KOLD HEROES: Golden idea becomes a reality - Tucson News Now

KOLD HEROES: Golden idea becomes a reality

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A Tucson woman saw a golden opportunity to save the lives of some very special four-legged companions.

Joyce Sanford has a passion for golden retrievers, which she calls companions for life.

For years she worked with rescues on the state level, but she had a vision. One paw at time, her dream became a reality.

"We particularly like to think that we make a difference not just for the dogs but also for everybody,” Sanford said.

Her love for golden retrievers turned into the Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue. The first and only of its kind.

"We have the luxury of finding just the right home for that dog,” Sanford said. 

Two other women were with Joyce from the beginning of this journey -- Susan Finkenberg and Patty Jansma.

Today there are 383 members. All with one mission, do whatever it takes to find these golden pups a better life. 

"Some of the dogs come in so abused and shutdown that it's really hard,” Finkenberg said.

“The hardest part is by far the conditions some of the dogs come in at," Jansma said. "Some of them are very, very sick but one of the joys is seeing how well they do."

Seeing a dog’s transformation is the most special part.

"It’s a great paycheck. It really is," Sanford said. "It’s better than the paychecks I used to get although they did pay the bills, and this doesn't."

Sanford knows firsthand, a little love goes a long way. Her rescue dog, Geri, is only a year old.

"She was dog reactive, which means if she saw another dog she would go nuts and she didn't like men," she said.

Sanford said Geri is much better now, full of energy as a puppy should be. She can’t imagine life without her four-legged companion.

"I lost a dog in July and I lost a dog on Christmas and I got her in the middle of them … thankfully or I wouldn't have a dog right now," Sanford said. "That would be really hard."

Even through the heartache Sanford's passion shines through.

"She is always there for us and I don't think the organization would be nearly as strong or active without her," Jansma said.

For Sanford, it's a dream come true.

"It’s a really tiny part of the world, but it’s a tiny part of the world that we can make a difference," she said.

If you're interested in learning more about the Southern Arizona Rescue Golden Retrievers, go HERE.

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