rainbow bridge

Bear patiently, my heart, for you have suffered heavier things. ~ Homer, Greek Author

Lady Jane

Lady Jane Palazzolo
Rescued July 2007

Lady JaneLady Jane came to AZGRC from the shelter, she had been abandoned and left to survive on the streets. The shelter walker knew that she needed become part of the AZGRC family.

She was brought to us as a foster, who quickly became part of our forever family. When she joined our family she had two older dog brothers, who she loved with all of her heart. We discovered that LJ had trust issue with women, to help with her fear, we did lots of training and LJ loved it. We completed basic obedience, she got her CGC, we went to agility, and because she had a bit of Aussie in her we tried out herding.

As LJ grew up she became an amazing girl, after the loss of one of her brothers, she got her very own puppy and baby sister Dora. With the addition of Dora, LJ no longer wanted to go to herding class, she got to herd Dora every day. As time passed she lost another of her brothers and gained another old man dog to spend her final years with.

LJ was a snow dog and by I mean, she lived in Arizona during the winter and spent the summers in Oregon. She loved to explore new places and traveled with us where ever we went.

LJ loved toys, Christmas, hiking, the beach, training, and her family. Because her loss was unexpected and sudden we are still processing the shock of it. Her sparkle is missed by her family and the void is going to take a long time to heal, but with time we will once again be able to focus on the joy, love, and laughter that she brought to our family.

With sorrow,

 Tony, Robin, Dora, and Klod

Lady Jane Lady Jane Lady Jane
Lady Jane Lady Jane Lady Jane

Crossed The Bridge June 2017


Riley Chrisitmas

Rrileyescued  December 2016

Each dog enters our life for a purpose. We may not see that purpose at the time but eventually we come to understand our part in their journey. Riley’s lived each day as it was a gift. She was grateful for each loving gesture. She wagged her tail with unbridled joy. She helped prepare us for what each of us is going to experience with our own fur babies in the future. And when she transitioned from this earth, she showed us what joy and peace looks like. Thank you Riley for the many lessons you taught. Thank you for the love you gave us.  Run free Sweet Riley! Your light will shine on.

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge May 2017


Bradley Royer

Rescued August 2004

Re-adopted November 2011

Bradley was originally saved from the shelter when he was just a young dog of 6 months old. I still remember the day, I took him out of the shelter and named him after a childhood friend. He was adopted to a couple who loved him with all of their heart but when life changed and they had twin boys, Bradley did not adjust so they made the heart wrenching decision to surrender Bradley back to AZGRC.

Bradley was quickly adopted into a home where he was the center of their world.

“We are better for having known them”

Bradley was actually my first dog. He became a very central part of the family. Thank you for having been part of the chain of life that brought him to be part of our life and made it better.

Roland, Agnes and Adrie

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge April 2017


Jake Johnson
Rescued July 2, 2004

jakeJake was the best big brother a golden retriever could ever have. I adopted him from the Sun Valley Animal Shelter because I wanted a playmate for my then 2-year-old golden, Lucy. When the two of them first met in an outdoor shelter run, I knew right away that he was the perfect gentleman—playful and protective yet always willing to let his golden sister be the star. Soon after I lost Lucy to cancer at the young age of 6, we welcomed our second golden rescue, Sarah. Again, Jake was the gentle big brother, who instinctively knew his job was to take care of his two best girls. He and Sarah loved our morning walks, trips to the park to chase birds and cats, swims in the backyard pool, and cuddling on the couch. The most-asked question about Jake was “what kind of dog is he?” Technically, I suspect he was an English Setter mixed with something larger (maybe a lab). One day I was at a vet’s office when someone asked the standard Jake question, and the vet quickly responded, “well, he’s a black-and-white dog, of course.” In my heart, I have always known that Jake was my black-and-white golden jakeretriever. A loyal and faithful friend to his final days, I will always be blessed to have shared his one-of-a-kind, heart-of-a-golden life. 

Forever in our hearts,

Karen and Sarah

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge April 21, 2017 


Rescued August 2013


On 6 August, 2013 God sent an angel to our home in the disguise of a quite sick Golden Retriever named Sadie. She was very ill at the time, having undergone surgery for an infected uterus and enduring four blood transfusions.  But as sick and skinny as she was, when she first walked through our door she was smiling.  At the time, we didn’t know if she would survive the first few days she was in our foster care. She slept almost constantly and barely ate anything at all.  Around the fourth day she started coming around.  Day by day, week by week, she got stronger and full of life.    

