Spotlight On: The Wiltrauts

We don’t have official crowns, but Frank and Cindy Wiltraut might just be our king and queen of transport. Since we started keeping detailed transport hours in August 2014, they have clocked over 233.5 hours on the road and traveled 9,947 miles to transport the dogs to Golden Gateway. In addition to their transport volunteer duties, Frank and Cindy also volunteer monthly at our Meet & Greet events.

Here’s how Frank and Cindy describe why they volunteer and their experiences:

“We’ve been DVGRR volunteers for over four years and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute. We were very proud to become a part of this extraordinary organization. Our own Golden Retrievers have had such a positive impact on our lives that we wanted to take the opportunity to give back to this amazing breed.

“We have since met many dedicated individuals at DVGRR who share our passion for the dogs. Most of our volunteering is centered around Meet & Greet events and transporting. It’s very rewarding to know that we are contributing to finding these super dogs forever homes. This certainly is the driving force for us.

“In our 22 years of marriage, we have owned five Golden Retrievers and currently share our lives with Ralphie, Trixie, and Albert, the cat. Our hobbies include travel, our dogs, reading, and cooking.”

We can’t thank the Wiltrauts enough for their dedicated service. So many miles have resulted in so many dogs finding their way to Golden Gateway and ultimately, their new homes. Thank you!

Spotlight On: Barbara Bennethum

Barb BennethumWe’re shining the spotlight on long-time volunteer and adopter, Barbara Bennethum. Barbara first learned of DVGRR after reading about the early days of DVGRR looking for foster homes. She began volunteering at the start of the capital campaign to raise money to purchase Golden Gateway.

She adopted her first DVGRR Golden in August 2002, and 15 other DVGRR Goldens followed! Of those, only one was a puppy that was 3 months old when struck by a car. Her owners couldn’t afford to treat the fractured leg. Dr. Krick repaired the leg so well that Barbara can’t remember which one it was. To this day, that dog, Heidi, runs instead of walks and will be 10 years old soon.

Volunteering is a lifelong commitment for Barbara. She says, “Since I partially retired a year ago, I volunteer every Thursday evening and one Sunday morning per month. I arrive at 5:00 p.m. and begin helping in the kitchen, washing food bowls. By 5:30, it’s time to begin walking dogs. I usually walk six to seven dogs. I try to reinforce good leash manners and still give the dogs exercise. I also appreciate the exercise I get. I’m happy to give back to my beloved Golden Retriever breed for all the happiness they have brought into my life. I love the seniors and try to make any time they have left in this world a good, comfortable, and happy time.”

Thank you, Barbara, from all the dogs and staff at Golden Gateway!

Spotlight On: Lorrie Buck

lorrie buck

Lorrie has been volunteering with DVGRR for two years, but she is like part of the family. She pops in weekly to see if we need anything done that she could help with. Amy keeps her plenty busy asking her to do local transports for us as well as the Philadelphia airport runs. On days we don’t need Lorrie for transport, you may find her in Pap’s Place helping Carcy ship items, sweeping, cleaning, pulling weeds, or even organizing one of the sheds! At events, Lorrie is always one of the first to arrive to help set up and do whatever is needed that day. Lorrie has a true volunteer heart – she is here for the dogs and expects nothing in return, and is always humbled when we thank her for helping.

Lorrie said, “When I retired early, I knew I needed something to do that has a purpose. DVGRR is local, and I have always had dogs in my life (mostly Labrador Retrievers). Volunteering was a perfect fit.  In the two years I have volunteered, I have transported dogs and assisted at events. There are times I clean, break down boxes, and pull weeds. It is a labor of love and ‘all for the dogs.'”


Spotlight On: Lee Becker

volunteer_spotlight_1Lee Becker has done an amazing job organizing transportation volunteers for the past seven years. ManyDVGRR dogs are now safely in loving homes, or cozy and safe at Golden Gateway, thanks to Lee’s time and energy. We are incredibly grateful for his dedication to our dogs and congratulate him and his wife, Kay, on their recent adoption of Brogan (#14-001).

Lee has orchestrated transports from as far away as Florida, New York, and Illinois. When dealing with an injury last year, he and Kay continued to help us get dogs into the program. As much as he loved every transport success, one dog never made it out of his car – a young male from Florida with extreme thunderstorm anxiety. Rusty and Lee bonded during the trip, and Lee made every transport assignment in honor of his Rusty (06-174).

When reflecting on his service as our transportation team leader, Lee recalled: “The first one was Tiger (#06-201) on Oct. 16, 2006 from the Luzerne Co. SPCA, and he was one I personally transported. That was 566 dogs ago!”

From all of us in DVGRR, human and canine, our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Lee and Kay.

Spotlight On: Barry Rupp

volunteer_spotlight_2Barry Rupp is a dedicated dog walker and makes those rounds every Tuesday and Friday. Plus he serves on the Transport, Meet & Greet, and Project Home Life Teams. Most recently, Barry has made a big difference at Golden Gateway with his non-dog skills.

As you may be aware, there are a lot of physical changes happening on our grounds, and Barry has served an integral role. First, he provided a complete buildings and grounds layout of the DVGRR campus. He’s been our special projects manager, providing detailed drawings of the modifications to BARK to accommodate the digital x-ray unit as well as complete fencing and shed requirements for The Lynne Glennon Sanctuary for Senior Goldens and Puppy Mill Survivors.

He’s worked with the contractor and septic repair company to pinpoint and correct issues with our septic tank system and is currently serving as the contact point for the interior remodel of the Sanctuary.

Thanks, Barry! We certainly appreciate your time, dedication and expertise.

Spotlight On: Regina Newell

volunteer_spotlight_3“I learned about DVGRR through an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about famous Philadelphians and their dogs in 2000. Ed Rendell was one of the people included, and he and his wife had adopted Mandy (#96-106) from DVGRR.

“I began volunteering shortly after DVGRR created Pap’s Place and BLTs as a result of a mailing recruiting adopters to become volunteers. My husband and I have adopted four dogs from DVGRR: Cody #18 (00-064, RB 2008); Buddy #33 (07-061, RB 2011); Murphy #13 (11-035) and Erin #1 (11-036).

“I volunteer in Pap’s helping with retail sales and also serve on the Community Events team. My favorite time is Meet and Greet, especially when a dog is adopted, and they come into Pap’s for a new collar and leash… and maybe a new name tag and toys! The dogs seem to know they are going home.

“The highlight of my volunteer work has been taking Pap’s ‘on the road’ to the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) Nationals in 2008 in Warwick, RI, and again in 2011 in Conyers, GA. We met so many wonderful folks at these events. (The next one on the east coast will be in 2014 in North Carolina.) One of the highlights of the Nationals is the Rescue Parade. We had SIX DVGRR dogs in the 2011 parade!

“When I tell my friends about DVGRR, I tell them about the wonderful care the dogs get, including training. I also tell them that I love adopting older dogs!”
In addition to volunteering, Regina is also our go-to seamstress when we have a sewing project. Regina has sewn beds for our transport crates, and her latest project was making the donation vests for the dogs to wear at community events! (Pictured here at Golden Gala.) She even made “themed” shirts that we used as Silent Auction items at our fundraisers!

Spotlight On: Susan Evasew and Renee Hashinger