First things first… I want to send a big hug out to all my new friends at GRRR, and trust me, I give great hugs. My new name is Ziggy. That’s what my foster mom and dad named me when I arrived at GRRR. Every person who meets me says the same thing – “It’s a miracle that sweet girl is still alive!” My life sure changed that cold winter’s day in the mountains. I’ve been through such a lonely, frightening experience. Now I guess I should get right to my story because I can’t wait to tell you why I need your help and how much your kindness means to me. Some of the details of my ordeal are still a little fuzzy to me, so my friends at GRRR have helped figure out what most likely happened based on how and where I was found and my overall condition. I’m five years old and a very loving Golden girl. I’m especially fond of people and have always put my total trust and love in them. One day this winter I was let out of my family’s car in an isolated place in the mountains near some woods. I started enjoying all the different smells in my new surroundings, but then I heard the car drive off. I was alarmed and thought maybe they had forgotten me. I waited by the road for what seemed like forever, but no one came back. I was getting tired and hungry and decided I’d better search around for a safe place to rest. I eventually found myself in some woods. I was definitely at a huge disadvantage because, in case you haven’t already noticed from my picture, I’m totally blind. As night fell I really began to feel nervous. I was having a hard time finding any food and I was so thirsty. Luckily there was snow for me to eat. I didn’t get much sleep that night. Let me tell you the mountains sound a lot different at night than they do during the day. I could hear all kinds of wild creatures, and I was so afraid I would be attacked by coyotes, bears or mountain lions. The woods are not a safe place for any Golden, but especially not a blind girl like me. Somehow I managed to survive that night, and then another and another. I completely lost track of time and I’m not sure how long I was out there. One morning I heard some voices and my heart pounded with joy. Oh happy day! It was people! My mind was racing – “Walk in the direction of their voices…I know they’ll help me.” I kept getting closer and closer until they were kneeling in front of me petting me and talking to me! I had no collar, tags or microchip and I was exhausted and limping. My coat was filthy and full of mats and stickers. I looked more like a wild mountain animal than a Golden. That afternoon my new friends took me to the only animal shelter in the area. I know some dogs don’t like the shelter, but I was very happy to be there where it was warm and there was food to eat. I stayed there for ten days hoping my family would come for me – but no one ever showed up to claim me. The shelter staff said they knew exactly who to call to help me find the special medical attention I needed and find a forever home for me to call my own. They called GRRR, and in no time my very own chauffeurs, Pete and Nancy Lynch, were there to whisk me away. They promised me I would never, ever, have to sleep out in the cold, forage for food or be left alone again. They assured me GRRR would find a safe foster home for me where I would be served healthy meals, be provided with my own personal and experienced seeing eye dog and that I would be given all the hugs I could ever want. What an incredible turn my life had taken! Instead of falling prey to animals in the woods or “running out of time” at the shelter, I was now going to join the wonderful GRRR family. I am such a lucky girl! When I visited Dr. Carpenter at Arvada West, he was amazed I had survived my ordeal. He says I have “street smarts” from being blind, and that is probably what saved me. After my initial checkup I went to see the eye specialist, Dr. Graham. Sadly there is nothing that can be done to help me see. I’ve been blind since birth. Neither of my retinas work and I have cataracts in both eyes. I’ll be on special eye drops my entire life to fend off glaucoma. I have an infection that requires antibiotics, I need thyroid medicine, I had a heartworm test, vaccinations, blood work and I’m on Rymadil to help my painful leg. I’ll be visiting Dr. Petersen, an orthopedic surgeon, soon. I’ve been tenderly groomed and I’m beautiful! And you know what? Nobody has ever loved me and cared for me like all of you have. I owe my life to you. In my foster home my new Golden friends helped me adapt to my new surroundings, and in no time at all, I learned my way around. My incredible fosters, Nancy and Robert Miller, say the nicest things. “Ziggy is such a loving and unbelievably trusting little girl. Words cannot begin to express what a true angel she is. She has such an innocence about her. She is just so very, very precious. She has touched the hearts of every person she’s met since she has been with us.” My Golden heart has been touched, too – by each of you. I understand there are many generous people in this world who are helping to make my dreams come true. I cannot begin to tell you all how much this means to me. I hope I get the opportunity to meet all of you soon so I can show my appreciation for your kindness and generosity and share one of my special hugs with you. Every day is a wonderful new adventure, and I love you all so very much. Ziggy Update Nancy & Robert Miller and the Golden Gang Ziggy is adjusting very well in our home; you’d think she lived here all of her life. This sweet little blind girl has stolen our hearts, and we intend to keep it that way. She is a very happy girl, showing her love and appreciation by thumping her tail with all her might when she hears us enter the room. She fits in with all the kids in our gang. Ziggy is the most trusting and fearless little girl we have ever met. At a recent visit to Dr. Carpenter’s office, Robert bent down to help her get in the car, and before he could pick her up, she had jumped in all by herself upon feeling the bumper. She jumps up on the bed to snuggle with no assistance at all…although one time she made a wrong turn and tried her best to jump up on the dresser instead. Ziggy is always there to greet us at the door, and she has no inhibitions or fear when taking her leap of faith to show her joy that we have returned home. She has not seen the orthopedic surgeon yet, but so far she is getting around okay. She loves visiting our niece who has a large backyard, and she runs with reckless abandon after her Mommy who provides her with audio cues. Her favorite activities include belly rubs (and she is not shy about giving subtle hints when she wants one), snuggling and loving on her Mommy and Daddy, followed closely by mealtime (both hers and ours). Her least favorite activities include listening to firecrackers/fireworks and grooming time (although she tolerates it). There are times when she fools us into thinking that she can see us, but a few wrong turns and thumps against a wall or chair remind us it is only our imaginations. When one of us is stressed out or down in the dumps, she comes over and lets us pet her and magically our spirits lift immediately. We honestly cannot fathom why anyone would abandon her; she is so loving, sweet, and intelligent.