So, we fell in love with the beautiful little girl and informed the AZGRC that we would be foster failures.  There was no way we were going to let this girl go now.  She was love personified. She loved walks around Chaparral Lake, just steps from our home.  She loved laying in the grass in our courtyard and sniffing all the cool smells that wafted off of the lake.  And she loved people.  People were always coming up to say hello to her and she would always smile.  She was always smiling.  She loved her treats. We think she probably had never had a full belly in her life until she came to grace us with her presence.   She was a very mellow girl whom I only heard one bark out of the whole time she was with us.  And even then, it was just a muffled “woof”. 

Sadie left us on April 3, 2017.  We were there with her, holding her and caressing her as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  She left this plane having known love, happiness and the feel of a full belly.  We will miss her greatly but take comfort in the fact that her final years were happy ones.  We will be forever grateful to the very kind people at the AZGRC for bringing this sweet, sweet girl into our lives.

Godspeed, Sadie – we’ll see you again

Mike Watts/Lew Williams 

Crossed the Bridge April 2017


Rescued May 2016

bellaMay 15, 2016 was a day of celebration for us: QQ arrived from LA after a lengthy air transport from Taiwan. We were prepared for her ‘disability’—-severe hip dysplasia, most likely requiring surgical intervention. To our surprise, she bounded out of the vehicle, and entered our lives with energy and a bit of a hip swagger, anxious to be part of our life. We opened our hearts to her completely, and received back pure love and devotion, wet kisses and all.

Over the weeks and months, we were mentored by such an incredible support team we never felt alone in getting QQ (now Bella) all the medical care she required, and even started vet rehab as it seemed this amazing dog was not going to require surgical intervention any time soon. We introduced her to swimming in the pool which she took to naturally. The special moments are too numerous to remember: the home exercise program with treats, play time on the floor, the foster dog Major and Bella playing together, the immediate acceptance of our cats, bellathe many walks with new friends, and food, food, food!  She even won second prize in the AZGRC Gotcha Day for the Dunking for Wieners contest.

Sadly, after six months we were to discover that our time with Bella was to be cut short. Tumor development was not what we had anticipated so soon after Bella’s arrival. Again, the AZGRC team were there to walk us through this difficult time. The philosophy that became so important to us was that AZGRC dogs find the forever home where they were meant to be. We realized that we were to have the important role of giving Bella the very best days, weeks or months that she had left.

Those weeks and months lasted until March 30, 2017 when Bella crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. We miss her daily, many tears have been shed as we recall the many, many moments of joy that she brought into our life, and the loss that we feel. Nevertheless, we would not change a moment of time we shared with our Bella. Her presence will be felt in our lives always.

Bella was the light of our life. We loved her dearly. This Dog's Last Will and Testament would reflect her wishes.

Jean and Jim

bella bella bella  

To a poor and lonely stray I’d give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.

I’d will to the sad, scared shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.

So, now that I am gone, do not say ‘I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand’.

Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.

This is the only thing I can give…

The love I left behind.

Author Unknown

 Crossed the Bridge March 2017 

mandy pease


Rescued January 2016

Sunny days are therapeutic for us. So is the Golden Retriever effect. It is no coincidence they share the same positive golden glow. Many of us have been blessed to have our Goldens for years. Some of us have the blessing for only a short time, but the same sunny golden glow still prevails.  That’s how it was for the short time we had our sweet Mandy (Mandarin), who came to us from Taiwan. Mandy was unusual because she looked Asian, her adorable eyes had Asian characteristics.  The moment she came to us, we knew she was a blessing beyond words. She remains that blessing forever.

Everyone who ever met Mandy instantly described her as “sweet.” That word described her perfectly. Many who met her asked if they could get a dog just like her. I said yes, contact rescue, many wait for love.

The question remains, why was she so sweet? If a human was imprisoned in a cage for breeding purposes for years and then thrown to the streets when she became useless, would that person be sweet, or untrusting and cynical?  Add to that, fending for herself on the streets, facing starvation, dealing with invasive mammary cancer, parasites and then an awful STD, would a human be trusting, loving and forgiving?  Mandy was.  Mandy was the ultimate testament to why humans care for and protect dogs.

Each time we came in the door, she greeted us as if we had been away for days. Her goofy smile, with her protruding tongue always made us adore her even more. Often in the middle of the night she would stand next to the bed and put her head as close as she could to us, asking for reassurance. “Yes, Mandy, we love you” was our response no matter how many times she woke us. 

We miss her desperately. But, having such love for a short time is better than never having it at all. We thank all the fine folks at Arizona Golden Retriever Connection for bringing us that precious golden glow to our home, even if it was for just a short time. Mandy will be with us forever, for that we are eternally grateful.

