PHOTOS: Instagram influencer Glee the Golden visits with local rescue

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A local Golden Retriever rescue had a special visit from popular Instagram influencer Glee the Golden Retriever late Thursday afternoon. I’ll be the first to tell you, it was nothing short of heartwarming.

Sheila Oliveira, co-founder of Goldens Without Borders, peered out the front windows, waiting for the bright pink SUV to pull up outside Sambalatte Torrefazione, the coffee shop she owns with her husband, Luiz.

“I’m nervous but so excited,” she said.

While we waited with giddy anticipation, she told me about the rescue she founded in 2016 with Theresa Anderson.

Goldens without Borders is a nonprofit rescue, run by volunteers and relying 100 percent on donations. Oliveira’s proud of the rescue’s platinum rating with, a platform that allows potential adopters to scope out the legitimacy of the organizations they’re adopting from.

Now, the rescue has taken on a monumental task. Oliveira coordinated with organizations in China to bring 70+ goldens back to the United States, all of which were rescued from two slaughterhouses.

“This is a lot for us,” she said. But you could see how committed she is to finding forever families for every dog.

She states it’s illegal to own dogs that stand higher than 14 inches in China, “Large breeds don’t stand a chance. It’s imminent death for these dogs.” China is infamous for its yearly Yulin Dog Meat Festival, a tradition that began in 2009. Some 10,000 animals are consumed each year during the 10-day festival.

It’s people like Oliveira who are making a difference with their rescue efforts. She’s already found fosters with intent to adopt for the first set of dogs arriving from China on October 1. She and her husband have worked tirelessly to go through the process of customs approval and house certificates with the USDA, setting the entire operation up for a major success.

After reading through this, you may wonder why they focus purely on Goldens when there are dozens of other breeds searching for forever families.

“It’s responsible to work with breeds you know,” Oliveira offered. “I grew up with Goldens, my co-founder grew up with Goldens. If you wanted a German Shepherd, I don’t know what their temperament is or if you’d be a good match. It’s responsible to rehome animals you know the needs of.” Eventually, she and Anderson hope to grow and help others.  

I was also curious about her opinion regarding the ongoing debate, adopt or buy from a breeder? Sheila doesn’t see a problem with breeders because the goal is to find every Golden a loving home.

“The goal is to empty shelters, not have any homeless pets and have reputable breeders.” All she hopes is rescues and others across the nation ensure Goldens don’t go unloved.

It’s not long after she said this the long-awaited car pulled up. Glee was finally here!

Glee’s paw-rents, Jennifer and Jared Kasner, have taken her on tour across the nation to inspire, you guessed it: glee.

“Dogs unite people from every walk of life,” Jennifer smiled. “You can go anywhere across the nation and connect with people on a deep level.”

“It’s immediately an icebreaker,” Jared added.

Sheila presented Glee with the most fitting gift you could give a Golden: Golden Knights apparel and toys.

“They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” Sheila said, as she revealed the gift, “but when it comes to the Golden Knights, the Golden Knights are a staple in Las Vegas. When the October 1 shooting happened, the Golden Knights pulled Vegas together. So, we got you a little something.”

Glee tried on her new hat and bandana, looking every bit the perfect Knights fan. we couldn’t help but fawn over the pup’s adorable smile and happy disposition.

The Golden lovers chatted about the growth of hockey in Vegas and other sports-inspired topics when Jennifer and Jared expressed their interest in helping Sheila continue her work. They revealed the inspiration behind their tour and why it’s important to meet with organizations like Goldens Without Borders.  

“The people behind Goldens are amazing,” Jennifer expressed. “I think Sheila is doing great work. She’s changing the lives of animals, the purest beings that exist. We’re trying to inspire people to live better lives and be better people. Sheila is one of the people already doing it, and it’s exciting meet people like that.”

Stopping at Sambalatte is just one part of their fun Vegas trip, a city Jared feels is the perfect place for a Golden Retriever. He drew a parallel between the two:

“I think Goldens’ approach life with such a sense of wonder and child-like happiness. As we came to Vegas, Vegas is like Disneyland for adults, it’s a perfect city for a golden who exudes that approach to life, as well.”

If you’d like more information on adopting from Goldens without Borders, you can head over to their website. If you do decide to adopt, Oliveira’s team ensures everything is taken care of, from travel to microchipping.

We wish safe travels to Glee and her family, and the best of luck to Oliveria and the families becoming forever homes for rescued Goldens.   

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