The American Kennel Club recently announced the Labrador Retriever as the most popular dog breed in America—for the twenty-first consecutive year! It seems that everyone loves this just-about-perfect pup. Their loving and loyal personalities make them a superstar in many households and they have easily become one of the most sought after family dogs around as most are very kid-friendly and easy to train. Unfortunately, due to their extreme popularity, Labradors are heavily over-bred and a huge surplus of puppies makes the Lab the foremost type of dog to end up in shelters and rescue organizations.
Luckily for thousands of sweet Labradors who have fallen on tough times through no fault of their own, Lab Rescue of the LRCP (Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac, Inc.) exists. They serve areas which include; Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C., West Virginia, North Carolina, and certain parts of Pennsylvania. Created in 1991 by just five members of a breed club, they have grown tremendously since then and currently have over 850 volunteers, making the group one of the largest breed-specific rescues in the country. It takes an army of dog-loving people to keep this organization running smoothly and to help the many dogs who need them so desperately.
People are often perplexed and not aware that these great family dogs can (and do) end up in kill-shelters all across the U.S. However, this is a daily occurrence for many purebreds that are euthanized daily. There are simply not enough homes that are willing, or able, to take care of a dog for their entire life. Most of the people who drop their “really good purebred” family animals off at the shelters believe their dog will be adopted and will not become one of the many euthanized. All of the millions of animals euthanized each year are great animals. Most have just fallen into the wrong hands or into a family that was not ready for the responsibility of a pet, or simply born unwanted and handed off to a friend or relative that never really wanted the dog in the first place.
Lab Rescue of the LRCP consistently recruits new volunteers and foster homes, but the need continues to grow. In 2011, the group rescued more than 900 Labs, a 35% increase since 2008. At any given time, there are typically 45-60 ready-to-go companions available, ranging from newborn pups to seniors. They are all brought up-to-date on their vaccinations, tested and treated (if necessary) for heartworms, and most importantly spayed and neutered. In addition to receiving medical care, they are shown unconditional love and what a truly happy home is like. PR Director Steve Push tells us, “The dogs are our organization and our reason for being.”
Special-needs dogs are fostered through this organization as well. Take Chandler, a nine-month-old pup who was hit by a car, who had to have his leg amputated and developed several infections. It was discovered through additional x-rays that his pelvis was broken, too. Giving up on this pup is not an option for this group and they are working around the clock to make sure he (who despite it all is still a constant tail-wagging cuddle bug) makes a full recovery.
There are other dogs in their program who need just a little extra loving care. Amy, Bud and Marley—just to name a few. Amy is a five-year-old yellow female who happens to be blind from diabetes. According to her foster family “Amy equals sweetness—this girl stole our hearts; she’s so easy to care for. She’s mellow, happy, and sweet.” Then there is Bud, who is blind, and has diabetes and hyperthyroidism. He’s house-trained and even knows commands such as sit, shake, down, and stay. This guy even likes cats, though he cannot see them! Another superstar is the fantastic Marley, a two-year-old tripod, who unfortunately was injured when his previous owners let him out to gallivant unsupervised. Still very mobile, Marley’s foster family states that he is the “sweetest thing since cinnamon French toast!”
Lab Rescue of the LRCP, Inc. plans to continue on and stay strong until animal welfare rights are changed in our country and their efforts are no longer needed. The prospect of bringing a fantastic quality of life to every pup that needs their assistance is the reason for this caring non-profit to go on. When everyone else has given up on that one special dog, Lab Rescue does not. They are the voice for the many four-legged kids who do not have a chance to speak for themselves.
Be Passionate. Be Proactive. Spay + Neuter.