Luvin’ Labs is a Labrador Retriever Rescue based in New Mexico.   We are dedicated to finding loving homes for Labrador Retrievers through rescue and rehoming.  We currently do not have dogs on site, rather we rely on donations for boarding and fabulous fosters to keep our labs until they find their forever homes!

Luvin’ Labs works with shelters and rescue organizations throughout the state.  We also work with owners of Labs who for a myriad of reasons need to find a loving home for their Labrador Retriever.

Click through the pages of our site and check back often for updated posts of available dogs as well as Lab related information.

Postings include dogs in our program, as well as Labrador Retrievers in danger in shelters throughout the state.


To visit dogs in immediate danger please click HERE

1157 dogs adopted to date!


Together saving one soul at a time.
Together we can save one soul at a time.

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Guess what? Nellie is ready for a foster or forever home!

If you follow us on social media, maybe you remember Nellie’s shelter picture:

We posted her picture day after day, hopeful that someone would see her deep, soulful labby eyes and find it in their heart to adopt her… But nobody showed up to take Nellie home so, on what would have otherwise been her last day on Earth, we showed up to rescue her and give her a second chance at happiness. We didn’t look at her and say “she’s too old” or “she’s too sick.” We just rescued her, just like hundreds of dogs before her and the hundreds that we’ve yet to rescue. Right now Nellie is regaining her strength after a major surgery to remove an enormous mammary tumor. She is happily carrying around her ball and playing with her new friends in a temporary medical recovery foster home.

We rely on donations to cover boarding and transportation costs, as well as vet bills for surgery to remove tumors like Nellie’s. These donations are also used to help treat dogs for starvation, heartworm and tick-borne illnesses, broken legs, hips and pelvises, care for pregnant labs and their pups, treat gunshot wounds and injuries caused by abuse, barbed wire fences or traps, bloat, mange, prolapse, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections… We are able to provide veterinary care for all of these dogs because our Luvin’ Labs family and friends donated. 

We’re so lucky to be part of such a compassionate group of people that love these dogs as much as we do. Our objective is first to fix their broken bodies, and then to begin the process of mending their broken hearts. We rely on our adopters to do the most important work: to provide our labs with wonderful lives happy homes. Even though our financial investment in Nellie and other medically needy dogs is significant, at the end of the day, their adoption fee will still be $170 which will only cover her spay and basic vet care.

Please, please help us cover our bills. Every single dollar donated goes directly toward helping New Mexico’s Labrador Retriever’s. The grid is only suggested donations- any amount is appreciated!! 

As always, we thank you for all you do and for loving our dogs as much as we do. 

Donations can also be mailed to:

Lodestar Dog Ranch
PO Box 52212
Albuquerque, NM 87181-2212

You can set up a recurring monthly donation by clicking the link below:

Luvin’ Labs Monthly Donation

You can also check out our fundraiser page for updates!

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Want to help make a difference to the Labrador Retrievers in our program? We’ve two easy ways below … 
  
Sign up for a one time donation at the Paypal (paypal link at the bottom of the page).

Or sign up to be a monthly donor through our monthly donor Paypal program (monthly donor link below, select the amount from the drop down then click on the large “monthly donation” button).

Either program will help you to literally help us save the life of a Labrador Retriever waiting to come in to our program. All donations assist us in continuing our mission of rescuing, rehoming and rehabilitating Labrador Retrievers.
 
100% of funds are used to cover costs incurred from intaking, medically treating and boarding dogs in our program. As a 501 (c)(3) non profit all donations are tax deductible.
We are deeply grateful for your help.

Monthly Donation


 

Together we can save one soul at a time.
 

Yancy1

On his 2 hour “Freedom Ride” to Albuquerque from the shelter he just stared at his rescuer with his paw gently placed on her arm as if to convey his appreciation.  Meet Yancy, a 1-1/2 year old yellow lab who came to us highly recommended by the shelter staff.  He’s gentle and gets along well with people and other dogs.  As Yancy is new to the rescue we are just getting to know him, but we can already tell you that this boy is going to make someone an awesome lifetime companion.

If you are interested in meeting Yancy click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions or want to foster him call (505) 362-0331.

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Pilot1

Meet Pilot, so named as he looks ready to soar at any moment.  And this 1-1/2 year old labby boy has a personality to match those ears…upbeat, happy and playful.  At first meeting you can’t help but smile as he greets you and it just gets better and better.  Nothing gets this boy down…even his stay at a high-kill shelter couldn’t put a damper on that soaring personality.  Pilot loves people and other dogs.  He loves to play.  He just loves life!  What more does he need…how about you!  Pilot is looking for that perfect forever family that he can make happy for a lifetime.

If you are interested in meeting Pilot click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions or want to foster him call (505) 362-0331.

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My eldery owner thought that feeding me table scraps and just sitting around all day was good for me, but I can tell you that loosing this extra weight is going to be no fun if I have to do it on my own.  I’m looking for a new home where I’ll get lots of exercise and good quality food made especially for dogs…no more table scraps for me!  And I’d like nothing better than to have a new best friend who wants to help me lose this weight by walking, playing fetch and just enjoying the outdoors together.  I need to loose about 25 pounds, but that’s easy if you have a partner.  If you think that might be you just ask to meet me…Grainger.  I’m a 7 year old chocolate male and I’m friendly to everyone…dogs and people alike.

From Grainger’s Foster Mom….

Grainger is a wonderful, sweet, big bear of a chocolate Lab.   He has a personality of gold…. such a kind boy.   He is my chocolate shadow wherever I go, and keeps a close eye on his foster Mom..  Nothing makes him happier than to be right at your side.   He gets so happy when he sees his people.   Grainger is still trying to lose some extra weight, but he absolutely LOVES his walk and is a pleasure to walk with.   He is willing to walk slow for people who need a slower pace, but will walk faster too.  Although a big strong dog, he is very nice on the leash.  He still needs a good diet and exercise program to get his weight back to normal, but he is well on his way.

