Dana 17-202


Dana is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She is a big girl who is eagerly learning about life with other dogs, cats, and people. Dana was surrendered by a family who was moving into a situation where they couldn't bring Dana. She is as sweet as can be and is very eager to learn.

At a Glance #17-202

Mixed Breed 9 years old
Female 83 lbs

Available as of February 16, 2018
Fostered in Spicer, MN

Status: Closed to Applications
Adoption fee: $175

Children ages 10+
See updates for details
See updates for details
Physical fence optional
Medium energy
Children ages 10+
See updates for details
See updates for details
Physical fence optional
Medium energy

Dana's Sponsors


Dana is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She is a big girl who is eagerly learning about life with other dogs, cats, and people. Dana was surrendered by a family who was moving into a situation where they couldn't bring Dana. She is as sweet as can be and is very eager to learn.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

We’ve just received the results of the DNA test that we had run on Dana. We weren’t surprised when the test revealed that one side of her parentage is pure-bred Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

We also weren’t terribly surprised to see that she has some Labrador Retriever in her background. We never would have guessed that she is also part Airedale Terrier! According to the test, our girl is 50% Chessie, 37.5% Lab, and 12.5% Airedale.

One of the best parts of being a foster parent is getting to watch your dog take those small steps forward. Ever since Dana joined our family she has always considered the kennel in the living room as her safe spot. 

Even though she has had free roam here for a long time, she would always choose to spend her nights in her kennel in the living room while the rest of the family (2 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 humans) would pile into the bedroom. Last night she decided to join the rest of her pack, sleeping on the comfy dog bed that has been there waiting for her.

Another new experience this week has been learning to use the Gentle Leader collar. It took a couple of days before she felt comfortable with the different feel, but now she gets excited when we hook it up to the leash and put it on her. It’s made a big difference in walking her as she no longer tries to pull like a tractor when she is in a hurry to get somewhere.

We’ve all been enjoying (finally) some great spring weather. Dana loves the new smells, letting the breeze blow through her hair, and sleeping out in the sun on our deck. 

We think that the only thing that would make her happier would be finding her own home and family. If you think you might be that family, send in an application. We’d love to talk to you about her!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Dana had another good week. Because she wasn’t well socialized with other animals, she is still a work in progress. For example, she wants to chase cats and will bark at them. When she catches up she wants to play. Our cats are dog savvy, but cats who are not could have a problem with Dana's tendency to chase and bark at them.

This past week, for the first time, we could see that she is trying to figure out how to play with her foster brothers. She doesn’t quite know the signals yet, but we can see the wheels turning in her doggie brain, trying to figure out how to join in.

Their toys aren’t particularly interesting to her. But she has a big tether-ball that she likes, although she is hesitant to play with it when they’re around.

One day last week, when her brothers were at the groomer’s and she was alone with us, we brought out her ball. She was all in for a solid fifteen minutes! The ball was batted, tossed into the air, and nosed around the living room. This was followed by a nice long nap.

Dana 17-202

As a dark-colored dog, Dana is hard to capture in photos. This week we finally got a “portrait” that shows her color accurately. She is beautiful: her brown fur has hints of chocolate along with lighter highlights.

Dana 17-202

Another new venture for Dana is being on alert with her brothers for "crumb clean-up duty" under the dining room table. Here she is with foster bro Tank. Yes, they look asleep, but if one crumb hits the floor, they are instantly awake and on duty.

Dana 17-202

Sunday, March 25, 2018

In looking over our updates on Dana we’ve seen two themes that run through most of them. One is “Dana the medical patient” and the other is “Dana the serious looking dog.” While both are part of her story, we should have done a better job of showing you the other aspects of her life with us and her personality.

Dana received more good news on the medical front. Her surgery rehab on her left rear knee is complete. She can run, even jump a little, and moves around the way she should.

Her surgeon will not be operating on her right rear knee. She says Dana is not favoring it, and the muscle mass is building up normally on both sides of her rear.

