When we brought Goldie into our program we thought we were taking on a hospice case. Our friends at Jasper Animal Rescue Mission in Ridgeland, South Carolina, reached out for help in July 2015 after Goldie ended up in their shelter when her human passed away. We went to the shelter to meet Goldie and agreed with the shelter staff’s evaluation. This sad old dog didn’t have much time left and she needed a loving home where she could live out the rest of her days.
The only problem was, we had nowhere for Goldie to go. We were overflowing with dogs at our home base, and all of our potential hospice homes were already full. We promised Goldie that we would be back for her as soon as we could, and then we put out a plea on our Facebook page and hoped for the best. In the meantime, the kind folks at JARM moved Goldie into the office and let her be their office dog so she didn’t have to stay in an outdoor run (The staff at Jasper Animal Rescue Mission (JARM) are the best. They have huge hearts!).
We posted Goldie a few times without much luck and were starting to lose hope when we received an email from a woman named Judy. Judy wrote a really nice email and provided a lot of information about herself and her living situation so we could decide if this might be a good fit for Goldie. She also explained that after sharing 14 years with her Black Lab, Aspen, she lost Aspen very quickly to cancer in 2009 and thought she would never be able to love another dog again. That is, until she saw Goldie’s face on our Facebook page.
“When I first saw her picture I was instantly drawn to her sweet face,” Judy says. “I felt the need to make her life, how ever short it would be, as peaceful and comfortable as I possibly could. Little did I know that was all she needed to bring out the puppy in her once more. I am grateful not for what I can do for her but for what she has done and continues to do for me every day. The gift of her faithful love and companionship came at a time when I truly needed it the most. It seems I need her as much as she needs me.”
Judy and Goldie have been inseparable since the afternoon of Monday, August 3, 2015, when we brought Goldie over to Judy’s house to do a home visit. These two souls were meant to cross paths. In addition to Judy, Goldie also now shares her life with Sophia, the kitten, and with Judy’s 5-year old grandson, Lucas, who visits often. As has happened with a few other dogs we have known, once Goldie realized that she was safe and loved, she decided she wanted to stick around for awhile.
Goldie is not the “hospice” dog we all thought she was. And, Judy recently discovered that Goldie has a very unique gift. Here is an excerpt from a recent email that Judy gave us permission to share:
“Goldie, it seems, has a very unique talent. I am a brittle diabetic. I make no insulin which means I take a large amount of insulin to control my blood sugar. Although I am fairly well controlled there are times when my blood sugar goes a bit crazy and will spike very high. I often won’t pick up on the signs as it does tend to alter one’s ability to think straight and many times it will happen during sleep. If it’s not a normal time that I take my blood sugar it will go unnoticed by me…but Goldie seems to respond to the change.
Her whole demeanor changes. She gets my attention by very forcefully hitting my arm with her paw. If I am sleeping and that doesn’t work she will jump up on the bed, panting as if anxious and continue to forcefully hit me until I wake up while standing over me. She will stay in my face (so to speak) and watch until I have taken my blood sugar. When I uncap my insulin I can see that she smells the insulin. Then she won’t leave my side, curling up next to me usually with her head in my lap until she seems to be satisfied that I am okay. I noticed this behavior from her around October – November of last year. At first I thought it was just coincidence but she is very consistent with this behavior. She becomes very persistent when my blood sugar is greater then 500.”
We are grateful to Judy for opening up her heart to Goldie and for being willing to provide what she thought was going to be end of life care. That is an incredibly selfless act. And we are beyond thrilled that Goldie’s story turned out to be so much happier than expected. Judy and Goldie found each other when they needed each other the most.
“I am so grateful to have her in my life,” Judy says. “She acts as though she is still a puppy at times so I just don’t tell her anything different.”