Sissy Belle - Charlie/Sasha 2020
Dearest Rhonda and Stephanie (and Todd and all the rest of you wonderful Snitkers)
This is a long overdue report on Sissy Belle (left) and Lily Grace (right) and their handsome big brother Dickens (middle)
We “accidentally” found Snitker Goldens a little more than 4 1/2 years ago after our old blue heeler Sadie crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We still had two Red Golden girls that we had rescued when they were young but my husband had decided he really wanted an English cream golden and he wanted a puppy. We had never “bought” a puppy or used a breeder. We lived in the country and always had extra strays and rescues. Anyway, I started an internet search. There are many breeders out there for English Creams. Some professional and some back yard breeders. Some seemed very good and credible and others not at all. We have homes in Texas and in NC so I tried to focus in those areas for convenience. However, I kept being “drawn” back to a page that compelled me to them. Nothing said they were Christians. Nothing bragged about themselves or touted their accomplishments. But they did tell about their policies and practices. There were photos of the family and the farm and the dogs. Even the dogs were smiling. 🥰 But mostly it was the tug in my heart. Finally, I sent an email. I filled out the application and asked, “Do you happen to have a male puppy available?” Quickly the answer came back by phone call, we have ONE! I asked the price. Having never purchased a dog or worked without a breeder I told Stephanie I would need to talk to my husband and call her back. I was sure he would say no. He said YES! The rest is a wonderful happy history!!! One of our employees asked, did they run out of dogs in Texas???? No. I truly believe that God Himself led us straight to Iowa to Snitker Goldens.
Dickens was our first.
To say he is the best dog ever is an understatement. He is stunningly beautiful. He is one of the most loving and loyal creatures anyone could ever want. He was almost house trained from the moment we picked him up. He has grown into everyone’s best friend including our friends. He took care of our two red girls as they were dying from cancer and loved them to the end.
3 1/2 years later, we added a Carlie/Goose girl to our pack—Lily Grace was absolutely perfect from the day I picked her up. She fit us to a tee. She and Dickens meshed and fell in love. She became best buddies with my close friend’s lab puppy nearly the same age. She’s very sensitive to all of our needs and comes to give love if she thinks we need anything at all. If she thinks we are sick, she runs to help. She’s quiet and gentle and elegant. She’s perfect.
We loved the Charlie factor so much that we begged Rhonda to make an exception and allow us the privilege of having one of her special pairing—Charlie/Sasha. It was a hard decision for her but we feel so honored that she agreed and we added Sissy Belle in May of this year—2020. She’s only 9 months younger than her half sister Lily Grace so they frolic and play and are quite the pair. She’s bright and intelligent and absolutely gorgeous. She is sweet and loving and coming into her own in such lovely ways. She’s learning come and stay and heel. All of the other basics she had mastered almost immediately. She too is perfect.
I realize this is long but what I hope to convey with is that Snitker Goldens are different. I’ve seen many Goldens everywhere in the world. Of course they’re all lovely and sweet. But there is a real difference in these and I know it for a fact. It’s the imprinting and the daily, almost hourly love and attention these pups are given literally from the moment they are born. I’ve watched videos of Rhonda, exhausted but still sitting on the floor with 12 little pups crawling all over her, massaging each one’s ears and bellies, teaching hem gently and sweetly but firmly at the same time, what is good behavior and what is not. No one else does this. She is truly gifted like no other. Her heart is for raising pure and good dogs that will be gifts from God to the families or individuals who need them forever.
I will always sing the praises of Snitker Goldens.
With So Much Love and Gratitude
Carol Anne (and Billie) Hanks
Sissy Belle, Dickens and Lily Grace
Murphy - Hollie/Bart 2020
Murphy is doing great! She loves playing with her older sister Mia and brother Rudy. She is a big snuggler, and is so happy to see you when you’ve been away. She loves rides on Lake Michigan but isn’t crazy about being in the lake yet! She is “an angel” at daycare and she made it into the neighbor’s family photo. Pretty much everybody loves this dog especially us!️
Annie - Victoria/Bart 2020
Hi Rhonda & Stephanie!
We thought you might like to see what our Miss Purple (from Victoria and Bart) is up to these days – today she is 16 weeks old. Her name is Annie Rose, although we have shortened it to Annie. She has been a wonderful addition to our family. She is a fabulous puppy. Annie is so smart, attentive and intuitive, and friendly and very affectionate; every time someone new sees her their first reaction is “aww, look at that beautiful puppy.” She just makes people smile. Looking into her eyes could soften the hardest heart. She is so earnest in her desire to do what you want her to do. A few people have asked me if they could take her picture, and a few have asked where we got her.
