The Golden Retriever Club of Illinois:
Club President Judy Bush shared this story that ran in their club's newsletter. This is a great example of the generosity of AKC club members and dog owners. Enjoy!
Many of you attended the GRCI Christmas/Holiday party with your Goldens and enjoyed the fellowship of other members and watched the silly antics of all the Goldens in attendance. It was a wonderful event, but one that had a sadness attached to it, because one man could not be there with his beloved golden, or even be with him for Christmas. Shortly prior to the Christmas/Holiday party, GRCI received an email from a gentleman named Len Summers (not his real name) desperately asking for some financial assistance to be reunited with his Golden for the holidays. Len's mother was a former member of GRCI many years ago, along with her golden boy Bailey. Bailey was at Len's mother's side daily and especially during her courageous battle with cancer.
After her death, Bailey came to live with Len. Bailey enjoyed a wonderful life in his new home: long daily walks, smelling all the trees in the neighborhood, chasing squirrels, loving swimming in Lake Michigan, and accompanying Len on his drives, with him every minute, cuddling at night on the couch, enjoying meeting new people on their daily walks, and in wonderfully good health.
Life appeared to be going great, and Len absolutely fell deeply in love with Bailey, who Len indicated was an exceptional golden. Then things took a horrible downward turn: Len lost his job, and was completely penniless, and Bailey became very ill and collapsed unexpectedly.
Len immediately carried him to the vet hospital in his neighborhood. There Bailey was given an exam, fluids, hospitalized for a time, several x-rays, blood work and anything else needed to try to help him. The results were devastating: cancer of the spleen — it was hopeless. Bailey was euthanized and cremated. The hospital bill was overwhelming to Len who had no funds to pay the bill or bring Bailey's ashes home. Len was devastated and shocked, never thinking that he would leave the hospital without his constant companion and best friend. He frantically began contacting several sources begging for financial help to pay the bill for Bailey. There was one small contribution, but hardly a significant amount toward the total bill.
Len wrote to GRCI with the hope that perhaps we could make a donation toward "Bringing Bailey Home." The GRCI Board unanimously was touched and eager to help. It was immediately brought to our members' attention at the Christmas/Holiday party where Len's email was read. The members' response was overwhelming. Members and guests at the party extended their generosity and sympathy and contributed several hundred dollars to help Len "Bring Bailey Home." The GRCI treasury donated the remaining money to completely pay the bill. Our Treasurer immediately wrote out a check that night to the animal hospital, and proudly marked it "paid in full."
The hospital received the check a few days later, and we made arrangements to meet Len at the animal hospital. GRCI presented him a card with all the names of those who contributed to "Bring Bailey Home." There were over twenty-nine wonderful, kind members and friends who wanted to ease the pain of loss at this time of year for Len and to pay tribute to a special golden, Bailey.
Len is a kind, gentle man who touched the staff at the animal hospital with the love of his golden, and the difficult financial circumstances he endured. At Len's home, he still fills Bailey's water bowl daily, and has Bailey's tennis ball and collar nearby. He said, "I don't know why I am still doing this, but his presence is so strong, I feel him with me."
Len said he loves the golden breed for their love of everyone, and their brave acts through their illness. He said he is broken-hearted, and when he gets on his feet financially, and heals emotionally, he would love to own another golden. Len said that his next golden will be trained to be a therapy dog, to give back to others. Len was so pleased that Bailey's ashes will be home with him for the holidays.
When we finished talking, Len asked how to thank GRCI. We indicated that doing one thing would be a wonderful gesture of gratitude. Pass the kindness of strangers that he received from GRCI on to another animal or person who could use a helping hand, and a gentle touch of compassion.
He agreed. The kindness that he gives will be in Bailey's honor, and will continue to help someone or some animal that needs an angel!
Thank you all dear Board members and kind GRCI members for supporting this wonderful gesture to reunite Bailey and Len, by "Bringing Bailey Home" for the holidays.
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