A Sight to Behold
By Sandra L. Lok
What do 62 people and 49 Golden Retrievers have in common? Well, they enjoy spending time together at Dog Mountain, that's for sure! They also support the GRLS!
The first ever New England Golden Jubilee was held in Saint Johnsbury, VT on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Rain in the forecast and clouds hovering above did nothing to dampen the celebratory mood of the 62 people and the 50 dogs who attended.
The event, after all, was a celebration of the 3,000 Golden Retrievers enrolled in the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever a Lifetime Study. Nine Golden Retriever Heroes who are enrolled in the study attended the Jubilee.
Reds, goldens, light goldens, creams and even one four- legged friend who was not Golden at all, the dogs at the first ever New England Golden Jubilee all had a great time! They hiked, they sat, a few of them danced, they ran, they played and they went swimming. Oh, and they ate! There were cheeseburgers and hot dogs for all!
When asked to use one word to describe the Jubilee, Peter Lok, co-organizer of the event, used "Joyous." Joyous indeed! Smiles and wagging tails, those were the barometers of measure.
In an unplanned moving tribute to the cause, prizes for the oldest and the youngest Golden Retriever to attend the event went to Sunkist Ladd (14.5 years old) who has lost five of her six littermates to cancer and to Kepler Talbot (3 months old) who took a moment out of the day to pose for a photo with his hero half brothers Charlie Bacon and Coriander (Andy) Lok. The three boys recently lost their great grandmother, Ella, to cancer.
Attendees came from all over New England, and also from Virginia, Florida and Canada! All of the dogs who attended received a blessing by Father Chris Micale of the local Corpus Christi Parish. From the Dog Chapel entry, the gallery porch, the top of the hill overlooking the mountains, to the great lawn and around the pond, around every corner, everywhere was gold. It was a sight to behold.
The entire crowd beamed as Laurie Sullivan performed a danced with each of her three dogs, Ricochet, Georgia and Bowie. Laurie and her dogs have danced across television screens many times and are the recipients of many dance titles. Bowie (10.5 years old) was just diagnosed with Hemangio, still happy and sporting his nonstop wagging tail. Laurie decided that the show would go on, helping to bring home the need for the study and her message that when folks notice a change in their dogs, they should pay attention to it. A diagnosis of Hemangio is not the end, but the beginning of a new journey. Laurie and Bowie danced to the very emotional "Fight Song."
A donation of $650. will go directly to the Morris Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study from the New England Golden Jubilee.
Plans for the second annual New England Golden Jubilee are already in the works. With three healthy Golden Retrievers, ages two to eleven years, I know that Peter and I are very fortunate. The New England Golden Jubilee, as planned, has helped to build and sustain support for the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. I expect to continue this effort for the lifetime of the study and that one day all dogs and maybe even some people will benefit.