Special Stories

Special story

A very special Golden named Cody and a very special little girl named Trisha

Heartland is very very proud of not only Cody (or Bentley as we knew him) but also to be involved in this very special adoption. Trisha’s Mother contacted us looking for a Golden that we felt could live and help (as in being almost a constant companion) to her daughter who has Spina Bifida and many other health problems. A tall order, but Bentley came to mind. When we first met up with Trisha at a local park, she and her Mother took Bentley for a walk, he was not put off by the huge stroller and all the equipment that went with it, he just walked by her side as though he had been trained for the job, but the *highlight* came when, after the contract had been signed and we were rearranging the van to make room on the back seat for Bentley, he did not hesitate to get into the van when invited but NOT on the back seat – he jumped straight into the middle seat and squeezed in next to Trisha.

Cody, as he now is called has just spent a restless week without Trisha, as she had to be hospitalised to have her tonsils removed; he was one very happy camper when she came home.

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Update from Trisha’s Mother:

22nd February 2001, He is so sweet. Trisha is sick with another urinary tract infection. She is not feeling well at all. Cody is laying in front of her crib until he reluctantly has to move for me to take care of her. I wish I could catch on film what was going on when he is laying on the floor in her room like that. But the way we have to have her room set up to have access to everything we need it just is not possible.

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More of the story…

From Trisha’s Mom – I did get a picture of him guarding her bed when she was sick. He has really gotten so that he lays there about 90% of the time when she is in bed. I have a hard time convincing him he does not need to go to bed the same time she does at night…

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He insists on walking next to Trisha’s wheel chair when we all go for a walk. I know it would be much easier for him to walk with someone else ahead of us or behind us. If he has to walk away from Trisha he has to be behind her so he can see that she is okay. If he is in front of her he is constantly stopping and coming back to be with her.

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Update: 26th March 2001

Trisha received a new piece of equipment. She is sitting in it in all the pictures except for the one she is being held in. Cody was going to make sure that it was okay for her to be there. She loves it because now she can sit on the floor and play like any other 22 month old. Pet her doggy while sitting up and get doggy kisses.
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Cody flew to Albuquerque NM for the 2001 Golden Retriever National Specialty where he received an Honorable Mention in Animal Assisted Therapy at the Grace Awards Ceremony.national1

July 2001

Trisha in her swing for the first time. Cody had to make sure it was okay for her to be in it.
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September 2001

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September 2001, with big Sister Erin.

Trisha and Cody playing on the livingroom floor. We were told that Trisha would never sit up. Cody has helped her have the determination to do what she was not suppose to do.

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November 2002

Trisha decided that she wanted to snuggle with Cody. She fussed and fussed until we moved her on the other side of Cody. Then she snuggled right up to him.

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The Final Chapter

Sadly Trisha died on Tuesday 29th April.

The following emails between the family, Heartland and volunteers tell the story

Sun Apr 27, 2003 9:37 pm

Subject: Need your thoughts and prayers

On Friday Tricia was rushed to Childrens Hospital. Trish had a raging fever 104.9 (I believe) It was felt she had another kidney infection and possible septicima (spelling?). On Saturday she was moved to ICU and her whole body was septic (once again spelling?) and blood pressure reading off the wall. I have not spoken to Lore today but heard from her neighbour and friend that Trish was hanging in there, but she was not very encouraging.

Wed Apr 30, 2003 9:55 am

Subject: Cody’s visit with Trisha

We had to pull a lot of strings to get this to happen. They actually had to take it to the upper board of Children’s Hospital. Fortunately there is a big dog lover on that board. So the visit got passed as long as all the other parents in the ICU ward were willing to let it happen and as long as no one had any dog allergies. Now the ward was quite full. There was a great chance that someone had allergies to dogs. Praise God no one did. He had to come up the back elevator and only had a 15 minute visit. When we went in to see Trisha he immediately went to her bed and looked at the chair we had there for him to get on so he could be by her. He has never thought of getting on any furniture in our house so he was hesitant to do that. My sister put him up on the chair. He put his paw on Trisha’s bed by her foot the only free spot on her little body. We put her foot on his paw and her blood pressure and heart rate went up. She knew he was there with her. After awhile Cody took his foot down. Looked at all the IV and med lines that were hooked to Trisha, the pumps they were attached to, and then back at Trisha. Then he looked at the respirator and back at Trisha. Finally he looked at the monitor that had her vital signs on it then looked at Trisha. After that he had a very sad look on his face and kissed her foot. Then he kept trying to inch his way closer to Trisha. Only he could not get any closer. So he decided fine I will just curl up her on this chair and wait with her. When his visit time was up he reluctantly left her side. He is sad but at peace with it.