He has very nice manners with other dogs. He really likes to have a dog companion to keep him company when he can’t be with his people.  Grainger is easy going and calm.   He is doing well with his foster dog brothers and sisters.  

This big sweet boy attaches quickly and is really wanting a family of his own.   He bounces around when excited but usually doesn’t really jump on people.  He is sleeping well in his crate at night and LOVES to be in the house with you.  He is a gentle dog with loving eyes that just beg to be your best friend.  He is waiting for his special family to find him!   

If you are interested in meeting Grainger click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions  call (505) 362-0331.

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York is a beautiful 1-1/2 year old yellow lab who was rescued on his last day at a small NM shelter.  He really is quite the boy.  He is friendly with everyone and has a happy sparkle in his eyes. He especially loves to be around people.  York gets along well with all his canine friends, seems to like cats, and, like all young boys, loves to run and play. After the initial excitement of going for a walk, he settles down nicely and walks on a leash very well. He would be considered a medium energy boy for his age. York would be a great addition to most any family and would definitely like to have lots of playtime or long walks in the park.

If you are interested in meeting York click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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Meet our special Luvin’ Labs girl Ally, a very sweet 3-1/2 year old pure bred lab.  Ally, because of her temperament and mellow personality, was selected by a service dog organization to go through their training; however, it was discovered that Ally is deaf.  While Ally no longer qualifies as a service dog, the organization felt it important that they get her training that would enable her to function using hand signals.  Ally will be returning to the Luvin’ Labs family, but with a month of specialized training and follow-up to enable her to excel in life.  We are looking for a special person or family with another dog that wants to welcome Ally into their home, either as a foster or forever.  And if you are her foster and fall in love with this girl (and who wouldn’t) as is Luvin’ Labs policy you are given first opportunity to adopt her.

If you are interested in meeting Ally click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions or want to foster Ally call  (505) 362-0331.

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While diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, no one can resist the beauty of a ruby…so let us introduce you to Luvin’ Labs’ 3 year old Ruby.  Not only is she gorgeous, but also extremely sweet and very social.  She loves people and other dogs, loves playing with toys and is just an all-around fun dog to spend time with.  We believe Ruby might have been a recent mom, but she is determined to get back her “pre-baby” figure with good food and exercise, and would love to have a new best friend to help her do that.

If you are interested in meeting Ruby click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions or want to foster her call (505) 362-0331.

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Rex


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Rex is a 3-4 year old male black labby boy who loves to make us smile. Early on with us, Rex had the misfortune of suffering with bloat.  Because one of our volunteers noticed he was not feeling well, we got him to our vet office quickly and they performed the surgery that saved his life.  In spite of that he’s an eternal optimist and as far as we can tell, absolutely nothing gets him down. He will need monitoring of food and water intake and will need care with some exercise, but other than that, Rex is a pretty “special” dog.  He  is quite mellow , but still  loves to play and be social: he is great with other dogs and he loves people.  He enjoys car rides and he has a great time playing and sharing some laughs with his foster brothers and sisters. He is totally housebroken, not at all food or toy aggressive and loves to be loved on by his human friends. Rex is also a big fan of ” fetch” and he even knows some basic commands! He’s the kind of dog who reminds us that there is always a bright side and life is fabulously wonderful- even when everyone else is having a bad day.  He would love a human who can be home with him quite a bit!  Need some more happy in your life? Then come meet Rex!

2/19/2015 Update from his foster mom:  Rex came to our house just after he had his surgery for his stomach torsion/bloat.  Due to the extent of the surgery, it took him several weeks to recover.  He is now fully recovered and doing great.  As you can see in his video, he is healthy enough to play fetch with his favorite tennis ball.  In fact, he participates in some sort of daily exercise including: fetch, walks, hikes, and runs. He loves to chase my dogs around until they all get tired and nap for the rest of the day.  
  
During Rex’s surgery, the vet performed a procedure to ensure his stomach didn’t torque again.  I am told he will live a normal, active life as long as his forever family understands that he may need monitoring of his food/water intake.  All this means is that he will do better with smaller, more frequent meals (2-3 times a day).  In addition, he shouldn’t drink an entire bowl of water and then run around like a crazy puppy.  This has been very easy for me to manage. 
  
I hope that someone interested in a fabulous dog, is willing to consider Rex.  He has been a wonderful house guest and a great canine companion to my dogs.  He has learned basic commands and has shown an ability to do well in nose work classes. He has such an amazing ability to learn, he would do well in any dog training activity.  He is very loyal and really wants to bond with someone who needs a forever Labrador friend.  If you are looking for a dog that will make you smile everyday, then Rex is the one. 

If you are interested in meeting Rex click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 7 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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My name’s Cassie and I’m almost 5 months old.  My friend Jericho- his mom is one of the ladies who runs the rescue- tells us that in addition to being extremely cute and cuddly, I am extra special just like him! You see, I was born with a heart condition- Jericho says my heart beat to it’s very own special rhythm.  My heart means that Luvin’ Labs is looking for extraordinary humans that are willing to love me unconditionally.  I am so young that the vet isn’t sure if my heart rhythm will cause me any problems long term or not, so for now I am just doing what puppies do best- exploring and napping!  Jericho says he is just like any other dog but that his mom loves and spoils him extra because she sees every day with him as a very special blessing.  My paws are crossed that I’ll be adopted by a human just like Jericho’s mom!

From her foster mom:  Cassie is doing just great!  She is house and crate trained, knows sit and is working on wait, and comes when called.  She loves our 2 older labs and would love a doggie playmate in her new forever home!  She’s  just a typical active puppy who loves toys, exploring, cuddling when tired, very talkative and just the sweetest, cutest puppy you have ever seen.

We are committed to finding Cassie the best home possible.  She MUST stay in the Albuquerque area through diagnostics, the first six months of her life.  She MAY require extensive, exhaustive, continual medical care which will be the sole responsibility of her adopter.  Luvin Labs is COMMITTED to seeing that these needs will be met in any potential adoptive home.

While Labrador puppies are adorable they are not right for everyone.  We are extremely careful in our placement of puppies as each  has special needs that includes the time commitment for training, bonding, and supervising in order to make them the best canine citizens they can become.