The most encouraging thing for us and for Dana is that the scar on her left rear paw, where she had a lump removed, no longer bothers her so she is not always trying to lick it.

We believe that it is beginning to permanently heal over. It no longer cracks open during exercise, so Dana can romp in the snow, run around the house, and play with her ball. Best of all, she can do all of the above without having to wear that miserable plastic cone!

In some ways we think that Dana will always be a serious dog. We live in the country, on a lake, and she feels that it’s her job to protect us against threats like the Fed Ex man, squirrels sneaking up onto our deck, deer coming into our yard, or neighbors coming home late at night.

We work at redirecting her, and she is open to that, but no way will she give up her job to warn and protect us! We think that city living in an apartment or condo wouldn’t be the best environment for her.

Life in the country or in a quiet neighborhood would be great for this girl. As her knee and paw have healed from her surgeries, we’re starting to see her playful side coming out.

The prospect of food and treats brings out her happy side. The mad dash to her kennel (where we feed her), complete with three or four 360-degree spins are the highlights of her day.

She’s been working on sitting and staying once she gets there and before she gets fed. So far she can hold the “sit” for five seconds before she eats. She (and we) are quite proud of that!

Slowly, but surely, Dana is also coming to understand that she is just a bit too big to be a lap dog. She is figuring out that sitting quietly at our feet for her pets and cuddling isn’t really a bad thing.

Unless she is sleeping, she wants to be near us. She’s actually been quite helpful in the kitchen, keeping the floor clean and helping to get rid of carrot ends and cheese trimmings!

Dana is ready to find her own forever home. If you think that you might be a match we’d surely love to talk with you about this very special girl!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hi Everyone! This is Dana, trying my paw at writing my own update. I’m doing pretty well here if I do say so myself. My foster mom and dad say that the doctor thought that the x-rays of my left rear knee show that it’s healed really well.

Now, if they could just figure out how to keep the scar on my left rear paw from cracking open everything would be perfect. Dr. R is going to look at it this week and see if she can figure out how to make it heal faster. I don’t know if I like going to the vet office all that well, but I really LOVE my car rides!

Meanwhile I have to keep wearing my big, plastic cone a lot of the time. I just can’t help licking at my paw when I’m lying on my dog bed. The good news is that when I’m just hanging around with my people, I can have it off.

My sometimes obnoxious foster brothers are still here. I think I like them (especially to take my walks with), but sometimes I know it would be great to be an only dog. I do let them know when they’re bugging me, and they are pretty good about listening to me. Foster mom says I’m bossy, but I say that I’m just a good communicator.

When we get this whole knee/foot thing figured out I’ll be ready for my forever home. If you think that we might be a good match, let RAGOM know. I know that foster mom and dad would be happy to tell you all about me.

Thanks for reading about me!

Your friend,

Friday, February 16, 2018

It’s been a while since we updated you on how Dana is doing. Next week will be 8 weeks since her dual surgeries to remove the tumor on her paw and to repair her left rear knee. We’ll be taking Dana in to have her knee X-rayed. If everything looks good, she’ll be ready have her final surgery on her right rear knee.

From what we’ve seen in these past eight weeks, we’re believers in the surgery. Dana is perkier than she was when she came into our family. We’re now at the stage where we can take her for vigorous walks, and she loves them.

She has started to venture into the snow, and she’s having a wonderful time. We’re sure that she is already in a lot less pain than she was, even with one knee to go.

We’re anticipating that her second knee surgery should take place around the middle of March, and the rehab from that procedure should be complete by mid-May. It is now just a timing issue.

Based on that, we are going to make this sweet girl available for adoption so that we can start talking to potential adopters. With a commitment to completing her rehab, Dana could possibly go to her forever home by the first of May.

The only thing that our Dana hasn’t done well with following her operations has been healing from the surgery to remove the tumor on her left rear paw. Because it is located at a place on her paw that flexes, the wound has been slow to heal.

