Introducing Your New Rescue to Your Children: 7 Simple Reminders to Keep Kids Safe

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When you are rescuing a dog and there are kids present in the family, or even friends and relatives that plan to visit, there are several things you should consider as you introduce dogs and children. Additionally, there are several interactions you should discourage and curb when it comes to kids and their interaction with dogs. This is for the safety of children and dogs a like.

Many of these things may seem like a given, but for each and every dog owner and adopter there are always lessons that can be learned to reduce stress on a dog, and unwanted situations within the family. 

These 7 simply reminders can help keep kids safe and dogs comfortable in child/dog interactions:

1.     Children should not put their hands in a dog’s food bowl, or play in their food, nor tease a dog with food, bones, or toys.

2.     Pulling an item out of the mouth of a dog should be avoided. If they are chewing on something that is not there, try a drop it command, and if that is not working try using a higher value treat to distract the dog from the object it should not be chewing on and redirect to a more appropriate object.

3.     Close contact with a new rescue or unfamiliar dog should be monitored. Children and adults should not put faces up close into the face of dogs, pull or grab dogs’ ears or tails, or yank paws. 

4.     Climbing on or over dogs or laying on top of dogs can cause stress to the animal and stress reactions. Be gentle when petting dogs and approaching them.

5.     While dogs may look cuddly and like they want to be hugged, avoid hugging and pulling a dog tightly to you, it may cause the dog stress that makes it want to get away and the dog may react to let you know it is uncomfortable.

6.     Avoid yelling, screaming, and loud noises around a dog. The stress of yelling can cause a dog to react to your stress and anxiety. Commands do not have to be loud and angry to be effective.

7.     When teaching your dog commands, use a firm voice, but not a loud, angry, or pitchy scream to get a dog to behave. Treats and rewards will help your dog be at ease with learning commands. This should be practiced by adults, before having children mimic this. Make sure a dog is comfortable with commands before turning over the training to a child.

Please watch this dog bite prevention video – the perspective of your children and the dogs can be very different. It’s important to make sure to supervise interactions and look for signs a dog is giving that it is not enjoying certain types of attention.

In our next blog post we will talk more about signs of stress with dogs and toddlers

Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Underwood

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At Lu’s Labs, we have foster homes in the South and foster homes in the North. Most of our dogs start their journey into Lu’s Labs by being pulled from a shelter or an owner surrender and going into a home with one of our southern fosters.  This month in our Volunteer Spotlight we want to tell you a little bit about one of our rising stars in the south, Sarah Underwood in Kiln, Mississippi.  Sarah and her daughter Katie have big hearts and while they have 3 resident dogs and a cat, they still have room in their heart and their home to foster.

Sarah’s job can be quite intense at times and sometimes heart breaking as a Probation and Parole Agent for the State of Mississippi. On a regular basis Sarah donated to her local shelter for years, but as she and her daughter wanted to do more they researched other ways of getting involved and decided they wanted to give fostering a try. 

When Sarah and Katie took on their first foster, Chevy she was still learning the ropes of rescue, and at first, she didn’t realize just how lucky Chevy was to become a Lu’s Lab and just how life changing this would be for him.  As a southern intake foster, Sarah picks up her fosters from the shelter, gives them the love they deserve, gets them healthy and takes them to their medical appointments making sure all their paperwork is complete. All this gets them ready for transport up north, and to a new life. 

Some of the most memorable moments in rescue for Sarah is when she gets to see the gotcha day photos of her foster babies. “That feeling that you get knowing that you took a dog that has been neglected and mistreated and gave them the love and care they needed to once again become the dog they should have always been is indescribable,” says Sarah. “Seeing their happy pictures with their new forever families gives you the strength to continue saving lives.”

It is especially rewarding to Sarah to work with the dogs and help the dogs who have been broken down come out of their shell and be the happy, playful dogs they were meant to be. A day in the life of Sarah and Katie includes early morning wake ups to feed and play with all the dogs, give them their potty breaks and exercise, before they head into their crates before mom and daughter head off to work and school.  Once Katie arrives home from school playtime ensues until Sarah gets home from work. Food, belly scratches, cuddles, and more playtime before bed are a must.

Sarah takes lots of pictures to post on Lu’s Labs and describes the personalities of her foster dogs in detail so that before her dogs ever even come up from the south, potential adopters begin to get to know the love Sarah sees in them. The support and expertise are just some of the things Sarah appreciates about working with Lu’s Labs, “I feel so blessed to have so much support 24/7,” says Sarah. She loves putting in time fostering because as she says, “Fostering is the best job in the world.”

The satisfaction she gets from helping dogs is one of the many reasons Sarah will be involved in rescue for the rest of her life. One of her key pointers for someone new into rescue is to start out small. “If you jump in too quickly you might find yourself getting burned out or feeling as if you are in over your head.” She feels lucky that she found her people soon after getting involved in rescue. It’s important to find a group where you fit in and that have the same goals and ideas. “When you find something that you are truly passionate about and is important to you, you make time.”

As someone relatively new into rescue Sarah emphasizes that, “It’s important when you first start out working in rescue to ask for help if you need it and don’t be afraid to say no if you can’t do something. Understand that no one can do it all in their own time.” 

You don’t have to be in rescue forever to decide to work with Lu’s Labs. Just the willingness to learn and to share in our common goals is important. If you are interested in getting involved whether you are in a southern state or up closer to Lu’s Labs operations in Northern Virginia reach out and let us know.

 

 

Celebrating the Holidays: Our Adopters Create Loving Homes for Our Pups

On our Alumni group we get to see all the wonderful homes and love our adopters give to their Lu’s Labs. We have amazing people who have adopted our rescues and made them members of their family. It is always so much fun during the holiday season to see so much love for our pups.

Here are just a few of the many heartwarming pictures we get to see of the new lives our rescue efforts have provided for these special dogs. To all of our current and future adopters we love you for what you do for the Labs we rescue, and we look forward to many more lives saved in 2019. As part of the Lu’s Labs family all our adopters are welcome to join our private alumni group and share pictures with us. All the volunteers love to see new new lives these dogs get to experience thanks to everyone’s hard work and caring.

5 Things You Should do Before You Board Your Pet

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Many pet parents prefer pet sitters or trusted friends and family to watch their extended family member during holiday travel vs. boarding them. But in some instances, pet owners just don’t have a choice. The holidays can be a chaotic time of the year where people are over committed, and pet sitters may fill up quickly. If you find yourself in a position where boarding is your only option, or if boarding is your preferred option, it’s still good to make sure your pet is ready for this experience.

 

1.  Find a Reputable Boarding Option – Word of mouth is one of your best bets on finding a great match for boarding for your dog. It’s always best to get first-hand accounts of how someone else’s dog did at a particular boarding facility. Not only friends and family, but your Veterinarian, groomer, or dog walker may have great recommendations as well. These are people you already trust with your dog, so it stands to reason they may be able to give you reliable recommendations for boarding.  

