“OK, let’s plan to work on this together,” says Valerie as she gets ready to end our phone call. It’s hard to find someone more enthusiastic about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study than Valerie Robson. She easily persuaded me to help her with a new idea she had to engage study participants, in spite of the original intent of our conversation, which was to interview her.
Valerie has been a lover of Golden Retrievers for years and was excited to participate in the study when she first heard of it. Valerie enrolled her pup Astro (hero dog #11) shortly after registration opened. However, after participating in several K9 Cancer Walks here in Colorado with her beloved Golden, Charm, Valerie felt a need to contribute in a larger way toward ensuring the study’s success. “I heard the stories (of canine cancer) and I felt I had to jump in and just do more.” Valerie threw her considerable energy into spreading the word about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, starting locally in Colorado and moving nationally. Along the way she partnered with other dedicated volunteers, starting a chain reaction that has spread across the country. Valerie has helped train the next generation of volunteers, form networks of people across the country ready to respond to the needs of study participants, plan activities and provide platforms for sharing experiences.
As study enrollment closed, Valerie has turned her focus towards retention strategies and ways to keep participants engaged and enthusiastic for the duration of the study. “Our study participants are developing a strong sense of community. I want to harness that energy toward mutually supporting each other in what will be a long haul.”
To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, and our other programs, please visit morrisanimalfoundation.org.