Poor Dana has had to spend way more time than she wants wearing her plastic cone so that she doesn’t lick at it. We’re sure that it itches! Hopefully, she won’t need it much longer.

Here are some things for you to think about if you are interested in adopting Dana. She is a sweet, loving dog, but we think that she is quite different from a Golden Retriever in a number of ways.

Dana is very intelligent and picks up on new things very quickly, but she is entirely treat-motivated and not at all motivated by doing something just to please her people.

She is strongly bonded to us, her family, but is somewhat indifferent to new people coming into the house. She’s not at all hostile, but it will take her some time to warm to visitors.

She is the same way with other dogs and cats. She is interested in them and gets along well, but she has little interest in becoming great friends. She will be OK to live with other animals, but we think she’d love being your only dog.

Another of her endearing (or sometimes exasperating) traits is that she is a talker. She has an entire vocabulary of various whines, whimpers, etc., when she is excited.

Unlike our resident dogs, she has picked up on the fact that when Foster Dad wears a certain winter jacket, it means that he’s almost always going outside to get into the car. This starts up an entire excited monologue about how much she would like to come along.

She has her own happy dance, complete with commentary, when it’s time to eat breakfast or supper. There are also guard-dog traits that are part of the Chessie breed, and she does her best to convince her foster brother and sister to join her to warn us of the approach of squirrels, chipmunks, or FedEx drivers.

One last difference you may want to consider is her physical strength. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are the strongest of all of the retriever breeds. Even with bum knees, Dana is a powerful girl. Good training on walks helps, but keep in mind that, if she was to be spooked by something, she would be hard to stop.

We use an Easy Walk harness, which has made a big difference. While we don’t require a fenced yard for her, we will be giving positive consideration to potential adopters who have one, as it may be a safer environment for her.

Dana is a great girl, and we’re totally in love with her. It has been fun seeing her getting better after her surgery. She’ll have just the one further operation, and then she should be good to go, pain-free, to her forever home. She will make some lucky individual or family very happy.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Here is a quick update on Dana. We hope that we didn’t confuse you in our last update when we talked about her three surgeries. When we took Dana in to visit her surgeon to prepare for what we thought would be one operation to remove the mast cell tumor on her left rear paw, Dr. R immediately saw that Dana also had ruptured ACL’s in both her rear knees.

One surgery quickly became three. Dana’s first surgery day (December 28) was to remove the mast cell tumor and to perform a TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) on her left rear knee. When this leg is healed, Dana will go back in and have the same procedure done on her right rear knee.

We’re in recovery mode and things are going pretty well. We do daily physical therapy per Dr. R’s very detailed instructions. Each week sees a progression of exercises.

Here is Dana, with foster dad applying a cold pack, following a range-of-motion exercise (hot compresses followed by range of motion exercises, followed by a cold pack). As you can see, Dana has learned to tolerate this pretty well. She absolutely loves the hot compresses!

The cold weather has hampered some of our timed walking outside, but we’re doing what we can in the house. This week we've started having her sitting on command, standing back up, sitting, etc. This has been a hit with Dana, because this exercise comes with treats for good performance.

From what we understand, Dana will still likely be dealing with arthritis as she gets older, but a lot of the pain that she has been patiently enduring should be gone and her rear legs will be more stable. We already see a difference (even with one bad knee and one knee still recovering) in terms of her desire to climb up on things.

We have all we can do to keep her from putting too much strain on her knee by jumping up on things, but she shows signs of wanting to climb up now, which she never did before.

While we’re all more or less stuck inside during this miserably cold weather, we’re working on other training to keep busy. Dana, and her two foster brothers will bark at all intruders: UPS delivery men, squirrels, deer, neighbors in their back yards, etc. We’re all doing exercises to stop the barking quickly by redirecting them from barking and going to a spot in the living room.

Rewards, of course, are offered. Dana is actually the best at catching on to this “game.” Dana has also mastered a stay command at the front door to let one of us or one of the other dogs go out the door without pushing to follow. Again, Dana is very quick on the pick-up.

