PORTLAND, Ore. — You know him as ‘Wonder’ our Great Toy Drive mascot. This week, we got the chance to meet ‘Parker’ the golden retriever’s whole family.
Parker, Gill and Reser—all named after Oregon State University landmarks—are cousins.
“They're so gentle, easy to train and they're pretty loving,” said Jennifer McFarling, who cares for Reser. Her father, Dan McFarling (an OSU grad) cares for Gill and Parker.
The McFarlings have helped the dogs make quite a name for themselves, especially 12-year-old Parker.
“I manage his Facebook, his Instagram and his website ,” said Jenn. “It's funny that a dog would have an agent.
And Parker does. It’s how he's landed roles in several local plays including Annie, commercials for companies including Target and maybe his best role as ‘Wonder.’
“It's great to be a part of something that provides joy for a lot of underprivileged kids around the Portland area,” said Dan, of their part with KGW’s Great Toy Drive.
Giving back is what the McFarling's believe the dogs do best. They've raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research with Parker's help.
“He's walked up and down the west coast,” said Jenn. “He's got a cancer vest and it has thousands of names of people and animals that have battled cancer.”
For his work, Parker even met animal advocate, Betty White. That's a golden retriever meeting a Golden Girl for those keeping up.
“She was very sweet,” said Jenn.
The dogs have spent countless hours at local schools, libraries, hospitals, courts and even jails, offering their special gift of therapy.
“I think it's reassuring not just for the inmates but the guards as well,” said Dan. “They've got a tough job.”
As for Parker's job, a dog’s got to retire, eventually.
“He's tired, we have to let him rest,” said Jenn.
It's why Gill's been stepping in for Parker from time to time, even at KGW Great Toy Drive events, as ‘Wonder.’ You might call him Parker's ‘Wonderstudy’
But rest assured, this golden legacy will continue on.
“They're able to bring a smile to people's faces,” said Jenn,” and that's important.”