Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Rainbow Bridge - 2019

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.




Our Boone (came to us from NRGRR as Pilgrim17)...This sweet, kind, gentle, furry friend waltzed (slowly) into our world 20 months ago as a senior rescue from Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue. He was mostly blind, mostly deaf, weak, thin and scared. He needed a safe, loving space to rest his bones as he finished his time on earth and we welcomed him not knowing if it would mean 6 weeks or 6 months, but we knew he was ours. He had a much longer visit with us and we are grateful for every day. Though he’s been our shortest tenured pet, he’s taught us the biggest lessons in life that I want to carry with me for the rest of my days to honor him - no matter what his previous years had handed him (he was definitely in rough shape when we brought him home), he was never sad, never grumpy, never aggressive - just a sweet creature who was grateful, patient and kind. There were No Hard Feelings. We thank him for teaching us and for letting us be a part of his life. The Avett Brothers clearly wrote the song "Rest in Peace" for our sweet Boone. May he now finally Rest in Peace.



Harold was adopted in 2017. He passed away today. He was clearly suffering and the decision was made to put him to sleep. He was 15 years old and had 2+ good years after being rescued by NRGRR. This past year was full of challenges as his mobility declined but he still kept his positive spirit and joy of living. 

He was a real sweetie and Duchess and I will miss him.



We adopted Peter in 2015. He spent his first 8 yrs living in a pen and was fortunately rescued from a shelter by NRGRR. He was afraid of the world at first, but gradually learned how great being a golden can be. He enjoyed protecting his two female golden housemates, but in reality they took care of him. Even though he made great strides out in the world, he was reluctant to leave the house without one of his girls with him. He loved wrestling with Hope, and telepathically urging Kyra to vacate whichever dog bed he wanted to lie down on. A typical golden, he always had something in his mouth…bone or plush toy. Summer of 2019 he developed an aggressive form of cancer and we kept him comfortable and showered him with love and peanut butter until we knew it was time to let him go to Rainbow Bridge. We’ll always remember our one-blue-eyed boy.



Charlie (club name Denver), came to us in May, 2011. Charlie was our first Golden and what a sweet, sweet boy he was. He loved chasing squirrels and birds in the back yard, he thought belly rubs were the best, and he absolutely loved being with his people. Charlie led an outstanding and happy life. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in April of 2019. He handled his treatments well until the middle of July when we found out that the cancer had spread. A shout out to Charlie’s Vets and Vet Technicians who took such good care of him. We were with Charlie to the end. He will always be in our heart.

Bleu Cheese

 Bleu Cheese 

Bleu Cheese was surrendered to NRGRR this Spring.  He was an amiable, old guy who had a long and great life. He was beyond sweet and just wanted to be loved.  He loved being with his foster family, and he loved to walk around and sniff and relax in the sun.  Porch naps were his favorite!  His passing was quick and painless.  


 Marly Puppy


Marley (also his NRGRR name) was surrendered due to an eye condition when he was just 8 weeks old. I was in love the moment I laid eyes on him. Throughout his 10 ½ years he was my constant companion and my soulmate. Even the Veterinarians he met said our connection was uncanny. He always snuggled in the bed with me and greeted me happily at the door each time I came home from work. He was perfect. When he was just a few months old, he made it into the calendar as an adorable little guy holding his duck toy. This year he was blessed to be included as the June photo. But on June 13th, 2019 Marley let me know he was ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge. He had fought a courageous battle against cancer, and although I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, his needs came first, as they always had. I am heartbroken, and although I know time will ease the pain, there is a void that can never be filled.  But I know he will greet me with that infectious smile and wagging tail when we are together again at the Rainbow Bridge. Until then, Rest in Peace my Perfect Marley-Man. I love you.



 Bearcat 19


Nancy Libbey-Cawthon wrote the following note on March 22, 2019 concerning a dog she rescued.

Look who just hit the big money jackpot! Meet Bearcat on his way from Harnett County animal shelter to Neuse River golden retriever rescue. No longer will he live outside without the love and care he so deserves. Nine years is a long time to live in the yard but today his life turned around!

