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Viive Tamm Co-Chair

Since 1980, Viive has owned and managed a number of companies including Graffiti Magazine, an international award-winning music/lifestyle publication. For twelve years, Viive was on Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneur’s list. As a founder of Tamm Communications, she stewarded this Toronto-based advertising agency onto Canada’s coveted “Top 100 Employers’” list ~ the first advertising agency to ever receive this honour. Viive is a partner in The Oshawa Markets, Canada’s largest indoor flea market, which moved and was previously The Pickering Markets. Having served on several boards, Viive was the Chair of Operation Migration about which the movie “Fly Away Home” was based.

Serving as Board chair since 2008, Viive has spearheaded a number of initiatives that have helped GR grow geographically and in notoriety. She led a team to revamp GR’s re-branding including the creation of the logo and website, redevelopment of the Guardian newsletter (now digital), and overseeing “Golden Reflections”, our anniversary coffee table book. Viive also instigated LCBO Tag Days, which was one of GR’s biggest awareness builders and fundraisers. In the past, she helped organize the golf tournament and car rally. She was instrumental in creating the Wishbone Lottery, which is currently our major fundraiser. Along with her fellow board members, she initiated the International Mission of Love, which has brought over 2,000 Goldens to our shores and to safety. This initiative, perhaps more than any one thing, created major media attention for GR, exploding the number of followers and supporters. Viive and her husband, Iain, have rescued four Goldens. Her current furkids, Kili #4171 (from Cairo) and Garci (a Golden wannabe rescued from Portugal), hang out by Viive’s desk providing her with daily humour and inspiration.

Jane Riddell Co-Chair & Director of Foster Team

Jane came to Golden Rescue as a volunteer when she adopted Dylan #1124 in 2009. Dylan was a tripod who came to Golden Rescue from a very bad situation. His early hard life took a toll on him both physically and emotionally. He bit his first two foster families and was basically on his last strike when Jane adopted him. Jane would later say that he really rescued her. Over time and with much love and patience on both sides, Dylan became a Golden who could be trusted in any situation. Jane says he opened her eyes to how many wonderful dogs are just waiting for second chances with loving forever families. And that is what motivated her to get involved with Golden Rescue and advocate for canine rescue everywhere.

Jane is a proud volunteer who served as the Chair of the Golden Rescue picnic for four years and has served on the board since 2012. She is currently the Co-Chair. She shares her home and her heart with four amazing Goldens ~ Aziza #3438, Scout 4030, Daisy #2226 and Beecher.

Patti Matheis Director of Golden Care

Patti’s passion for Golden Retrievers began a long time ago and has continued to grow as she has been the proud fur parent to six Goldens over the years. She has been a great supporter of Golden Rescue; her volunteering began on the hotline, helping wherever she could, she also gave her time to organizing actively the  registration desk for our annual picnic. Eventually Patti joined the intake team and is currently Director of Golden Care, managing vet care, intakes, transportation and our Microchip base. Patti does evaluations, home visits, and transports. Patti is very active on the Facebook, Kijiji, shelter, and personal ads online response team.

Outside of GR, Patti and her husband stay busy running Matheis Financial Group where she is the Vice-Present of Human Resources.    Their dog and cat friendly company which has been in business for 35 years. They both love to travel and spend time at their beloved cottage in the Kawartha Lakes with their Goldens Lucy #2757, and Atlas #2326 who came all the way from Istanbul.

Harry Matheis Director of Donations, Advisory and Planned Giving

Harry’s love for Goldens began over thirty years ago bringing home their first Golden and the runt of the litter. Mandy had a great life of 17 years. From that day forward, his love of the breed and giving back led to becoming a volunteer and member of the Golden Rescue team. Over the years the Matheis family has loved and cared for six golden retrievers. Together with Patti, they conduct behaviour evaluations, home visits, transports and ongoing support and service to the team and all for the precious goldens.

Harry’s financial business experience provides added support to the Goldens and their families helping to guide, questions or inquiries from their owners, adopters or lovers of the breed or the need of help with charitable donations or planned giving advisory – how does it work?

In addition to Golden Rescue, Harry and Patti stay busy running their dog and cat friendly company Matheis Financial Group, which has been in business for more than three decades. They both love to travel and spend time at Ché Evergreen cottage in the Kawartha Lakes with their Goldens; Lucy #2757 their redhead, and world traveler Atlas #2326 who came all the way from Istanbul.

Sharon Kelly Treasurer

Sharon was elected Treasurer in the fall of 2010. She retired from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit as the Director of Corporate Services. She is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and has a B. A. and a Hons B. Comm from the University of Windsor. Sharon and her husband Gary became aware of Golden Rescue in 2009 when they adopted Max #1249 as a companion for Nellie when their other Golden, Morgan was diagnosed with cancer. They currently share their home with Missy #3105 and Poppy #3359, who were rescued from a shelter in Turkey. Sharon thinks that volunteering with GR continues to be very rewarding and the perfect rescue matches are the icing on the cake.

