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July 11, 2018 Tumbleweed Pepera is one very lucky golden retriever. She has two small children, Kylie and Kacie, and a golden retriever brother, Tugger, to play with, and she also gets to go on all sorts of adventures. Her family loves the lake, and Tumbleweed is a wonderful swimming and boating companion. She has dabbled in dock diving, earned her Companion Dog certificate as well as her Certificate of Conformation Assessment, and has competed in a few dog shows. Tumbleweed frequently accompanies her family to Starbucks as well, and enjoys her own puppacino!

Tumbleweed has tons of energy, but also is very sweet, loving, and obedient. Dena Pepera, her owner, describes Tumbleweed as a very well-rounded dog who, like many other golden retrievers, has no understanding of personal space, frequently sleeping with her head on Dena’s pillow.

Tumbleweed has a unique facial feature called a zipper nose. The ‘’zipper” is the result of a natural cowlick, and it is not considered a defect by either breeding or showing standards.  

Tumbleweed’s name has its origins in puppyhood. All the puppies in her litter were given names of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors. Tumbleweed’s flavor was What a Cluster. When her family brought their new puppy home, she was rolling around on the ground, and they were struck with inspiration. Tumbleweed was the same color as the tumbleweeds rolling around Arizona! Plus, tumbleweeds usually are found in clusters. She became Cluster of Tumbleweeds, or Tumbleweed for short.

Dena enrolled Tumbleweed into the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study because of Dena’s personal background in science and passion for animals. In fact, Dena loves science and the study so much, she would love to use her bioengineering background to work for Morris Animal Foundation someday.  

Dena also knew firsthand the devastation of losing a beloved dog to cancer. Taylor, her first golden retriever, died from hemangiosarcoma. Going through Taylor’s illness and death was a painful and traumatic process. When she found out about the study, Dena decided that she wanted to participate and make a difference. Dr. Larry Hudman, Dena’s longtime veterinarian, was unfamiliar with the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, but with some convincing he was soon on board and happy to become a Study Veterinarian. Dr. Hudman has a passion for animals himself, and Dena trusts him implicitly with all the difficult decisions she makes regarding her pets.

Thank you to the Pepera family, Tumbleweed and Dr. Hudman for everything you do to make the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study a success!