If you are interested in meeting Cassie click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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“All of my love…All of my kissin’…You don’t know what you’ve been a-missin’

Oh boy, when you’re with me…Oh boy, the world can see

That you, were meant, for me”

Meet Luvin’ Labs own Buddy Holly, the sweetest 8 year old black lab looking for that special someone.  Buddy gets along with everybody…human and canine alike!  He’s looking for a companion that will appreciate his maturity and wisdom that can only come with age.  If you are interested in meeting Buddy Holly click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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Rowen is a remarkably resilient, spunky 7 year old female lab/catahoula cross. Sweet Ms. Rowen waited patiently for over two months in a rural shelter and even though she was marked as “urgent” and running out of time weeks before we were able to spring her from the shelter, somehow she was able to repeatedly convince the staff to give her just one more day. The day we showed up and told her about her temporary foster home, Rowen did an amazing little happy dance and thanked us with lots of happy nuzzles… and then she went and planted herself at the door and stared outside without blinking. She was totally focused and she wouldn’t budge. Rowen was letting us know that the only direction she intended to go, was out that door. The staff at the shelter tells us she has never met a stranger and that she is a very social, loving girl who is good with other dogs. Older shelter dogs are lots of wonderful things, but mostly they are just grateful.

If you are interested in meeting Rowen click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions  call (505) 362-0331.

Rowan

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Poor  precious Sammie is a senior Lab who has surely been through some hard times recently.    He was found as a stray, very thin and out of time in the shelter when Luvin’ Labs stepped up to help him out.  Sammie got some much needed dental work to help him eat easier and some medical care for his infected ears and is now in a foster home to help him recover and regain his health.

Sammie is a smaller sized, 10 yr old yellow Lab.  He is a very gentle soul… a sweet natured boy who really appreciates any kindness he receives.   He loves being in the house with you and is happy to nap near you or put his sweet face in your lap to be petted.  He sleeps all night in his crate.

Sammie gets along with other dogs and has shown no interest in the cat.   If you want a gentle walking companion, this boy is wonderful.   He walks right at your side and doesn’t pull on the leash at all, so he must have had some training at some time in his past.  He must have been someone’s pet, but no one came for him in the shelter.

Sammie deserves to have a nice home where he can be loved and cared for.  He just wants to be safe and have plenty of good food and a nice bed to sleep in with a family to share his golden years with.  Luvin’ Labs is committed to find this sweet dog a family to love him.   He will return that love many times over.

If you are interested in meeting Sammie click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com.  Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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This is Coco. She is 7 years old (aka the perfect lab age), and she is a purebred chocolate lab.  Her previous family was moving and unable to take this special girl with them.  Coco is sweet, loving, friendly and she is great with kids. She loves to play catch and go for walks, is excellent on a leash, doesn’t dig or jump fences, isn’t food or toy aggressive, and doesn’t ever nip or bite. Lovely Coco gets along with other dogs and her best friend was a chihuahua so she would do well in a home with small dogs. She is housebroken and has excellent manners in the house. Coco has diabetes. If you have ever cared for an animal with diabetes, you know that as long as her diabetes is managed, she is just like any other 7 year old dog and she has many great years ahead of her. This wonderful girl is anxious to find a new forever home.

If you are interested in meeting Coco click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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Java

What a tragic loss for 7-8 year old chocolate Java has suffered…living the good life with a loving and seemingly healthy owner when he unexpectedly passed away. She desperately misses her human and is anxious to find that same love and security in a new forever home.  Java is an inside dog and would prefer spending time in the house.  She is a little shy around people she doesn’t know, but warms up quickly.  Java loves attention and does well on her own (doesn’t need the companionship of another dog).

If you are interested in meeting

Java click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions, call (505) 362-0331.

Sienna

Sienna is a 5-6 year old chocolate girl who recently lost the only owner she had known to a sudden illness.  She is an indoor dog and is primarily outside only to use the bathroom.  Sienna is a little shy around people she doesn’t know, but warms up quickly and is good-natured and loving once she has made friends. Her owner was a man, however Sienna does sometimes require a little extra time to warm up to men she has never met. Help us give beautiful Sienna her very own forever home.

If you are interested in meeting Sienna click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions, call (505) 362-0331.

Cinder takes her foster human for a walk around the play yard.

Cinder takes her foster human for a walk around the play yard.

Meet 9 year old, Cinder- a female chocolate Labrador Retriever. Cinder is a wonderful companion who loves people, especially children. She is a very sweet and gentle soul with lots of personality. Cinder enjoys- no, LOVES- going for walks and will often carry her own leash and sometimes grabs her foster sister’s leash to lead her out to the car. Cinder is also a talker and likes to tell you when she is hungry or when it is time for her walk. Her foster dad says “it is not usually a bark, more like an “Rrrrrrrr” sound.. unless you ignore her too long, then she’ll give you a bark”.  Her foster dad has lots more wonderful things to say about Cinder:

She is well trained, I tell her to sit when I am feeding her and she will (Mostly!) stay until I say it is OK to go to her food, even when it is sitting on the ground in front of her. She does well when I am not at home and when I return she is laying on the rug by the door. She is very good about food and does not rush to get things that fall on the floor, I usually beat her to it if it is something she should not have. She is very gentle and will even let you take something out of her mouth if you need to. Cinder gets along with other dogs with the right introduction, although sometimes unfamiliar dogs in the park make her nervous but I tell her to sit, and she does better.

Cinder has some damage to her larynx so it’s best that she walks wearing a harness and she will need to go to a home that is smoke-free. If you are interested in meeting Cinder click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com.  Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 7 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.

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Petite, cute, sweet…all the perfect adjectives to describe Luvin’ Labs girl Eliza.  While this adorable one year old likes other dogs, she adores people…would rather just hang out with her human friends than do just about anything else.  And she has good manners, always sits and waits to be let out of her kennel.  Unfortunately Eliza’s previous owners did not feel it necessary to keep her on heart worm preventive and she tested positive for heart worms, something we see a lot of now.  Luvin’ Labs will provide the treatment to get rid of those heart worms so Eliza can lead a normal and healthy life.  Before we start her treatment we want to find her a foster or forever home where she can be ensured lots of TLC during her month-long recovery.  As Eliza is pretty mellow her recovery should be a breeze!

