Update 6/11/24:

Wonderful Rio is still looking for his forever family!

He has made such progress! He loves going for walks and is even beginning to walk alone with his foster mom when his foster dog brother is busy doing other things. New parks take a few minutes to become familiar but each new adventure has gotten easier. Rio needs his human to talk to him when he’s nervous and reassure him that we’re doing this together. He needs a moment to look around before diving in.

We recently had a big storm roll through our area bringing down trees in our yard and later strangers to make repairs. Rio rolled with it pretty well! He definitely will bark when someone new arrives but he calms down and now meets people given time. Again, each new exposure and success makes this easier.

He’s doing great in the house. We allow him two rooms to be in when we leave the house and he does fine. He signals when he needs to go out and doesn’t have accidents. He now comes to eat quietly in his crate but we do have a consistent way of feeding all of our dogs that makes him comfortable. He loves predictability.

Rio is doing great but he does still get nervous the first few minutes in a new situation and needs to check in. He needs support and companionship. He needs an active owner who walks and a confident second dog to keep teaching him. He prefers a quieter home overall. He is fantastic best friend material!

Update 4/17/24:

We always believed that April would be the time that Rio would be ready to find his forever family! He is growing in confidence and now walking city parks with enthusiasm! We get an occasional bark when a scary dog might be approaching but Rio can be redirected and told that everything is fine. Bikers, skaters, walkers- all okay! (He doesn’t want strangers petting him though.) Rio does walk with his support foster brother but is not glued to him. Hopefully we’ll get a photo soon of his newest accomplishment. He’s starting to put his head out of the car window on rides to the park!

Are you the family he’s been waiting for?

Update 3/24/24:

Look who’s going for leashed walks now! Yeah, Rio! And he jumps into the car once he figures out that it’s time to go to the quiet secluded park where we walk. This doesn’t mean it’s simple but he is making progress every day.

He now lets his foster mom know when someone else is getting more attention than him and he’s tired of waiting for his turn.

Things he loves: belly rubs, any kind of dog treats, his favorite rubber ball, his foster siblings.

Things that concern him: fast movements, people he doesn’t know yet as not all people have been kind, waiting for dinner when he can hear food being prepared, those darn deer that lurk under our bird feeders (they just don’t belong there!) And waiting for his forever family to give him a chance.

Rio does need an experienced, patient family who can continue to help him heal and move forward. He needs support to reach his potential but he is trying every day!

Update 2/26/24:

Rio is looking for his forever family! We know he has special needs but are convinced that he will flourish with the right family. He does need support though.

Since our last update, Rio has started on anti anxiety medication. It has decreased his barking by 75%. Now he mainly barks to alert us when anything is happening in the yard including the persistent presence of his archenemies – white tail deer and Amazon delivery trucks. The meds don’t decrease his ability to leap for frisbees or chase his foster brothers but they help make scary experiences a little easier. And Rio has begun walking on a double leash alongside his foster brother in our rural setting. It’s not easy for him but the beginning of the walk is the hardest. Once we get moving, he will investigate the new sights and smells. But he’d really rather stay at home.

Rio is most scared during transitions and will accept a change in situation as long as we stay calm and keep moving forward with whatever needs to happen (including baths!) He will need time to transition successfully to new people and new activities. But the investment in him will be worth it. He is affectionate and sweet once he gets to know you.

Rio is looking for an adult only setting where people are home most of the day. He needs a fenced yard and a good frisbee. And his family needs to be patient. He does not crate except at meal times when he will now assertively bark to be put into his crate to eat right away! He respects baby gates and needs another confident dog with him. He cannot be an only dog. He sleeps loose in his foster parents’ bedroom and but would prefer the bed to sleeping on the floor. He wants to be with people who love him.

If you have room in your family for a loyal but anxious companion, Rio might be the friend that you’re looking for.

Update 12/29/23:

Gorgeous Rio is enjoying the holiday and is working hard at getting braver. He is inching forward but honestly, he has a distance to go before he can enjoy life fully. He appreciates his foster parents and loves his foster siblings. But his world is small still. He loves playing in the back yard but going out the front door (in a semi-rural neighborhood) is much too frightening. Going to the vet is very difficult despite the vet staff truly understanding his challenges. Car rides cause tremendous stress. 
Rio is very happy with his small world but his foster family is working on trying to expose him to new experiences despite his preference to just stay safe and secure.
Potential families have inquired about Rio but haven’t been the right fit. Rio has specific needs at this time. Due to past experiences, Rio panics when crated. This shows in him becoming very assertive that he is not going to be crated. His foster family doesn’t know what caused this in the past but are working with this reaction and Rio can be crated during mealtimes now. Rio has roam of a few rooms while left alone with the other dogs and behaves well. Rio cannot go for car rides or leashed walks yet but he loves playing in the yard with his family and wrestling in the house. Rio cannot be placed in a family with young children. Only experienced people who understand abused dogs can be considered as Rio needs time to trust. He can adapt though if he likes you. He chooses who is safe and who should be avoided at this time.
Please watch as Rio continues to grow.

