Miley’s Blog – Journey to Wellness

Miley’s Blog – Journey to Wellness

The continuing story below is a tribute to our foster families and the efforts of GRRMF to go above and beyond to help Golden Retrievers with special needs, health and behavior challenges. Taking the easy road is not in the vocabulary of our volunteers who are so lovingly committed to this breed. Even the best of intentions by adoptive families can’t always make everything right. It sometimes takes that special patience and perseverance to understand the difficulties and to find the answer to what works for dogs with special needs.

We hope that Miley’s Journey will touch your hearts and open your minds to the wonderful love inspired by her story and the story of those who are helping her to become a beautiful, loving companion to her future forever family.

To help us help Miley, visit her Healing Hearts page on our website.

After being adopted in October 2013, Miley came back to GRRMF in April 2017 when she was 7 years old.  Unfortunately, her adopted family surrendered her back to GRRMF due to fear and social issues. Since that time, Miley was behind the scenes in our GRRMF program, with issues preventing her comfort to be available for adoption. GRRMF wasn’t giving up on this special girl. We knew that it was possible to find help for her. Time and patience would need to be taken to allow Miley to adjust and relax in new environments.

We know that finding a foster family to work with a special needs dog is as important as finding their forever family.  As Miley progressed through the GRRMF program to gain confidence that humans love her and to reduce her fears, she found love and security in their loving arms and homes. In May, Miley reached a critical milestone in her wellness ready to take the next step…learn how to be a golden who will be ready for adoption some day.  Miley was placed with a special foster family who raised their paw to support Miley to reach that goal.  Cindy and Mike had worked with many dogs over the years and had just recently lost, Tess, a special needs GRRMF Sanctuary golden that inspired everyone as the comeback kid.  Miley was welcomed into their herd with three other goldens which gives Miley an opportunity to settle in with other dogs and learn how to play and interact.

Being touch sensitive, the focus from her foster family is to continue to work on being able to touch her everywhere without her being concerned or fearful.  She is coming along slowly and doesn’t growl or attempt to bite. Miley will nudge her foster parents if she is uncomfortable and they then move to another area. There’s truth in the saying that communication is our best tool with humans and animals and listening to what your dog is telling you is a critical key to a great relationship with your special furry.

Enjoy the latest lessons and adventures of Miley!

October 29, 2018 – Miley enjoyed her spa day.  Foster mom reports that she got the full treatment “brush out, nail trim, coat trim, ears cleaned, anal glands expressed and a soothing oatmeal bath”.  Miley was a good girl and didn’t need that dreaded muzzle-even for the “hiney” part!

Miley got a chance to sport an E-collar when she scratched herself raw from a bug bite.  She walked around proudly showing off her new hat and actually found it to be very resourceful for carrying her favorite ball and frisbee

Our girl is also practicing for an AKC Trick Title—how fun!  She has mastered fetch it, crawl, shake paw, balance beam, get on, touch it, down hand signal and get your toy. Miley is also working on hold it, which she hasn’t quite perfected yet. When Miley isn’t trick training, she is taking car rides to Publix for social skill work and people watching.  She has started to use more of an inside voice and her previous high pitched bark now has a softer sound of excitement rather than desperation.  She still ranks her frisbee games as the best game ever and can sometimes catch two at a time.  Keep it coming Miley, you rock!

August 12, 2018– Lots of rain in Florida, Miley had to play ball and Frisbee in the house-how lucky is she that she gets to do that! Foster mom decided that dancing would be another rainy day activity and Miley reluctantly went along with it, but not without the treats. Since she received treats for dancing she decided to throw mom a bone and did her “downs” without any treats-good girl! Foster mom is working up to cleaning Miley’s ears, with some gentle ear scratching (which Miley loves) and some professional guidance from a partnering veterinarian, Miley will soon be ready to conquer this personal hygiene task.


August 5, 2018 – Miley had a photo session today with her other foster siblings (fur and shell) dogs, cats and turtle. Miley posed for some still shots and action shots of ball and frisbee playing. Our girl did really well with the other dogs and had a great socialization opportunity with our wonderful volunteer photographer Renee!

July 31, 2018 -Miley is starting to dig the affection she is getting from her foster mom, she curled herself near her today and enjoyed a nice back scratch. After the back massage, Miley rolled over, kicked her feet in the air and received a great belly and chin rub. Miley is generally reluctant to receive a hug as she interprets it as a restraint. Foster mom, Cindy, observed that Miley felt safe in her bed and that a “bed Hugs,” with an open armed approach, were well received. This was a wonderful breakthrough for our girl. Great job Cindy and Miley!

Miley loves her frisbee game. It has helped her to open up and relax. Mike and Cindy spend equal time playing with Miley so that she doesn’t get too attached to just one of her foster parents. Miley is going at her own pace, sometimes with baby steps and sometimes with big leaps. The important thing is that she is learning to trust and feel relaxed and happy in her everyday life.

Life is getting better for Miss Miley!


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