Not Quite a Therapy Dog, but Lifting Spirits Nonetheless
Halle, a 9-month-old red Golden Retriever, loves stuffed toys, never stops wagging her tail and cannot get enough of the snow, which is quite copious in her upstate New York hometown.
In fact, snow played a part in her serendipitous journey to the Boonville, New York, home of Roger and Diana Sparrow. During a snowmobile ride last winter, Roger happened to stop at a local sledders’ hangout, whose owners are longtime Golden breeders.
In a happy coincidence, a new litter was on its way. The pups were born March 31, 2013, and several weeks later, tiny Halle—the runt—arrived at her new home. Never having had a Golden, the Sparrows quickly grew to love Halle’s gentle personality and amusing antics.
Not long after Halle’s arrival, Diana read an online article about Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Having lost one dog to cancer and another to cardiomyopathy, she saw the study as an important opportunity to help new generations of dogs and their humans. After securing the cooperation of their vet Dr. Charles Allen at Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Lowville, New York, a Golden owner himself, Halle was enrolled in the study as the 1,000 Golden!
Halle has begun obedience training and in time, Diana would like to see her become a reading therapy dog. For now, her most important role is keeping company with Max, the Sparrows’ 12 ½-year-old yellow Lab.
After the death of the Sparrows’ Doberman 2 ½ years ago, Max—who had been Baxter’s constant companion for 10 years—developed depression and severe separation anxiety, which ultimately required medication. The Sparrows tried a few times to introduce other dogs to Max, but he wasn’t having it. That is, until Halle arrived and insisted they just HAD to be friends.
Now BFFs, Halle’s puppyish exuberance has given Max a new lease on life. Although he is battling several health issues, he still enjoys attending summer ballgames, “going bye-bye” in the car and trooping through the snow, all with Halle at his side.
Halle, whose name is short for hallelujah, was born on Easter Sunday. And although they were not actively looking for another dog, the Sparrows firmly believe Halle is a gift who entered their lives at just the right time—it was meant to be.
To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation and our other programs please visit morrisanimalfoundation.org.