 

2. Check it Out! - Once you have a boarding recommendation, check online for other pet owner experiences, and book an on-site visit. It’s good to talk with the facility. Find out what their daily routine is with your dog. Is it going to be a lot of play time during the day? What are their surroundings like? What kind of day can your dog expect? Boarding facilities can have anything from crates and kennel runs, to doggy day care like surroundings, some boarding facilities even have private rooms with beds and TVs! Make sure to find the one that will most put your dog at ease while you are away.

 

3. Make Sure All Vaccines are Up to Date – Before you drop your beloved family member off at a boarding facility, doggy day care, or anywhere your dog may come in contact with multiple dogs, make sure their vaccines are up to date. Also make sure they have had their flea and tick treatment and any other recommended vaccines for the protection of your canine friend. Recommendations include DHPP, Rabies, and Bordetella. Some facilities require Canine Influenza vaccines and Lepto. Make sure to find out the requirements from the facility you choose, and also the recommendations from your Vet.

 

4. Book Early – Whether it’s a long weekend or a holiday like Christmas or New Years, reputable facilities fill up quickly! You may need to book many weeks to months in advance. Depending on the size of the operation and its popularity.  Make sure you are thinking ahead during the holidays.

 

5. Pack Accordingly – Make sure you have your dog’s food, medicine and supplements, identification, and anything special. You know your dog better than anyone else, if there is a special item that will put him or her at ease while in boarding ask the facility if they can accommodate. Is it a favorite dog bed, a special toy, perhaps a blanky? It’s a fine balance between losing this special item and making sure your dog is happy while you are away. Weigh the pros and cons, check in with the boarding place and see if you can send those special things along with your dog.

It’s not always easy to leave your pets for the holidays, but sometimes vacationing with your pet just isn’t an option. It’s always good as a pet owner to have several options and contingencies in the event you go on travel.

A Day in the Life of Donner the Dog! - Let Him Tell You His Story

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Guest Blog Post by Amy Piccolo - Amy is an amazing volunteer with Lu’s Labs she helps out with a variety of aspects of the rescue from the bio writing and promotions team to the fundraising team. She also has adopted and loved Lu’s Labs who are integral members of her family.

Hi! My name is Donner, and Lu’s Labs (to whom I am eternally grateful for bringing me to this comfy foster home) has asked me to tell you what a typical day looks like for me. That’s a small price to pay for the forever family they’ve promised is looking for me.

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They say it’s hard to describe yourself, but I don’t know about that. My foster mom keeps telling me all sorts of great things about myself. She says I am a WONDERFUL boy! She said she is shocked that I haven’t been snatched up already. That’s ok; I am patient because I know good things come to those who wait. I learned that from my foster mom. She makes me sit and wait for treats, and I have totally mastered the art of patience. I can even watch my foster fur-siblings get their treats first without fussing, because I know my turn is coming. And Foster mom also taught me that I am supposed to take treats softly. Apparently doggie teeth can hurt. I would never, ever want to hurt anyone. I was just so hungry when I arrived! I am good now though; foster mom keeps me well fed. 

Anyways, my day starts when my foster mom wakes up. I used to be an earlier riser, but foster mom quickly taught me to sleep until she is ready to get up. I am rewarded by a nice walk, on which I get my “business” done. Then I get a delicious breakfast. After that FM has to go to work, so I go into my crate. I didn’t really like it at first. I was lonely. But FM moved my crate near a window and closer to my foster siblings and now I am happy as a clam. It’s great to pass the hours away watching the world go by and seeing what my foster sisters get into while FM is away! At lunch time FM comes home, I get a potty break, and I get to hang out while FM has lunch. I am a good boy and do not beg. Then I finish my crate time until dinner. I understand why I have to be in the crate for now. You see, I haven’t lived in a home for all that long. And these awesome homes have all this yummy food that they just leave out on the counters! Bread! How can a guy resist? Maybe I will one day, but not today! When foster mom comes home after work, I am so happy. First, because I really missed her, and second because I get another walk! The joy!

I do love my foster mom so very much. I really, really, really want a person to call my own. My foster mom says I am “velcro”. I am not sure what she means by that, but I get the feeling it has something to do with wanting to be near her all the time. I looooove it when she pets me. Oh, how I love it! No one has ever petted me like that before, so softly. And she gets that itchy spot behind my ear. My foster mom is the sweetest because she lets me sleep in her bed with her. It is so comfortable! I love to snuggle up really close to her. I make sure I don’t move around a lot or make any noises that would disturb her. I don’t want anything to ruin this amazing privilege! I know that when you’ve got good thing going, you don’t do anything to mess it up. However, I am also happy sleeping next to her bed on the floor.

On the weekends we hang around the house or go out and get into fun adventures.  Sometimes I get to meet new people and new dogs! I can’t always be sure in the first minute that each new person I am meeting is a good person.  A former street-dog has to be wary! I have heard that some dogs growl or snarl when they are unsure. Oh, I don’t do that! I might bark to let my FM know there is a stranger in our house or yard, and I like to get some sniffs in to sniff out possible danger. After all, I love my Foster mom and sisters and I want them to be safe! I have no intentions of causing hurt to anyone though. I’ve seen hurt, and I want no parts of it. Sometimes big male dogs make me feel defensive. Trust me, I don’t want any fights! I just need to know they’re ok before I let my guard down. I overheard my FM telling someone at Lu’s Labs that she thinks I’d be ok with laid-back large males with time and patience. I guess she’s right, I probably would be. I’m just not sure I’m ready to play with the exuberant ones yet. Now females are another story, haha! I enjoy a great game of tug with my foster sister and we run all over the house together. I am also great at chasing and bringing back a ball. Ahem, I AM a Labrador RETRIEVER after all! It’s great fun! A couple of decent walks and some playtime make me a happy boy each day. I’m not one of those wild ones that can never seem to get enough, although I have met that type!

As for my manners, FM just said I have to work on jumping up around the little people. I’m not exactly sure what she means? Surely, I’m no bigger than a cat. I feel about 30 pounds to myself. No? Am I bigger? I have no idea! A couple short years ago I was just a pup, and sometimes I still feel like a pup!

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Everyone at Lu’s Labs wonders why no families have asked about me yet. I do not have the answer. I would adopt me! Foster Mom is at her resident dog limit or she would adopt me! After all, remember she called me a “wonderful dog”.  I truly just want to make my humans happy. I will do anything for a reward which foster mom says makes me a breeze to train. My biggest wish in life is to have a family or person that I can call MINE. One that will call me THEIRS. I adore my people and when I am near them, I can feel my entire body wiggling. It can’t be stopped! I am just filled with so much joy to be near them! My happiest moments are when they are looking at me, petting me and calling me their “good boy”.  It’s a simple life I’m after. I’ve been around the block and I know what is out there. I know there are unhappy places. But I’ve put all that behind me and am only looking forward! Forward to my very own forever belly rubs, snuggles, and love. In return I promise to be your Best Boy.

