Amber

Amber is just the kind of dog that Friends of Flicka is eager to help. She is getting older and has spent her life, though crippled, breeding in a puppy mill. Read all about her in her RAGOM (Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota) blog:

I am introducing our very sweet, Amber. She is a 7, soon to be 8-year-old, puppy mill mama. She has been with us for about 3 weeks now. Amber is somewhat more social than a lot of puppy mill dogs. For the most part, she loves to meet people, always has a wagging tail and explores things on her own. She is a very happy girl considering her past and thankfully she can now begin a new and much better life.

Amber came to RAGOM with a mast cell tumor and some other major issues. We had the tumor removed a couple of weeks ago and luckily it was in the early stages and it was removed completely. She had her staples removed last week and the incision is healing nicely. She was also spayed at that time. I know after being a "cone head" for a couple of weeks, she was glad to get those staples out. No more cone!
Woohoo!

Amber's back legs are a mess to put it mildly. Both back feet point out sideways to some degree, the left one being the worse. At times, that one is pointed directly sideways. The vet took X-rays while she was there for her other surgeries and the X-rays do not paint a pretty picture. Our vet was amazed at how bad Amber's hips are. Amber's left leg does not have a ball at the top so there is nothing in the socket on that hip. We don't know if she had a surgery at some point to remove the ball, which is done in some cases of hip displaysia, or if she was possibly born this way. Her right leg does have a ball on it, but it is not in the socket either. It sits up above the socket. When Amber walks, both her legs are quite loose and wobbly. She does get around quite well, but we are not sure how much pain she may be in at this point. She has probably been this way for years. The X-rays show
one of her knees is in bad shape too.

Right now we have started Amber on Rimadyl and a joint prescription diet. She does get around and even runs after squirrels, which is surprising. It is amazing how much dogs adapt to their disabilities.

A couple of other things about this girl: Amber has a couple of incisors that are worn down almost to the gum. These may need to come out at some point. She is also has a bad left eye. It looks smaller than the right eye and sometimes turns funny. We are pretty sure she is blind in her left eye. I know when she is investigating new things, sometimes she surprises herself when something is on that side of her. The vet thinks this may be a birth defect of some sort.

Amber discovered marrow bones soon after she came to live with us. At first she didn't know what to do with it. The other dogs were chewing away on theirs and before long, Amber was too. They spent hours out in the yard with their bones that day and she was such a happy camper joining in. We have some clean marrow bones in the house for the dogs and almost every day, Amber would have a collection on her dog bed. She always seemed to go to the same bed and some days I don't know how she found room to lay down. It would be full of bones. I kept putting them back in the toy basket and before I knew it, she would have several bones back on her bed. I had to take a picture of that the other night. She is such a silly girl !

Despite all of Amber's medical issues, anatomy problems and bad teeth, she is so happy to be with her people. Whether it's when you get up in the morning or come walking through the door, she greets you with a wagging tail and some kisses. It's amazing to me how much dogs like her put up with, yet they are forgiving and loving anyway. I am just so glad she can look forward to a life in a home with people who love and care about her. She has had no accidents since coming here and she has had free roam of the house. She met our 4 other dogs (one of which is our RAGOM foster Max 07-493) and two cats with no problems what so ever. Amber has the true Golden personality and it shows every day.

Amber did move to a permanent foster home today. She did well on the trip to South Dakota. I miss her a lot tonight, but I know she is in great hands at her new foster home.

If anyone would like to sponsor Amber or donate anything to her medical costs, RAGOM would greatly appreciate it. She has a high medical bill already with the mast cell tumor removal and spay and she will need to be on her prescription diet for a while in order to determine if surgery will be needed or not. Only time will tell if surgery is in her future or not.


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UPDATES:
06/29/2010:
Miss Amber is now in Sioux Falls, SD. She traveled very well on her road trip here by a great Ragom transport, KG, who was up in the area for an event for her son and generously offered to bring her all the way back to us here for fostering. Of course this was perfect for Amber as she had a great one-person transport the entire way. A big thank you to DP, #1 foster who did such a great job with this mill girl, bringing her home and getting her through her surgery, adjustments, and everything else that goes with these PM rescue girls. She and her vet did and outstanding job.