7/4/2015 Update from Our Volunteer:  “And this is Eliza…probably the sweetest dog on earth. She just wants her own people! Eliza spends most of her time in the play yard begging for pets and hugs. She’s a low energy, yet young dog looking for a foster, but more preferably a forever home.  she is such a pretty girl, beautiful eyes and so incredibly sweet.  She would be the perfect companion dog for someone needing a nice soothing, quiet, calm friend.”

If you are interested in meeting Eliza click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com.  Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days.  Should you have additional questions  or be interested in fostering Eliza call (505) 362-0331.

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Owner Listings are posted as a courtesy with Luvin Labs acting as a facilitator in this process.  We will receive applications, send them to the owner, and work with both parties to find a suitable home.  However, Luvin Labs has not evaluated these dogs and has only provided information supplied by the owner. We make no representations of, either expressed or implied, as to the health and/or temperament of courtesy listing dogs.

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This is Little Man, a male dog, breed unknown (possibly chihuahua mix). We think he looks like a very tiny Labrador with funny ears. L.M was taken in by a Luvin’ Labs foster family when they found him wandering along the ditch bank, emaciated and with what appeared to be bite marks from another animal. They have nursed this adorable guy back to health and he is now ready to find a forever home. L.M. is a lapdog and a snuggler who likes to sleep curled up on the pillow next to his people at night. He gets along great with other dogs and cats and adjusted to his new foster home very quickly. L.M.’s foster mom says he’s a keeper and if she didn’t already have a full house she would love for him to stay and be part of her family. Do you have a little bit of extra room on your pillow? If so, Little Man would love to occupy that spot. Oh, and we encourage his future family to tell everyone that this guy came from Luvin’ Labs and that you believe him to be mostly lab… It’ll be funny to see who pretends to believe you.

If you are interested in meeting Little Man click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 7 days.  Should you have additional questions or be interested in fostering Flower call (505) 362-0331.

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Fonz is a typical and adorable young lab pup.  At just 7 months old he’s at that perfect age to benefit from basic obedience training in order to become the perfect family member.  He’s already house trained, crate trained and gets along great with children and other dogs, both large and small.  His owner has accepted a traveling job which hinders her ability to properly train and care for him.  In addition, Fonz currently spends 10 hours a day crated which is not the perfect life for any dog, much less one so young and energetic.

If you are interested in meeting Fonz click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions or want to foster her call (505) 362-0331.  Owner Listing

Fonz

 

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This handsome 7 year old black lab is looking for a new forever home.  His current owner believes he needs more time and attention that she is able to give him.  She has this to say about Rollo:

“Rollo is the true description of a loving lab, his heart and love capacity is more than most dogs.  He  does enjoy a lot of attention, but is always happy with anything you will give him.   Although he is 7 years old, he still thinks he is a puppy and will even try to cuddle on your lap (if he can fit).  He needs a lot of physical  activity and is at his best when he has a job or something “important” to do.   His need for love is also a need for approval, so I believe he would do anything for affection , include follow instructions.   He does need an Alpha owner, (as I have not been) and I think he will do quite well.  My time and space have been more and more limited, and I feel he deserves a chance to get exactly what he needs to thrive, and be the amazing dog that he is.  Everybody that meets him, falls in love with him, that in itself says a lot.”

Rollo’s housemates are 3 cats who he gets along well with.  He hasn’t had much experience with other dogs so a proper introduction would be a must.  Rollo likes kids, but does best if they are older.  Rollo is used to staying in the house when his owner is not home and has great house manners.  He also knows how to use a dog door.

If you are interested in meeting Rollo click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.  Owner Listing

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This beauty is Belle, a 10 year old pure-bred “silver” lab.  Her elderly owner loves her very much, but realizes she can no longer care for her best friend.  Belle is your typical happy-go-lucky lab who is affectionate and sweet.  She spends the majority of her time in the house and has excellent house manners.  She walks well on a leash and have a good energy level.  She is just looking for a new companion to spend her retirement years with.   And don’t let her age fool you…she certainly doesn’t look her age and still enjoys going for a nice long walk and playing with her housemates, a pug and a cat.

If you are interested in meeting Belle click here for information on the adoption process. There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 10 days. Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.  Owner Listing

Jake and DukeAre you looking for your first Labrador Retriever? Maybe you know you’ll be a wonderful owner but you are a little worried because you work and don’t want him to be lonely? We have the perfect dog for you!! His name is Jake and Duke! Jake and Duke are 5 year old brothers and they are a bonded pair. Their current owner tells us they are big boys and that they’re Lab mixes, however it appears that their Labrador genetics prevailed in the mix. Both boys are neutered, housebroken and know how to use a dog door. They spend the majority of their time indoors and are well behaved in the house. They are happy, loving boys but it is unclear whether or not they get along with other dogs or cats since they’ve really only been around one-another. Jake and Duke love women and children but it’s been several years since they’ve interacted with a human male… so they may not know exactly what to make of Mr. Adopter for a little bit. Both boys have very distinct personalities, Duke is the happy-go-lucky, outgoing one and Jake likes to hang back for a minute and let Duke assess the situation before committing.

Jake and Duke were born on 12/9/2009 and adopted as pups. They are very loved dogs and it is with a heavy heart that their owner must find them a new family. Due to unfortunate circumstances, she is moving in with her daughter and Jake and Duke would be dogs #7 and #8. She felt they had so much love to give, that they needed to be dogs #1 and #2. We agree. If you are thinking of adopting one dog but have room for two, we encourage you to meet these two incredibly awesome boys!

