Recently married and ready to start a family, life couldn’t have been better for Oz and her husband.
She was a former college athlete training for a half marathon — the picture of health.
But all that was about to change after a seemingly benign car accident.
The car accident wasn’t as harmless as they originally thought, and brain surgery, a year of being bedridden, and chronic pain took her on a journey she never expected to go through.
Thankfully, she had her Golden Retriever by her side to guide her through these dark times.
But that’s not where Goldens first enter this story…
How Golden Retrievers Brought This Couple Together
Oz and her husband were raised in a small Mississippi town a few blocks away from each other.
They grew up playing in the same fields, and even played sports at the same college, but never really knew each other.
That was, until a conversation began on Facebook.
They each had Golden Retrievers in their Facebook profile pictures and that opened things up for them.
Three years later, they were married.
One of Oz’s Golden Retrievers was named Chance, and as she likes to joke (and laugh at the cheesiness of it), Chance brought them together.
Things were off to a wonderful start, but it wouldn’t be that way for long…
The Car Accident That Changed It All
While patiently waiting at a stoplight, they were slammed in the back by a car going 50 miles per hour.
Oz’s neck hurt immediately, but she had no idea what she was in store for.
A few weeks after the accident, the pain radiated into her shoulders and arms.
Physical therapy and medicine didn’t help, plus she started to have balance problems and trouble finding her words.
Finally, she was sent for an MRI.
That’s when they found she had Chiari malformation and syringomyelia and was sent in for surgery immediately.
“That wreck singlehandedly changed the trajectory of our lives.”
Things were about to get a lot more difficult, but she wouldn’t go through it alone.
The Golden Retriever That Saved Her Sanity
Rush was like any Golden Retriever — loving, wild and excitable.
She was totally attached to Oz and after just five minutes of being separated, she would go crazy when they would reunite, leaping through the air and barking, full of joy to see her mama again.
But when Oz got back from the hospital, Rush knew it was time to step up.
Seeing her mother walk in the house for the first time after a week, she realized something was different.
She calmly guided her to the bedroom to rest, then jumped up on the bed with her and laid her head on her chest.
Rush would spend all day and night with Oz, and Oz’s parents actually had to drag her away to get her to eat and go potty.
For the next year and a half, Oz was in pain and bedridden, but Rush spent the entire time right by her side.
“She was such a good nurse,” Oz said, as she was tearing up at Rush’s memory, who has since passed.
“You don’t realize how much you miss them.”
The Unexpected Side Effect Of The Accident
Just a week before the accident, Oz and her husband had discussed having kids.
But as it turns out, God had other plans.
The doctors have told her it is “absolutely not an option” for her to safely carry a child because of her brain injury, and since it’s been nine years since the accident, it looks like they will never have children of their own.
“There’s a reason for that. I know God’s protection is in that, so that’s something we’re having to deal with right now… but that’s part of life.”
So what does a couple who wants to, but can’t have children do?
Get more Golden Retrievers, of course!
Oz and her husband currently have three Golden Retrievers, RowanOak, Remi, and Idgie Ruth, who star in their popular social media account, Mississippi Golden Gurls.
When I asked Oz if her Goldens were her children she looked at me like I was crazy to think otherwise and replied, “Of course they are!”
- P.S. Getting a Golden Retriever Puppy? Get the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook here!
How The Mississippi Golden Gurls Came To Be
RowanOak, Remi, and Idgie Ruth are quite a hit on social media, racking up over 700,000 followers between Instagram and Facebook.
But it didn’t start out that way.
Oz started the page when she was sick in bed, just wanting to create an electronic scrapbook of her girls so that she would always have a place for her favorite photos of them.
(Not to mention, she didn’t want to bombard all of her friends with hundreds of dog pics!)
She started including random hashtags, not really knowing how they worked, but eventually, other people found their way to her page.
She started to get messages from people she didn’t know, talking about how much they enjoyed the pictures of her Goldens.
By simply capturing memories of her pups, she unknowingly brought joy to thousands of others.
Meet The Mississippi Golden Gurls
RowanOak, Remi, and Idgie Ruth are quite the spunky, unique bunch.
They each have their own distinct personalities and qualities.
RowanOak, the oldest one, is sensitive, smart, a daddy’s girl, and a velcro dog.
She’s named after one of Oz’s previous Golden, Oakley, who loved and guided her family through the loss of Oz’s brother.
Remi, the middle child, is the alpha.
She’s the family’s caretaker with a servant’s heart.
She’s also the comedian of the bunch, is independent, and loves food.
She was brought into the family after Rush passed away.
Her full name is Remington because it symbolizes her as the family’s protector, just like Rush was when Oz was recovering from surgery.
Idgie Ruth, the baby of the family, loves the attention of her parents and sisters.
She’s named after Idgie Threadgoode, from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.
In the movie, Idgie is a boisterous tomboy who has an inseparable bond with her older brother.
It reminds Oz of herself and her older brother, so she named Idgie to honor him.
The second part of her name, Ruth, is from the Bible verse, Ruth 1:16: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.”
Since these beautiful ladies have captured the hearts of fans all across the world, we did a quick Q&A to learn more about them.
Q: Who needs the most attention?
Q: Who barks the most?
Q: Who’s the snuggliest?
Q: Who sheds the most?
Q: Who’s the most independent?
Q: Who’s the most protective?
Q: Who’s the most outgoing?
Q: Who’s the oldest?
Q: Who’s the youngest?
Q: Who’s the most mischievous?
Q: Which ones are mama’s girls?
A: Idgie and Remi
Q: Who’s a daddy’s girl?
Q: Who’s the alpha?
Q: Who has the softest coat?
Life As A Golden Mom
Life isn’t getting any easier for Oz with her chronic pain (although she’ll never show it), but her Golden Gurls are doing an amazing job of continuing Rush’s work of being there to love on and encourage her.
In addition to their three Goldens, Oz and her husband have also adopted three cats: Sippi an older cat who runs the house, and Little Girl and Jerry, two kittens who give the Golden Gurls a run for their money with their goofy antics.
It’s a house full of fur and love, and Oz put it best:
“All they want in this life is to give love and receive love.”
You can keep up with the Mississippi Golden Gurls on their social media channels: