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Rescued dog helps pay it forward

Written by Tina Hill and printed in the Welland Tribune on July 14, 2009 (permission was provided to Golden Rescue to print this in our newsletter)

The St. John Ambulance program is always looking for new volunteers but not everyone passes the evaluation. Everyone who is tested is told that their dogs may not be a good match for this particular volunteer experience, but that does not mean that they don’t have a great dog. It takes a special partnership to succeed with this program.

Our newest members, John Lynagh and his beautiful Golden Retriever, Kate, definitely have what it takes. From the moment they passed their evaluation, they became involved and ready to take up any and all challenges that have come their way. They have already participated in their first parade and enjoyed all of the positive attention at Lewis and Krall pharmacy’s Axe the Taxes event. Having just completed their inaugural visits to the new Chartwell senior’s residence, they were naturals at making people smile and putting their best feet ~ or in Kate’s case, paws ~ forward. Kate’s tail did not stop wagging the whole time she was visiting. She freely and willingly met everyone and even doled out a few kisses along the way to the delight of her newfound admirers.

Lynagh’s laid back, at ease style complements this miracle girl perfectly.  Lynagh’s heart lies with the Golden Rescue group that he helps ~ fostering and rescuing distressed, unwanted, and abandoned dogs. Rescue groups such as this are the salvation for many wonderful animals who are looking for their forever homes.

During the last three years, Lynagh has fostered several Retrievers ~ three of which have captured his heart and became part of his family. His home is filled with the happy tales of Gage, Jake, and of course, little Kate.

Kate’s story is extraordinary and simply proves that a dog’s love is unconditional.  Kate was hit by a bus, her hind quarter was shattered. She has been fitted with so many pins, steel plates, and other parts that it may very well qualify her as St. John Ambulance’s first semi-bionic member. When Lynagh received her to foster about two-and-a-half years ago, he needed to take her outside with a sling holding up her hind end. Slowly but surely she became more mobile and her wounds healed. She shows no trepidation; she is a very open and loving dog who loves attention and is extremely well behaved. Of course, Lynagh fell for this playful little pooch and the rest, as they say, is history.

Kate became a permanent part of Lynagh’s life and now St. John Ambulance is thrilled to include this wonderful twosome into its group of dedicated volunteers. Watching the happiness that Kate exhibits while visiting her new friends is amazing. Lynagh’s work, love, and caring have paid off in positive ways, demonstrating the necessity of rescue groups and loving humans who are willing to take up the challenge of adopting wonderful pets. It also shows how the pets, in turn, can forward that love and playfulness to other people.

Lynagh is already talking about have his other dog, Gage, evaluated for the therapy dog program ~ a very good sign that he is enjoying what he does.

For more information about how to join the group or to have volunteers visit your facility, please contact St. John Ambulance at 905-735-6431 or visit its website at 

Tina Hill is the co-ordinator for St. John’s therapy dog program.


Picture  - John Lynagh and Kate #820