Crossed the Bridge April 2017


Rescued August 2015

Audi, the courageous intrepid traveler.  Crossed a ocean to spend the last and best part of his life with us in the Hill Country in Texas,  a safe place, off the streets.  Learned English in 20 minutes!  Overcame the effects of an incurable ear infection.  Still, a handsome, happy soul from morning to night, glued to us, close by, with the ever whomping tail.  Long walks in the country with his Golden pals, Dixie and Dallas.  Daily visits with his friends, Indy the horse and Rufus the black llama.  The ever awaited routine of everyday events with such zeal.  A silent house again, forever missed, forever remembered.

Mike and Tim

Crossed the Bridge March 2017

abby hart

Rescued June 2008

Abby (originally Windy) was the light of my life and without a doubt I know I was the light of hers.

When I rescued Abby, OR shall I say, when she rescued me, she was afraid of many things, we learned together how to overcome the obstacles.

Abby enjoyed chasing anything that rustled in a bush in her backyard. She would stick her head into a bush and stamp her right paw to make sure that what was ever hiding in the bush knew she meant business, that they needed to get out and be on their way.

Abby loved her walks and would do her happy dance when she saw her leash come out as it meant she was going to see her friends, didn’t matter to her if they were of the 4 legged or two legged variety. She loved to go for car rides and visit friends and family. She would wait patiently by the back door when she saw her bowls and food getting packed up.

Abby was a gentle and loving dog who wanted nothing more than to please and give love, if you were among her favorite peeps, she might even coax you into giving her a treat.

Abby will be so deeply missed, she will be forever in our hearts.

I love you Abby,
Abby’s Mommy, Vicki

Crossed the Bridge January 2017


Rescued July 2009

Nokio (originally called Pinocchio) and sister Roxy came to AZGRC as a pair. They joined our household on April 13, 2010 moving in with golden retriever Cosmo who had recently lost his sister Nina. Later in January 2011 golden retriever Wobbles joined the family. Wobbles was a retired therapy dog. They were a happy foursome until September 2013 when we lost Cosmo. We lost Nokio’s sister Roxy in July 2014.

Nokio loved ball, walks, and swimming, including diving. He was a gentle soul and a great fan of Frosty Paws. He liked burying his head in laps. He was not a fan of having his nose kissed. We miss him greatly as does Wobbles.

Crossed the Bridge February 2017


Alexi ashley-null

Alexi was the matriarch of the family.  We often called her Dew Girl.  This is one of our favorite photos of Alexi.  She’s looking at the sun and you can just imagine her saying “Ahhhhh, what a great day!”   We are heartbroken that she is gone, but so grateful that Moose and Jake still have each other.

She can never be replaced and will always be loved.

Lisa & Ray

Moose & Jake

Crossed the Bridge December 2016


Napa Stevens
Rescued October 2008

NAPAIn the beginning of 2016 our vet told me that Napa was not well and didn’t think she would be with me come spring.  

Well, that wonderful stinker made it into the Fall.  She was my sweet girl and is missed tremendously.


Crossed the Bridge December 2016


Rescued September 2013

We fell in love with Lily the minute we met her in September of 2013.  She was known as Millie then and was being fostered by Kelly and her sweet Golden, Wiley. Thanks to AZGRC, Lily had been saved from euthanasia at the pound. She was a petite girl with a beautiful Golden face who had serious ear infections, dry eyes and Valley Fever.

Once we brought Lily home she became best buddies with our Golden boy, Cosmo.  They loved to wrestle and chew on each other’s ears and tails.  They were like bookends, napping together around the house. Lily was a very quiet dog who rarely barked and almost never growled except when it came to our 16 year old mix, Tula.  They had a few tiffs and Tula eventually learned to let Lily be in charge. 

Lily loved her daily walks only she didn’t just walk, she pranced.  She’d lift her head, sniff the air and prance along for a while.  Then she’d slow down, lift her head, sniff the air and prance some more.  It was such fun to watch her.  She was also our “weathergirl”.   We always knew when a storm was coming and it was time to get out her Thundershirt.  Usually for a few days after a storm she wouldn’t go outside without first sticking just her head out the door, smelling the air and making sure the coast was clear.   She loved strolling in our yard and we loved to watch her stop and smell the flowers. Our “Silly Lily” also watched TV.   As soon as an animal appeared on the screen Lily would pop up and run to the screen to watch.  And “Lillers” was my alarm clock.  If I wasn’t up by 7:15 she would put both paws on the bed and put her head next to mine.  She loved the mornings and that’s when she was happiest.