Bearcat (or Bear as he answers to) is a handsome loving 9 year old chocolate labby mix who came to Neuse River from a shelter. Bear’s chances of being adopted at the shelter were slim to none. He had 3 strikes against him… 1) he’s a senior 2) he’s heartworm positive and 3) he was an owner surrender accused of an undocumented bite. He would have never made it out of the shelter alive had it not been for Neuse River.

Sadly, Bear has been an outside dog all his life and clearly neglected. Super skinny and confused as to why he had been sentenced to life in a shelter Bear looked at me through the sad eyes of a totally defeated dog when I first met him. I leashed him up and took him outside for a walk. His head hung low and he barely wagged his tail…he wasn’t interested in much of anything, so I sat down on the pavement with him.  I spoke to him softly and ran my hands through his fur and in no time, he backed up right into my lap. We sat together for a while, talked and then walked a bit. He was easy to handle and gentle but still had a hopeless look…almost like he knew what he was up against.

About two weeks ago Bear was outside where he lives and playing ball with a child. No one knows what happened, but the youngster suffered a scratch - not a puncture wound. Because Bear had not been vetted in over 5 years the family reported it as a bite and poor Bear was sentenced to a 10-day bite quarantine at the shelter. The shelter staff reported that from the very beginning it was clear that this was not a dog with any aggression issues. When the shelter manager called the family to advise them Bear would be released after his bite hold and she would give them a call, she was told not to bother…they didn’t want him back.

Bear was approved for intake that evening and I went back the next day for his freedom ride. Prior to getting in the car we hung out in the lobby with 5 four-day old crying kittens and the shelter mascot, a 9- month-old bulldog. Bear was not interested or phased by any of them. He was afraid to get in the car and balked at the crate. But I picked him up and put him in the car and crate. Even at this most fearful moment of uncertainty he showed absolutely NO signs of aggression. He rode quietly to Complete Pet Care…from time to time trying to ‘dig’ his way out of the crate which was stopped quickly with a firm no.  When we arrived at CPC he didn’t try to dart out of the crate or car but looked to me for reassurance that all would be ok.

This sweet senior guy just can’t seem to catch a break. Intake revealed Bear’s neglect was worse than we feared. In addition to being heartworm positive, he also has a heart murmur and weighs only 38 pounds (should be about 50 lbs). Because of his poor body condition and heart murmur we are still waiting to see what direction he will begin medically. Ultimately he will go thru heart worm treatment and get neutered.

Bear is looking for a special foster that will open their heart and their home to an older guy who just wants to love and be loved. I guarantee the rewards will far outweigh the challenges. I can’t say enough good things about this GREAT senior guy. He just wants his own person so he can be the very best dog they ever had.

Full disclosure…he is not housetrained but I speak from experience when I tell you these dogs that have lived outside all their lives learn quickly. They are so grateful to have love and a warm bed. Also he’s a bit snappy with treats…guessing this is because he has spent most of his life without enough food to fill his belly.

NRGRR Update: Bear went home with his foster dad and finally began living a life he so much deserved. But…

On Tuesday evening, May 14, 2019, Bear died due to heart worm complications.




On Sun, May 29, 2005, Bannor showed up lost on our house porch in Tampa, FL. After 2 weeks, we legally adopted him. The vet told us he was about 2 years old then. Bannor traveled with us to DC, VA, AL, and then HI. At 4:40PM on Sun, May 12, 2019, we believe Bannor had a stroke. At 6PM he passed away. Tod and I were with him the entire time, and I am so grateful we had that moment. Bannor was greatly loved for 14 years, and he had a good, long life. But for now, the grief is deep, and it hurts bad.

Rest in peace Bannor, you were a very good boy.
 - Helen Yu

Helen Yu is Ellen Yu's sister and a NRGRR supporter. She is a retired Lieutenant Colonel serving over 21 years in the Air Force and is now a professor at the University of Hawaii.

