1330 dogs adopted to date!

To all our amazing friends, supporters, adopters and volunteers:
We want to stop for a moment and paws (pause) and tell you we are amazingly grateful for your love, support, homes, help and commitment.
When we first started Luvin’ Labs we had no idea how big we would be nor how many lives we would impact. We are truly blessed with our shared experiences in the past nine years.
For the last year and a half we have been actively searching for an individual to take over the mission of Luvin’ Labs and carry on as the steward for the rescue and those in it’s care. While we have rly had a few interested folks no one has stepped up. That has lead us to the decision to close down Lodestar Dog Ranch, and the website and eventually the facebook page Luvin’ Labs.
Please know this has been a tough decision for Marita and I. Honestly folks we are just tired of trying to figure out how to manage our personal lives, jobs, family commitments and always prioritize the animals in need. We’ve given our heart and soul to those in need for many years, r liveseven prior to taking over Lodestar Dog Ranch.
It has been our privilege and honor to serve with many many amazing generations of volunteers, and to help so many beautiful labs and lab mixes find their forever.
We wish each of you bountiful blessings. We sure hope you’ll stay in touch. My personal email is colleenjwyatt@aol.com, Marita’s is mspees4@comcast.net.
Please my friends make sure that your dogs have current tags on their collar and that their microchip is changed to your contact information.
If you have donated in the past month please feel free to email me… our funds, with your permission, are going to be donated to Animal Crackers, Good Shepherd Animal Clinic’s Good Samaritan Fund, to continue helping those without voices and to care for the four Luvin’ Labs forever fosters still in need of care.
Please each of you, be the “someone” who does something … carry on for us? Educate, Foster, Adopt, Rescue, Donate!
Thank you again for the support, memories and beautiful moments! We truly couldn’t have done it without you.
Wishing each of you love and labs!
Colleen & Marita

Luvin’ Labs Organizational Announcement 

Please note that our owner listing program is changing
We will be happy to courtesy post your lab for you on our website. Interested parties will now contact you directly, Luvin’ Labs will no longer facilitate the placement process. Please be advised that we make no representations nor recommendations about interested parties contacting you. When rehoming your family member, we recommend that you please be diligent in making sure you are finding a good match for both the inquiring family and your dog. We advise you to meet the whole family, meet their existing pets (do a meet and greet with your dog), take your pet to their home and do a home inspection, check their references (both vet and personal), transfer all medical records, and if you are able to, have them sign a form allowing you to reclaim the pet in the event anything happens.

PLEASE DO NOT ADVERTISE YOUR LAB FOR FREE ON CRAIGSLIST OR ANY OTHER INTERNET SWAP MEET TYPE WEBSITE. People monitor Craigslist and other sites to find dogs for fighting rings and many other horrific things.

We recommend surrendering your lab to Animal Humane New Mexico in Albuquerque as a safe alternative to finding a new home. Their contact information is: 615 Virginia St. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108. 505-255-5523. animalhumanenm.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this transition.

All of us at Luvin’ Labs


Following are postings for dogs in danger in shelters throughout New Mexico. 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.

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!



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.