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Heartache to Hope-Losing Ella, our Much Loved Golden Retriever

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Those who have experienced the love of pets understand the immense joy they add to our lives, and how challenging it is to lose them.

Grace, our Brand Manager, whom many of you know, had shared an inseparable bond with Ella, her affectionate 7-year-old Golden Retriever, since Ella was a puppy.


A week after Grace brought her first child, Logan, into the world, Ella’s behavior took an unusual turn. Was it jealousy of the new baby, maybe something else? Her gait started to change along with lethargy and a rapid physical decline. As you’d expect, a visit to the vet and numerous tests.

Then…heartbreaking news.

Ella had a large tumor on her brain stem. Given the high risks of surgery and the likelihood of the tumor's return, Grace faced a heart-wrenching decision.

With the agonizing decision made, in the comfort of their home and with Ella in her arms, Grace said goodbye as the vet ensured a peaceful passing. It was just 10 days before Ella's 8th birthday. Those of you that have been through those moments know how truly difficult it is.

But…the story continues some months later. For a while, Grace swore off getting another dog, focused on being a new mom and her own recovery.

Over the course of the seven years with Ella, Grace had also fostered rescues of all breeds. She figures maybe 30-40 during that time.

A bit of time passed. Her new son grew stronger, as did she. Thoughts drifted back to the positive moments of pet ownership and the unconditional joy a dog can bring. Over the course of the eight years with Ella, Grace had also fostered rescues of all breeds and saw the love and gratitude these dogs expressed.

With her past experience in fostering rescues, she knew she wanted to adopt. Her heart was set on finding another Golden Retriever, which are well known for their gentle and loving nature.

So, she started perusing rescue sites.

The process of researching, applying and getting accepted into a quality animal adoption program is a bit involved, and a serious vetting of applicants takes place.

Among the rescue groups she explored, the Tattered Paws Golden Hearts Rescue (501(c)(3)) stood out. Their headline is, “Where Pets Find Their People”. ( It’s a wonderful organization with teams of volunteers who rescue dogs that have been abandoned, foster and help them transition to permanent homes. They work across the United States and have also developed a network out of Turkey. It is dedicated volunteers, patrons and donations that make their work possible.


As you might expect, one furry-faced golden in particular caught Grace’s attention. The eight-year-old had been in the care of Tattered Paws since spring of 2022. Yep, a bit of a stretch. 

These are those moments where your “gut intuition” takes over. Videos showing a calm demeanor, positive attitude and sweet smile won Grace (and believe me, Grace is no pushover). Despite hardship, the newly named “Zoey” exuded cheerfulness and a perpetual smile. After a lot of thought, Grace and her husband Grant decided to take that adoption step.


It will be a new chapter, and it certainly comes with commitment as well as a nurturing soul. I’m thinking both Zoey and Grace will be the big winners here.

For those that recall the “Starfish Story” - the impact is in making a difference, one rescue at a time.

Tattered Paws has now become one of the charities we support. We invite you to learn more or donate through their website...found here.

Grace, Grant and Logan will be welcoming Zoey to their home late in the day on January 18th. We welcome you to follow our Instagram @maddafella or our emails to watch her first moments home. We will continue posting updates on her journey and progress.

PS: The Starfish Story emphasizes the importance of individual efforts. A massive storm had crossed through a coastal town and thousands of starfish had washed up onto the beach. A young girl was picking one up that was soon to be lost and judiciously bringing it back to the waters edge. An old man was watching and yelled out, “What are you doing?...You can’t possibly make a difference to all of these washed up starfish.”  

To which she replied, “Maybe not, but I just made a difference to one.”

Which highlights the impact of singular acts of kindness. 


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