Kelly Blais Director of Digital Media

Kelly’s work with Golden Rescue is in honour of her special pair, George #682 and Murphy #683. A life-long animal lover, Kelly dedicates much of her time to helping raise awareness about animal rights and advocacy. Kelly is the President & CEO at Media Street Productions in Windsor, Ontario, and in her 25+ years, has produced many award-winning television commercials and videos, both in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She is actively involved in her community, contributing much of her time and skill set to various non-profit and local organizations, as a board member, committee member and volunteer.

Kelly has been a volunteer with Golden Rescue since 2005. She oversees GR’s digital media platforms, helps with events, fundraising, home visits and transport. Her background in communications and her love of Goldens makes her a natural fit in her role on the Board. She is passionate about rescue and dedicated to helping Golden Rescue continue to build its brand and expand its reach throughout Canada and internationally. She believes that every Golden deserves a second chance and she is willing to do whatever it takes to help make that happen.

Dr. Patricia Lechten

Dr. Patricia Lechten Director of Veterinary Affairs & Advisory Committee

Patty, a staunch Golden Rescue supporter, graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. After three years of practicing veterinary medicine in Las Vegas, Patty moved to Ontario. In 1989 she joined Allandale Veterinary Clinic as the only small animal veterinarian.

Today, Patty is the sole owner of Allandale Veterinary Hospital, a brand new, five-veterinarian, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital in Barrie. Patty serves on a number of boards, both veterinary and non-veterinary, loves Goldens, and has always been impressed with the dedication and care provide by Golden Rescue.

Julie Hendren Director of Education and Advocacy, Secretary and Picnic Chair

Julie fell in love with dogs after her husband brought home their first Golden Retriever in their first year of marriage. She has wanted to help all animals since that day.  She’s travelled the world to volunteer with elephants, lions, chimpanzees, turtles, coral species and of course her favourite… the dog species. She was lucky to find Golden Rescue online to connect with them and learn what “rescue” is all about.

Julie resides on Pigeon Lake in the City of Kawartha Lakes with her husband and their three Goldens and teaches at I.E. Weldon Secondary School in Lindsay, Ontario.  Julie understands that she needs to be a positive role model for students who can learn to care and become active citizens by watching and listening to adults who are in close proximity to them.  Julie also volunteers with East Central Therapy Dogs visiting weekly at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.  She runs the Model United Nations at her school and works with the Environmental Advisory Work Group for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.  Currently, Julie runs the annual Golden Rescue Picnic, assists with the Golden Rescue LCBO coin box collection and with the Wishbone Lottery along with volunteering at numerous events throughout the year.  She appreciates everything that Golden Rescue has taught her and hopes that she can help this organization rescue more domestic and international Goldens wherever the need exists.

Ben Samann Director 

Ben’s love for Goldens stems from a deep connection – his love of food, short attention span, and staring longingly at squirrels through the window. Luckily, he hasn’t figured out how to open doors or he’d never come back. He has been involved with Golden Rescue since falling in love with Maggie #1622, the adorable, epileptic weirdo, and has since adopted three more. He is the owner of Viamede Resort and Land’escapes and spends his days fishing, hiking, and sitting on the dock with Toby #2000 and Cobalt #3707.

Anastassia Duncan Director of Communications 

Anastassia started volunteering with Golden Rescue in 2017, together with her husband and their Golden Ambassador, Sundae. She started as a casual volunteer but took a greater role after moving out west in 2021, and helped lead the BC expansion, by building up support, teams, and events on the West Coast.

In August 2020, Anastassia and her family welcomed Ruby #3333, a special little girl from Cairo. Although Ruby wasn’t here for a long time, she had a tremendous impact and Anastassia’s work with Golden Rescue is in Ruby’s memory and honour.

Outside of Golden Rescue, Anastassia is a Professional Engineer, working on major public infrastructure projects. She is also a volunteer with St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program and an avid hiker and trail runner, and loves exploring the mountains in BC.

Yvonne Whalen Director of Events

Yvonne is recently retired after 33 years in education ~ 26 of those years as a Behaviour Consultant. Prior to retirement, Yvonne always said that when she retires her work, she would be dedicated to supporting dogs in need and she is very proud to be doing that for Golden Rescue ~ helping find safe homes for deserving pups by increasing public awareness through events. Yvonne has acted as an Event Coordinator for the past three years as well as doing home visits for the foster and placement teams and volunteering with the transport team.

Yvonne’s first Golden, Charlie, recently passed. He was a loving and nurturing boy for the two Golden rescues and foster he shared his home with. Moving forward, Yvonne will keep his legacy alive continuing to develop awareness of Golden Rescue as the Director of Events and also looks forward to exploring creative ways to educate and increase support.