If you are interested in meeting Jake and Duke click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 7 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331.  Owner Listing

Jake

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Handsome Gerber is a neutered young male lab who’s in search of a forever home.  Gerber’s a bit timid at first meeting, but once he gets to know you he’s quite the cuddler.  He gets along great with other dogs and even likes cats.  He’s good on a leash and has perfect house manners.  An active owner would be ideal for Gerber as he would do well as a hiking companion…staying right by your side.  Gerber can jump so he needs a home with a higher fence and really wouldn’t do well left outside alone.  If you are interested in meeting Gerber please contact Kristine at krisgruda@hotmail.com.  Courtesy Post

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1 year old female Madeline (aka Maddie) is in search of a new home where her human doesn’t have to travel for work all the time. Adorable Maddie is a sweet all-around dog who would be a great addition to just about any home. Maddie’s owner has this to say about her: “She is very friendly and loves other dogs. Her best friend is a Chihuahua. She loves her family, kids –she is very much a puppy and very much a Lab –she loves to get out and run when she can and she loves water. She is a good watch dog. Trying to teach her not to jump on you (which she does sometimes when she gets excited)….but overall a great dog. Potty trained –she tells YOU when she needs to go –usually with a paw on the arm. She is a great dog.” Maddie spends most of her time indoors and frequently stays in the house alone for part of the day with no issues and she’s totally house trained. She does OK on a leash and works a bit with a trainer while her human is away on work travels. Her owner did reveal to us that Maddie occasionally pulls the stuffing out of her toys <GASP!!> (We are happy to tell you that this makes her a perfectly normal 1 year old dog). Maddie is spayed, UTD on all vaccines and on heartworm preventative.

If you are interested in meeting Maddie click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 7 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331. Owner listing

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BlakeBlake is a beautiful, black, 2 year old male Labrador Retriever- these pictures don’t do him justice. His owner is being forced to move and only has a limited window to find him a home.  He has a great time with older children and adults, but his playful “labbiness” may not be right for smaller children or persons who are not steady on their feet. He thinks that toys are very special things that should be loved and played with often and, true to his Labrador roots,  he also thinks that water is the best invention ever. Blake has cats in his life and his current owner says “he chases them but has never hurt them” (not exactly a vote of confidence). He gets along with other dogs, but he can be selective as far as other male dogs go (for example, he thinks the male Shiz zu in his life is a fine friend, but he’s not such a fan of male Basset Hounds). Blake needs some basic obedience training- he has lived in kennels almost exclusively so he may also need a little work on house manners. Blake is UTD on all vaccines, but has not been heartworm tested. If you have time to invest training a new dog, Blake just needs a little refinement to reach his full potential. He is beautiful and has tons of potential.

If you are interested in meeting Blake click here for information on the adoption process.  There you will find the online application which, when completed, can be emailed to applications@luvinlabs.com. Upon receipt of the application a volunteer will be in touch with you within 7 days.  Should you have additional questions call (505) 362-0331. Owner listing

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Following are postings for dogs in immediate danger in shelters throughout New Mexico, and Texas, as well as courtesy listings for other shelters and owners looking for homes for their labs. The postings contain contact information on the shelter, as well as the dogs identification.  For more information on specific animals please contact the shelter directly.

Luvin’ Labs works with other rescue organizations throughout the states, and has resources that may be able to help with transport via the puppy express … a network of fabulous volunteers who donate a bit of their time to move dogs across the country pony express style.  For more information on transport assistance please call 505/362-0331.

 

This video shows the harsh reality of owner surrenders to our shelter system in this country. Please think long and hard before surrendering your family member to a shelter. And if you choose to do it, don’t kid yourself into believing the shelter is going to find them a good home. It just doesn’t happen.

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Shelter staff named me ABBY and I am a spayed female, yellow and white Labrador Retriever mix. I am currently in foster care. The shelter thinks I am about 9 years old. I have been at the shelter since Dec 29, 2014. For more information about this animal, call: Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department – Eastside at (505) 768-1975. Ask for information about animal ID number A1710890.

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My name is ROADIE and I am a neutered male, black Labrador Retriever mix. I have been available for adoption since Jul 08, 2015. The shelter thinks I am about 3 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jul 08, 2015. or more information about this animal, call: Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department – Westside at (505) 768-1975. Ask for information about animal ID number A1102505.

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Shelter staff named me MAGOO and I am a male, black Labrador Retriever mix. I have been available for adoption since Jun 21, 2015. The shelter thinks I am about 3 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jun 17, 2015. For more information about this animal, call: Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department – Westside at (505) 768-1975.Ask for information about animal ID number A1720296.

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Shelter staff named me LINDSEY and I am a spayed female, tan Labrador Retriever and Vizsla. I have been available for adoption since Jun 09, 2015. The shelter thinks I am about 2 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jun 04, 2015. For more information about this animal, call: Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department – Eastside at (505) 768-1975.Ask for information about animal ID number A1719622.

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My name is BUTTONS and I am a female, tan and cream Labrador Retriever mix. I have been available for adoption since Jun 04, 2015. The shelter thinks I am about 2 years old. I have been at the shelter since Jun 04, 2015. For more information about this animal, call: Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department – Westside at (505) 768-1975. Ask for information about animal ID number A1719612.

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My name is LANEY and I am a female, black and white Labrador Retriever mix. Some additional information: uses dog door, housebroken, can jump 3’ block fence; fearful of men. I have been available for adoption since May 26, 2015. The shelter thinks I am about 5 years old. I have been at the shelter since May 26, 2015.  For more information about this animal, call: Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department – Westside at (505) 768-1975. Ask for information about animal ID number A1588385.

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7/7/2015 Update from Sebastian’s owner:  After 5 weeks of being out in the wild, Sebastian showed up out of the blue in our front yard howling, wet, starving, and missing an eyebrow!!  Poor baby is so skinny but SO HAPPY to be home!

6/16/2015 Update from Sebastian’s owner: Sebastian was seen running West of Colinas Del Norte elementary into that Mesa past Rainbow. Please share this post let’s try to get him home. If you see him, don’t try to catch him just call me at 505 206 0344. He’s terrified and running from everyone, even me.

Luvin’ Labs Alum “Sebastian” has been missing for 5 days. His brother Kane was found today 6/7/15 (safe!) in the new housing development at Northern & Rainbow in Rio Rancho. He was very happy to see his people, but unable to tell us what happened to his brother. Sebastian is a 3 yrs old black Lab, neutered, microchipped & was wearing a yellow collar with multi colored stripes. Sebastian went missing from his home near Unser & Cherry in RR on 6/2/15. We think he might be somewhere in between his home & where his brother was found. Sebastian can be shy with adults but is friendly with kids. He is a treasured member of his family & he is greatly missed.  Please call (505)206-0344, (505)974-4733 or (505) 362-0331 with any info or sightings!!

 

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Amazon.com has teamed up with Luvin’ Labs Rescue through AmazonSmile to help raise funds for the rescue and rehoming of Labrador Retrievers and lab mixes throughout the state of New Mexico.  When purchased through their AmazonSmile site, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to Lodestar Dog Ranch (that’s us!) benefiting all the amazing pups you see on the Luvin’ Labs site!.  While shopping at Amazon (prices, services and guarantees), you’ll be donating to the amazing labs in our program and waiting to come in to our program…how simple is that!  With the holidays just around the corner what better way to make a difference in the life of a lab!  Click on the “Learn more” button below and start shopping.

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Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake Fundraising Cards are now for sale with Luvin’ Labs! For $5.00 you’ll receive 8 specials including a FREE large Pizza, free cookie dough, free cinammon wheel plus discount coupons … an easy sell!

To purchase please stop by Good Shepherd Animal Clinic or visit us at any of our events.

If you are able to help us sell the cards please email colleen@luvinlabs.com
All proceeds benefit Luvin’ Labs dogs in the program and coming in to our program.

Did You Know:    Black dogs are particularly doomed when they are brought to a pound because they are passed by for lighter colored dogs.  This is especially true of  black labs or lab mixes.  They are euthanized at a horrifying rate at many pounds & shelters. If you are thinking about adopting a dog , please don’t overlook black dogs because they are just as loving & wonderful as lighter colored dogs!   Martin County Animal Shelter, Fairmont,MN

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November 21:  Jazmine is still missing.  We believe someone must have taken her in since she has not shown up at the shelters and there have been no sightings of her.  Do you know of a neighbor who has a black female lab they found around the 4th of July?  This could be our Jazmine.  She is miscrochipped, but had no collar.  Please, call if you know of her. 

September 11:  We have still had no news of Jazmine.  We are hoping that some kind family took her in, and we are hoping they will call us and help us get her back to her family.  At this point, she could be anywhere.  Have you seen her?

July 18th Update:  We are still looking.  Jazmine could be near Phoenix/Washington/Menual area, she could be near the open space near Costco on I-25/Montgomery, she could have followed a bike path and traveled up to the Chelwood park area.  She has been missing for over two weeks!  Please, if you have time go out to these areas and take a look.  We have put up flyers, but if you can also help with that please call us.  We are hoping someone has her and will call.  She is microchipped!

July 16th Update:  It is believed that Jazmine was seen in the vicinity of Chelwood Park near Lomas and Tramway today.

Jazmine’s owner is desperate to find her…Jazmine is a 3 year old female black lab who got out of her family’s yard on the 4th of July.  Last seen in the vicinity of Phoenix and Carlisle NE in Albuquerque on the evening of the 4th.  Jazmine slipped out of her collar, but is microchipped.   If you see her or know where she might be please call 505-720-6806 or 505-362-0331.

 

 

Reprinted with permission from Debbie at thankdogphotography.com

I recently read an article by a woman complaining about her difficulty in adopting a dog from a rescue organization.  Several commenters agreed and relayed similar experiences.  It got me thinking…

First, I don’t know the author.   Nor do I know anything about the rescue organization she was trying to adopt from (I think everyone was from New York).

Second – I’m far from an old hand at this.  I’ve fostered 1 adult dog and 7 puppies, including Jet.  And these are only my own thoughts and opinions – I’m not speaking for any rescue organization or volunteer.

So… do I think it’s “harder” to adopt from a rescue organization than from your local shelter?  In a word, yes.  But there are a number of good reasons why…

We have the time to be more selective.  The dogs in the rescue organizations are no longer on death row.  The threat of euthanasia is gone.  They aren’t going to die if they aren’t adopted in just a few days. Once a dog is within the rescue organization, he or she is safe.  We can take the time to do home visits, check vet references, etc.  We can care for them through all their vetting, illnesses or whatever.  The urgency is gone.

We become attached.  Most rescue organizations are all volunteer, and the dogs are in foster care.  This means they live in our homes and share our lives – sometimes for months.  Jet has been with me for almost 3 months now.  The little stinker sleeps in my bed.  Belle, the Queen of Disdain, has fallen for him.  So do I want him going somewhere that’s “fine” or “okay”?  No, not really.  I want him to go to the perfect home for him.  Even if/when that home comes along, will I cry?  Almost certainly.  Do we all seriously consider keeping (one or more) of our fosters? Of course.  Am I considering keeping Jet?  You bet.  The attachment we have to our fosters makes us really want to find great homes for them – homes where they’ll thrive and be happy.

We know the dogs.  I know Jet.  I know he’s a high energy puppy who loves other dogs.  I also know he’s noisy (I hear him from the driveway – coming and going), he can be destructive (so far, the tally is one shoe and a bathroom cabinet), he’s smart but stubborn, he has sweet moments, and he has a well-documented tendency to eat inappropriate things. Because I know him, I know what type of home he needs – and what type of home would not be a good fit.  We have turned down an application on Jet – very nice and well meaning people, but everything about the circumstances spelled disaster and future behavioral issues.

We’ve had dogs returned.  You might be surprised by how often this happens – sometimes a few days or weeks later, sometimes months later. Frequently the issue is a mismatch of energy between an existing pet and the new dog (or a clash of personality).  Sometimes it’s a new boyfriend or girlfriend who doesn’t like the dog or the dog doesn’t like him/her (though I would guess it’s always the former).  Other times it’s a realization that they don’t have the time needed for the dog they adopted (some are high maintenance, no doubt about it!).  By being more particular with the original adoption, we hope to avoid this.  We can’t always.  Don’t get me wrong – we want them returned to us versus the shelter.. but we also obviously would prefer neither.

