A Christmas Love Letter to My Favorite Dog Rescue

This year, I'm donating to the rescue that gave me my two beautiful boys, Max and Major.


It’s that time of year when I wish I had piles of money. No, not to buy lots of Christmas gifts. To make a big donation to the rescue organization that saved my boys, Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue (MAGRR).

After my girl Bootsy died in 2008, I didn’t think I ever wanted a dog again. I loved dogs. I grew up with dogs. But the heartbreak of losing my girl just about broke me.

So when a friend started talking about adopting another dog from a Golden Retriever rescue organization out of Memphis, of all places, I thought he was nuts. Mutts have always been my dog of choice. And adopt a dog from where? I lived hundreds of miles away. “No thanks,” I said. “Seriously, no,” I repeated when he persisted. And then, I don’t know what happened, I said, “No … I guess you’re right, it wouldn’t hurt to just check out their website.”

Famous last words.

But I still wasn’t sure about adopting from another state. Would the dog be healthy, would the dog be safe being transported from one state to another? Would the dog who came off the transport be the same dog that I fell in love with on the website?

The short answer, at least when it came to MAGRR, was a resounding yes. One reason is because I did my homework. It also helped tremendously that I had a friend with a long history with this group of dedicated volunteers. It started with Phyl Simmons rescuing two Goldens and to date has placed thousands of Golden Retrievers in forever homes.

At MAGRR, rescued dogs are examined by a veterinarian, given a wellness blood profile, vaccinated, microchipped, heartworm tested, spayed and neutered and, when necessary, given the surgery or treatment needed. And that’s just what the people at MAGRR do on their end. When you decide you want to adopt, there is also a home visit. It can sound intimidating — I remember thinking it was. But it makes sense. They want to make sure your home is the right one for dogs who’ve already weathered too much trauma. They want to be sure that before they put the dogs on a reputable transport they are truly going to a forever home.

Every time I look at my boys — we’ve nicknamed them the Memphis Mafia — I can’t believe someone left my Max tied to a tree. I wonder how no one has come looking for my beautiful boy Major, at least until he eats poop. (I’m kidding. I love him no matter what.) But mostly I’m grateful for organizations like Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue, especially its foster mom Gerry, who fostered both of my boys.

So this holiday season, I will do what I’ve done every year since getting the boys. I will make a donation. It will not be as big as I wish it could be. It will not be as big as an organization like this deserves. But I will make it in hopes that it can help more dogs like my boys.

Tips for donating to a pet organization

  • Keep it in the family: Have you, friends or family recued a pet this year? Why not thank them by donating?
  • Shop local, donate local: Donating to a national pet rescue organization is great. But when it’s time to write a check, think abut donating locally, too.
  • Referrals: Not sure what organization you should donate to? Ask friends, family and even your local pet store for a recommendation.
  • Donating time: Don’t have much money to spare? No problem. Rescue organizations always need dedicated volunteers. What better way to give back this holiday season than to volunteer?

Find out more about my favorite shelter Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Check out some cuteness with Dogster:

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at dogsterheroes@dogster.com.

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