Gold Standard Award
The deadline for the annual GRCA Gold Standard Award is February 28 of each year. This award is presented to honor a Golden Retriever who performs honorable, heroic acts or who enriches, inspires or contributes to the lives of individuals and communities during the previous year’s period. The owner of a nominated dog need not be a GRCA member. Nominations should be in the form of a 500-word or less description of how the Golden Retriever has demonstrated excellence. Please include photo of the dog, dog’s name, sex, age and AKC number, owner’s name, address and telephone number (email address if applicable), and the name, address, telephone number (and email address) of the GRCA member making the nomination. Nominations must be postmarked by February 28 of the current year and mailed to the GRCA Secretary. The Board of Directors shall determine the winning nomination at the Mid Year Board Meeting.
Dog’s Name: Whitewolf’s Blue Diamond
Female, 11 years old
Owners: Dennis & Myra Kalodish
GRCA Nominator: Sally H. Ray
Diamond is an exceptional Golden Retriever who has served and comforted many people in her 500+ therapy dog visits. Diamond has touched the lives of many ill patients and senior citizens with her gentle, sensitive nature. In one instance, a hospital social worker called on behalf of the “Make-A-wish” foundation. A nine year old girl named Maddy who had previously met Diamond, requested to spend alone time with Diamond as her wish. For more than an hour, Diamond gave Maddy her undivided attention and affection. The two cuddled and smiled together. They were able to cherish one more visit before Maddy passed away in October 2011. Diamond was so special to Maddy and made such a difference in that child’s life that her father has asked for a copy of the GRCA Gold Standard Award should Diamond be recognized with such an award.
Diamond has served at the new Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, where she has had the opportunity to distract a child during a painful procedure. Diamond has also served numerous facilities within the Memorial Regional Hospital (MRH). She has served at the MRH South Regional Center, MRH Breast Cancer Center, and MRH Hospice by the Sea. Her impact the Memorial Regional Hospital has been recognized. MRH’s “Angel Program” recognized Diamond after a patient made a donation to the hospital’s foundation in Diamond’s name. This was the first time a furry hospital team member has received such an honor! Diamond has been recognized for her service by other organizations as well. In 2011, Diamond received the “Exceptional Volunteer Award” by Therapy Dogs International for her 500+ documented therapy dog visits. She is also one of the first dogs in the county to be honored with AKC”s “TDH” title.
Diamond also serves end of life patients and families at homes by request. In addition to her hospital work, Diamond entertains and provides company to senior citizens at nursing homes.
Diamond is currently being treated for cancer to the upper jaw but continues to perform her regular therapy visits. Perhaps fighting cancer herself she understands the patients better than many humans do. Her friendly, reliable, trustworthy temperament allows her to enrich and contribute to the individuals she serves. Whether her patients are young or elderly, Diamond serves with gentle enthusiasm. So Diamond’s for Maddy, and Diamond’s for all.