ROOKIE Rookie is a sweet soul who has traveled a long and difficult road to come to where he is today. I’ve fostered him since last spring and he’s become very dear to me and my family. I used to tell people (when he was in the thick of things) “I would say he’s been to heck and back—but he’s not back yet.” It took a long time, but he’s come full circle now and it’s just wonderful to see. Rookie’s original family was going through some serious life changing events while Rookie came down with a horrible disease. Not only were they dealing with loss of their jobs, but had to try and manage Rookie’s disease and the costs associated with it. Very heartbroken, Rookie came to GRRR as this was the only option they had to save his life. His family checks in on him regularly, very concerned about the boy they felt they had failed and lost (in addition to their careers and life in Colorado). When Rook arrived, he was gorgeous (like he is today). He has a truly lovely coat that always looks shiny and conditioned. If he could be in a dog shampoo commercial I’m sure they’d make millions. Rookie’s condition is immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, which is a condition where the immune system begins attacking its own red blood cells. Rook is anemic and, thanks to GRRR, went through the treatment to fix it. He received a blood transfusion and was on heavy duty prednisone. Life was a little tough. The prednisone made him starving all the time—and he had to pee all the time too. On top of that he developed several bladder infections. He tried to get outside, but there were some inevitable accidents. Still, through it all, he kept up his spirits and has always been cheerful and loving. Then, in addition to the prednisone and bladder infection trouble, Rookie developed a skin infection and lost most of his lovely coat. He needed a bath every other day—and here’s the true sign that he was really in rough shape—he would come running TO the bathroom to get a bath. When I scrubbed him he would lean into it and close his eyes halfway, and I could tell it really helped him feel better. In fact one of the signs of him getting better was when he started running AWAY when I would run the bathwater. At his worst, he lost almost all the fur on his legs and a lot of his other fur too. He developed a pot belly and his eyes got sunken. About this time we had the city fair where I live. I wanted to take him, but truly couldn’t see taking him out in public looking the way he did. I compromised and put a long sleeved t-shirt on him and rolled the sleeves down as far as I could to cover his bare legs. It was too funny because I had inadvertently picked a college t-shirt and everyone thought I had him dressed up for the big game. I just smiled and agreed with them. After a long time, his fur did start to grow back. Poor Rook, even then it came in kind of funky and he looked like he forgot to brush and slept on his fur funny. After a few months it came in all the way and now he’s back to looking just how he did in the beginning. Rookie is really a wonderful dog through and through. I’m certain he has read and memorized “The Faithful Hound Manual.” Every night when I get home he HAS to spend some time with me before he goes out to do his business, even if it’s been a while and he really has to go. He also follows me everywhere and hangs out in our tiny bathroom when I take I shower. I call him a “Rook Rug” because he lies down and takes up nearly every square inch. Every night when I take out the trash I tell him, “Come do your job Rook!” and he cheerfully hops up from wherever he is (even if it’s a nice soft bed) and comes outside with me to take the trash. He doesn’t jump—ever—and doesn’t counter surf. He’s a great companion to have in the yard as he’s quite content to just hang out and never runs off exploring. He helped when we had to shovel a bunch of dirt on the lawn to get it ready for grass seed. It was a tedious day with a lot of trips to the dirt pile, filling the wheelbarrow, taking it to the yard and dumping it. Rookie followed me every step of the way—back and forth and back and forth and back and forth once again—without ever missing a step. He’s quite mellow for being eight years old and truly is as sweet as pie. He’s a charming lovely dog and any family would be fortunate indeed to have him as a devoted and cheerful addition. Addendum from Mary Kenton: Kirsten doesn’t mention all the escapades Rookie has put them through, the eating of inappropriate items due to his many steroids, Halloween bag and Christmas candy dish raids, the weekly trips to the vets office for blood tests, the additional secondary medical conditions from his compromised immune system: urinary tract infections, mange, skin infections, hair loss, hot spots, etc. Rookie was far from the y typical senior foster that Kirsten has loved and cared for in the past. Rookie has been through so much and his happy spirit just kept showing through. His affection for the people who now love and care for him shows how much he appreciates the second chance he has been given. Rookie is finally ready to be placed into a forever home, and that road was a long one for him and for his foster family. Thank you for your contributions to the Golden Angel Fund to help Rookie and other dogs like him. These amazing dogs can lead happy and Update We find it hard to believe that Rookie was so ill with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. He is perfectly healthy now and he loves to go for walks, jogs, rides in the car, trips for some ice cream (he’s not picky, but Walrus and Kilwin’s work well for him!). Rookie enjoys being groomed, petted, petted, petted (any hand will do), or just relaxing with the family. We’ve also discovered that Rookie has taken on the responsibility of keeping the family safe from the foxes and raccoons that come out at night in our neighborhood. He will jump out of his over-sized comfy bed in the middle of the night just to run outside and bark at these creatures letting them know they need to keep their distance! These are the only times we ever hear him bark. We can’t thank GRRR and his foster parents, Kirsten and Randy, enough for taking such good care of him while he was sick, and then allowing us to adopt him. We also thank everyone who donated to the Golden Angel Fund in his honor. We feel so lucky that we get to call him “ours”!