When Faye Silverman looks back on her time with her dogs, she wants to be able to say she did the best she could to keep them as healthy as possible. She carries that same dedication for other dogs as a Morris Animal Foundation supporter, even in a year like 2020.
Faye has lost two golden retrievers to cancer. First was Joey, her “Forever Golden Boy,” who in 2015, was taken by hemangiosarcoma. Then, in 2017, Nicky had an inoperable tumor on his heart after already being diagnosed with two forms of lymphoma.
“My wife and I felt such pain and heartfelt feelings of unimaginable loss,” she said. “When we said goodbye to Nicky, we told him for the millionth time how much we loved him and how sorry we were that we couldn’t save him.”
To honor Joey and Nicky, and help keep future dogs from suffering similar fates, she started A Golden Wish. The small, custom apparel company celebrates the golden retriever breed by selling items like hats, sweatshirts and leashes, all adorned with a logo of a happy golden retriever. Faye donates at least 10% of every purchase to our Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, sometimes much more.
Though all her inventory can be ordered off the company’s website, the majority of her business comes from face-to-face encounters, such as when she sets up tables at pet stores. She loves talking to customers about the Study, her personal mission to help put an end to canine cancer and listen to their stories.
“I’ve met more people that don’t even have goldens, but experienced cancer with their own dogs,” she said. “So, for people I meet in person, across the board, it’s not just golden people, but really people who are passionate about their own dogs.”
Then COVID-19 hit, and in person was no longer an option.
“This year has been tough. A big part of what I’m doing has to be done by word of mouth to know the story behind it,” she said. “I have to be out there speaking to educate people about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, why I came up with what I came up with.”
While that may not be possible for quite awhile, she is trying other methods. Soon, her merchandise will be available on Amazon and she is finalizing a partnership with a company to develop and promote an edible product, which she is keeping secret for the time being. She hopes others might be inspired to give to the Foundation and says the return for their support is potentially endless.
“For those that are truly invested in their dogs, it is the best investment you can make into their lives and the future of other dogs’ lives forever,” she said. “And it starts with research. And in order to do that, you need the funds.”
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is one of the largest studies of its kind ever undertaken in veterinary medicine. Its purpose is to identify the nutritional, environmental, lifestyle and genetic risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs. Each year, with the help of veterinarians and dog owners, the Foundation collects health, environmental and behavioral data on more than 3,000 enrolled golden retrievers. It’s expected that the Study will cost $32 million by the time it is complete.
You can join Faye in her mission to give not only goldens, but all animals, longer, healthier lives, this season with a gift to Morris Animal Foundation. Now through December 31, you can double your impact, as gifts will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $200,000, by generous members of our Board of Trustees.