A really huge thing I will mention here with Ragom is ‘teamwork’ we have for these golden retrievers who come into our rescue program. Please note that from the time Ragom gets a call for rescue to coordinate all the aspects of actually bringing these dogs into Ragom is pretty impressive.

From the intake procedure, the planning of safe transport, the patience to get the golden on a ‘plea’ for a foster and of course, the immediate foster who opens up their home and hearts to get these scared, hungry, dirty golden’s in, and yes, get them completely checked out and vetted as well. There is a lot of work and effort on these ‘teams’ which work hard for each and every rescue brought in, including the fact the volunteers have full-time jobs, families, commitments and emergencies of our own…………..it is a matter of us all working together, a team, to do this and a really big heart………… ♥

Also the great vetting staff on board who are willing to see and take care of these golden’s in need, of so many various medial conditions, and do the best they can to try to help us try to keep our enormous costs down.

Sponsors

we need you and so very much appreciate ‘your’ help with Ragom in giving them the best care we can. A huge part of the system’ at work. This is how rescue works.

Case in point: I have now, a wonderful foster girl named Amber, who has two hips that are a total wreck, blind in one eye and cataract on the other and scar on her side from tumor removal. This wonderful foster girl is petite, beautiful, and even with all the issues she has/had, was bred over and over…living in a small kennel of unknown condition and we probably don’t want to know. With the team’s help, this girl is on her way to a great recovery. With your help as sponsors, she is getting the vet care AND the emotional care that she has deserved for so many, many years and now, she is one content happy camper! It is hard to believe there are mills/people out there that do this, but we also have kind hearted/generous people who are willing to help us pull these dogs through and get them on their true golden life!

Ok, now the latest scoop on the girl called Amber:

I don’t need to say how beautiful Amber is, inside and out. She is just something you really ‘adore’ and ‘admire’ for all she has been through, for all the love she returns. She is doing so well here. She is currently living in our household which consists of 3 dogs (one 9 year old, two 15 year olds) and 3 cats ( two 9 and one who is 8). She also has a large fenced-in back yard with a couple steps down off a deck. Amber has many different descriptions I think. She is very respectful of the pack we have; she is just beautiful; she has courage, heart, trust, patience, caution, and yes, she is all golden retriever. She is so beautiful, soft, and yes, now trusting. We are still having our ‘scared’ moments as all PM doggies do, but not too bad at all. There are a few noises we are not sure of, but gosh, she is handling things just great. Amber has a face that just lets you fall in love…...that great golden coat, those small eyes, even if she cannot see out of the left one, that narrow butt (no hips to speak of) and nice chest, her soft whiskers and bushy tail.

Amber is very mobile and from being here this past week, we have not seen any ‘pain’ with her whatsoever. She has the ‘odd’ rear end, which we are at this time, contributing to a possible congenenital, birth-type of issue at this point. She has apparently lived with her imparities for some time and adapted very well. She goes in and out of the house, to and from vet, all the routines the rest of the crew does, just fine. She slips around some places here, just like the rest of them do, where the linoleum is and no rug. Her nose sure works good. She is getting the schedule down just fine, is very quiet all night and oh, so very loving. Yes, typically for these mill girls are right by you or ‘velcro’….I have to admit she is a blast. She loves people and just life itself I think. She is happy. Ready to come to you, ready to eat, ready to be loved, ready to be pet, just plain ready…………………

Amber has free roam as do the rest of the pack. At night Amber has her spot on the floor by me with blankets (doggie bed is too warm) and loves her ‘babies!" that she collects---- her soft toys (stuffed socks too) and she is busy taking care of them, oh—so sweet. She settles down for the night and just a quiet little girl. As the first foster described above, you have a lovely little girl, tag wagging, just happy you are home!