Gracie (Cookie 18)


 Gracie blankie


In August of last year, a breeder gave away an 8 week old puppy because she had a heart murmur and couldn't be sold. Luckily it was to someone who was part of one of our rescue partners and when they heard the murmur, they knew just who to call.....NRGRR. We named her Cookie 18. Marilee brought her to one of our vets where we heard just how serious this murmur was. Kathleen helped us get her to vet school where we found out her had not heart developed properly and she was on borrowed time. Kim answered the call to foster and care for her. Kim named her Gracie, and with her pack of boys they took her in and quickly fell in love with her. Gracie began to struggle last week and we had to say goodbye to her. Kim bought her a happy meal and took one last trip to the park before holding her as she crossed the rainbow bridge. Gracie only touched our lives for a few short months and we will never forget her strength, happiness and the love she shared with us.

From Kim -
I’m very heart broken today as I had to let Gracie cross the rainbow bridge. She has been my foster since she was 3 1/2 months old. Today she turned 11 months. She was a fighter, that’s for sure. Always by my side, wherever I was. She loved her brothers and especially loved teasing Brody and then Ace. She was certainly the princess of the house. She and Duke would play all of the time. She was good for the old man.

She was my angel and I’m so thankful that NRGRR brought her into the program. There were many involved with Gracie and she was lucky to have every one of you on her side. She had a great 11 months and was a happy, sassy, sweet girl.




We had Gracie (Priscilla 18) for only 3.5 months and she was truly one of the sweetest dogs we have ever had - the veterinarians and vet techs agree.  My husband and I and her favorite vet tech were with her giving her love until her heart stopped beating.  Her end-stage kidney disease finally won the battle within her dear body.  She had won our hearts so easily in such a short time.
The few weeks that she felt good brought us and our George 2008 so much happiness.  We want to thank Gracie's foster for being so patient with all my emails and phone calls.  I know she loved this sweet girl as much as we did (and do).  It is remarkable how these gentle beings can fill our hearts and leave them so empty when they are gone.   

She offered every person we passed on our walks her head for petting; at our retirement community there are a lot of folks who feel they cannot have a dog any more but who remember their canine friends with longing.  Gracie gave them a little nudge down memory lane.  They were always willing to stop and pet her. These gentle creatures really leave an loving mark in our world. I know that all of you at NRGRR experience the great pleasure and joy of matching people with your dogs but that you also know so well the grief that follows their too short lives.  



Boomer Jake03

I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for facilitating what were the absolute best 15 years of my life. Pictured here is my sweet Golden Boy, Boomer (Big Guy, Boom Boom, Handsome-he had many terms of endearment). This picture was taken January 10, 2019, about 5 days before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. 

We adopted Boomer in January 2004, he was Jake when he came to us. I believe he was an owner surrender from a military family if memory serves me correctly. 

Boomer was my first baby and loved our family unconditionally through several moves to new homes and states and welcomes my two human babies with open paws.

Boomer never met a stranger and was a celebrity of sorts at the vet, grooming salons and just about anywhere he went!

In April 2017 Boomer was diagnosed with cancer, a tumor on his right adrenal glad. For almost two years he did really quite well on an oral chemo pill and home cooked meals from his mommy. Around October 2018 he started to loose weight and shortly after the new year really declined in health quickly. 

In the end, we spent days loving on him, holding him and just tried to soak in as much love as possible before we had to say goodbye. Our hearts are broken and our lives will never be the same.

However, without NRGRR, we would not have had the most amazing 15 years with our boy. We used to boat on Jordan Lake and swim for hours, he and I would just float with our life jackets, such memories. We walked countless miles around Pittsboro and all the places we have lived since. 

Boomer would have turned 16 in July, truly remarkable for a Golden. I am confident our love for him and the love he gave us created a bond that stood the test of time. 

Thank you for helping Boomer find his forever family and giving us such a perfect gift.



Phillip 08

I wanted to let you all know that our sweet boy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge this morning (February 11th).

Phillip was adopted by us in 2008, then the Sannipoli family. He spent 11 awesome years with me and my kids and survive a move, a divorce and a new Dad! But he has been with me and my kids always by our side following me from room to room as my faithful, big clumsy boy.

We think he would have turned 15 this year so he was an old man and ultimately his back legs just gave completely out. We carried him around for a while hoping to get a little more time with him but ultimately decided it was best for him to just let him go.

I wanted to sincerely thank all of you for nursing him back to health 11 years ago which allowed us 11 wonderful years with him. He will be so missed. This photo was taken this morning.

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