That’s about it, I guess. If you know anyone that you think might love a guy like me forever, can you put in a good word for me? It sure would be awesome to have a forever home by Christmas. In the meantime, I’ll just be hanging here with FM. She’s the best, but I do think it is time to get settled in my forever home.

Love and Licks,
Donner

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer McKinley

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Our volunteers wear many hats, and sometimes they transition to different positions within the rescue. Jennifer McKinley is one of our southern volunteers in Alabama who has been involved with Lu’s Labs since the fall of 2016. She started out working in transport, to help the dogs get from the south to their forever homes in the North, but after Hurricane Matthew, Rebecca Arnold – our VP of Transport planted the seed of fostering for Jennifer, and she ended up taking in a mama dog and her 3 puppies.

Jennifer soon became the Southern Foster Coordinator. This job required Jen to vet fosters, make sure they would be good matches for our dogs, and helped the VP of Transport get dogs ready and arranged to transport up from the south. 

One of Jennifer’s most memorable moments happened last December when Logan escaped from paid transport while Jennifer was at her office Christmas Party.  As she learned that a dog had escaped at Tuscaloosa’s busiest truck stop, she immediately left the party and kicked into rescue mode.

For the next 6 days she did nothing but eat, sleep, and track Logan. Everyone stepped up to help inside and outside the rescue. The local Animal Control was amazing, and the local shelter and neighborhoods kept watch for him.  “That Friday Morning when I was going to change out the fried chicken in the trap, I held my breath when I saw a big, black dog in the trap. I started crying when I got close enough to see the green slip lead still attached around his neck.” She knew it was Logan. “Nothing beats that moment.”

The entire rescue process is very rewarding to Jennifer, she says, “Nothing beats pulling a dog from the shelter, fostering her, and then seeing her in a new home.” Now Jennifer is much more involved in transport for the rescue, as well as organizing fosters for puppies in the south. Her week starts on Mondays when she takes a look at the dog sheet and works on arranging who is going north by date. She sends out transport reminders, and makes sure all the volunteers have what the gear they need for transport. As the week progresses, she makes sure the fosters have their appointments for health certificates lined up, and gets a copy for everyone’s records.

She is very involved with the southern fosters and making sure they have everything they need. When new fosters sign up with Lu’s Labs in the south, Jennifer checks their references and trains them by phone.  She also helps match southern fosters with puppies.


One of the things that Jennifer loves about Lu’s labs is that she knows any dog Lu’s Labs pulls from a shelter will be taken care of medically and personally, “We have a terrific group of fosters that love on them until they are adopted,” She emphasizes. “I have a sense of peace that each dog we pull (From a shelter) and re-home has the best chance at a happily ever after with Lu’s Labs.”

Just as most volunteers do this for the love of animals and have their own Jennifer has 2 dogs of her own, Kaylee and Cosette, and no surprise, are both rescues. If you’ve never worked in rescue, Jennifer says it’s heartbreaking and rewarding at the same time. “Rescue is heartbreaking yet one of the most rewarding charitable organizations that you can volunteer for. People can be crappy, but a dog’s love is unconditional. All rescues are not equal and Lu’s Labs is top notch. The resources Lu’s gives fosters and the alumni can’t be beat.”

While each volunteer spends different amounts of time and commitment to the rescue, Jennifer juggles the time and makes it work between her full time job, and her family. She jokes that her family gives her some good-natured complaints at times that she’s on the phone a lot, but they understand that she believes strongly in what she is doing. For those who would like to start out with a rescue, she recommends starting out with a small job that you can do well and then slowly add tasks to that. “Also, make sure that your family is onboard with your involvement or you are in for some arguments down the road.” Rescue is full of volunteer opportunities that can take as much or as little time as you are willing to spend.

Jennifer wants everyone to remember that mattresses, shoes, bras, molding and carpets are just possessions that can be replaced. But spending time as a foster whether it’s for a couple of hours, and overnight, or a month of fosters is worth it because you are changing a precious soul forever.

If you are interested in getting involved with volunteering there is no small role. We have lots of opportunities, and as Jennifer suggests the best way to start is just to dive into a small position and see how it goes. It may lead to a lifelong passion.

Sammie the Sweetheart is Ready for Her Forever Home

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Sammie is now ready for adoption and needs that super special family that is not only ready to get one of the sweetest kinds of chocolate ever but is also looking to be a rescue angel.

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Sometimes very special dogs go on medical hold and cannot be adopted until we figure out and learn what their needs are. This was the case with Sammie the sweetheart! When she first came into rescue this girl was very over weight. Last month, we discovered five-year-old Sammie has diabetes and arthritis. This is a very manageable situation in dogs, just like it is in people, and should not stop Sammie, the gentlest and kindest soul, from finding a forever family of her own.  

This beautiful girl is the perfect companion and has been so good while we have worked on stabilizing her glucose level. She is currently eating prescription food, takes insulin twice a day and takes rimadyl for her arthritis. She is a champ and stands perfectly still for her injections, she really is a gem.

Unfortunately, due to the diabetes, Sammie has lost her vision as of this past Friday; the vet thinks she can see extreme light and dark. The good news is once her diabetes is stable, Lu’s Labs will pay for surgery to remove the cataracts and her vision will be restored. Families who are considering her should know Sammie’s immediate future will consist of vet visits every week or two until the diabetes is stable, which means her glucose is at a manageable level. Then, the visits will be less frequent. Her family should expect to test her glucose level at home and monitor it as you would with a human.

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Personality-wise, Sammie continues to be a doll. She follows her foster mom everywhere; she’s a little slower since losing her vision, but we all walk cautiously when blindfolded. She follows her foster dog brother and her favorite cat around the house and listens to where they are going. Sometimes, they go in opposite directions, so she has to choose which one she wants to follow. Watching her decide is the cutest thing! She listens when foster brother is chewing on a bone and the moment he stops chewing, she moves in and take it from him and tests it out. She keeps foster mom company while she is cooking dinner and sits at her feet while she eats. She has free reign of the house during the day with all the dogs and cats and doesn’t need to be crated.

The vet says she can be adopted anytime as long as the family is committed to her care. If you would like to care for and love this perfect girl, she is going to love you right back ten-fold. Not only are you getting an amazing family pet, you are truly being the rescue angel we try to find for all of our dogs.

An estimated Care Cost for Ms. Sammie to include prescription food, insulin, and medicine to help her arthritis is about $290 - $325 per month when you use Chewy.com for food, and Walmart or Costco for prescriptions. This price may change if her diet or medicine needs to be adjusted or if you purchase from more expensive options.

From Puerto Rican Stray to Foster Princess: A Day in the Life of Iris

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There is no doubt that a day in the life of Iris has changed dramatically since she came into rescue. She started out on the streets of Puerto Rico. We can’t know if she had a family, lived in doors during her life, or had the love of people. But now she’s making up for lost time.