So are you ready for:

A beautiful little girl who is about 50#

A girl who has a beautiful coat

A girl who is UTD, spayed and no allergies

A girl who has her ‘quirky’ rear end

A girl who loves people

A girl who needs a dog and a fence

A girl who loves kisses on her nose

A girl who will give her ALL~ unconditional love and attention



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07/04/2010:
Some new photos of this lovely girl. Amber is doing very well. She is on a good food diet, no other medications and just super. Amber is being walked with a harness (as I do most all my fosters) and after a slow start (as in right next to you), she chills out and then does just fine. She was not scared of flags flapping in the wind, or cars going by—that is pretty incredible. We get better each day. There are no physical repercussions that I have witnessed from walks or playing at all. Amber has just adapted to the ‘hand that was dealt her’ in the beginning of her life perhaps, (hips/eye) and just handles life and things in stride. Ok ----- the mushy part: she loves kisses on her nose….and lovin’s all the time. You cannot help it with her, she is such a doll. She is a petite love machine. She of course loves her humans, respects her other furry buddies all around and just a happy camper. A couple more trips in the truck and did just fine. Re-checking blood and other things at the vet Amber is a trooper. Very cooperative and patient….

She is more interested in being ‘your’ pal than another doggie pal. She has our schedule down; knows when dinner times are, bed times are and play times. When we leave for work and when we come back. No problems. This is a girl who will give you unconditional love, soft gentle licks, loves, and good tail wags. Amber is ready to blossom in a new home with someone who will love a companion dog with all her beauty; want a golden who will be there for you no matter what; ready for you to come home from work; loves to be brushed; and loves to see what is new in ‘soft toys’ around the house because she is a ‘mama’ dog! This can include socks, soft doggie toys, slippers, clean dishcloth or towel…..something to carry. Then Amber will give it up to be by you when you call her………..lay at or on your feet, to be loved and reassured/cuddled. And yes, that ‘look’…..such a golden retriever look! She has the total retriever personality. Did I tell you how beautiful/compact and about the best golden companion you could search for!? We adore her. She deserves so much and has come so very far.

FM






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07/08/2010:
Amber either has had a severe injury much earlier in life or was most likely born with deformed hips. Per x-rays, neither of her hips look normal or function properly. However, Amber seems to manage incredibly well. She uses her strong front end and has developed her own unique gait with her rear legs. Her movement is effective and painless enough that she loves to play, chase rabbits, etc. She does stairs without difficulty but definitely has her own rhythm to do them. While she currently has no obvious signs of pain in any of her joints careful care and attention to especially her front end will be very important. Keeping her front legs and shoulders strong (walks and play), trying to prevent arthritis (a glucosamine supplement) and weight control (keeping her trim) will be very important as she ages.

We had our granddaughter who is 5, over for a day, and Amber really enjoyed her company, petting and attention. This was wonderful to see you. We are taking our daily walks and she is doing better each time. Again, a little slow going (steps in front of you and weaves a little) and then she ‘gets it’ and off for a nice normal walk. We are going about 6-10 blocks now and I am not seeing any signs of pain or stress. Amber is just a delight to foster, so gentle, happy, and ready for just about anyone. I think we heard her back ‘once.’ She eats 2X a day like everyone else and takes her supplement (dasuquin chew tab) in the morning as well. There are no other meds. She is on Blue Organic Adult Chicken & Rice and she does like a little cottage cheese mixed in!

Amber acts like about 4 and yes, she does go zipping through the house. Even when she slips on partial wood flooring and linoleum without rugs on, she just gets up and keeps going. She has adjusted to her ‘special needs’ just fine. She does have a cataract on her right eye (left one blind again probably old injury or congenital-deformity). We feel it would be well worth a check with a veterinarian ophthalmologist (Ragom can refer) to have this removed. Amber has many good years left as she is a very young eight-year old and such a golden personality and just the biggest heart ever! Are you ready for a smaller, beautiful, special needs, gentle, fun-loving golden girl? A girl who so much deserves a kind and understanding furever home…..I can sure promise puppy kisses…..amazing how far this lovely girl has come from all the years of breeding in broken down sheds and very poor conditions……
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07/13/2010:
Amber continues to do great. I just had to share more photos of this great little girl! Amber is such a lovely golden retriever. For a dog who had many rough years and her 'special needs', she is just great.

