promoting the human-animal bond, and the Western University of Health Sciences' 2002 Media Award for the Advancement in Health and Humanism, Marty has also worked to assist programs providing service dogs for sight and mobility impaired persons.

Arthur T. Vanderbilt, II Art Vanderbilt is the award-winning author of seven books, a diverse range over a period of more than 25 years, that covers topics from pirates to the Gilded Age, from writing best sellers to gardening, and from New Jersey's judicial history to Golden Retrievers. It was through his book, Golden Days: Memories of a Golden Retriever, that Art became a good friend to us here at the Land of PureGold. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Contemporary Authors, and Who's Who in the Law, and is a partner in the law firm of Carella, Byrne, Bain, Gilfillan, Cecchi, Stewart & Olstein, Roseland, New Jersey. Art is also a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, and of the Board of Trustees of the Elizabeth Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Patricia Burlin KennedyPatty Kennedy is a Maxwell Award-winning author who is actively pursuing her interest in the human-animal bond. She wrote Bailey Bymyside: Golden Lessons for Life, a book comprised of meaningful observations that celebrate a Golden's wisdom and charm. And, she wrote Through Otis' Eyes: Lessons from a Guide Dog Puppy, a book that allows one to experience the joys and frustrations of raising a puppy destined to lead another person toward a more fulfilling life. A resident of Northern Virginia, Patty divides her time between her U.S. Senate staff duties, volunteering with various charitable groups such as the Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and running a busy household which includes her husband, two children, and two loving retrievers.



Supporters and Sponsors


The Google Grants Program supports organizations sharing their philosophy of community service to help the world in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy, and the arts. Designed for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, Google Grants is a unique in-kind advertising program.



TechSoup Stock connects nonprofits and public libraries with donated and discounted technology products, their being able to choose from over 240 products from companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Symantec.


 


A Founder's (Golden Mom Rochelle's) Inspiration
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 dete
Gary 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, due to an early disability retirement, I now only work very part-time as a consultant at Millersville Psychological Services.)

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. Click on me to order this special book.

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 dog 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 53-page PDF file (or mini-book) 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.

   Mistfield Oliver CGC              Friendship Darcy Makena AX AXJ CGC              Mystic Lord Alfred Tennyson             Cinderella


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