She just fit right into the family the way a new baby would – it’s almost like she had a built in routine that fit right in with ours. She woke up in the night (around 2, 2:30) to go potty for 9 days, on the 10th night I woke up and was so startled that I checked to make sure she was breathing! I would carry her downstairs, take her outside, and as soon as her feet were on the grass she would go potty. I’d carry her back in, back in her crate and we both went back to sleep for another few hours. She’s had a few liquid accidents in the house, because of us forgetting that playing with Mellie is still vigorous play and she needs to go out right after. I’m still carrying her down the stairs (she’s 27 pounds) but I think she will master them in the next few weeks. She can go down 4 or 5 steps ok, but it must be too intimidating to start at the very top. I don’t mind carrying her – she snuggles in and doesn’t wriggle around, and when she’s sleepy, she puts her head down on my shoulder. Doesn’t that just make you melt?
Mellie, our 5 year old Lab is so good with her and is helpful in teaching her the ways of the world. From Annie’s first day at home, Mellie has not been too far from her. (picture above) I think Mellie has boosted her confidence in approaching the world – for example, on one of our first walks, Annie (8 weeks) was spooked and growled because she saw the plastic 3 feet tall guy that holds a “Slow” flag that a neighbor has at the end of his driveway, but when Mellie walked up to it and sniffed it, Annie followed her to sniff it alongside her. Mellie has probably seen the plastic figure 1,000 times, she never goes to sniff it anymore – I know in my heart she was showing Annie it was ok to come and sniff! If the trash truck doesn’t bother Mellie, it doesn’t bother Annie. It’s fascinating to watch. Same thing with introducing the doggie stroller; Mellie was fine with it so Annie was fine with it! (Pictures of that attached) We use the stroller for Annie on longer walks, so she could walk a bit then ride a bit. We are trying to be so careful about her growth plates and knees and hips! We still have several carpet runners down and different mats so she won’t slide on the hardwood.
There have only been a few things that have need extra treats for bravery -- learning how to ride an elevator, and how to walk across a swinging bridge. All it takes is one or two times, and she’s got it forever. We have accomplished almost everything on the socialization checklist – despite Covid, Annie has gone into stores to meet people, playgrounds, parks, parking ramp, my office. City streets and suburban streets. She has met people of all ages and races. I started carrying my hand sanitizer on the leash because people want to pet her. Thank goodness I have no problem with asking people to use it – we had to do it for therapy training. Teenagers love her (this always surprises me, I tend to think they are “too cool”. We caused a pick-up basketball game to stop because the guys had to come over and make a fuss over her.) Everyone on our street loves her. Mellie basks in the extra attention. Annie has, of course, gone to the vet for her shots, but she has also gone to the vet for a friendly visit where they let her ride on the table, sniff equipment, greet all the staff, and get treats.
We go in the car to go to different parks to walk and to go to our classes so she associates the car with good things to come. She is always up for a new adventure. She loves our son and his fiancé and has spent some time at their apartment in the city. Anisha, our future daughter-in-law, has longed for a golden retriever since she was a child. She adores Mellie, and is loving Annie to pieces. She has said that she wanted a dark honey golden, but she said last week, after spending the afternoon with Annie, that she is changing her mind and personality is more important than color and they want one like Annie. Maybe for a wedding present next summer, if they can find a house to buy! Their apartment, even though it is a two family house with a fenced yard, it is no pets allowed ☹
We have attended puppy kindergarten (currently in our 2nd session of 4 classes, she only has 2 more because then she’ll be too old) – not so much because we needed the basics, but because we want Annie to have proper socialization with other puppies. She has played with Mellie from day one – although Annie was doing the playing and Mellie was doing the tolerating. We were actually worried that Annie might be too rough with puppies because she is used to Mellie, but she was the exact opposite! She was the most gentle one in the class. She doesn’t like to be chased by other puppies and will run straight for our feet and sit between them for several seconds, until her curiosity gets the better of her and then she’s on her way back to the other puppies.
At the same time we started training classes at the Animal Humane Society; the first class was virtual – it was actually pretty good except for having to move the dining room table every week. She moved up out of that in a few weeks; we started Level 2 in in-person classes (masked, following good safety protocols) and she passed out of Level 2 in just 3 weeks. First picture above is at AHS class. When the instructor said Annie was moving up, and gave us her certificate, I said I didn’t think she was ready! Her loose leash walking in class is fine, outside in the real world it is not so fine but we are working on it. We walk 3 times a day, so are getting lots of practice. We have had our first Level 3 class, and it is going well. It seems like when we follow the instructions for the skill, she’ll do it twice and then she has it mastered.
