Hello everyone,

I began my breeding program in 2016.  I ask myself every day, “how did I get here?”

I am a retired Marriage and Family Therapist.  Over twenty plus years I worked with some of the most tragic populations that exist in our communities.  When I decided to retire, I bought my humble little ten acre ranch up here on the mountain.  It is a very beautiful and peaceful place where I enjoy my horses.   And I can rest easy that my adult children are thriving and enjoying their lives.    

After a while on my ranch, I was ready for a puppy.  Having rescued more than twenty adult dogs over twenty four years, I thought to myself that out of all of the dogs that my husband and I rescued, that “Sarah” the Golden Retriever was the best experience we ever had.  She helped raise out children.  They would nap on her.  She would scoot next to them while they held onto her fur as they learned to crawl or walk.  When they were toddling around, she would follow just to make sure they were safe.  She was amazing.  It was absolutely devastating when she passed at seventeen years old.  This is why I chose to get a Golden pup.

Fast forward after I brought Harley home as a young pup.  He was four months old and as I rode my horse with a dear friend on hers, Harley (my pup) was right there with us.  He instinctively stayed about thirty feet ahead of us and would turn and check on us as we followed.  He followed every command and didn’t run off and chase wildlife that was and is abundant.  My riding partner and friend commented that he was “amazing” and that I needed to breed him.  Coming from a very well respected breeder of Shepherds, I was very happy to hear that compliment.  However, I was not ready to dive into the world of breeding.  Over time, I decided that I could have one litter.  Just one.  I was sure I was out of my league.  My thought process was… “If you can’t do it perfectly, then don’t do it”.  

I found my sweet Shelby out of Clovis CA, and I fell in love with the entire process.  She and Harley had the first litter and it was so special.  Thankfully I had and have a friend and mentor to guide me through any difficulties that may have come up.  

And that is how I got here.  I love my life on my ranch with my Goldens and my horses.  It is peaceful, beautiful, and soul soothing.  I am a very lucky woman.  I have made so many friends.  Many families who have taken my pups home over the years keep in touch with me and send pictures and updates often.  I tell them that I am grandma to them. 

Valerie Russo Cook, M.S.