We’re all volunteers.  Most of us have other jobs.  So if it takes a little while to respond – or if the whole process is slower than you hoped, please have patience.

Basically, yes, it probably is more of a process to adopt from a rescue organization.  But it’s because we truly want to match the dogs up with the best homes — and vice versa.  If you let us know about you, your lifestyle, your family, etc., we’ll do our best to pair you up with a dog that will be a good match for you.  We’re not trying to be difficult, we just honestly want what’s best for everyone involved (especially the dogs, as that’s where our attachment lies).
So what if you’ve found a dog you’d like to adopt?  Here’s a few tips to help the process along:

  • Show your excitement.  Ooh and aah over the dog and how wonderful and adorable  s/he is.  It shouldn’t really matter, but it does.  We want the dogs to be loved and adored.
  • Think about it.  Sure that dog’s adorable, but do you have the time to housebreak him? To train him? What if he pulls a Jet and runs up $1000 worth of vet bills by eating a still-unknown something?   Let us know you have given the idea of adding a new dog to your family some thought.
  • Complete the application.  Yes, sometimes they’re a little long.  They ask for stuff like your vet’s name.  Trust me when I say we look at them.  If you have pets but don’t have a vet – a red flag is raised.
  • Work on any behavioral problems your current pets have.  Some are fine (Belle countersurfs when I’m not home – not good behavior, but I know now not to leave anything on the counters).  But if your dog doesn’t like your son or snaps at your husband or is repeatedly getting in fights, it’s not cute.  It’s a sign that there’s an issue and you’re not doing anything to resolve it.  We figure the same will happen to your next dog.
  • Demonstrate you have some basic knowledge about dogs.  Don’t let your kids grab at unfamiliar dogs.  Learn some of the basic signs dogs give you when they are uncomfortable, anxious or unhappy.  It’s not hard, it only takes a minute, but it shows us you are serious about being a good and responsible owner.
  • Listen to us.  Dogs often act differently at adoption events than how they do at home.  If we say a dog is very high energy, but he doesn’t really appear to be… listen to us.  Adoption events are stressful for some of the dogs – a necessary evil, I suppose.  The dogs don’t always act like themselves.  Likewise, if we say the dog would do better as an only dog, don’t assume that because your dog gets along with everyone, he’ll get along with the new one too.

Yes, our dogs are rescues, sometimes from awful circumstances, other times not.  But just because they made it to a shelter does not mean they do not deserve a good home.  Indeed, many of them have gone through enough already – they deserve us spending a little time and effort to make sure the next chapter in their lives is a happy one. That’s all we’re trying to do.  So please be patient and understanding – it’ll be worth it.

to volunteer with Luvin’ Labs please email colleen@luvinlabs.com or call 505/362-0331

A few years ago, Julien Roohani of Portland, Oregon, was at work when her roommates spontaneously decided to go on a hike. Not wanting to exclude Julien’s six-month-old Shepherd/Border Collie mix, Niña, they threw her into the back of their pickup truck and set off for an adventure.
Niña had never been in a truck bed before. Whether she was scared or just spotted something of interest, she managed to jump out during the drive. Panicking, the roommates called Julien, who rushed Niña to an emergency veterinary clinic where she was diagnosed with a broken spine and other severe injuries. Julien had no choice but to allow her young pup to be humanely euthanized.
Unfortunately, stories like Niña’s are all too common. It is never safe to drive with an unrestrained pet—especially with that pet in an open truck bed.
“When you drive with a loose dog in the back of your truck, you’re taking a huge risk and placing your dog and other motorists in danger,” says Chuck Mai, a vice president with AAA Oklahoma. “Even if a dog is trained, we’re talking about an animal who responds to stimuli on impulse. This irresponsible decision can start a deadly chain reaction on the road.”
Is It Legal?
Transporting unrestrained dogs in low-sided truck beds has been banned in a handful of states, including California and New Hampshire, and municipalities including Indianapolis, Cheyenne and Miami-Dade. However, in the vast majority of jurisdictions, it’s not even illegal to transport children in this manner, so we must rely on common sense and education to protect children and pets alike.
How You Can Help
One can feel terribly helpless witnessing a loose dog in a pickup truck. The best course of action is to try to get the vehicle’s license number (if you can do so while remaining safe) and call the local police. Rather than dialing 911, Jill Buckley, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations, suggests storing your police precinct’s phone number in your cell phone.

A Rescued Dogs Prayer

Thank you for rescuing me … I know you’ve thought long and hard about a new friend
Something about my soulful eyes and soft fur touched a very special part of you.
I wanted to share with you a bit of me,
and what might help me to be the best pup for you.
Up until a few weeks ago I had the perfect dog life,
and then one day, a day like every other,
Ended with me being abandoned.
I’ve been at the shelter, on the end of a chain,
In a field, or sitting on the side of the road
Waiting, scared, moved from place to place
With no idea of who to trust or what is going to happen.
Thankful for the fresh water, food, a warm place to sleep and sometimes kind people.
And then you chose me …
Please give me time to adjust to you and to learn your expectations of me.
All I want is to please you, I just do not know how to yet.
I ask you to please give me patience and understanding.
I don’t yet know what you want of me.
Teach me softly, consistently,
Outside, down, fetch, sit, good dog!
If you don’t understand my behavior,
It may be because I have been abused, abandoned, neglected.
Sometimes I may be afraid of you, of other people, of loud noises or sudden movements.
Time and patience will help me learn to trust again.
Please forgive me if I am protective of my food.
I was so very hungry for a very long time.
Someday I’ll understand that my food bowl will never again be empty.
Adopt me because you want me,
Because under my faults and flaws you see who I really am,
You understand that each of us is not perfect,
That our imperfections actually show our individual beauty.
And last but not least, please give me the precious time
I need to adjust to your house, to your home, to you.
I will bond to you … be it today, or tomorrow … or next week
And I promise with all that I am that I will be
Your most loyal, loving, forever friend.

