Weekend celebration a golden opportunity to meet, share, and have fun
Golden retrievers usually are not found at Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science, but they were front and center at the 3,000 Strong Celebration Banquet, one of several events during the 3,000 Strong Celebration held September 18-20. The weekend was a three-day gathering in honor of Golden Retriever Lifetime Study participants, their owners, and the many volunteers and study supporters who have made the study possible.
Although most attendees where from the Denver area, several people traveled long distances to join in the festivities.
Dr. Stephanie Ensley, a study veterinarian and longtime supporter of Morris Animal Foundation, packed up herself, two friends and three golden retrievers and drove from Arkansas to Denver just for the event.
“Our trip to Denver was amazing,” said Dr. Ensley. “We painted the car and headed west for our grand adventure. I enjoyed getting to put faces with name. We met owners with whom we celebrated via online, and with whom we cried as they lost heroes way too soon.”
The fun started Friday evening, with a Yappy Hour where friends mingled with Morris Animal Foundation staff for food, drinks, and a tour of the foundation’s headquarters.
Saturday morning, families and heroes met at Cherry Creek State Park for an informal Romp in the Park. The weather was beautiful, and everyone had a great time. Dr. Ensley summarized the event as “the Disneyland of the dog world!”
The weekend’s capstone event was Saturday night’s banquet. One hundred and thirteen people, including VIP guests, attended dinner. The event included a silent auction and an informative talk by Dr. Rod Page, principal investigator for the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. The evening also included a moving ceremony remembering the hero dogs that have died.
On Sunday, the celebration ended with a splashing good time at the BBQ/Fun Jump/Social Swim held at Canine Rehabilitation & Conditioning Group in Broomfield Colorado. More than 100 people and wet, happy dogs participated.
Debbie Pink, an enthusiastic supporter of Morris Animal Foundation, attended with her dog, Keevin. Keevin recently lost his left front leg to cancer, but Debbie wanted to attend. Keevin was an enthusiastic swimmer before his amputation, and the event was the first time he got back in the water.
“It was such a thrill to see him swimming again,” said Debbie. “Many people were touched by Keevin at the picnic. I got so many comments from study participants saying that seeing him really brought the reason for the study into focus.”
Morris Animal Foundation thanks everyone who made this weekend a success, including the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study volunteer leadership team, event volunteers, and sponsors who worked hard to put together the events.