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Arvada golden retriever rescue saves Turkish strays


In 2015, Kevin Shipley, executive director of the Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies, based in Arvada, saw a humanitarian news piece about stray goldens in Istanbul, Turkey, being rescued by U.S. organizations. It pulled on his heartstrings.

“It was a 30-second bit I saw on TV,” Shipley said, “and now, it’s something local, it’s happening here,”

Once a status symbol for the rich in Istanbul, these dogs, now seen as common, have been abandoned around the city and surrounding forests, Shipley said. Today, about 2,000 of the city’s 50,000 stray dogs are golden retrievers — a problem rescue organizations around the United States are trying to solve.

On Feb. 14, a group of these retrievers will be flown to new homes with the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue and Arvada’s Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies.

“We are professional home-finders for golden retrievers,” Shipley said. “That’s what we do, day in and day out. So we’ll find a good home for them.”

Since late 2015, Shipley and his team have been working alongside the California rescue organization to bring over these dogs. Eight will go to the California rescue and 10 to Colorado.

“When we first heard about the Turkey dogs, we thought it would be a good thing to dip our toe in and give them happy, healthy homes,” said Beth Flambures, a rescue board member and Turkey dog sponsor. “Goldens are a pretty important part of our lives, so any time we hear about something special we try and help.”

Transportation costs for each dog are estimated at $1,975. All but 15 percent has been covered by sponsorships and in-kind donations. 

Upon arrival, these dog, ages 2-6, will undergo a full veterinary examination, meet their sponsors and play with their fellow Turkey dogs.

“GRRR is in a very good position to be able to take these dogs from Turkey, care for them and provide them what they need,” said Kathy Jones, a supporter of the organization and sponsor. “The dogs are coming and, hopefully, there’s enough interest and enthusiasm to keep people involved in the program going forward.”

Named after Colorado features, Aspen, Telly and Colorado Honey will be housed at the rescue. Five will be placed in foster homes and five will stay at the rescue until they’ve acclimated and are ready to be adopted.

“It’s important we can do anything we can,” Flambures said. “Dogs are pretty universal. Everyone loves them, so it’s nice we’re going to be able to give them homes.”


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