If you would like to help SPONSOR Amber or help DONATE for her or other great goldens, please go to: http://www.ragom.org/donations/ways_to_help.html.

We need YOUR help and/or continuing help/donations/sponsorship in rescuing these great goldens :)

Thank you from Amber and all of us at Ragom. If you would like to consider Amber for adoption please contact your placement advisor.






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07/20/2010:
Our lovely girl Amber is a true joy……. Now some really GREAT news…….she has a SPONSOR. How wonderful is that? This is such wonderful news for her/Ragom! FRIENDS OF FLICKA has generously offered to sponsor our lovely Amber girl. This is huge news and we want to thank FOF so very, very much for sponsoring this great golden girl and stepping up to help a great rescue golden!

Miss Amber continues to do well here. Hard to believe we are blind in one eye, had cancer, and a couple of really weird looking hips which she has managed to live with and gets through just fine. We are taking our small walks to keep her active, healthy, and let her enjoy a world she had never seen or allowed to know before rescue. It is like watching a flower blossom, each day, a little more. She is social and gentle. Of course, one of the more beautiful golden’s we have seen, with a heart to match.

THANK YOU so much FRIENDS OF FLICKA for your help in sponsorship, it is truly appreciated! J

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08/03/2010:
A big hello from Amber girl. This lovely golden girl is about a sweet as they come and she is doing so well. Ragom did have her right eye looked at to see if there is a cataract or not and good news on that. There is not one. Again, we are presuming like her ‘rear end’ and other eye, probably a birth defect. What I have learned is that ‘smaller eyes’ tend to focus better at a distance and larger eyes focus well at close range. Always learning something new. A probable cause in the right eye (blind one) (ruling out a trauma we think) is microphthalmia

Notice the last line: "should not be bred!" (Amber of course is a mill dog) (how sad is that?)

Also:
Microphthalmia is a disabling genetic condition that occurs when a dog's eyeballs are smaller than normal, severely restricting its vision. With this condition, the internal structures of the eye are abnormal as well, resulting in a prominent third eyelid and small eyes that appear to be recessed into the dog's eye sockets.Microphthalmia is inherited in many dog breeds through recessive genes. It also can appear in puppies whose mothers received certain types of medication during pregnancy. Owners of affected dogs will notice that their eyeballs appear smaller than normal for the animal's breed, and there may also be noticeable signs of visual impairment. In fact, most dogs with the problem are either born blind, or else eventually become blind or severely visually handicapped. [...]

Miss Amber therefore is just fine. She is only on "dasuquin’ for glucosamine and chondroitin supplement. Other than good for and this tab, that is the only maintenance she is on. We have been having such horrible weather this summer here in South Dakota….flooding, and major humidity and storms. Amber is somewhat ‘gun shy’ of thunder and lightening and will want to retreat to under a bed or someplace to ‘hide’ until it is over. We just act like everything is normal and keep tv/radio sounds louder, etc. and we get through just fine.

For Amber good food, lots of lovin’ and she is perfect in our eyes! When it is not horrible hot and humid, she will ‘play’ outside and chase after toys and bring back. Short walks as she does enjoy them however again, due to this humid weather, no one is walking very far these days. She is SO CUTE! Such a gentle golden girl.

I want to thank Amber's wonderful sponsors because without you our wonderful RAGOM pups would not be able to get the care they so much deserve. Thank you and here is some hugs and kisses from Amber. xoxoxoxoxo

Amber said she wanted to put her paw print in her update but I told her the x's and o's are just fine.

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08/16/2010:

More new photos of our lovely lady. Amber is doing wonderful. One line that comes to mind: "good things come to those who wait." Well, I was thinking just maybe, Amber thought/hoped as she was in that icky breeding place in a cage thinking maybe some time she will get out of there if she waits long enough? You wonder……….no matter, she is wonderful now and very happy and well taken care of! We still cannot imagine a dog in this shape being bred over and over. It is so incredibly amazing how forgiving and wonderful these misused/abused/neglected dogs are!