Update 11/22/23:

Rio is ready for the right family who can help him continue to heal. Rio needs an experienced compassionate family who will understand that he’s been hurt before and you must earn his trust. He loves a good hard play session and has amazing frisbee skills. New experiences still scare him a lot though. He is not the right pup for doggy daycare or dog parks but he loves racing in the back yard and then sleeping at his foster parents’ feet while they work. He’s a smart dog and will make someone a wonderful best friend but right now, he needs a patient owner and a confident second dog who can continue to support him while he expands his world.

Update 10/29/23:

Rio is enjoying the fall season and loves rolling in the leaves! He is definitely the dog who wants us to go outside and play with him every hour!

Rio is an active, athletic, smart dog who is going to make someone a superb companion when the time comes. I can see his pride when he struts about the yard and tells our other dogs that they are not following the rules. He has the traits of a natural leader within his own small world.

He is still working on building confidence outside of our house and yard. This week’s first attempt to leash walk was not completely successful as a walk the length of three houses was filled with anxiety circle walking and pancaking on the ground in fear. But for Rio, allowing the leash to be put on and simply walking that far was quite an accomplishment and we feel optimistic about how this is moving forward. And he did take notice of the scents in the neighborhood. It’ll just take time for Rio to unlearn what has happened to him in the past and to realize that there is happiness to be found beyond our fenced yard. Until he learns this, Rio is not a candidate for dog day care or dog parks. We are expanding his world a little at a time.  And he’ll need a fenced yard to run as well as a confident dog sibling who likes to play.

Update 10/09/23:

Wow! Rio is celebrating an exciting milestone. Ten days straight without a housebreaking mistake! Yahoo! Mission accomplished! He’s got it down!
Rio also had a big week in that his new foster brother Charley has joined us and is competing for attention from his foster family (human and dog!) Rio is an exceptional big brother including being the one to lead frightened Charley into the yard and back into the house multiple times a day. They are quite a pair! What a sweet dog!

Update 10/01/23:

Rio came to GRRoIowa in July with a history that is confusing. All we knew is that he was young and not doing okay. He was ten months old and an unsold puppy whose odds of sale quickly decreased with age. Rio had a last minute placement through the breeder that did not work out and Rio no longer wanted to be near people. Something wrong had happened along the way. GRRoIowa took him in and placed him in boarding so he could be assessed and a foster home could be found. Unfortunately, he stayed in boarding due to his special needs.

Rio before he came to GRRoIowa.

Rio entered foster home care in late August after vaccinations were given, heartworm testing was done, and neutering was complete. Physically, he was doing fine. But Rio has secrets that we’ll never know and mentally, he needs recovery time. He initially showed signs of limited socialization or understanding of being in a house- new experiences were terrifying and he either tried to escape or make himself as flat and small as possible. He learned to go through doors and to maneuver over staircases fairly quickly. But he was terrified when constrained by a leash or in a crate. He could not tolerate having his collar touched. He barked endlessly and destroyed things in his way. Even his anti-anxiety meds didn’t help.

Rio has now been in his foster home for a full month with his foster parents. And he has come so far! He loves being petted and will initiate it but being petted can also be so hard as sudden hand movement makes him shrink in fear. We are working on touch being a good thing. He loves to run with our dogs and loves to retrieve. He knows his name and comes running when called in our fenced yard except when there are chipmunks to chase instead. He consistently takes treats from our hands and knows exactly when we should get up each morning and exactly when he should be fed. And he is no longer on medication for anxiety.

But he has so far to go. He still cannot be leashed without panicking so he cannot be walked or go for rides. He also cannot be leashed for grooming and we are working on preparing him for his first bath. He gets upset when he cannot find his best friend/ foster brother who gives him confidence.  He needs to eat in his crate with us in the room as he worries about others wanting his food. He needs to be loose in the house  with the other dogs when we leave him but he tries very hard to stay out of trouble during these times. He needs to sleep on the floor of our bedroom with the other dogs and check in at times to make sure everyone is okay. And we are still working on housebreaking.

And yet Rio is a wonderful dog and the sweetest of companions. He’s happy most of the time and starting to act like a healthy adolescent pup. When the time is right, he is going to make a wonderful addition to a family who will take the time to earn his trust. While he’s not ready yet, he will eventually need a family with another confident dog and will do best without young children. He will need a fenced yard and an owner good at throwing both balls and frisbees. And patience.

This is what Rescue should be about. Second chances and earning mutual trust. We’ll keep you posted as he moves along his journey.

-Rio’s foster mom

Meet Rio! He is a purebred Golden Retriever who came to GRRoIowa from a breeder.  His date of birth is said to be 9/21/22. He was the last in his litter and gifted to a family friend, but after a few days, he was surrendered back to the breeder. We’re not sure what happened during those few days, but Rio came back fearful and skittish. The breeder asked if we could take Rio, help him learn that humans aren’t so scary, and find him a loving home.

We don’t know much about Rio other than his fear, but we will continue to update as we learn more about him and work on his confidence and trus

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Located in:

Iowa City, IA

Forever Home Requirements:

*Physical fence required - no Invisible Fence

*No Children

*Another medium-large, confident dog required

*Cats unknown

*Cannot be crated for a work day