Look, in Long Lake: ‘Goldzilla’

Owners of golden retrievers — and other breeds too — gathered at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton Sept. 9 for Goldzilla, a golden retriever festival and walk for rescues. photo: Solomon Gustavo

Cassie Tschida of Maplewood doled out treats to a hoard of begging golden retrievers while Northeast Minneapolis’ Kris Alexander took a picture. photo: Solomon Gustavo

Right around the bathroom and shower building, about 60 yards from the beach at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton, the ground slopes down toward the water. 

As soon as the dogs and their owners who had come to the park for Goldzilla, the golden retriever festival and fundraiser for rescue dogs on Sept. 9, hit the building and the canines got a good look at the water and all their fellow pups, each dog sprinted down the slight incline toward the sand. 

By the middle of the dash the dog would stretch into a full stride, mouth agape, tongue a-dangle. 

At the beach, the sun splitting between intermittent clouds, thronged golden retrievers and retriever-adjacent breeds on the grass-sand line, looking like a football team in a goal-line scenario. 

Each charging dog would rarely break pace, even at 20 yards of distance, at the 10, the five! — the dogs’ owners, still no more than 10 strides from the building, laughed and called to their pets, which tended to spark a chain of concern. 



“Charlie!” Silly pet names appear to be largely out of style.

Dogs making the sprint would dive into the grouped golden retrievers and roll and tumble — touchdown. The dogs, now a whirring blend of different golden hues, would hug and tussle and tease and swim and fetch, each owner smiling along.

“They are just the most social, happy breed,” said golden retriever owner Kris Alexander. She made the short trip from Northeast Minneapolis to partake in the dog-minded community day at the beautiful beach, and to support the adoption of rescued pets. 

As the people finally made it to the beach — after passing through a bank-vault-thick wall of wet-dog-smell — they took in the sight and chatted as their dogs and children splashed and crashed and played. 

A special sight was when someone broke out the dog treats for their canine companion, only to be suddenly surrounded by dogs. 

“Okay,” laughed Maplewood’s Cassie Tschida to a group of dogs bumping into each other, and her legs, as they begged for a treat. 

“Look pretty for me,” she said, rewarding those that obediently sat. 


— Solomon Gustavo

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