Rescue Ranger
March 2021
A Tribute to Pat Duke
A "Golden Soul"

Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue has lost a good friend and long-time volunteer, Pat Duke. Pat passed away peacefully on March 8th. She was a friend, a mentor, an encourager, a leader, a cheerleader, an organizer, a talented writer and story teller, and an advocate for fostering and saving lives. She is the reason why many of us are so dedicated to this rescue. 

Pat was passionate about our rescue and served in many volunteer roles including Foster Coordinator, organizer of Meet and Greets, board member, and just about anything else that needed to be done. Pat’s leadership and organizational skills made a huge impact in the foster program and took NRGRR to a new level. In 2007, Pat was nominated for and won the national Starfish Award for her contribution to the rescue of Golden Retrievers. The Starfish Award is a prestigious annual award that was given from the National Rescue Committee of the Golden Retriever Club of America. 

Both Pat and her husband "Duke" contributed to the success of Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue. Duke could often be seen cooking hotdogs and hamburgers to feed our hungry guests at many of our swims. They fostered many dogs and adopted six: Gage, Finn, Logan, Riley, Ella, and Delta Dawn.

We miss you and hope to see you both someday on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge for a massive Golden swim and celebration! XOX
2021 Statistics
through February

14 Dogs Rescued

26 Dogs in Rehab

18 Dogs Adopted
Congratulations to these dogs finding their furever home in February

  • Cassius 21
  • Emma 21
  • Spiderman 19
  • Portia 20
  • Morgan 21
  • Macduff 20 
  • Lolo 20
  • Will 21
We have created a special webpage to honor Pat Duke's devotion to NRGRR. On this page, we are creating virtual memorial tiles which list the foster family and foster dogs in which she was the coordinator. If Pat was your foster coordinator and you would like to have your name and foster dogs included on a tile, please click here to fill out a Google Form. 

If you would like to share photos that you have of Pat with your foster dog or at NRGRR events, you may submit them by using the form linked above or by email to Please include 'Pat Duke' in the subject line. We will add them to the photo album at the bottom of the page. 
Thank you to everyone who attended Pat Duke's memorial with their NRGRR dog. It meant a lot to the family.

Below are some of the things that have been shared about Pat from our volunteers and adopters upon hearing about her passing. Pat recruited many volunteers to NRGRR and has left her footprint forever on our hearts.
“I remember the day in 2005 when I took a phone call from the NRGRR Infoline from a woman who introduced herself as Patty Duke. She was interested in potentially adopting a Golden but was concerned that her senior Golden would not welcome another dog into their home. After listening to her situation, I suggested she try fostering a dog to see how her dog responded. She was open to the idea and said she would give it a try. As it turned out, her senior dog was very accepting and even excited to have a new canine friend. She adopted her first foster and the rest, as they say, is history.”
“There are so many words that come to mind when I think of that first impression: kind, welcoming, witty, smart, strong, fearless, compassionate, confident. And she was so funny. Every time I saw her she just gave the biggest smile and greeting. I’ve never felt so welcomed anywhere as the welcome that Pat gave me over and over again, each time I saw her.”
“Pat is the reason I became a foster and progressed to the Board and to President. For many years she was the rock that held Operations together. Pat had the magic ability to make you feel valuable, to forgive mistakes, and to make you a better person.”
“She made each of us feel like we were the smartest, funniest, and most interesting person she had ever met. She believed in us and wanted us to succeed, because she wanted NRGRR to succeed. Pat was our cheerleader.”
“We started as NRGRR fosters in 2010 and Pat, whom my husband and I fondly referred to as Mama Pat, was one of the first who welcomed us into the NRGRR family. Pat wasn't just passionate and caring for the dogs that came through the rescue, she also had so much love and cared deeply about each and every one of us.”
“Pat was my very first introduction to the world of the amazing volunteers of NRGRR, when, in the early fall of 2012, I submitted an application to foster... Pat’s “of-course-you-can” encouragement and “we’re-here-whenever-you-need-us” support made it possible…”
“Our dear Pat Duke touched so many of us in her special way. I first met her as a new foster. I had just lost my husband of 32 years. She helped me reach out to the dogs who needed us...She spent so many hours talking, advising, joking...she rescued me! She will always hold a piece of my heart.” 
“…she made my experience with fostering wonderful. I adored her enthusiasm and support. We truly lost a treasure.”
“There are no words to truly capture the spirit and power of Pat Duke! She was a masterful storyteller and could convince anyone that they were up to a task or challenge. She was the best of mentors—she would inspire and would never shy away from telling you what you needed to hear! Her heart was truly golden in every way. Her love for NRGRR and all the dogs we saved and all the people who made it possible was boundless.”  
2021 Events
Here is a tentative list of events we have scheduled for 2021. We will review the latest government restrictions prior to each event to determine if it will be held. At this point it looks very unlikely that we will have our Spring Swim but we are hopeful that we will be able to hold larger events sometime during the second half of the year.

