Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
rescue. rehab. adopt.
Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Rainbow Bridge

Our Rainbow Bridge pages have many tributes to the incredible animals we have loved and lost.

The loving tributes on these pages are stories of loyalty and compassion and of the rescued goldens who conquered their past lives, and came out the other side. Those dogs who have a heart icon are NRGRR dogs who crossed the Rainbow Bridge while they were still in our program.

We would be honored to post your tribute and photo of your NRGRR alumni here. Email your picture and story to:

Please consider a donation in memory of your loved one or one of our NRGRR dogs who never had the chance to find their forever homes. We will add the name of the person or pet to our memorials web page.  If you would prefer that your donation not listed, please choose the appropriate button during the check-out process in our store. NRGRR will also send a gift card to the family or a friend of the individual/pet you have honored with your donation.


As always, your gift will be used to directly support our rescue efforts.  Thank you.




While waiting to transport a dog for NRGRR, a shelter volunteer looked at me and said, “Don’t you want to take some more?” OMG! Whisk away these misfit dogs and cats in my big red truck (it could be a sleigh) to loving homes just in time for Christmas morning? DREAM! COME! TRUE!  So, of course I responded, “Wouldn’t that be great?” Imagine my surprise when she said, “Seriously, we just had 3 purebred golden retrievers owner surrendered.” WHAT?!?! I went in the kennel to see them and immediately called NRGRR. “We’ll take them!” I had no room left in my vehicle that day but promised to return the next week to get them. The shelter manager agreed to hold them, over the Christmas Holiday, until I could come back.

The very next week I got up early, and knowing there were 3 dogs, my husband went with me. They would become Peter, Paul and Mary. They were in terrible shape (matted, scared and thin) but we got them all loaded up and off we went to the vet. And there started a love story between a girl and her dog. The selfie my husband took with Paul says it all. He knew that was the second-best day of his life. I was asked to foster Paul14 and of course I said yes.

Over the next few months, we got him fattened up and ready for adoption. I had my reservations about adopting him out but had not planned on having 3 dogs. He was GREAT with my two and fit like a glove, but still, was there something better out there for him? I found a great home and we completed the paperwork. I said then, that if he EVER came back, whether he had a day or a year left, he would be mine. He would never need a second chance again. The next day the adopters called me to tell me he wouldn’t eat or move. They said he seemed depressed and they thought he missed me. YES! I’m on my way! So, I drove 90 minutes to their home to get MY BOY! He came trotting to me as soon as I walked in. I signed the adoption contract and Paul, now Reilly, knew that was the BEST day of his life. He was my shadow and quickly became a pure Mama’s boy! There were constant reminders of the hardship he had endured, but once he learned he would never experience that again, those moments faded away. Always happy and putting a continuous smile on my face.

Of the trio, Paul was the last member and just kept going all the way to the age of 14. He gave us quite a few health scares along the way and a cancerous mass was successfully removed with no recurrence. He was even diagnosed with diabetes insipidus but managed well with medications. And he continued to be Mama’s Boy, not letting me out of site without vocalizing his displeasure …loudly!

I am actually grateful that we moved to virtual school so I had time with him. He was right by my side during Zoom sessions and I’m pretty sure he knows his letters and sounds and can complete +1 math problems. But that was not to last. He developed pancreatitis. He rallied with treatment and my vet, and I, thought he was going to beat it. But his rally was short lived. When I left the room on Wednesday, and he didn’t make a sound, I knew he was letting me know he was OK moving on without me. He was my little boy, my Mama’s Boy, but the sparkle was gone, and he was exhausted. He placed his complete trust in me six years ago, and I could not betray that trust. I kissed him softly and whispered in his ear as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. There will forever be a whole in my heart. But thanks to the lessons I learned from this sweet soul, my heart can grow to share that love to others. But the piece he took with him will forever belong to him alone.

I think his name sake band said it well: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, A time to be born, and a time to die.

Rest easy my little boy. Mama will see you again. I love you.