My super groomer here in Sioux Falls, who offers to do a quality grooming for my Ragom fosters (Ronita), really spiffed Amber up on Friday. She smells so sweet and looks incredible. Ronita stated she did very well there. That can be very surprising for a golden with the history that Amber has. Other than slip sliding around on the tile floor, she handled the hub-bub, tub and blow dryer fine for her and Ronita handles these goldens so great. (A big thank you Ronita!) Of course her staff and everyone that walked into her facility loved Amber! Her hair is coming back in very nice from being spayed and the mast cell removal on her side. Amber does really enjoy being brushed (of course!).

She looks forward to our walks, even though they are short, and she really enjoys meeting other people and dogs. Her tail wags, her head is up and she is a happy girl. She is becoming more and more comfortable and happy on them and we both enjoy them. She needs to stay on your left side (as all dogs are suppose to) but especially Amber due to her eyesight issue and being blind in her left eye and she walks by me very well. She has to go down and up about 8 steps to the front (out garage) for the walks, and yes, I use a harness. She does just fine up and down those steps. I gave her a ‘squeeky rubber’ toy (a mouse maybe?)---thank you Rick/Pat for the toys!) and what a hoot to watch her! She chews it, it squeeks, and she tries to jump, nudge, pounce and carry it! It is just a blast to watch! I think it is another of her ‘babies’ like the soft white toy (bear) and a couple socks tied together…..she loves her ‘babies.’

She is such a delight to watch and is a super foster girl. Amber does very well with all the crew. She really enjoyed having the grandkids this past weekend. They are 4 and 6. The kids of course, are very good with dogs (have to be in this family!). ( I do not let the kiddies give her snacks as she is just too anxious for food/snacks) Amber really enjoyed having the children around

Amber of course is a hoot to watch walk and she has a style all unto herself! Amber also will play fetch in the backyard…..so cute to watch and do with her. With such a bad rear end it does not last a long time, but it is sure fun while we can. Again, to her SPONSORS, thank YOU so very much for helping Amber recover and rehabilitate from such a tough beginning for so many years. Such a huge part of rescue and rehabilitation and oh gosh, does Amber and Ragom appreciate it! XOXOXO

If you are ready for a SUPER golden girl, have another dog or dogs (yep, even cats) and a fence, and like a smaller dog, I have a perfect golden retriever for you. Please email your placement advisor with any questions or inquiries about our lovely Amber.




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08/31/2010:
Short note on Amber. She does very well. She is a very ‘confident’ girl. Amber is the first one out the door and the first one in………always. Of course, as with many different dogs, there are loud/different noises which can startle her, or if you set sometime different out (like another big pillow on floor or large ball, etc.) she really has to check it out or walks way around it, because it has ‘changed’ the (her) scenery and she is not sure, so introducing larger new things, and in a gentle way, is beneficial….She really enjoys to meet people on walks and happy. She does fine out in the backyard (you need to pick her poop up right away so she does not eat it…..very typical). She is more a loner and really does not care about the other dogs. She does not need or follow the other dogs for support. She does fine with dogs and cats but does not follow them or interact with them. She prefers to always be by, lay by, sleep by me (people) and yes, follow you wherever you go (true companion girl!)……lives her human!! As stated before, she enjoys her squeaky toy and soft chewie toy……(her babies). If you squeak her toy, she will follow you anywhere and you can lead her where you want just about. Of course will for a snack too. Amber is in good condition and is a happy golden. She enjoys to be brushed. She will come and ‘romp and play’ to come to me when outside in the back yard to play (for a few times………..) I wish I had a video of that. She just arcs her neck and listens, and takes off to me……so her ‘retrieving’ is just a hoot to watch. It is so cute. So with the whole ‘back end’ mess, she enjoys it and has no pain or discomfort at all. Amber is not dependant on other dogs. Again, from the mill she came from she is quite well adjusted/social. She has beat a ton of odds and has done it well---- and again a huge thank you for her sponors. Amber is progressing just great and is ready for her new furever home.