By Luvin’ Labs


A Rescued Dogs Prayer was written with input from all of us at Luvin’ Labs to try to help new owner’s understand that their newly rescued lab needs some time to adjust.  Thanks to each and every one of you for your input!

Pictures are of Sir Lancelot, a 3 year old yellow Labrador Retriever rescued from the Garland, Texas shelter by many rescues working together.  He was an owner surrender who knows sit, shake, and lie down and was just left there, and rescued hours before being put to sleep.  The “Sad Lab” picture at the top of post circulated all over the internet waiting for a rescue to commit to him.  The “Happy Lab” picture at the bottom was after he was rescued, and safe, in boarding.  We are happy to say that Sir Lancelot is living his happily ever after with his new family in Albuquerque, NM!

Today is a sad day for the rescue community around the world. Every once in a while, a story comes along that seems to unite the world. Lennox, a family pet, the victim of breed specific legislation, was just that sweet soul. Lennox was euthanized today in Belfast, Northern Ireland because he looked like a banned breed, a pit bull. His family fought for 2 years to free him, to no avail. They were not even allowed to see him before he was pts and last they heard, they might get to have some of his ashes. Our hearts go out to his family and we wish Lennox peace and freedom at the rainbow bridge. To read more about Lennox, please visit the link: http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2011/03/lennox-sentenced-to-death-in-trial-by-tape-measure-appeals-planned/


 

Luvin’ Labs alumni Rigel his brother Tenner play in the snow!

It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.
~ Unknown

 

When God made me, he spelled his name backwards and called me Dog.

I am a dog. I am a living, breathing animal. I feel pain, joy, love, fear and pleasure.

I am not a thing. If I am hit – I will bruise, I will bleed, I will break. I will feel pain. I am not a thing.

I am a dog. I enjoy playtime, walk time, but more than anything, I enjoy time with my pack – my family – my people. I want nothing more than to be by the side of my human. I want to sleep where you sleep and walk where you walk. I am a dog and I feel love…I crave companionship.

I enjoy the touch of a kind hand and the softness of a good bed. I want to be inside of the home with my family, not stuck on the end of a chain or alone in a kennel or fenced yard for hours on end. I was born to be a companion, not to live a life of solitude.

I get too cold and I get too hot. I experience hunger and thirst. I am a living creature, not a thing.

When you leave, I want to go with you. If I stay behind, I will eagerly await your return. I long for the sound of your voice. I will do most anything to please you. I live to be your treasured companion.

I am a dog. My actions are not dictated by money, greed, or hatred. I do not know prejudice. I live in the moment and am ruled by love and loyalty.

Do not mistake me for a mindless object. I can feel and I can think. I can experience more than physical pain, I can feel fear and joy. I can feel love and confusion. I have emotions. I understand perhaps more than you do. I am able to comprehend the words you speak to me, but you are not always able to understand me.

I am a dog. I am not able to care for myself without your help. If you choose to tie me up and refuse to feed me, I will starve. If you abandon me on a rural road, I will experience fear and loneliness. I will search for you and wonder why I have been left behind. I am not a piece of property to be dumped and forgotten.

If you choose to leave me at a shelter, I will be frightened and bewildered. I will watch for your return with every footfall that approaches my kennel run.

I am a dog – a living, breathing creature. If you choose to take me home, please provide me with the things that I need to keep me healthy and happy.

Provide me with good food, clean water, warm shelter and your love. Do not abandon me. Do not kick me. Do not dump me when your life gets too busy. Make a commitment to me for the entirety of my life, or do not take me home in the first place.

If you desert me, I do not have the means to care for myself. I am at the mercy of the kindness of people – if I fall into the wrong hands, my life will be ruined.

I will experience pain, fear and loneliness. If I wind up in an animal shelter, I have only my eyes to implore someone to save me, and my tail to show you that I am a friend. If that is not good enough, I will die.

I am a dog. I want to give and receive love. I want to live. I am not a thing. I am not a piece of property. Please do not discard me. Please treat me with kindness, love and respect. I promise to repay you with unconditional love for as long as I live.

By Jim Willis, 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend.  Whenever I was”bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and ask “How could you?” — but then you’d relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub. My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together.  I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect.  We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because “ice cream is bad for dogs,” you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate.  I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.  She, now your wife, is not a “dog person” — still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her.  I was happy because you were happy.  Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement.  I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother  them, too.  Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate.  Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a “prisoner of love.”

As they began to grow, I became their friend.  They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose.  I loved everything about them and their touch — because your touch was now so infrequent — and I would have defended them with my life if need be.  I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me.  These past few years, you just answered “yes” and changed the subject.  I had gone from being “your dog” to “just a dog,” and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.  Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets.  You’ve made the right decision  for your “family,” but there was a time when I was your only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter.  It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness.  You filled out the paperwork and said “I know you will find a good home for her.”  They shrugged and gave you a pained look.  They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with “papers.”   You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar as he screamed “No, Daddy!  Please don’t let them take my dog!”  And I worried for him, and what  lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty,  about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.  You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you.  You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.  After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home.  They shook their heads and asked “How could you?”  They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy  schedules  allow.  They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago.  At first,whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream … or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room.  A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry.     My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief.  The prisoner of love had run out of days.  As is my nature, I was more concerned about her.  The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood.  She gently placed a  turniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek.  I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago.  She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein.  As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured “How could you?”

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said “I’m so sorry.” She hugged me, and  hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn’t be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself — a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place.  And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my “How could you?” was not directed at her.  It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of.  I will  think of you and wait for you forever.  May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

The End

A note from the author:
If “How Could You?” brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and  Canadian animal shelters.  Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice.

Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards.  Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious.  Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay & neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

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“I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter…the cast-offs of human society. I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal. And I was angry. “God,” I said, “this is terrible! Why don’t You do something?” God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly. “I have done something,” He replied. “I created YOU.” ~ Jim Willis ~

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels.  I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

by Janine Allen