Lily was the most affectionate dog we have ever had.  She would often come up to Tom or me and just snuggle up against us.  She was definitely “Daddy’s Girl” putting her head on Tom’s knee or a paw on his arm rest to get his attention. If we came near her while she was lying down she would immediately roll over for a belly rub and she knew we couldn’t resist. We adored Lily and she was devoted to us.

Our poor Lily had so many health issues which she faced so bravely.  Her long term ear problems were finally under control when she developed stomach problems.  We got that figured out and then discovered she had fibro-sarcoma of the jaw that had spread to her bones.  Through it all she was gentle, sweet and loving.   Lily loved her vet, Dr. Remen and all the staff at Desert Tails Animal Clinic who treated her like royalty.  At the end, they made an unbearable situation peaceful for us and for our precious Lily. With broken hearts we said good-bye on December 30, 2016. We will be forever grateful to AZGRC for entrusting us with Lily and to Dr. Remen and Desert Tails Animal Clinic and all the wonderful people who helped us care for her. 

Rita Koppinger and Tom Martinsen  

Crossed the Bridge December 2016

annie marie

annie marie

annie marie

Rescued May 2012


“ANNIE MARIE” you came into our home as a “vacation foster” and once again we became “failed fosters.”  We were so grateful to have been given the opportunity to care for you after your major surgery, giving you a safe “forever home”.   You went on to become “Miss January” for 2016, how proud we were!!.  “ANNIE MARIE”” you were the light of our lives, made us laugh, smile every day and helped us to appreciate what really is important in “our” life, which is to share life with a “Golden.”   “ANNIE MARIE”, sharing life with you was not long enough, you loved unconditionally and your loyalty prevailed until the end.  Our home is empty, our hearts are broken, yet we know you are at peace and running free.  Your paw prints remain on our hearts and our memories will be cherished forever.

“ANNIE MARIE” OUR GOLDEN CUPCAKE WITH RAINBOW SPRINKLES” one day we will all meet at the Rainbow Bridge and as a family cross together.....

We will love you always,

Papa & Mama

Crossed the Bridge December 2016

annie marie annie marie annie marie annie marie
annie marie annie marie annie marie annie marie


Welsie Whitlatch
Rescued May 2014

Welsie was an owner turn in 05/25/2014. She had a funny bark and her right eye bulged. She loved anyone she met and was always happiest destroying toys. AZGRC was able to get her eye repaired and she loved the Whitlatch Senior Home. She tolerated her brother Bobbie but she loved the new foster girl Julee that arrived just a few months later. Julee and Welsie were fast friends and would start the morning with growling and pawing each other. Many times you would find them resting together with their paws crossed. Welsie would rip the toys open and Julee would eat the stuffing.

Welsie loved visiting with all of the fosters that have passed thru our house; she would share her toys, food, and bed. She especially loved Spa Day with Green Dog Grooming.

She really loved the UPS man and always barked at him. She was the perfect door greeter.

In October she had surgery and was diagnosed with hemangiocarcoma. She was a trooper and the best patient. She recovered quickly and was again playing with Julee until the last day. She was surrounded by family and furry friends as she crossed the Rainbow bridge. We are sad but we know she was met by many friends and is now pain free.  Thanks to all our friends at Arizona Golden Retriever Connection and Four Legged Friends who loved and cared for Welsie. 

We miss you, Welsie, but know you are whole and having fun with all the other Goldens we have known.

Love always, 

Momma Joy, Bobbie, and Julee

welsie welsie welsie
welsie welsie welsie

Crossed the Bridge December 2016



Remembrance for Josephine

Josephine - You who were an angel on earth are now an angel in heaven. A bright shining joyous light in our lives has been extinguished.

We loved you yesterday  we love you today and we will love you tomorrow. We will think of you often and miss you every day.

Mom and Dad.

Crossed the Bridge December 2016

Mai Tai

Rescued September 2008

Last night my big girl Mai Tai died very suddenly.  My inner core is filled with gut wrenching sadness.

Let me tell you a story about a gentle soul.  She was the class of 2008, rescued as a turn in from Tucson.  Apparently a family member was allergic to her fur and Mai’s first three years was spent outside.   She learned how to swim in their backyard pool and took dips to cool off in the hot heat.  Mai continued this practice to the end of her life.

Mai was a very laid back and friendly dog.  She was also quiet and only barked twice in the 9 years we owned her.   There was never a person or dog she didn’t like.  She loved to visit and socialize with other dogs especially the boys.  Mai Tai was the biggest flirt.  Because of her demeanor she became a certified therapy dog.  When Mai put on her vest she took her job very seriously and stole many of hearts in nursing homes and schools.  As a side job she was our professional spoon and plate licker.