He has his last Annie performance today. He had one yesterday and I was told he did Awesome!!!! I think he was doing it for Trisha because he knew she would want him to enjoy life to the fullest. When he got home yesterday our house was full of people. He went to Trisha’s room and laid on his bed next to her bed for a little while. Then he came out and greeted all those that we here for us. He is one very special dog with a huge sensitive heart. Thank you Heartland for helping us with this precious match.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 5:57 PM

Subject: the last picture of Trisha and Cody together

………………….Also I wanted to let you know how Cody is dealing with the loss of Trisha. He had two Annie preformances to do after Trisha died. One being the morning she died and then the next morning. Tuesday night when he got home he went straight to Trisha’s room and lay down on the bed next to Trisha’s crib. He did this even though our house was full of people. He normally would check on her then socialize. He spent the next 3 days laying beside her crib. He only came out when he had to do the last play and when we told him he had to eat or go outside. By Friday he was out of her room but laying at the bottom of the steps with his head on the bottom step like he always did when he knew I was packing to take her to the hospital. On Saturday he started coming out more and laying around with GRacee and Jessie. Often we still find him laying next to her bed with a very sad face. He is still laying in front of the bedroom door after I shut the door for the night. He is still at his post to make sure he knows who is coming into Trisha’s room. I am sure this is going to be a long process for all of us including Cody.

The following photo (with the permission of the Knoxville News Sentinel)was one of the last taken of the two of them; taken during the time of Cody’s rehearsals for the Annie production.
Trisha and Cody

Heartland wishes to thank Lore and Bill for asking for Memorials for Trisha be sent to Heartland. We have set up a Special Fund which will be used to help adoptable Goldens in the programme who have storm phobias and other problems. We will purchase a vest called Anxiety Wrap, which has helped many dogs overcome their fear of storms. This vest will be used while they are in foster care and when they are adopted the new owers will have the chance to keep the vest by making a donation back to Heartland. This way we will be able to keep the fund alive.


The story starts in December 2005…

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Spirit and Noelle… who are they? Are they more victims of Hurricane Katrina? We know very little about them; what we have been able to piece together is they have probably been together all their lives, they are seniors and they are very sweet. They were brought in together to a shelter in New Orleans; they each had on a harness. No-one wanted them; no group would take them – they were old. Heartland was contacted about them the day before they were due to be PTS. Arrangements were made to get them to Birmingham AL to a rescue friendly clinic. Unfortunately the transport did not materialize; time was running out, but they managed to hop a ride to safety on a transport heading to Gulfport. From there Golden lovers took over and drove them to Birmingham. We did have a foster parent for them until it was discovered that they both had conjunctivitis and so they will spend Christmas at the clinic but at least they are safe. Noelle it is believed was bitten by a snake on her foot. We hope to get them up to Tennessee sometime next week when we will be able to evaluate them more fully.

Sadly Noelle passed away on Friday, December 23rd. She knew love and care for such a short time.

Thursday, December 29th, Spirit made it up to TN with the help of volunteers from AL and TN. They were shocked at the condition she was in but everyone was in agreement she is a lover, very very sweet with a true Golden temperament.

Friday 30th, these photos were taken after being evaluated by our vet. One thing is for sure she is not a senior in fact a young girl whose hard life has made her age quickly; we believe her to be younger than 4 years old. She is in terrible shape as can be seen by these photos. We are having blood tests run and have her on a very special diet in the hopes that we can clear up her skin condition and improve the quality of her coat. Whether she will regain a full coat remains to be seen. The skin on her rear, tail and nose is like that of an elephant. She loves to be with people and craves attention.Thursday, April 6th, These photos taken after being in foster care for 3 months with lots of TLC, a special diet, medication and a wonderful foster carer willing to go above and beyond. She now looks, acts and plays like the young dog she is – probably around 3-4yo. Below, Spirit proudly showing off hair on her tummy.

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Thursday, April 6th, These photos taken after being in foster care for 3 months with lots of TLC, a special diet, medication and a wonderful foster carer willing to go above and beyond. She now looks, acts and plays like the young dog she is – probably around 3-4yo. Below, Spirit proudly showing off hair on her tummy.

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Spirit’s foster mother had hoped to adopt her but due to family commitments calling for her to have to do a lot of traveling has put a halt to that plan. Spirit does suffer from some separation anxiety.

A New Home

Meet Kalista (aka Spirit) with Tyler and Lavell

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From Marty: She arrived about noon today and we were promptly off to a birthday party/hayride….we took her along and she was a wonderful ambassador for rescue,,, she used her good manners and was PERFECT!!!! So many people there and all who commented on how calm, well behaved and beautiful she was… They were all impressed with her… Pauline, Heartland and her wonderful foster mom Marlene did a fantastic job…. Unbelievable that anyone would think she was un adoptable…..

KALISTA…….Greek for Most Beautiful One – everyone today thought she was beautiful, hence her new name


Kalista will be Lavell’s new room mate… they have a lot in common… abandonment issues and both have come very far in their recovery.

October 9th, 2006, We switched Lavell’s crib for his toddler bed today,, he was a little leery of it until his new bunk mate got on board…. I think this is a love match.

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Kalista has a new baby to care for Christmas 2006.