We’re thrilled to receive this very special guest entry from author Holli Pfau, whose new book shares a powerful, touching journey while giving hope and help to the dogs and organizations who make the human, and humane, experience a richer one. We’ll also be featuring an interview with Holli next month, so please stay close and enjoy our talk with her in November as she shares even more of her important story with all of us. – Yurda and Rufino
From Holli Pfau:
They arrive on our doorsteps with issues and baggage.
Sometimes it’ s evident right away – the guarded, wary eyes, the thin frame and brittle coat, or the fear of men’s boots or sudden noises.
Sometimes it shows up later, in an x-ray that reveals old injuries, or congenital defects that will require surgery and rehabilitation.
But what’s soon revealed – given time, attention, love and tender care – are the true gifts of the heart. The eyes that begin to show trust and love again. The coat that begins to shine. The confidence that life will be worth living again.
These are rescued dogs, those that were once cast aside, discarded, or ignored. These are the lucky ones, now embraced by their families and safe from harm. What will happen now is the remarkable bond between humans and dogs, one of the true joys in life. I’ve been blessed to live with six rescued or second-hand golden retrievers and to see how the bond blooms, and how everyone’ s lives are enriched, often beyond any possible expectation.
My first golden, Nikki, arrived as a three-month-old, saved from euthanasia when a nurse carefully bottle raised her so her cleft palate could heal and she wouldn’ t drown on milk. Nikki grew into a beautiful dog who bestowed stunning gifts as a hospital therapy dog.
Bodie’ s congenital eye problem caused his first owners to return him, saying he wasn’ t perfect. We adopted the lanky youth, had the surgery done… and then Bo also became a happy therapy dog and a superb wilderness hiker.
Tucker was relinquished by his family around six months of age, probably because the mother couldn’t deal with a young dog and a houseful of children, too. One month after we adopted him and fell in love with his gentle spirit, he was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. Two months post-op, he was hiking trails again and lived a long, pain-free life.
Sophie had languished for her first year of life in a breeder’s kennel. She had never been in a house or in a car, or received any training at all. Sweet to the core, she soon blossomed into a spunky little sprite who became Tucker’ s faithful companion.
Then Daisy arrived. Or had she been catapulted over the fence and flung into our yard? Six months old, she had already had two homes and had been relinquished to the humane society. She burst into our placid household and careened through our days like a sports car stuck in high gear. Smart, athletic and totally lacking in self control, she needed a job. Agility was the perfect choice, and after years of patient and persistent training, she’s earned numerous titles.
Tender little Chatter brought resigned eyes that reflected her barren and neglected youth. Still trying to fill the empty spaces, she craves attention and has trouble containing her newly found enthusiasm for life. She’ s a rising star in our hospital’ s pet therapy program, where she can soak up all the attention lavished on her. Now those deep brown eyes reflect joy and contentment.
Yes, the challenges can be huge, but the rewards are, too. Each dog needed help – medical, emotional, behavioral. But with that help, they flourished. They enjoyed every day to the fullest. And they enriched and transformed my life beyond measure. I’ve been blessed to travel many paths alongside these remarkable dogs. They’ve taken me places I never woud have found without them, and I’m grateful for the journey. So to honor them, and all the gold the’ ve brought into my life, I’m dedicating the profits from my memoir, Pure Gold: Adventures with Six Rescued Golden Retrievers, to shelters, humane societies and rescue programs across the country. It’s the least I can do to help needy dogs find their forever homes.
Meet the Author: Holli Pfau
A third generation Trojan, Holli graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in English and, years later, added a BS degree in Therapeutic Recreation from California State University, Northridge. Holli’s long career in advertising took a back seat to the adventures her goldens would bring to her life, as they arrived on her doorstep one by one.
Blessed with the animal-loving gene, Holli shared her early years with a menagerie in southern California. So after an 18-year career in marketing, it’s no surprise that she returned to her roots, inspired by her first golden retriever, Nikki. Credentialed by her second college degree, in therapeutic recreation, she co-founded PAT at Huntington, a program of animal-assisted therapy that became a national model. But the Rocky Mountains lured, and she now lives with her husband in Colorado. Holli continues to be humbled, challenged, charmed and entertained by two frisky golden retrievers, Daisy and Chatter.
- Pub. Date: October 2011
- Publisher: Glad Dog Press LLC
- Format: Hardcover , 263pp
- ISBN: 9780983645108
- US/CAN $24.95