This gentle senior is about 9 years-old and has some snowy touches in her beard and frosting on her paws. Age is always a guess in rescue, but she has the gentle being of an older soul. She loves her people and will make you feel like you have hung the moon.  Given the chance, Iris will follow you around, but because she doesn’t get up on furniture it’s not too much. She’s not great with stairs, so a ranch home with no steps, and rugs and runners will be her ideal home. She has the lab lean down, and will lean into you for affection, and put her head in your lap. She is so chill, she will just gaze into your eyes lovingly putting a spell on you to pet her.

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She doesn’t let anything bother her. In an active foster home full of 5 dogs and 2 cats she sits back and observes, she doesn’t play, but she watches and wags.  When other dogs lay near her, she doesn’t move away, she just has a Zen dog air about her. When cats get too close, she nudges them with her nose, and they fall right over. It’s a very gentle relationship.

Iris LOVES food. She has a very happy tap dance, where she stomps here feet and bounces like a puppy with her feet about 6 inches off the ground. She loves the sound of a treat bag and her true spirit comes out. She takes treats gently and will sit for treats.

She doesn’t need a lot of play time or outdoor time though she loves her short walks and is a dream on a leash. Nothing phases her. She is beyond her squirrel chasing days. Easy should be Iris’s middle name. You could actually stroll with a full cup of coffee with this girl and never worry about spilling it. Sniffing the air, wagging her tail, and strolling along at a slow pace is her thing. After about 5-10 minutes she’s lagging behind foster mom, so long walks are probably out.

This gentle soul never chews on anything and doesn’t need a crate. She doesn’t play with toys, but she has a funny habit, when foster mom is out. Iris only does this when no one is around. She will take the throw pillows off the couch. There’s no sign of chewing or slobbering. We aren’t sure if she’s laying on them, or if it’s a commentary on the colors and patterns. Maybe she has a little Martha Stewart in her, and she’s telling foster mom to redecorate.  

This girl does love her car rides. If she has access, she will go into the garage and sit by the car until you come out and put her in for a ride. She loves calmly watching the world pass by. When she’s had enough, she will lay down and go to sleep. It’s funny how adamant she is about her car rides. Her focus is intense, and you can’t call her back from the garage when she’s ready for her car ride. This works out perfectly for short errands.  She strolls around PetSmart and Home Depot with her leash wrapped around the cart. Just like her quick walks she enjoys quick errands that won’t take all day and tire her out.

A day in the life of Iris is a mellow loving experience. She will be perfect for anyone looking for that home body dog who wants to go for car rides, and short strolls and just love you and be loved. The sun will rise and set around you in her eyes, especially if you have crinkly treat bags nearby. Her tail will wag when she hears you coming, and her eyes will tell you all about her love for you. This beauty is still looking for a home. Could that be your home?

Bonded Pairs Will Steal Your Heart: A Day in the Life of Bonnie and Clyde

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Guest Blog Post by Amy Piccolo - Amy is an amazing volunteer with Lu’s Labs she helps out with a variety of aspects of the rescue from the bio writing and promotions team to the fundraising team. She also has adopted and loved Lu’s Labs who are integral members of her family.

This notorious duo won’t steal your money but they may steal your heart.

Bonnie and Clyde, a gorgeous pair of bonded yellow labs, have landed softly at Lu’s Labs after their owner had to move into an assisted living situation. These happy and healthy 11-year-olds – doted on and kept up to date on medical – seem much younger than their years. Their only need is to work on a little weight reduction plan as they were likely spoiled rotten by their previous owner.

 A day in the life of Bonnie and Clyde is like spending a day at the beach. Well, maybe it’s not quite THAT relaxing, but Bonnie and Clyde are no muss, no fuss, and very little drama (ahem, Clyde will bark a little if you try to have him sleep in a room separate from yours.  Problem solved: let Clyde sleep in your room)!  While the infamous duo by the same name may have stirred up quite a bit of trouble, this absolutely fabulous canine duo could not get any easier or sweeter to be around. Their foster mom says adding the two of them to her household is much less work than maintaining her 2-year-old resident wild fur-child.

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Bonnie and Clyde’s foster parents describe them as happy, loveable, super-friendly and really, the perfect companions.

A day with Bonnie and Clyde starts with the cutest front-leg bunny hops. They can’t get more than an inch off the ground due to their “holiday weight” (don’t tell them the holidays are just now approaching), but they love to greet you with enthusiasm nonetheless. Bonnie and Clyde LOVE their people. Breakfast consists of a controlled portion of kibble, mixed with some green beans and topped with something enticing. We think Bonnie and Clyde may have acquired their fuller figures by eating lots of table scraps, and you know once a Lab gets the “good stuff”, they don’t want to go back! So, foster mom and dad are trying to slowly wean them into a more balanced diet. Those of us over age 40 know those extra pounds don’t just slip off as easily as they used to.

As foster mom and dad get ready to go to work they enclose the pair of pups in a den with glass French doors so that they can see out and check out what their foster siblings are up to. There is a nice large crate in there, but they are so well behaved that they do not need to be crated. Foster Mom leaves it open and they will go in to nap sometimes of their own accord. They don’t put up any fuss when being left for the day. They give their goodbye licks and send foster mom and dad out into the world.  When foster mom and dad get home nothing has been chewed, clawed at, or otherwise destroyed in any way. Bonnie and Clyde lazed the day away together and now are ready to spend some relaxing quality time with their beloved people.

When it’s time to potty, Bonnie and Clyde go right out the back door with their foster fur-siblings to take care of business. With only had a small handful of accidents in their first week in a new home, these two and their foster family are learning the signs so it shouldn’t be long before everyone is batting a thousand.

Bonnie and Clyde do love to go for short walks. In fact, if they hear the collars and leashes jingling, they come a-runnin’. Don’t worry about them knocking anyone over, because it’s more like a-waddlin’ – you will have plenty of time to get out of the way. Clyde got so excited for his walk one evening, that he quite literally bunny-hopped and barked excitedly during the whole walk. Not a persistent, pestering bark – a delighted excited bark.  How cute is he?!  He doesn’t usually do that though, and foster mom reports that this dynamic duo are very quiet in the house.  Their leash manners could use a little refining, but it’s nothing unmanageable at all.  In fact, that’s the ONLY thing foster Mom could think of that they needed to work on. They have zero other unpleasant behaviors. 

After a gentle after-dinner stroll, Clyde and Bonnie are ready to be your loyal relaxing partners. If you sit and pet their heads, they will not move from your side. They are snuggly and love to curl up at your feet, or in comfy dog bed.

For some people and dogs, the simple life is enough. Good and healthy food; fresh air and a comfortable amount of exercise; a warm living room to nap in; people you love close by for sneaking in licks and belly rubs. This is the case for Bonnie and Clyde. This is enough for them and makes them happy. They love being with each other and Bonnie can be seen “cleaning” Clyde after he comes in from the rain.

