The Maine Golden Retriever Club has announced its selection of Joy Viola of Wayland, Massachusetts as the club’s 2015 Honorary Member. Ms. Viola is President of Friends of Guisachan, an organization designed to share information about Guisachan, Scotland, the ancestral home of the Golden Retriever.
“Joy has been a mainstay of Goldens throughout her life and MGRC is pleased to add her to our list of distinguished honorees,” said Charles L. Cragin, MGRC President.
Ms. Viola has been associated with Golden Retrievers since childhood. In 1986, the former Dean of International Affairs at Northeastern University became associated with Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue and, in 1991, headed up the organization's capital campaign, raising $1.6 million. The funds were used to purchase over 20 acres of land and construct an adoption and training center, the first permanent Golden Retriever rescue facility in the United States.
She later expanded her fund raising efforts through her association with the Golden Retriever Club of America and its Golden Retriever Foundation, for which she raised more than $1.5 million over the six years she served as Director of Development for the Foundation.
Joy Viola with Ginger and Bobby
Ms. Viola, in her acceptance letter, told the MGRC that it had been her “privilege to serve our breed in whatever manner I could do best. I am happy to accept the honor you have bestowed upon me, but in the long run it must be recognized that, it is “all about the dogs,” the wonderful Goldens who enrich our lives. Through their unconditional love, whether serving as a therapy dog, a search and rescue dog, a service dog, a hunting dog, a happy partner in the show ring, or just a loyal companion, thery are always there for us.”
Ms. Viola and the Friends of Guisachan are currently involved in planning the 2018 worldwide celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the breed by Lord Tweedmoount in 1868 on the historic lands of the Guisachan Estate.
Previous MGRC Honorary Members include Leon Panetta, Luis Carlos Montalvan and Susannah Charleson.