Mai’s favorite place in the whole world was at our cabin in Overgaard.  She was famous for her walkabouts and liked to sniff every tree and bush in the surrounding forest to see what animals were around.  Mai’s favorite activity was to go fishing with Mama.  She would swim out to an exposed rock at our favorite fishing hole and sun herself until it was time to go home.  All the people in boats would marvel and laugh as they passed by at the sight of my little mermaid.  (See photo)

Mai you are no longer by my side but you will forever be in my heart. 

Love you my sweet girl. 


Crossed the Bridge December 2016


Grace Key
Rescued April 2010

Grace was almost six years old when her owners, expecting a new baby, decided they no longer had the time to give Grace the attention and care she deserved. She came to AZGRC and was placed with me and my  Golden, Monty.  Very quickly, Grace settled in and let me know that she was home forever!  After Monty crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Grace welcomed Jacquie and Gibbs, two other Golden rescues, into our home.  She became a good sister to both Jacquie and Gibbs  sharing her mom's love and attention.  

Sadly Grace was diagnosed with lymphoma in August of this year, and crossed the Bridge in November. I only had Grace for 6 ½ years but she was an amazing dog and I’m very lucky that I failed at fostering and decided to adopt her instead!  Thank you to AZGRC for placing her with me.  She will be greatly missed.


Crossed the Bridge November 2016

king leo

Rescued June 2005

king LoeKing Leo was the best. When I first saw him and saw what a wild man he was I knew I wanted him. He was so big and crazy I saw the challenge I would have training. Leo was so smart. His ability to jump high and swimming was his favorite activities. He turned out to be a great DockDog competitor. Everyone would smile when he would get on the dock and be amazed at the distance he could jump. All in all we were meant for each other.

king leo king leo

Crossed the Bridge November 2016


Rescued October 2009

lucasf you have ever been owned by a cat, you know they have the uncanny ability to “disappear” into a third dimension until they decide to “reappear.” Lucas choose perfect timing to reappear. One of our adopted Goldens, Sketcher, needed to come back to Arizona Golden Retriever Connection because his family had a crisis and they were moving. The crisis involved a new child that had respiratory problems and they could have no animals in the house. When we arrived to get Sketcher, outside the sliding glass door stood a stunning white cat that was trying to come in the house.  The family said, the cat had just appeared about a month before. They were putting out food and he would come in the house with Sketcher. With their upcoming move, they were just going to leave the cat.  We found a moving box, poked some holes in the top of the box, put the now “not happy to be in a box” cat in the car and drove off with Sketcher and the cat in a box. The car ride from Anthem to Mesa was interesting with lots of meowing and poking paws coming from the box. The cat came to my house and I named him Lucas after my uncle that had recently passed away. Now to find Lucas his forever home. I talked to my friend who fostered cats for another rescue and asked if she would foster him and help him get adopted through that rescue. I may have cried and begged a little but the answer was a resounding “ok”. Lucas never left his foster home. He had found his forever home. To his Mom, thank you for giving Lucas a super life filled with lots of love, snuggles and happiness.

Run free sweet boy. I am grateful you chose to “appear” in our lives.

Crossed the Bridge December 5, 2016


Angus Ziemer
Rescued October 2016

If you listen closely a dog will always tell you what they need.  We only knew Angus for a couple of hours but in that time he was given lots of treats, lots of love and most importantly the dignity that he so deserved. A lifetime of sorrow was erased. Run free, sweet boy! You were loved and you mattered.

Crossed the Bridge October 2016 


Brinkley parker
Rescued April 2011

We will miss you forever, buddy. You are such a bright light in our memories. Rest in peace sweet boy.

We love you,

Dad, Mom, and Annie

Crossed the Bridge October 2016 

ben  Ben Smith-Aussprung
Rescued October 1, 2002

benBen Smith-Aussprung crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Oct 12, 2016.   He was a wonderful foster brother to so many rescued AZGRC Goldens, welcoming them into his home and being part of their journey of recovery and hope.  To Kara and Bob, he was their little swashbuckler and a faithful, loving companion.  

While it is so very hard to say goodbye to a beloved pet, Bob and Kara are sure that when Ben crossed the Bridge, Chelsea, the love of his life, along with all his other buddies were there to joyously welcome him home.  

Rest in peace, Ben.  Your mom, dad and all your friends at AZGRC will never forget you.

Crossed the Bridge October 12, 2016



Arizona Golden Retriever Connection is an all volunteer, non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Arizona Golden Retriever Connection

P.O. Box 26678
Scottsdale, AZ  85255
Phone:  602-870-0037     Fax:  480-563-9154