Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A New Job for Ryka

By Heidi Sanders

Golden Retriever Ryka recently retired from her colorful career as a GDB breeding stock dog, but she's already found a new meaningful career as a therapy dog with the Friendship Foundation. Ryka joins my other retired GDB breeder, Nessa, who has been on the job as a therapy dog for three years.

During her career as a breeder, Ryka contributed twenty-seven puppies to Guide Dogs. For her first breeding she even traveled to the Guide Dog Foundation in New York! Ryka’s twenty-seven include her first “G” litter of 8, her gorgeous “L” litter of 11, and her last “P” litter Golden Retriever Rykaof 8 golden/lab crosses. So far, of these twenty-seven puppies two have become breeders, two Guide Dogs, one is in training with Canine Companions for Independence, and one was donated to Pawsitive Teams in San Diego. The others are either still in training or have changed careers. I am proud of Ryka’s legacy to Guide Dogs at the young age of 4 1/2.

Now that Ryka is retired I look forward to her new career with the Friendship Foundation. She has passed her initial tests, and I know much of her learning to become a good therapy dog will take place on the job. I am sure Ryka is thinking: “This is fun. I just go to places, people smile and pet me, I meet other nice dogs, and then I go home again. Wow, this is new to me, and I know I need to work on settling down, but this is very exciting for me. Wish me luck!”

Ryka and I look forward to our many visits with Friendship Foundation. She will take turns visiting with Nessa. We’ll see all of you out there on the job.


  1. Congratulations to you and Ryka, Heidi! Please give her a big hug from her friends in New York.


    Grete Eide
    Director of Canine Care
    Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

  2. Thank Ryka for giving me a wonderful puppy named Pilot. He is my challenge and my love. Keeps me on my toes.