Lest you think she is perfect, however, she is sometimes a puppy on a mission. I was worried for a few days that she has ADD! She had two speeds – fast and off. The “sleeping with pink duck” picture is an example—she an Mellie had been playing with it, next thing Annie’s sleeping on it! She is very busy, but able to play with her toys on her own, as well as with Mellie. She loves mulch, too much! Sticks. Pine cones. Loves to dig. (The playground picture above is where we discovered that digging in pea gravel was as much fun as digging in dirt.) For the first few weeks we were constantly fishing things out of her mouth. We also had to pay attention when she was using a chew toy – it was easy for her to slip from the Nylabone to the leg of a chair. Fortunately, she did not chew any furniture or sneakers. She loves to pick up sneakers and carry them around before chewing, but since someone is always keeping an eye on her, we have time to redirect. Fortunately she is excellent with us substituting a toy for the sneaker. I actually bought her last two toys based on their fabric – if it felt like sneaker fabric or rubbery, I got it. Worked somewhat ☹ Larry suggested giving her an old sneaker to chew and play with, but I feel that she won’t know “her” sneaker from mine, so that’s just asking for trouble!
She is getting over the mulch fascination as she discovers bigger sticks. She loves to sit outside and watch the birds at the feeders. This week squirrels are the new novelty. All normal puppy behavior.
We love watching her grow and discover the world. She makes us laugh with some of her antics. When she does a head-tilt I turn into mush – she’s just too cute. She is absolutely fascinating to work with because she catches on so quickly. The picture from 7-20, with the two of them running in their playroom, is the most recent photo.
Annie sleeps in her bedroom crate at night (probably for a few more months) and last month we started daytime crate training because I’ll have to go back to the office at some point. She goes in her crate from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., then our next door neighbor, teenage dog-sitter comes over to take her out and they all play and have lunch, and I’m home by 1:00. In the afternoon when I am working at home, and I say that I have to go do email, Annie comes to sleep by my feet, with Mellie just a few feet away.
Having some experience with our dogs has probably helped with a smooth transition for Annie, but the bigger reason, we think, is because she is simply a fabulous puppy. Thank you so much!
I hope all is well with you and your family, both human and canine! We will be in touch as Annie grows through the year!
Wyman - Harper/Goose 2020
Just wanted to thank you and the Snitker Golden family once again for the most amazing pup ever!!! Wyman is the sweetest and gentleness pup ever. He is so smart he can sit, stay, lay down, shake hands, heal, come, wait, drop and fetch.
He is a reflection of you and the Snitker family and all the time and love you give these pups before they find their forever family’s. Wyman is so calm and friendly with every toddler he meets, elderly with walkers and people in wheelchairs. We are so blown away with him.
The most amazing pup ever!!! Thanks for choosing Jim and I to be his forever family!!!!
PS. He adores his 9 nephews and 2 nieces and they all want to keep him but nana and pa won’t give him up
Milo - Callie/Bart 2020
I can not begin to tell how much joy Milo has brought to our family, During this pandemic he has brought us countless smiles daily. He is such a happy boy and wants so badly to please us. He is doing so good on his loose leash walks. I take him every day and he looks forward to it and jumps right in the car. He has learned his "stay" command so when I open the car door he will sit quietly until I have his leash hooked up and release him to jump out with "all done"!
He has fit right in with Mia and Mabel. Mabel has been the surprise as she has taken him under her wing and he worships her! Mabel is a daddy's girl and follows me everywhere... so Milo has become my second shadow! He loves water and this summer during the evenings has been wet more than dry!!!
- Milo's Family
Hello Snitker family,
Wanted to check in during the midst of this pandemic. Hoping you are all safe and healthy. The “brothers” are doing great. During January, Hawkeye/Hayden spent about 3 weeks training with Anna Childs at Adelhorst Kennels. She ended up keeping Hayden for another few weeks after that. We got them back home just before the pandemic hit here. Thank goodness.
Anna and her daughter at Adelhorst kennels, LOVED both of the boys but Hayden captured a special place in their hearts as he has all of us. Hayden is doing great. We have an “in training” service vest on him. Before the pandemic hit, we were taking Hayden to nursing homes, group homes and where people with disabilities have day programs. He was and is doing FABULOUS. We couldn’t ask for a better boy. However, right now we are staying home and can’t do service work. We will get back to it once there is a vaccine for this nasty COVID-19.
Hawkeye and Hayden are inseparable. They sleep together, eat together, play together and follow each other around. Peas in a pod. However, we definitely know we picked the wrong name out for Hayden. He should have been named, porky, piglet, soda, hoagie or biscuit; something “food” related. He is a pig when it comes to his food bowl.
