Donna McConn is the owner of Golden Retreat for K9s and lives on the property.
Donna’s first dog, Barney, was a Golden Retriever puppy, given to her by her boyfriend. “I never had a dog before this and Barney and I went everywhere together. He loved riding in the car.”
A few years later, Brandy (Golden Retriever) was added to the dog family then Buffy (Golden Retriever), Alfetta (Gordon Setter mix), Bailey (Golden Retriever), Sheeba (Greyhound), Kevitt (Greyhound), Kenlee (Greyhound), Bruno (Maremma) and Krissy (Golden Retriever).
In June of 2008 Bruno passed. He was the last doggie child after the first set of dogs since 1978. He was a very special dog and is greatly missed. Bruno and Donna went through a lot together and he was the love of her life.
Instead of having another dog Donna decided that she wanted to help other dogs by caring for them while their owners are away. In 2008, we started with dog sitting. The dog sitting industry was growing but in this area there are not as many dog boarding places. Construction began in October of 2009 of a 3800 square foot building that is a hotel for doggies. We treat our doggie hotel like our home.
In the Spring of 2010 just before the hotel was completed we decided to foster a 2 year old Great Pyrenees. That started the “failed foster” program here and we kept him! Max looks a lot like Bruno. Max greeted everyone at our fence until his back got so bad we could no longer let him be outside when anyone came to the kennel facility. Sadly, Max passed away in September 2021. He would have been 14 in January of 2022.
Once the doggie hotel was completed we started fostering more Great Pyrenees dogs. While many of these dogs were able to find good homes Casper just wanted to stay with us. He made many friends at the hotel that came and left and still has friends that come to visit him. We decided he would be our resident guard dog. Later in Casper’s life he retired and moved into our home. He passed away in March of 2023. He was 14 years old.
One of our foster dogs named Charlie Bear turned out to have severe separation anxiety. He was adopted to someone along with another female Pyrenees. Charlie kept escaping because of his anxiety and one day ended up 5 miles from his new home. His new owner decided not to keep Charlie and he came back to us. Guess what? We adopted Charlie! Charlie is a wonderful dog and loves everyone. Sadly Charlie passed away in April 2018. He had severe pancreatitis and a neuromuscular disease that had him in wheels during his last few months. He is greatly missed.
In February of 2012 we adopted our first Newfoundland, Chance. Donna said, “He was mommy’s boy and wants to go wherever I go!”. Chance loved to swim in our pool and go to the beach. He was a Canine Good Citizen Dog and also a trained therapy dog. Sadly Chance passed away in July of 2021. He had bone cancer. Our hearts are broken.
Fred was another foster failure! He was dumped at a shelter in SW Virginia in 2018 by a couple getting divorced. He was a mess when he came in and looked like he had been left outside. His fur was in dreadlocks with mud. After weeks of grooming him he turned out to be a very handsome boy. Further research showed he came from Portugal! Fred is a Canine Good Citizen Dog and is working to be a therapy dog.
I have admired Corgi’s for years and getting older made me think it is time to adopt a smaller dog. Emrich’s owner passed away and one of my client’s fostered him. I met him when the foster boarded him. It is a challenge having a smaller dog as I have never had anything smaller than a golden retriever! He is a fast little guy and I think agility will be in his future!
Edgar came in as a foster and after 3 years being with me, I decided it is time to adopt him. He is all Pyrenees except for his golden color. Thinking of doing a DNA test, but I really don’t care what other breeds he might have in him. Edgar loves other dogs and will take over as the resident guard dog for now.