Our plan is that after her second knee surgery, when she is into at least a few weeks of recovery (and we know what the likely recovery timetable is), we will open her up for adoption so that we can begin reviewing applications for her.  Please stay tuned! 

One final thought: Dana, like many of the rescued dogs who come into RAGOM, needed medical attention. We’re so happy that RAGOM is doing what’s necessary to give Dana the best life she can have. All of this costs money, of course. If you are able to and so inclined, please consider sponsoring Dana or any of our other wonderful rescued pups.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Dana had her first surgery day last Thursday and quite a day it was! The plan was to remove the mast cell tumor on her left rear paw along with reconstructing her left rear knee.

In the process of intubating her in preparation for the surgery, Dr. R discovered a small growth near her larynx and decided that this should be removed as well. It was a full day for the poor girl, as it also involved a 2½ hour ride home over slippery roads. 

We’ve learned yet another lesson about dogs in the few days while she has been rehabbing. Our biggest concerns revolved around how we were going to support her on her trips outside to do her jobs and help her get back into the warm house and over to her dog bed.

This was the case on Friday, but when Saturday came around we could see that our biggest responsibility had rapidly become how to keep her quiet and moving slowly to let the wounds heal! She is starting to put weight on her leg, and when the mood hits her, she would like to move faster than we think she should!

Dr. R gave us a very detailed rehab plan, which we are working our way through. We do some range of motion exercises along with cold packs in week 1 and also do two, five-minute short, slow walks every day.

Each week the exercises increase in scope and duration as do the walks. She’s been a great patient so far. Dana has spent a lot of time on her dog bed in her kennel, but she has also spent time with her foster brothers on the rug. 

She got her dressings changed on Saturday, and she’s down to just a dressing and bandage on her paw. She is doing better every day.  She eats well and does her jobs.

Although she sleeps a lot, she is now back to her job of “pre-treating” the dishes as they go into the dishwasher, as well as helping her foster brothers bark at squirrels who venture onto our deck.

Dana’s other big news is that she has lost 10 pounds from when she came to RAGOM. She now weighs 85 pounds. This is just what she will need with her repaired knees, as one of the keys to long-term success from the knee surgeries is for her to minimize the strain by carrying less weight.

We’ll keep you all informed about Dana’s progress.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hi, Dana fans. You may have noticed that Dana's status has been changed from "Adopt Me" to "Unavailable" for the time being. When Dana came into RAGOM our Vet discovered a lump growing on her left rear foot, between two of her toes. We decided to have it aspirated, and it appeared that there were some cancer cells present.

The next step was to do a biopsy to try and pin down exactly what was going on. The reports came back that Ms. Dana has a Mast Cell Tumor that is cancerous, but that it appears to be a Stage II (of four stages, increasing in severity as the number goes up). That is good news in that it is one of the best outcomes we could hope for.

The complicating factor is that the tumor is growing between her toes, so the trick is going to be in removing the growth with as little collateral damage as possible. Our wonderful vet surgeon, Dr. R., is in the process of determining the best approach to take, and we will be setting up a date for the surgery very soon.

Meanwhile we thought it best to make Dana unavailable for adoption until we know more about what the timeline for her recovery will be. We'll let you know as soon as we know.

Some special thanks go out to Lisa B. who has recently sponsored Ms. Dana. With the surgery, Ms. Dana can definitely use any sponsorships she can get to help RAGOM cover the costs.

Meanwhile, Ms. Dana, who lives very much in the moment, is happily moving along with her life. We see progress every day as she gets more comfortable with living inside with a family and interacting with her pack (two Goldens and two cats).

When she came home from having her biopsy, Dana had to wear the dreaded "cone of shame" for several days. Luckily, she discovered that the cone wouldn't prevent her from doing her favorite job—pretreating our dirty dishes before they are run through the dishwasher.

The other highlight of Dana's week was her new orthopedic dog bed. Dana is a big girl—still about 90 lbs. As you can see she has a large wire kennel, which she loves. She takes naps there throughout the day and happily sleeps through the night.