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09/15/2010:
Amber will NOT be attending the Goldzilla event but rather going to her new foster in SD!

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09/27/2010:

Miss Amber is now in her new foster home in Vermillion, SD and some may wonder why she changed homes. Her previous foster, who loves Amber dearly, needed to move Amber for personal reasons and it had nothing to do with Amber's health issues. It was not an easy decision to make, because Amber is one of those dogs that you love from the very first moment. I am very grateful that RAGOM has entrusted me with caring for this extraordinary golden retriever.

Amber has been with us one week and is quickly adapting to her new home. Given that she came from a puppy mill makes her progress that much more remarkable. She met the three resident goldens as well as our other RAGOM foster Hupi 09-430 and everyone gets along just fine. As in her previous foster home, Amber prefers to be with her people and appears rather indifferent to the other dogs. The only time she shows interest in them is when it's time to go out and they are all waiting behind the door. As soon as I open the door, Dylan and Hupi usually lead the charge and Amber runs after them to see what all the fuss is about (usually nothing!). Amber is also fine with our three cats, who are rather indifferent to her! But Amber absolutely adores our daughter, Abigail, who is in second grade. Abigail and Amber were playing fetch in the backyard just minutes after Amber first arrived.

I imagine many people who have followed Amber's story are concerned about her mobility and are afraid of adopting a "special needs" dog. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about fostering a dog with such severe hip deformities. But Amber made it clear right from the start that I should not underestimate her. We brought her out to the deck, from which there are two ways to get to the yard. One can either go down four steps or one can take a flying leap off the edge where it's a three foot drop to the ground. Well, Miss Amber took the flying leap and I was so horrified that I couldn't even look. But Amber was just fine! She also surprised us with the stairs in the house. Her previous foster mom and I looked at the stairs to the second floor and agreed that there was no way Amber would be able to go up them. And for two days Amber did avoid the stairs. But on the third day, I went upstairs to do some housework and I heard doggie paw steps behind me. I thought it must be Hupi, who tends to follow me around. But when I turned around I couldn't believe it....Amber! Now she goes up and down those stairs without any problem and it's probably good exercise for her. And speaking of exercise, Amber loves to go for walks. At first I was unsure of how far to go, so we started out with short walks. But now we are walking about 25 minutes each time and Amber still has energy when we're done. All in all, I think Amber can do just about anything the other dogs can do, except maybe go running with me.

The only minor difficulty we had during the past week was during the storms. Amber does have some storm anxiety and it took me awhile to figure out how to help her. Actually, Amber is really the one who figured it out. She found her way down to our basement and seemed to do much better there. I also tried playing a lullaby CD and that seemed to help. Nighttime is a little trickier. Our bedroom is on the second floor and storms are much louder up there. So if storms are forecast during the night, I found that the easiest thing to do is sleep with her on the futon in the basement. The other dogs usually join us so we're pretty cozy!

I promise that anyone who is willing to come and meet Amber will fall in love with her. You just can't help it!

Look what I found in Abigail's room! Can I keep him?


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10/10/2010:

Amber gave us a bit of a scare earlier this week. She started vomiting each meal about 7-8 hours after eating. I worried that she had some type of blockage...either a mass or a foreign object. So we brought her to see Dr. M., who took x-rays. I am happy to report that the x-rays indicate no intestinal blockage. Dr. M. suspects that it is a GI motility problem, in which her stomach is unable to move food into the small intestine. So since the food can't go down, it eventually gets vomited back up. He prescribed metoclopramide (to facilitate gastric emptying) and famotidine (to reduce stomach acid). Dr. M. also said that Amber should not eat anything larger than the size of a pea. So for now, I've been making her doggie smoothies in the blender. Amber doesn't seem to mind mushy food and she's been doing great....no vomiting at all now. Dr. M. said it should be sufficient to soak the food and then break it up into small pieces. So I'll try that in a few days and see how she does. I should add that Amber did really, really well at the vet. She brought her squeaky reindeer and impressed the staff with her squeaking skills!