  • May 9th - Spring Swim - Montague Lake - Unlikely
  • May 21st - June 27th - NRGRR 2022 Calendar contest - photo submissions open
  • July 1st - 31st - NRGRR 2022 Calendar Contest Voting
  • July 24th - Summer Swim - Montague Lake - TBD
  • August 28th - Golden on the Green - River Ridge Country Club - TBD
  • October 23rd - Rescue Reunion - Montague Lake - TBD

Meet and Greets will continue to be held on a case by case basis for the foreseeable future. We will announce our plans on our Meet and Greet webpage a couple of days before the scheduled date, which is the first and third Saturday of the month. Meet and Greets will be held at Zoomy Dogs, located at 5420 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713.
Alumni Updates

When a dog becomes an NRGRR dog, they are one for life. We are able to follow our dogs transformation from rescue-to-adopt but some of the greatest stories are about how well they are thriving in their fur-ever home.

If you have special pictures or stories that you would like to share with us, please send them to Your updates may be shared in our publications or social media pages.
International Rescue
With your generous support, NRGRR has rescued 65 international dogs from China, Turkey, and Kosovo over the past two years. Last year started off slow due to travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19 but we were still able to bring in 32 dogs, most in the last four months of the year. 

For 2021, we are setting our goal even higher and hope to rescue 50 international dogs! We need to raise between $60,000 and $100,000 to make it happen. Your continued support is needed more than ever to help us rescue #50for2021.
Donor Match...A very generous donor has just offered to match all donations to our International Rescue Campaign in March, up to $10,000.

Make your donations today!
Visit our website to learn more about our international rescue efforts. Watch the video below and follow us on social media to learn more and track our #50for2021 fundraising campaign.
Golden Moments
Monthly Photo Contest
Willie Nelson and Maggie
Most Mischievous Dog
As we enter into a new year we look forward with optimism, despite an understanding that we will be faced with many of the same challenges and obstacles as in 2020. In light of that, we want to ask our readers to help us create “Golden Moments” throughout 2021 to lighten our hearts and remind us why we do what we do!
These two think they are being coy about getting in the Koi pond. Congratulations Willie Nelson and Maggie for being selected the most mischievous dogs. As a result of winning this month's contest, their owner will receive a 25% off coupon to the NRGRR online store. Next month we're looking for your spring fever photos, so get your entries in by April 8th. Email your photos to

Thanks to everyone that submitted photos this month. A select few are shown below. All photos entered can be seen on our Golden Moments web page.
Golden Moments Entry Information
The Golden Moments photo contest is to simply share photos of NRGRR alumni and current fosters on our website, the Rescue Ranger newsletter, and on our social media pages. One photo will be selected monthly to win a 25% off coupon for the NRGRR online store. The winner will be selected based on alignment with the monthly theme as listed below, as well as composition and clarity. 

Please ensure the photos are focused and clear and sent in the original size. Close ups are best as they will be displayed in thumbnails. Your photos can be horizontal or vertical and can include people with the NRGRR alum or foster dog. (We cannot accept any professional photos and by submitting your photo you acknowledge NRGRR’s right to use your photo.)

We hope you will participate and make us all smile with your “Golden Moments” photos. Let us know if you have any questions and we're looking forward to seeing your masterpieces!
“Golden Moments of 2021” Themes
February: Most Heartfelt/romantic
March: Most mischievous dog

April: Spring fever

May: Most playful dog
June: Best swimming/water photo
July: Most patriotic dog
August: Best “dog day” photo
September: Football fever
October: Best Halloween costume
November: Most thankful face
December: Best holiday moment
Please submit your spring fever dog photos by April 8th.

Medical Tip of the Month
What's in a name?

In this month's medical blog post, our Medical Coordinator Katie McKay introduces us to the world of pet food, specifically reading pet food labels. You'll learn the types of labeling and what to look for to ensure the food you are giving your pet meets the nutritional levels for their life stage as established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. You will also learn how to decipher some of the labeling on pet treat and snack containers to gain insight into the ingredients in the food.
Support NRGRR
The ShopRaise app is an easy way to make philanthropy part of your online purchases. From groceries and apparel to technology and travel – a percentage of almost everything you buy will be donated back to NRGRR. The best thing is the program is free, you do not pay any more for the items you buy, and you get access to all the best coupons and deals. 
Facebook Fundraisers
Creating a fundraiser for NRGRR is super easy. Just click the link below and adjust a few details and you're all set. Share it with your friends and encourage them to help you raise money on Facebook.

In 2020, we received almost $10,000 from Facebook fundraisers! Help us raise even more in 2021.

Thank you February Facebook Fundraisers:
Lindsay's Birthday
Brittany's Birthday
Cool New Items!
Check out our new home decor items that we are excited about in our store!
They are all made by a dog lover who donates her time to help dogs in need. 
We are always looking for new ideas for store items. If there are any items you would like us to carry, email our store manager, Nikki D'Ambrose, and we will see if it's feasible for us to provide it to you.
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NRGRR is a 501(c)(3) organization in North Carolina that is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of Golden Retrievers in need. The organization advocates responsible pet ownership, community education and protection of all dogs.