You truly don’t find two such well mannered pups every day. They are a rare find and a catch with their impeccable manners, their friendly, love-everyone personalities, and their easy-going natures.

If you are looking for loving gentle companionship with a hint of hilarious, a dash of adorable, and healthy heap of loyalty these beautiful dogs are the ones for you.

Disclaimer: Please know this is a recently rescued dog that is still transitioning into a new home environment. Training, and even personality and energy levels are constantly evolving as the dog starts to feel better emotionally and physically. Your new dog will take days or even weeks to fully settle into his or her true self. What you read in this bio is a snapshot of this dog’s evolving personality. Additionally, the age listed is an estimate provide by the shelter and/or veterinarian. Different vets can provide different age estimates. So always consider the lab you are adopting to be within an age range of a couple years of what is listed.

 

Happy Halloween From the Entire Lu's Labs Community!

Lu’s Labs is not just a place to adopt a dog. It’s also an entire community of Alumni and dog lovers, volunteers, and board members who care immensely about the dogs that have been adopted.

At Lu’s Labs we even have a private alumni page once you’ve adopted a dog through us. It is a wonderful place where new dog owners can get advice from our VP of Training, our VP of medical, or just keep in touch with their Adoption Coordinators of Fosters. Foster families always love seeing their previous foster dogs enjoying their best life.


This is a place where the whole Lu’s Labs community comes together and gets to see pictures of other litter mates, share their trials and tribulations as well as successes as new and seasoned pet parents.

Often times because of the inclusiveness of our community and our common love of the dogs, its only a matter of time before our adopters also get involved as volunteers - a foster, an adoption coordinator, a home checker, a bio team writer… the possibilities are endless in order to get involved and give back to an organization who has brought that warm fluff ball into your home and your life and it changes you forever.

Recently when calling for pictures of a dog in a costume, the overwhelming response was a reminder of just how amazing the Lu’s Labs community is, and just how quickly they will pull together. In less than 24 hours we had an amazing album of dogs in costumes! So in honor of today, one of the few dog in costume day’s of the year, here is a wonderful album provided by our Lu’s Labs Alumni.

Remember, with all the chocolate that abounds on a night like tonight, make sure to keep it all away from you furry friends.

Volunteer Spotlight: Carolyn Hoskins

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It’s that time of the month again where we feature one of our amazing volunteers. All our volunteers are incredible, and it will take many, many months to let you know more about all of them, but this month we are featuring Carolyn Hoskins who wears several hats at Lu’s Labs.


Carolyn is the Director of AC Training, she is an Adoption Coordinator, Home Checker, and helps with Transport. As the Director of AC Training, not only does she train all the adoption coordinators, she also receives and distributes all the applications from adopters seeking to bring a Lu’s Lab into their lives. This is a huge task, in that she must read through each and every application and sometimes clarify information before sending off to one of the 40 or so AC’s to begin their process. At times Lu’s Labs can have 20 or more applications in just a week. In fact, last year we had somewhere over 2000 applications and only 360 dogs to adopt.

It is a fact that we always have far more adopters than available dogs, due to our limited funding, and foster homes.  Carolyn’s dedication speaks volumes about how much she not only loves dogs but believes in the mission of Lu’s Labs. She has always been an animal lover, and avidly followed Lu’s Labs Facebook posts. When a good friend who was also a volunteer, put out a message that Lu’s Labs was looking for Adoption Coordinators in December of 2015, that started her on the road to rescue and she hasn’t looked back.

There are always so many memorable and rewarding moments when involved with rescue. One of Carolyn’s favorite aspects of working for Lu’s Labs is getting to know he applicants and getting updates once they adopt. “Seeing what a difference the dog is making in their life, but also getting the opportunity to see the amazing life our dog is leading, is the best feeling!” says Carolyn.

In any given week Carolyn is reading through new applications, finding AC’s to process those applications, and keeping herself in the mix by checking vet and personal references and conducting interviews. Recently she trained a new group of volunteers which she says is, “Awesome!  The more the merrier!” We are always looking for Adoption Coordinators as well as other volunteers to keep the rescue moving like a well-oiled machine.

“It’s an amazing village that is always advocating for the dog,” Carolyn says about the rewards and benefits of working for Lu’s Labs. “Everyone is incredibly supportive and is there if you need guidance, or just to vent.”

Just as most volunteers, Carolyn has her resident pups. Though not Lu’s Labs, Bella and Bosley round out the family. Even at 9 pounds Bella thinks she’s a 90-pound dog. “She could be an honorary lab if it weren’t for her wonky ears,” Jokes Carolyn. Bosley was a rescue adopted 5 years ago. “He came with a host of issues, but I worked through his issues and although he is still fearful when meeting new people, he is the absolute sweetest dog, and I wouldn’t change anything. I would adopt him again in a heartbeat even knowing his issues.”

If you are new to rescue or would like to know what it’s like to work in rescue, Carolyn would like people to know that we work incredible hard to do what is best for our dogs. “They have not had the best start in life and we are looking for their happily ever after – no exceptions. WE are not trying to judge anyone, or prevent someone from getting a dog, or trying to make money.” She says that’s laughable. “When we ask for personal references, vet references, and ask lots and lots of questions during an interview, we are trying to get to know you so that we can be sure our dog is going to the best home possible. We want to make sure the applicant has thought things through and understands the level of commitment that is required when adopting a dog.” Especially a rescue. With her extensive experience with Bosley, she wants our adopters to “Love our dog through it, whatever “it” may be.”


Carolyn reminds us that, “rescue is not always “Happy tails” sometimes a dog or puppy doesn’t make it, and it just breaks your heart. But the good stories always outweigh the bad and makes the heart breaks easier to bear. All of our dogs know only love the minute they land with Lu’s Labs and we do everything in our power to make that continue when they land in their forever home.”

For Carolyn rescue fits nicely into her life, “It’s easy to find an hour or two a day to help a dog in need, I want all of our dogs to be as spoiled as my two, so I find the time to make that happen.” Ultimately Carolyn wants anyone considering volunteering to know that it’s worth it! “There are so many different areas where you can help, and you can commit as much or as little time as you want. Once you see that “Gotcha Day” photo of that dog you transported, fostered, did the home check for or processed the application for, you will be hooked!”

If you would like to explore the volunteer possibilities at Lu’s Labs, please reach out to us! There is always room for another caring hand.

 

 

 

5 Fall Fun Ideas with Fido!

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Summer time often means beach days, hikes, and outdoor play, as the weather starts to change beaches may be exchanged for other activities you can enjoy with your dog friends.