We didn't have a dog bed that was big enough to fill the kennel so we did the best we could using blankets. Thanks to a wonderful donor, David T., we now have a big dog bed that perfectly fits her kennel.

When we put it in her kennel we wondered if she would take to it. In less than five minutes she was testing it out and let us know that she loved it.

Finally, we wanted to share with you a website that we found that lays out many of the things we've discovered that makes Chesapeake Bay Retrievers a little different than Golden Retrievers:


The message that we take from it is that Dana's personality is different from that of a Golden or a Lab. It is something that a potential adopter needs to be aware of, as her needs may be somewhat different than a typical Golden. She is a wonderful girl and, taken on her own terms, will make a GREAT family dog

If you're interested we can recommend another source for learning more about Chessies. There is a Facebook group called “Chesapeake Bay Retriever” that has been incredibly helpful to us in learning more about this wonderful breed. From our experience, you will be welcomed with open arms when you ask to join so you can learn more about this wonderful breed.

We're very hopeful that Dana will be ready for adoption in 60 days or so, following her surgery. In the meantime, please take a look at the website above and take a look at the Facebook page to learn more about this wonderful girl. We'll keep the updates coming!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ms. Dana has had a good week. Her UTI has completely cleared up. She's a much happier girl now. Yesterday we took her to St. Cloud for her spay surgery. We got a call in the early afternoon that, after putting her under anesthesia and shaving the area where the incision would be, they discovered the scar from earlier spay surgery. 

The poor girl ended up traveling 100 miles round trip to take a medically induced nap! We're certainly glad that they hadn't opened her up before making the discovery. She'll need a day or two for the anesthetic to completely leave her system.

We are making her available for adoption. We are ready to talk with potential adopters about this sweet girl. Dana has already come such a long way. In her previous life, she was not exposed to other dogs. Life for her with our two resident male dogs has been a slow learning experience.

Slowly, slowly she is learning about how to get along with other dogs in her home. As you can see from these pictures she is quite happy now sleeping with the rest of the pack. She still is uncomfortable with some of the jostling that goes along with three large dogs living together in a small house.

We believe that, given slow introductions and patience, she will learn how to be comfortable in a multi-dog home. We have her kennel up when she seems stressed, and she is happy to do so. She is just fine on walks and joining in on other activities with them.

Dana is very focused on her humans and is a loving, sweet, and very intelligent girl. She is fine with our two cats—she is friends with one and ignores the other. She has met the neighbor dogs outside with no problems at all. She met a lot of dogs yesterday at the vet and got along fine with them.

At this point she is ready to go to a dog-free home, but it will take a while longer to make sure she has learned the rules about how to get along in a pack.

If you have a home without other dogs and with older (or no) kids, we think she is ready to go and will be a wonderful companion animal. She loves a low-key environment and a consistent schedule. If you are looking for a great dog, we'd love to talk with you about Dana!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Hi everyone, Dana here. I want to tell you how I’m doing in my foster home. A lot of things have been going on these past couple of weeks! Everything is new for me here. I have two new humans, two new dogs, and two new cats to try to get along with. That's a lot to get used to.

I'm told that cats can be difficult but I think I get along just fine with these two girls. My special friend is Sweet Pea who likes to play with me. She uses my nose as a punching bag sometimes, but I don't mind.

I'm not used to having other dogs around and, I have to admit, getting along with both of my foster brothers is more difficult for me than I thought it would be. I'm figuring out that Beau must have something wrong with him; it's like he can't see me. I just don't like him bumping into me and I growl to tell him to knock it off.

Both my fur brothers are good at listening to my growls, though, and they do their best to give me some room. Foster dad tells me to kennel up (I love my kennel) if I start to get upset, and I can relax there for a while.

I think I'll get used to these new things in time. I love to go for walks with my brothers, and we love coming back into the kitchen for our treats after our walks.

