Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why we foster, Part five: Nala

Photo of Mogley, Nala and Bella, guarding the entryway door.

We foster because of Nala. We decided to feature foster Nala today because her story is still going on and it is so heart warming. We are so happy to have her, she is a great companion that in fact, we are not trying too hard to find her a new home. Here is Nala's story, remember, it is a story that is not over yet. We get to enjoy her every day and she is an ongoing member of our blog updates.

Her before and after photos show the difference that volunteering to rescue can make on one dogs life. Above is Nala shortly after she arrived in the spring with her “Sleep in the snow coat”. Below is the “new Nala”, with her pampered golden lady coat. What a difference a rescue makes.
When she arrived she had a very heavy winter coat, winters outdoors in Colorado had left her with fur that would make most sheep envious. Many combings and several months later, her snow suit is gone and she has a beautiful pampered Golden Lady coat. Nutritional supplements and quality food have improved her mobility, she is getting around like a much younger dog. At first she could not do stairs very well, now she is taking on stairs with enthusiasm. At first she did not run, rather she limped rapidly across the lawn, now she is keeping up with the young dogs.
Nala was about 12 years old when she was surrendered to Golden Retriever Rescue. The owner admitted that she had been an outdoor dog, not welcome in the house, kept in the back yard where she had to brave the elements of the Colorado winter and the spring rains.   When she was surrendered to GRRR, she was found to be mostly deaf, she had heart worms, most of her front teeth were missing, her coat was very matted, she had a kidney infection, and she had a large swollen "thing" on her face. That “thing” was an infected tooth that was coming out through the lip.   Her heart worm treatment left her weak and made her very slow to respond, she was still drugged when we first met her. She was in pain from all of her problems, but she was wagging and happy to meet new people and eager to go forward with her new life. She was nervous in a house, she apparently was not allowed inside at her old home. Even treats were something new to her, she was not used to getting anything that was not in a bowl. She is still learning the joy of lining up with Mogley and Bella at treat time to receive her share of the goodies.
She was used to a head pat when she got her dinner, beyond that, human contact was foreign. She took a while to learn that if she hung around inside the house, she could get lots of attention, so as time goes on, she spends more and more time in the house, less and less time outdoor. Her tail has never stopped. She is so happy, she wags all the time. It is easy to tell if Nala is awake, if her tail is still, she is asleep.

The dog door quickly became her best friend. With the dog door she could go out when she wanted, make herself comfortable when she had the need to revert to her old habits by being outside, then come back in and keep track of what was happening in the house. Her day is spent making rounds. She makes a round of the house, then outside where she makes a round of the yard. Then she repeats, stopping by the computer chair for a quick ear rub and chest scratch, then back to her rounds. She can do this 30 or 40 times per hour, then it is time for a quick nap. Once the nap is over, it is back to making the rounds again.

Since she was deaf she could not hear commands, so we began teaching her hand signs. She can hear some loud, high pitched sounds, she hears women better than men. She hears the clang of her food dish pretty well. She wakes with a start when someone touches her during a nap, she can't hear dogs or people coming up on her so she always jumps when she wakes. It is funny to see her asleep just inside the glass entry doors, you can step inside without her waking. When she wakes, she jumps and if a stranger has arrived, she goes into guard dog mode and begins barking, while wagging up a storm to greet newcomers. Mogley and Bella can be barking right over the top of her for some time before she wakes to the fact that someone is at the door.   Below, Nala, Bella and Mogley guard the door. 
Her eye sight is fading, the hand signs she is learning have to be big sweeps of the arm, not small movements of the hand. She sees pretty good in the bright light, in the dark her cataracts are limiting her ability to see. A strange car in the driveway in the daylight is fine, at night it is cause for alarm, long after the guests have been accepted into the home. She will visit the guests inside, but return to bark at the door, warning us that a strange car is outside. When the wind blows and the flag flaps, it is a barkable event. The trees swaying in the wind are barkable events when you can not see clearly what is moving outside.

If she can't find anyone, she will move from room to room, barking, looking for her “pack”. She will move from room to room in the house and outside, pausing to bark for help, someone to rescue her from her alone moments. Mogley or Bella will eventually come out of their nap places to see what she is barking for, then life is good, her family has been found.

At first we forced her to come sleep beside the bed, but she was very uncomfortable. We gave up and let her sleep where she wanted. For a while she spent her nights sleeping inside in front of the door, then outside where she had a hole under a tree as a den. Now she has learned the joy of being indoors, she is voluntarily sleeping part time in the bedroom and part time in the entryway, her den is now only for use when the sun makes it a warm spot to nap.   Many years of living outside and alone has made it slow for her to accept the new life she is being offered, she is learning to accept the treats and attention, as well as the comfort of a soft bed, it will take some more time for her to learn to be a spoiled golden, but she is trying to be spoiled.

She is becoming a lover now, she has separation anxiety when we leave her alone, and she is learning to sleep under our feet. She is learning the joys of ear scratches and tummy rubs. What a difference a rescue makes in one dogs life!

Nala is why we rescue. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped her on her way to our home. You did good, don't take our word for it, just ask Nala!

By Mogley's family,

Mogley G. Retriever


  1. What a wonderful story about Nala. She is one of the lucky ones to have found such a loving home to be fostered in. We also have had some fosters that because of their issues we didn't know if they ever would find homes. It took awhile in a couple of cases, but the right people found them & it was love & compassion at 1st site. Such a great feeling when one finds their forever home.
    Ernie,Sasha,&Chica's Mom

  2. Nala is one furry lukhky GiRl!

    Woo've taught her well BUT I'm pretty sure she's done the same in return!

    Paws khrossed for this Golden BeaWooty to find humans worthy of her - until then, we know she's livening up your place!


  3. Nala you sure sound like a lucky pup. It sounds like you are well on your way to becoming spoiled!


  4. I am happy to hear you are not trying hard to find her a new home. Let her home be your home and live out her life with you. That is my wish for the beautiful Nala!


  5. Nala has made such great strides since she joined you.
    It's a wonderful story and wonderful to see.
    Thank You!!!!
    Hamish & Sophie

  6. What a heawtwawming tale..You have made a hooge diffewence in Nala's teach hew to accept love fwom hoomans and feel she is twooly pawt of a's wondewful
    Thank you fow what you do
    smoochie kisses

  7. Nala, you are a blessing to anybody you will get in contact. We know because our sister Lady is just like you.

    Thank you to those who took her in, thank you to those that are taking care of her. The reward is tremendous.

    Earnhardt, Lady(senior), Sandy Paws and Oliver.

  8. Hi Mogley
    Nala is so sweet looking - God bless you & your humans for helping her out. May she spend the rest of her life with you.
    Nadine Apples & Neeli

  9. What a great progression! Can just picture Nala doing her rounds, looking for her pals.... What a sweetie pie with a tail so happy :)

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  10. Your story brought tears to my eyes. You are Nala's saviors, showering her in love. She looks gorgeous now, living the life of luxury. She is one lucky dog, and I think that you are a lucky pack as well.

  11. What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for being foster!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  12. I am an Australian Cattle dog that was adopted in June, I am now in my forever home. The goldens sure have a lot of love all around them. God bless all adoptees.