1)    Enjoy the Fall Colors - As the air begins to cool this may be a perfect time to go for longer walks in the woods where heat exhaustion is less of a risk and you and your furry friend can enjoy the fall foliage and the changing of the seasons. Sniff the air for that tell-tale wood smoke and listen to the leaves crackle crisply under foot. It’s almost like heading off into the woods for a fall meditation with your dogs. Make sure to continue flea, tick and heartworm treatment as these pests are still around. Just because the air is chilling out, doesn’t mean the common pests that plague your dogs are.

2)    Go for a Weekend Getaway – Take some time to enjoy a weekend away with your furry friend. Fall is often lower season for many pet friendly resorts so look at taking advantage of off-season prices. Find something that you and the whole family can enjoy – even your furry family members.

3)    Enjoy the Great Outdoors – This is the time to romp and play, especially on clear days. As the leaves fall and you rake up piles play fetch or head off to a nearby dog park and enjoy some fetch. Always make sure your dog is up to date on all the needed vaccines.  This will keep your fur pal safe during dog on dog interactions in public play areas.

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4)    Halloween Festivities – Check out the area for dog friendly fall festivals and Halloween parties, and find some fun attire for your dog. Giant spider? Ballerina? Fan dog of any sports team? Lion? Get creative and turn heads as you head out on the town with your costumed pal.

5)    Snuggle Time by the Fire – If it’s cold enough get a fire going – inside or out. Roast your marshmallows, drink your hot cocoa and snuggle up by the fire pit, or under the covers on the couch with your dog. Turn on your season premiers, and scratch behind the ears because if it’s something you enjoy, your 4-legged best friend will enjoy it too!

Seasons change, and so do the activities you enjoy, so why not include your dog in those. Their ultimate goal is just to be around their favorite humans.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Alice Magby

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Our Volunteers span the country even though our rescue is localized to a 5-hour radius of Alexandria Virginia. This month’s Volunteer Spotlight falls on Alice Magby who lives in Hamilton, New Jersey and wears several hats behind the scenes that keeps the rescue running.

Alice is the Database Administrator, Pre-Adoption Puppy Coordinator, and Home Check Coordinator for the DC Area.  She also occasionally acts as an Adoption Coordinator and she handles transports for dogs once they are in the North.

With a long history of rescue volunteering, Alice spent 5 years in the high stress roll of coordinating transport for another rescue, where she met Luisa, the founder of Lu’s Labs. Always impressed by Luisa’s dedication to the dogs, Alice kept in touch and was thrilled when she heard Luisa was starting her own rescue. She began volunteering for the rescue in November of 2015 and the rest was history.

Alice has had many successes and fulfilling experiences while working in dog rescue. One of Alice’s most memorable moments was her first adoption as an Adoption Coordinator.”  The excitement of that young family adding a new member to their family was special, and knowing I had a small role in making that happen was beyond heartwarming,” says Alice. One of her favorite parts about being involved in rescue is “definitely knowing that I had a role in helping the dogs find their happily-ever-afters.”

With so many roles to fill Alice keeps busy with rescue activities but she says every minute and hour she spends is worth it when she sees dogs in need find their forever homes.

There are many aspects about working for this rescue that Alice find’s rewarding, and so many ways she loves this group.  She says, “I love the fact with this group that it is truly all about the dog and not about the egos of the volunteers.  You are allowed the opportunity to grow and learn with this rescue.  You are not limited to one role.  I love the fact this group truly works together as a team.  Someone is always available if you have a question or concern.  I have made so many wonderful friends in this group and I only wish I lived closer.”

As most of our rescue volunteers, Alice has her own resident dog love. She has an 8-year-old White German Shepherd named Cotton.  In July of this year, she lost his brother and litter mate, Max.  While not Lu’s Labs dogs they are honorary members and enthusiastic supporters of the Lu’s Labs family.

If there was ever an advocate of becoming a volunteer in dog rescue, that would be Alice! Her advice to newbie volunteers is to be prepared for some of the best moments of your life and also to take some of the sad things you see in rescue and understand the difference we are making. “Working with a rescue and helping dogs in need find their forever homes is extremely satisfying and truly warms your heart.”

For anyone considering working with rescue there are all levels of commitment and time investments that can be made to fit your schedule. Like Alice says, “If being a part of a team is important to you, Lu’s Labs is the rescue for you.

Falling in Love and Adopting - The Lu's Labs Way

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Sometimes the dog you fall in love with on our website isn’t the dog you end up with – but you always end up with a dog you will love.

Our adoption process can be a little bit different than other rescues. It takes a little time to get through the vet checks, the reference checks, the interview, and the homecheck. But once you are approved your dedicated Adoption Coordinator (AC) works tirelessly to make that perfect match. Sometimes the dog that may have caught your eye on the website, is no longer available by the time you can start looking in earnest for your forever companion. And remember, there are other people like you who are also in the process of finding their family friend. So sometimes someone who has already been going through the process may be in line in front of you for the same dog.

We know it can be frustrating when you at first see a pup that you think you want, and he or she is not available to you. But the thing is about rescue, there is always another dog that needs rescuing. And they all have that endless capacity for love that labs exhibit. Each dog needs to be pulled from a shelter and given a chance at a wonderful life. And that’s what we do.

All our dogs are pulled from high kill shelters and bad situations in the south. (And now in some cases in Puerto Rico.) We have a great network of southern fosters that bring these dogs into their homes and show them love, sometimes for the first time for some of our dogs. They work with them on their manners, give them a roof over their head, make sure they experience treats and fun, and they get them all their initial vetting. The dogs get their shots up to date and go through a battery of tests. When needed dogs are spayed or neutered in the south, microchipped, and sometimes, if a dog needs surgery that will happen down in the south as well.  

With our well thought out process, the dogs start out in the south, and once they are ready for adoption they head to the north and are transported by another network of loyal volunteers who make up our transport team. Sometimes, when we have a concentrated group of dogs coming up from the same area, and we have it in our budget, we will pay for transport to the north. Once here they go into northern foster homes that can be anywhere from as far south as Suffolk, Virginia to as far north as Pennsylvania.  Once they are in their northern foster home, they are ready for their meet and greets. Most of our dogs are met within 7 days of arrival and go to their forever homes. AC’s explain the process in detail to each one of their applicants. 

AC’s work hard to help find the right matches and they are always hoping that their people will be the ones who get to meet the dogs of their applicants dreams. But just as there are many AC’s there are many qualified applicants. Patience is key and being willing to wait ensures that you will eventually get a dog that will be perfect with your family. We don’t try to force matches. Not every dog will match each person’s needs – no matter how soulful their eyes are.

Volunteer Spotlight: Preethi Manoharan

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Our volunteers are gold to us at Lu’s Labs, without them our organization wouldn’t be able to function. Lu’s Labs runs 100% on volunteers and each person brings a special energy and set of expertise to the table.

It’s not a surprise that many of our volunteers are often previous adopters, this is the case with Preethi who adopted Watson a very special dog who was lucky enough to find a very special human.  Preethi did not wait for that perfect dog who seemed like he failed out of service dog school for being too social. Instead Preethi has been patiently loving and caring for Watson with his anxiety issues. She has taken him in and loved him unconditionally.