Here are some pictures of the boys. Hayden has grown from little guy into a big guy. We love them both dearly and are so blessed to have them and you guys in our lives.
Please stay safe and healthy.
Blessings to all of you, your families and the dogs.
Love, Richard, Lynne Schaefer – Hawkeye and Hayden (bark, bark)
Hero - Coco/Bart 2019
Good afternoon!!! I hope you are all doing well! I figured it was past time to give a good update. We. Love. Hero!!
We came up with the name “Hero” quite by accident. We were sitting around shouting out names. Someone said, “Did you say ‘Hero’?” The response, “No. But hey!! That’s a great name!” It just came to us!
We brought him home just before the fallout of COVID-19. Two of our boys were home for spring break from college at the US Naval Academy, and the virus would assure they did not go back to finish out their semester or summer trainings. Our youngest also entered into “distance learning” in high school. Work moved into work-from-home. Volunteerism ceased to exist. 5 peeps. 3 dogs. Life condensed to at-home.
Hero brought life and growth and smiles and happiness into our chaos. He’s a dude. A puppy, to be sure. Instant BFF to Scout. Entertainment. Work. Fun. Friend. He was and still is an absolutely welcome addition to uncertain times!! Everybody loves him!
He loves everyone, but he has especially “taken a liking” to our oldest son. They hike by the creek, daily. Enjoy early summer evenings with guitar music. Just hangout anywhere. They have an extra-special bond! Even as Hero belongs to all of us!
How many times has a dog been such a blessing to a family? Maybe every time one is brought home? Maybe it’s rare to love a dog this much? Who’s to say. But Hero is a family member that was meant to be. We all couldn’t possibly love him more!!
He’s our Hero!
On a side note, we have been using Life’s Abundance since bringing Hero home, and have switched Scout and Webster to it as well. There is such a difference! They seem more satisfied. Excellent coat. Less shedding (I think), and - excuse the gross factor - better poop (dense and much easier to clean up)! We’re sold!
Again, wishing all our best to you and your families. Keep up the great work. It certainly shows!!
All our best!
The McCabe Family
Opal - Victoria/Bart 2020
I just saw the picture of a sweet pup form Mabel’s litter, and wanted to share one from Victoria’s litter - here’s our sweet, sweet Opal!!! She’s doing great. :)
Opal has truly completed our family! Everyday, we wake up and come downstairs, and she greets each of us like it’s Christmas morning and we’re the present she’s wanted all year. She is just an absolute lover and gently asks everyone we pass if she could please, please, please have some pets!
Ryder - Harper/Goose 2020
Dear Snitker Goldens Family,
Ryder’s first trip to the beach...loves watching all the things...boats, birds, people swimming in nearby pools, riding in cousin’s jeep...weeeeeee! AND the fireworks (NEXT DOOR) didn’t seem to bother him! Yay! Hurray! Cheers to Snitker Imprinting! Happy Happy Happy!
Ryder has had a great week! He attended his first training class and is already learning to walk on a leash and understanding leash pressure. He was a perfect gentleman. He’s doing really well, and we are so pleased! Imprinting matters! ️
We have returned to the beach for a few days, and Emily enjoyed capturing some photos this evening on the dock. Wanted to share. This boy loves sitting on the dock! Look how big and tall he is! He’s about 25 pounds now, and still calls mealtimes some of the best times of the day!
We send our love and continued thanks for our handsome, wonderful, sweet companion!
The Bonds family
Wynston - Mabel/Bart 2020
Good Afternoon Stephanie,
I just wanted to send you a note to also pass along to Rhonda and team.
Our puppy Wynston, Mr Orange (Bart/Mabel) is doing really well in our home. He is an amazing little man. The first night was a little sad for him, but after the second night he has adjusted well and now isn’t crying a night. He is excited to see our kids in the morning when they wake up and is just a great joy to our family.
I am very grateful for all the work you, Bethany, Mike and Rhonda have all done with these little pups. Every person who encounters our dog makes the comment “What a well behaved pup”. We are just amazed by all the skills Wynston already knows and does daily. This is my first dog after 30+ years of wanting one and waiting until it was the right time for us. I feel blessed to have found your family and have this new addition to ours.
We took him to his vet appointment last week and he was already at 15lbs, up 3 lbs from the week before. The vet also shared what a good dog he is and that he will be a big boy, which is crazy to see them grow up so fast.
Again, thank you for all of your hardworking and dedication. I hope Rhonda’s last treatment went well. We have had her in our prayers.
Thank you for the bottom of our hearts. We feel truly blessed to have this amazing new family member and just wanted to share our thanks.
Be well and take care.
Becky, Ben, Benjie and Gigi
Not sure who’s happier - my son, Benjie or Wynston. :)