In October 2018, we welcomed beautiful and bashful senior Theodore into our family. It didn’t take long for him to warm up to us and before long it felt like he’d always been there. Theodore wasn’t a pushy boy, he was quiet and loving. Always ready to chase a ball and do a few tricks, spinning in circles for a treat. Even though he was a senior he had a lot of spunk and loved to go for walks. Theo battled a short time with cancer and let us know in his own way he was ready to go. We only had him to love for a year and a half but it felt like he’d always been part of our family. He always will. Love you goofy weirdo. Mum Dad Sam Olivia xxx 



It is with heavy heart that we share the loss of our beloved Rex to cancer on April 15th. We loved him dearly for the nearly 12 years he was part of our family. I believe he was in the adoption class of 2008 and was known as Anton. His foster family renamed him Rex and we kept that, as indeed he was the King in our house! We have never met a dog with as much personality as Rex! He was smart, goofy, stubborn, curious, gentle, and beautiful. He came to us with few manners, but quickly learned all his commands, not only in English but in Latin as well! Rex was a "talker" and never shy to advocate for himself! He traveled everywhere with us: to Virginia to visit Grandma, to vineyards, breweries, restaurants, walks, hikes and was a well-behaved hit wherever he went. He was a regular on the Neuse River Greenway near our home and I truly believe he knew some of the deer at sight! Our house is empty without him, but we are full with so many happy memories of the wonderful years we had with him. We thank everyone at NRGRR for the selfless and careful work you do in placing these wonderful dogs with families who cherish them.


 Boston 1 

Boston 2

We lost our Boston boy March  2, 2020.  We rescued him through NRGRR in 2011. 

Boston was a big bundle of love. He was my shadow and my kids playmate.  He adored his family and we him. Boston was the absolute definition of unconditional love and loyalty. A very special boy indeed!! Other than his people, his walks and his toys were his favorite things.

We are so grateful he was ours.. he brought us so much joy. We will miss him everyday. 




We lost our Maggie this past Monday, February 24,2020. We adopted her from the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue In 2016. She was a senior dog and very over weight with skin issues when we adopted her. We succeeded in lowering her weight - even though she loved to eat!  Her skin cleared up as well. Our two cats loved her instantly as our grand dog did. She was great with our grandchildren and other family members. She loved to take car rides and walks around the neighborhood. Twice a week I brought her to the local nursing home to visit-everyone loved her there and would give her treats. She even liked to ride in our boat, but didn’t like the water much. When we moved to Florida she enjoyed her golf cart rides around the neighborhood-in fact we had only to say “Maggie golf cart” and she would jump into the cart! She was a great companion and will be greatly missed.

Daisy (Saffron 15)


Daisy Memorial - February 22, 2020

Daisy left us today, to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  She dealt stoically with pain for a long time, yet never lost her sweet disposition.

We have no clear idea how old Daisy was.  She was picked up running up and down the concrete median of a highway in Fayetteville, and when the Good Samaritan who found her was not able to locate an owner, they contacted Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue (NRGRR).  At that time, she was in bad shape.  She had heart worms, and was no doubt traumatized by her time on the streets.  NRGRR dubbed her Saffron 15, treated her for the heart worms and found an adoptive family, where she stayed for 9 months.  When it was determined that she would need gastric surgery for gastric torsion, and the family who had her needed to let her go, NRGRR supported the surgery and we offered to be a foster home until a forever home could be found.  After only a short while, we decided to adopt her as “Daisy” ourselves and make ours her forever home.

Daisy came to our home four years ago, almost to the day, to recover from her gastric surgery.  Having had four Golden Retrievers before Daisy, we thought we knew what kind of personality to expect. In some respects we were correct, and in some we were not. 

From Day 1 Daisy was a sweetheart.  She loved being wherever we were, and would follow us around the house.  She tried to please us, coming when we called, and always behaving happy to see us.  She had occasion to be around several toddlers on a recurring basis, and she managed the attention with aplomb.  On rare occasions, if overstimulated by multiple toddlers at once, she would simply get up and walk away. 

About 18 months after adopting Daisy, we brought a rescued cat, Lily, into the family.  Daisy adjusted to her very quickly (and vice versa), and they became companions around the house.  Daisy loved to be petted, brushed and combed, causing great jealousy in Lily, who would quickly try to insert herself between the brush and Daisy.