I'm trying to teach my brothers about hearts of romaine lettuce. I LOVE them and Foster Dad gives me lettuce as a treat at least twice a day. Beau has discovered how good they are, and now he always wants them, too. Tank hasn't figured out how good they are but that's all right, that just leaves more for me.

I'd better go now as it looks like Foster Dad wants to use the computer. Thanks for reading about me!

Hi everyone, Foster Dad here. Dana is a real joy to have in our house. She is so friendly and affectionate. It is taking her awhile to get used to our two dogs, especially our blind boy Beau.

We have no anxiety about aggression, she just gets annoyed with him. She growls when she feels someone is getting inside her comfort zone.

Each day gets better but we can see that she will need long, slow introductions to new dogs and will do best with a dog who is not reactive. She would be absolutely happy in a house where she is the only dog, or a house that she shares with only cats!

Today is the last day of her antibiotics for her urinary tract infection. We'll find out if the drugs did the trick. If she checks out ok, we'll be scheduling her spay surgery, and then she'll be ready to find her furever home.

We're up to about a mile a day (total) for walks, and she is doing fine. Judging by the fit of her collar, Dana seems to be losing weight.

We feed her a cup of grain-free, limited-ingredient dry food along with one cup of green beans twice a day, low calorie treats, and, of course, her lettuce. We'll find out for sure this week when we take her into the Vet.

Dana would enjoy having a yard to roam around in, but we think that she would do fine with a brisk walk every day. We are using an easy-walk harness which eliminates the pulling she exhibited earlier while walking with the leash attached to her flat collar.

Given a chance, she would love to eat leftovers from the table, but we don't indulge her and she is not a pest while we're eating. She has managed, however, to pull a part of a loaf of bread from the table while we were getting ready to eat supper!

Every day we see Dana becoming more comfortable in our multi-pet home. We'll keep updating as we learn more about her. Check in again soon!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Please welcome Dana into the RAGOM family. Dana is not a Golden Retriever. She is, at least in large part, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

The AKC describes Chessies as "strong, powerfully built gun dogs standing from 21-26 inches at the shoulder… The distinctive breed trait is a wavy, waterproof coat that's oily to the touch… They are bright, sensitive, perceptive, affectionate, and family oriented."

Dana certainly is a good fit for a RAGOM dog though, as she very clearly has a large Golden heart. 

Dana came to us from a family who was moving from a hobby farm to a town situation where they couldn't bring Dana. She hasn’t been exposed to many other dogs or cats and hasn’t done much in the way of car rides or other interactions. Many things are new to Dana. 

Dana's favorite spot is her kennel, which came with her from her former home. She is very comfortable there. She sleeps straight through the night and will spend time napping in the daytime if she is feeling stressed.

She is adjusting to our two resident Goldens and our two dog-savvy cats. She is curious about the cats but they know that she'll back off if they give her a swat or two on her nose. Our blind resident, Beau, has bumped into her accidently a couple of times, which has caused a bit of growling, but nothing more. 

We took Dana for her first vet visit last week. She is a big girl at 95 pounds. She will need to lose 10 – 15 pounds to reach her ideal weight, which still is in the "big" range! Dana is very strong and, from what we see at this time, she could accidently knock down younger children.

She came through her initial visit with flying colors except for a urinary tract infection, which we are treating with antibiotics. Once we get this cleared up, we'll schedule an appointment for her spay surgery, and then she should be available for adoption.

She is one of the sweetest girls we've ever encountered. She loves to sit next to one of us and have her head or chin scritched. She certainly knows her name and will come willingly for attention and petting.

She has had no accidents in our house. We’ll be experimenting over the next few weeks with more free roam while we are gone and see how she does.

From what we know as of now, she is fine with cats. She gets along with our two resident dogs, although she lets them know with a quick GRRR if she thinks they are invading her space. We also think that she would love being an only dog.

Closed to Applications: Many families have submitted applications for Dana or she is working with an applicant for a potential adoption. We are no longer accepting applications for Dana.