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.
If you’ve been following Miley’s journal, scan down to see her latest posts.
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.
We have started a blog on this news page for Miley for our readers. More updates will be posted in date order below soon.
Enjoy the lessons and adventures of Miley!
June 18, 2018 -With some assistance from a professional trainer and the patience and guidance from her foster family, Miley enjoyed a successful father’s day. First, three games of ball playing with Mike and a bit of work on putting it in his hand. Then a great game of tug with Cindy using her ball named “Thrasher”. Afterwards, a chance to calm down and play with the ball by herself and a special treat for releasing it when asked. Good going, Miley!
June 19, 2018 -Time for agility! Miley soared over each hurdle and didn’t miss a jump—hmmmm, might be time to add another bar-what an athlete! A game of ball before lunch and a meet and greet with foster brother, Scramble, with some walk-bys, doggie tush greetings and sharing of delicious treats. The day is just getting started, Miley had her work cut out for her. A car ride was next, exploring the countryside, she was a good rider, but no cow interest like Tess enjoyed or out the window watching. Miley was clearly interested in the treats that were sitting on the dash board-a Nose Work dog in the making! Riding made Miley sleepy so taking a nap seemed like the right thing to do.
In the evening there was play time, some rest and the delicate introduction to nail clipping. After weeks of paw touching and examining the nail chippers it was time to test them out. Miley was a bit timid about it, safety and gentle handling would be required. A soft muzzle and lots of great treats made this personal hygiene chore a success. Good girl, Miley!
July 4, 2018 – A very busy day for foster mom, Cindy. Mike steps in to do outdoor activities with Miley. Fireworks and Thunderstorms are not a problem for this brave girl.
July 15, 2018 – SPECIAL REPORT -Miley had a spa day! Her nails were trimmed (muzzle) and feet trimmed (no muzzle -Yippee!!). Her ears were cleaned (muzzle) and hair trimmed around her ears (no muzzle-Yippee again!!). Then for a luxurious bath and a brisk rub down with warm towels – no muzzle or struggling—-who wouldn’t love that! You go girl!!
July 19, 2018 – Miley is continuing to adjust to new exercises and learns quickly. She loves to happily growl as she throws her toys in the air and plays with them. She’s a bit sassy with her high pitched bark when she doesn’t get to play with foster mom and dad as long as she would like. Her foster parents have her rest and impliment cool down periods when she gets overly excited. She likes being the center of attention when her furry siblings are around and politely pushes her way to the front so she can try to get the most loving.
July 23, 2018 – Miley’s foster brother, Scramble, had an emergency vet visit and Miley sensed that something wasn’t right with Cindy and Mike. She kept a close watch on them and rested her head on their hands to let them know she was there for them. When Scramble returned home, Miley stayed near him and kept checking on him. Sensitive and nurturing too, this girl is showing lots of great traits!
July 25, 2018 – Rumor has it that Miley has kicked her agility jumps to the curb, placed her ball fetching in second place and is fancying Frisbee catching. She’s got her running shoes on now and can even catch two at a time!! Mike and Cindy saw how much she loved the game so they went out and bought her a six pack (of Frisbees, that is).
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.
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!
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.
Stay tuned for our continuing updates.
Life is getting better for Miss Miley!