Curiously, for a retriever she never seemed interested in retrieving.  Indeed, to our surprise and with sadness we discovered that Daisy had never learned to play, and did not like to run around free.  Further, we learned that she was very reactive to other dogs, behaving in a way that appeared outwardly aggressive, but in fact we determined was more fearful and protective.  We tried for a year to desensitize her, using various techniques suggested by professional animal trainers, but to no avail.  Eventually we decided it would be most kind to her if we simply avoided being around other dogs. In an effort to get her to learn and experience the joy of play, we tried taking her to otherwise empty dog parks, but she would not leave our side.

Daisy did seem to take pleasure in several activities.  We have a small glass transom above our front door.  If Daisy lay on the floor above the top of our stairs, she could monitor the neighborhood comings and goings through the transom window.  She made certain to alert us whenever dogs or people were on the street.

We have a screened-in back porch, overlooking a backyard replete with birds, squirrels and bunnies.  On nice days, Daisy positioned herself in sucxh a way that she could ensure all these creatures knew their place.

Before long we noticed that Daisy was suffering from arthritis.  We managed her discomfort as best we could with a number of pharmacological treatments.  But, we discovered that her lumbar vertebrae were fused, there were signs of arthritis in her cervical vertebrae as well, and that she had limited range of motion in her wrists, elbows, knees, hips and ankles.  We began a regimen of physical therapy recommended by a canine orthopedic specialist. Over time, she became progressively weaker and more reluctant to go up and down stairs.  If alone on one floor of the house, rather than search the other floor to find us, she adopted a unique bark intended, we believe,  to call us to her side.  We obtained a special harness, with handles in front and back, to help her up and down the stairs.

From the beginning, her gastrointestinal system seemed unusually vulnerable to disruption.  Three or four times a year she went through bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, occasionally becoming severely dehydrated.  If she needed to go in the middle of the night, she stood up from her bed at the foot of ours and walked to the bedroom door waiting for us to take her out.  She was such a good girl!  And she always rallied, responding to various treatments. 

Yesterday, when Daisy vomited 6 hours after breakfast, we prepared for another episode of GI distress and treatment.  However, she became progressively lethargic, and refused food this morning.  We took her to the veterinarian first thing, and learned that she now had a neurological issue with her hind legs, such that she didn’t know where they were.  Further, X-rays revealed a large mass in her abdomen and a return of gastric torsion.  She was depressed, in pain, and not able to function, so with the vet’s guidance we made the difficult decision to see her across the Rainbow Bridge.

We know she is in a better place now, but our hearts are broken.  Everywhere we look are reminders of her presence and the family rituals she engendered and into which we all became enmeshed.

Ziggy (Arlo 12)

 Ziggy dog 


Rainbow Bridge - February 9th, 2020
Our baby boy Ziggy (Club name Arlo) came to his forever home in August of 2012. He was an energetic boy about 3-4 years old in need of some love and spoiling. He settled in with his mom immediately earning his nickname "wiggle butt' quickly after noticing some hip issues which never seemed to slow him down. He was a constant companion going everywhere from the beach to the mountains. He LOVED swimming and his ball. He looked forward to playing ball with his dad and was always bringing his toys to play. Ziggy loved to visit is doggie cousin but was very happy being an only "child". He did end up adopting his new doggie brother last year and seemed to enjoy the company.
Ziggy's passing came very sudden, getting sick and being diagnosed with cancer within about 5 days. His last gift to us was giving us an unexpected extra 2 weeks with him to spoil him, cuddle him, and process our lives without each other. We are heartbroken but will always treasure the time we had with him, getting each other through all the tough times and celebrating the good times.
Mommy and daddy love you and will miss you always baby boy.





Our beloved Delilah passed away Friday morning. It was sudden and unexpected for our 12.5 year old girl. We fostered Delilah from NRGRR in 2012 shortly after the passing of our sweet Savannah (our first NRGRR girl) and it didn't take Delilah long to identify us as her forever took us a bit longer to figure it out, but we now know that Delilah was right from the beginning.

Delilah loved everyone and even at her maturity never failed to charge at anyone who looked like they needed to pet everybody in her opinion.

She loved her stuffed duckie and really just wanted to be with her friends and family nonstop. She also loved to swim, but she was not exactly a graceful swimmer...but she did it with gusto!

We miss Delilah with all our hearts, but we are already planning to honor her by fostering more of her cousins in NRGRR.


Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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P.O. Box 37156 Raleigh • NC 27627 • Phone: 919-676-7144