Every Dog Matters – Hero Dog #1776
Morris Animal Foundation appreciates the commitment made by our study participants, and we want to honor and recognize that commitment. Each month, we’ll share their stories and learn about the families and veterinarians who care for them. This month, meet Finn, #1776.
Finn, study participant #1776, is well known to Morris Animal Foundation staff members, and not just because of his patriotic study number. Finn is one of two staff-owned golden retrievers in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
Finn shares his home with Wes Hamlyn, Peggy Zellner and their daughter, Ally. When Wes joined the scientific programs team in January 2013 (after spending three years in grants administration), the foundation was seven months into the enrollment phase of the newly inaugurated Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Neither of Wes and Peggy’s two dogs qualified for the study, but as dedicated dog owners, they were intrigued by the study’s ambitious goals.
Wes and his family were devastated when they lost their golden retriever, Hazel, to hemangiosarcoma in April 2013. Peggy knew she would get another dog, but faced a dilemma. She felt strongly about adopting a rescue dog (she had found a wonderful dog named Annie); however, the family knew the study was still enrolling participants. A golden retriever breeder Peggy knew happened to call at that time to tell Peggy she had a puppy for her.
“I remember thinking, oh crud,” said Peggy. “I was torn about what to do.”
Of course, Peggy did what any dog lover would do; she took both dogs! Finn came into the family’s life with a little bit of drama, after he and his littermates were evacuated from their home during the terrible Colorado floods of September 2013. Finn’s name actually is a reference to how he needed a “fin” to get out of the flood.
Finn, along with Shea, also a rescue dog like Annie, rounds out the family’s pack. Although having three large dogs wasn’t how Peggy envisioned their household, she is quick to point out she wouldn’t want it any other way. Shea finds his dog siblings a bit rambunctious, but gets to escape each day by coming to work with Wes.
Thank you Peggy, Wes, Ally, Shea, Annie and Finn. Every participant in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, human and dog, matters!