Preethi has seamlessly fit into the Lu’s Labs family as a volunteer filling a very important role. She keeps the website and the pet finder sites updated. This is no small task as dogs are continually adopted and are replaced with new rescues into the organization. Not only has she taken on this responsibility, but whenever she sees a need to update and improve the functionality of the website she puts in hours of coding time to enhance the website she inherited and put her own stamp of perfection on it.

In addition to her webmaster role, she is also involved on the fundraising team. “I’ve previously volunteered with other rescues as way to spend time with dogs and learn how to be a dog parent prior to being an adopter,” says Preethi. “When I was looking into adopting from Lu’s Labs I knew I wanted to volunteer here, it’s definitely my way of giving back.”

Every time Preethi gets to update the website because of an adoption it brings joy to her heart. “I love adoptions! Every time I update a dog to being adopted, I do a mini celebration with Watson,” says Preethi. In general, Preethi has a lot of fun with her role, she enjoys looking at photographs and videos of the dogs, reading their bios, and researching ways to edit and improve the website. Whenever anyone sees a need on the website and asks Preethi if she can create, fix, or improve something she flies into action making our website more user friendly.

“All this work helps me emotionally and mentally,” she explains. It is so painful to see the neglect and cruelty that is out there in the world toward animals, but knowing we are making a difference and to be a part of that difference keeps Preethi investing her hours into the rescue. “You become invested in every single dog and it feels good.” 

Since Preethi works behind the scenes she can fit the time in around her work schedule after her normal work day is done. She knows she may be putting in hours after work, but to her, “All the time is totally worth it!”

If you are interested in getting involved on the volunteer side of Lu’s Labs, please let us know. We are always looking for Foster Families, Adoption Coordinators, Bio Writers, Fundraising Volunteers, Homecheck Volunteers, and so many other places where you can help out. You can put in as few or as many hours as fit your schedule and we always welcome the help.

Tales From An Adoption Coordinator

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It’s really important that you understand we are all volunteers. We do this because these dogs have a piece of our hearts. All of them. Every time a dog is listed on the Facebook page, or the website, a little piece of us says, “I want that dog!” But you know if you were to follow through with that, then you would be considered a dog-hoarder, and someone would come and take you away.

So that’s why you help other people get their dog “fix”. In fact, some have referred to us as sales people, dog pushers, and also dog angels, on any given day. Our priority is to find the best home for the dog. At Lu’s Labs it’s all about the dogs. But of course, there is the human element. If it’s the best home for the dog, it automatically must mean it’s the best dog for the home, the family, and the new life everyone will experience.

This means we need to get to know you. It means we may ask very personal questions. We want to know what your intention is with our dogs. At times it may seem harder to adopt a dog than it might be to adopt a child. And you know what? We are okay with that. At times it may mean we turn off a very qualified adopter. But you know what? That’s okay. If you take our questions too personally and defensively you really don’t understand what we are here to do for the dogs.

We know you are really excited and want a dog and you want it NOW! Many, many of us were once like you! We were on the other side of the adoption emails dealing with our own Adoption Coordinators, and we were thinking…but that dog on the website, I want THAT one!  And it’s sometimes hard for us to tell you that patience is a virtue, especially in this fast-paced world of instant gratification we live in.

But the truth is, we get far more qualified adopters -- wonderful people who want to adopt through us -- then we have the funding and the fosters to pull dogs. So, it may take time. But every adopter who has waited a while will tell you it was more than worth it. We AC’s are pretty good at helping you find your heart dog. The dog that will just melt your heart every time you look at his or her antics and that beautiful face and say, “where have you been all my life.”

We are here in your corner, but we are also here for the dogs. That is the binding factor that brings us all together after all. Rescuing dogs. As volunteers, as owners, we all want to see these fur babies have the best homes possible.  It’s well worth the wait!


 

 

Willow – Lu’s Labs Best Kept Secret Needs to Be Adopted

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Willow is Lu’s Labs best kept secret. She is actually a success story that needs to be told. Remember success comes in many forms so as you read this tale of where we are from where we were, you have to give Willow high fives and breathe a sigh of relief for this girl. She’s come so far, and now we only ask that we find the perfect home that will take this love in and make her their own and help her continue on her path to healing.

Today, you wouldn’t know the journey she has been on. This happy go lucky affectionate girl knows all her commands, is fine in and out of a crate, and loves her people. She loves children and one of her favorite things is to find a patch of sunlight in the backyard and bath in it. This smart loving girl gives kisses and has figured out every puzzle game. She can be redirected from barking with treats and she has never destroyed anything. No counter surfing, no chewing on things that don’t belong to her, and she likes to be touching you, and when she truly trusts you she may even end up curled up in your lap or sleeping with you in bed. But this wonderful girl will not fit the rule of 3’s. She will not be quite like this in the first 3 days, or 3 weeks. She needs time. And you need to know her story.

This lovely black 4-year old girl came to Lu’s Labs from Louisiana and was adopted in July of 2017. At the time she was leash reactive and a barker. While the adopters worked with her with a trainer, they were exhausted with a new baby, and they lived in a very social environment with lots of dogs in the neighborhood. This just wasn’t an environment for Willow, so she came back to us in February of 2018. The adopters were so sad to see her go and continued to check up on her.

With so much change, Willow became even more dog reactive. If she saw a dog out the window she would bark for hours on end and could not be redirected. This was a hard situation because she is such a love. She is great with people. She is like a little kid, she is a creature of routines. Her favorite game is to pull all her toys out of the toy box looking for a squeaky toy that her adopters gave her. She has been so gentle with it and rolls over on her back and hugs the toy. Intelligence in this dog is an understatement. She can complete every puzzle game and learns fast.  She was generally anxious but if kept focused in the house she was fine.

Her foster family could not even take her for an evaluation with a behaviorist because at the front door she could hear other dogs barking and she wouldn’t go in. She was beside herself at every dog that passed by the windows and would be spread eagle across the couch barking her heart out. Finally, a trainer came in to do an evaluation and suggested covering the windows. This began to help. The vet put her on doggy Prozac and Clonidine which was basically like a doggy tranquilizer. Even increasing to maximum doses only had a minimal effect. This poor baby was stressed. And her day of reckoning was coming.

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The hardest discussion to have in rescue is whether or not it’s time to have to put a dog down. What kind of life was Willow living? Constant anxiety, stress, and fear was not a good quality of life for the dog. We never take the task of putting a dog down lightly, and her foster was attached to this barking mass of nerves. “She is a really sweet dog. If she was a maniac and not a sweet or smart dog, or there was nothing precious about her, I don’t know if I would have been pushing so hard for more time.  She was unhappy. She had her bouts of sweetness and you could see her come through.”  Her foster mom wanted to make sure we investigated every avenue before making the final decision on Willow. No one wanted to see her have to make that trip over the rainbow bridge at just 4 years old. 

