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A Very Special Mom and Golden Puppy Litter

Imagine a Golden who had spent her whole life in a cage, raising puppies or pregnant. Fortunately for her, she was no longer considered a “good producer”, so her owner decided to bring her to a Missouri auction. She was rescued by RAGOM, with support from Friends of Flicka. This beautiful soul had been through so much, but she was as sweet as any caged dog could possibly be.

Rescuers gave her the name Elisabeth, in memory of a kind-hearted RAGOM angel. Elisabeth Ljungkull had a heart of gold, a life-long love of Goldens, and a legacy of love and inspiration for her four extraordinary children.

Elisabeth Ljungkull and grand-puppy Yogi

After her rescue, volunteers were surprised to discover Elisabeth was once again pregnant even though she had just given birth a few months prior. She surprised rescuers again a few weeks later, when she gave birth two weeks early to a litter of three puppies: Rose, Lake, and Walley.

Like her namesake, Elisabeth proved to be an amazing mother. Despite being born prematurely, her puppies grew quickly. Elisabeth’s spirit also began to grow, and as she grew more confident, she began to seek attention from her foster family and play with the family’s other dogs.

A few weeks after her pups were born, Elisabeth proved that like her namesake she was an exceptional caregiver. A special needs puppy was born in a breeding facility with deformed paws. Considered worthless, the pup’s life was spared because of a kind-hearted neighbor who contacted RAGOM. Tiny Noel was placed with Elisabeth and her brood, and as hoped, Elisabeth opened her heart and nurtured her as one of her own. Noel too began to thrive.

As the young ones grew, Elisabeth became comfortable leaving them for longer periods of time, and was able to join her foster family for longer walks. She enjoyed the chance to get out and meet new people and dogs and see the world around her. Her foster family knew that outings like this would be important to Elisabeth in her future adoptive home.

When her pups grew old enough, each was ready for a family of their own. Despite her rough start in life and disability, Elisabeth had done a wonderful job with Noel, who had grown into a strong and healthy pup. All four were adopted into loving families.

Elisabeth too was ready for a family of her own.

Her foster mom sought a gentle family who would give her opportunities to experience new things; a life filled with love and joy. Weeks later, Elisabeth found her match. “Today is a bittersweet day for me. My sweet Elisabeth hit the jackpot and ended up with the most wonderful family. I will miss her deeply, but also know I could not have found a more perfect family for her,” her foster mom explained.

Elisabeth with her new family.

Her new family decided to call her Birdie, a nickname for Elisabeth that reflects her joyful spirit. John and Amy are crazy about her, and each day brings more fun, love, and laughs than any of them could have imagined.

She’s brought out the best in the family’s other dog, Buddy, too. Buddy had a rough past and had struggled with trust issues until Birdie came along. Rarely affectionate before, with Birdie’s guidance he now seeks out affection and loves to snuggle with his family.

Birdie quickly became the apple of John’s eye, and the feeling is mutual. When he’s not home, she carries his boots around with her. “We’ve always had dogs that are fetch-obsessed, and John has always wanted a dog who will relax with him. Birdie loves to just be by his side.”

Birdie often joins John at work at his shop.

Birdie and John visit a brewery.

Birdie loves to talk, vocalizing her thoughts about her new life. “Every night when John comes home she tells him about her day. She literally sounds like she is talking,” Amy explained. “We are expecting actual words pretty soon. I swear she said ‘I love you!’ ”

Birdie is enjoying the adventures in her new life, including daily walks and hiking and geocaching with her family. Together they have already visited multiple parks in five states, and Birdie quickly grew comfortable staying in hotels. On their adventures she has made many friends and stolen many hearts.

When she’s not busy hiking or snuggling with her family, Birdie is always good for a little mischief and a laugh. She shredded pillows and decorated the room with the filling, and sometimes she sneaks into bed at night with her adopters. “She is like a ninja – you never feel her get up on the bed! You just wake up and there she is.”

Though they’ve only been together a few months, John and Amy are so happy to have Birdie in their lives. “So many times John and I have said we cannot believe this sweet, gentle, trusting soul was destined to have a life as a commercial breeding dog,” Amy explained. “Friends of Flicka is an incredible organization that stepped in and made a better life possible for sweet Birdie. The support they provide to groups like RAGOM makes a difference not only in the lives of these animals but also to families like ours. We cannot imagine our house without this girl!”

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