Dusty GH-200

Younger Dusty Dusty_in_UniformDusty was purchased from a breeder in Maryland by a couple that had no idea of the journey they were embarking on. At 10 months of age, Dusty weighed 60 pounds, was full of energy and had been given no appreciable training. The couple gave up on him and surrendered him to GoldHeart Golden Retriever rescue. They will never know how much joy they missed. He turned out to be a very special dog.

Dusty went home with the GoldHeart intake coordinator and he never left. For the next three years he was an ambassador of good will for GoldHeart at events, often wearing the donation vest to collect money from the people he was schmoozing.

When he was a little more than 4 years old, he found his true calling, registered therapy dog. Twice a week for the next 4-1/2 years he visited the Lorien nursing home/assisted living facilities in Mt. Airy, MD, bringing joy to residents and staff alike. We called him our equal opportunity suck-up. He had to say hello to everyone.

When the family moved to Charlottesville, Virginia in 2012, he expanded his schedule to include weekly visits to: Martha Jefferson Hospital, Piedmont Hospice House, three different adult day care centers, and two pre-school day care centers.

Dusty’s final visit to Martha Jefferson Hospital and Piedmont Hospice House was Christmas Eve of 2015. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge five  days later from what appeared to be a brain tumor. He was 12-1/2 years old.

In addition to capturing the hearts of nearly everyone he met, he earned three Presidential Awards for volunteer service and additional awards from Therapy Dogs International for making over of 500 separate visits to the different Charlottesville facilities. He couldn’t talk, but his body language said loud and clear, “This is great work if you can get it.”

RIP Dusty — We miss you and you will be forever in our hearts.

The Williams Family



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