When foster mom raised the idea of CBD oil, the board deliberated over this new method. This would be the last attempt to see if we could find better results for Willow’s extreme reactivity. We researched it and made sure it was safe before beginning treatment. The results were like night and day!

Once we began the CBD oil with Willow her whole life changed, and the world opened up to her. Where she used to bark for hours on end at the German Shephard next door, now she can be out in the yard and if he comes to the fence she may bark a couple times, but she can be redirected. In 5 months with her foster, she is a completely different dog after a month of treatment on CBD oil. She is going for more walks and can be redirected from barking. She loves all the children in the neighborhood and every person she meets. Willow is a smart girl and knows commands like sit, down, stay, (come) here, and leave it. Treats motivate her, and she can be redirected now with the aid of the CBD oil.

This girl needs a patient forever home. A family that realizes this jewel is worth waiting for. It may take a couple of months for her to settle in, but once she does, her love and affection shines through. Over time she has become so comfortable she can cuddle up into foster mom’s lap after dinner and watch TV. While not a huge cuddler she is learning to give kisses. She is great with kids and people and is becoming less anxious and reactive thanks to the CBD oil. Her first adopters really loved her, tried hard with her, and wanted to keep her. But the barking and the new baby just were not conducive and the attention that was needed for Willow was just not available. She needs a home that will love her where she is and want to constantly work with her to provide love, comfort and training to continue her on her journey of healing and happiness.

 

 

Will You Be My Valentine - This is the Girl for You!

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I can’t believe there are 54 adorable photos of me and yet still no one is stepping up to give me a forever home. I am truly an awesome, loving dog. I had a rough start when I came into rescue. I was found along with my 6 puppies, but I took wonderful care of them and they all found amazing homes. 

I am approximately 2 years old and weighing in at 44 pounds - I’m the perfect size. Not too big and not too small. I’m like a pocket lab.  I wish I could tell you more about my early years, but I’ve blocked that time out. It was not the loving environment I’ve experienced at my foster mom’s home. Once my babies were all adopted I went down to Richmond to live with this nice lady while I went through my heartworm treatment. She is patient and loving and her kids who are home from college think I am an awesome dog. I absolutely love my people. Being the fly weight that I am I make the perfect lap dog.

In my early weeks with the rescue, I was still figuring things out. I had never experienced love before, so naturally I was a little fearful. As time has progressed though I am quite comfortable in my own skin. Let’s face it, I kind of own my foster mom’s house, and all the people know I’m a soft black ball of love.  I love the outdoors, and I equally love to chase squirrels, but what healthy happy dog doesn’t?  I’m good in and out of my crate, I don’t need to be fed in there, but if you want me to eat in my crate I will. I have no problem with that thing these days, but my preferred happy place is to be as close to humans as possible. If you let me snuggle in your bed I will spoon with you. But if you want me to sleep on the floor I will respect your space, and only come up when invited.

I’ll do anything for a treat. Just so you know. And my happy dance? It could be on So You Think You Can Dance. I do the happy dance whenever I see my people when they come home, when they let me out of my crate, I’m just a super happy girl. Foster mom says I have an innate ability to sense when someone needs love, because if she’s feeling sad, I’m Johnny on the spot with kisses and nudges to make sure she’s okay.

With all this love I lavish upon people it should be a small ask that I have my own yard, and you understand that I may not take kindly to other dogs. I need to be an only child, and come on, with all the love I have to give, I really don’t see why you’d need any other pet. It’s just a fact. I’m gonna bark at other dogs. But I am rock solid in a thunder storm and I don’t react to fireworks.

Maybe over time, with the right training and consistency I can get over my reactions to other dogs, but you must love me for who I am right now. I think the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

Disclaimer: Please know this is a recently rescued dog that is still transitioning into a new home environment. Training, and even personality and energy levels are constantly evolving as the dog starts to feel better emotionally and physically. Your new dog will take days or even weeks to fully settle into his or her true self. What you read in this bio is a snapshot of this dog’s evolving personality. Additionally, the age listed is an estimate provide by the shelter and/or veterinarian. Different vets can provide different age estimates. So always consider the lab you are adopting to be within an age range of a couple years of what is listed

3 Steps to Calming Your Dogs During Fireworks

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More pets are lost on the 4th of July than any other holiday.  This is mostly because of firework displays and the stress or anxiety they can bring on for dogs and pets in general.  Animal control officials around the country report on average a 30% uptick in lost pets each year between July 4th - 6th.

It’s not just rescues, but all dogs may or may not react to the loud noises and booms that the 4th of July or any holiday worthy of fireworks may bring. Your otherwise well-adjusted dog may have issues so it’s good to know these steps in order to keep your dog safe, secure, and as calm as possible during the festivities.

1.     Make Sure Your Dog has Proper Identification – If your dog does get out of the house as it’s seeking refuge either from your yard, or bolts through an unsecured door, making sure it has proper ID can save its life.  According to nationwide statistics, only 14% of lost pets are returned to their owners, and 30-60% are euthanized because they cannot be properly identified and returned to their owners.

2.     Stay Inside – Keep your doors secured and keep your pet inside safely during loud noises such as fireworks. In a perfect world someone will stay home with your dog and make sure they are not stressed out. But if not, make sure your dog is in a safe place. If you have to be outside with your dog, keep them leashed and under firm control.

3.     Comfort your Pet – There are a variety of ways to keep a pet comfortable and comforted during loud noises.

·      Safe spaces like their crates as a retreat

·      Thunder coats to make them feel more embraced

·      Calming treats and chews

·      Pheromone plugins

·      Aromatherapy – high quality essential oils diffused or applied topically*

·      Rescue Remedy and other supplements*

·      Calm Music

This 3-step approach will help your dog weather the artificial storm brought on by fireworks during the festivities to celebrate our independence. It may mean making modifications to your celebration plans but keeping your dog safe and stress-free is something to celebrate as well.

*please always use high quality aromatherapy products and supplements, learn how to use them before applying topically or aromatically, and make sure they are safe for your pets.

 

 

 

Can A Lu’s Lab Rescue Dog Go to Homes with Cats?

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As an Adoption Coordinator for Lu’s Labs as well as a cat owner, and a Lu’s Labs adopter I feel I have the trifecta of experience to help other would-be adopters who also own cats… or who are owned by cats, whichever the case may be. Simply having a cat does not disqualify you from adopting a dog through our rescue. But it may take more time as we have to make sure that the dog will fit into a cat friendly household.

One of the reasons I volunteer for Lu’s Labs is because of how thorough they (we) are. When I first was looking at adopting through Lu’s Labs there was a dog I was absolutely in love with. She did indeed get along with cats, however the southern foster characterized her as “liking to play with cats.” I knew in my house of 3 cats who had been used to a dog that pretty much left them alone, that sort of personality would probably not work. But Luisa was patient with me and she found me the right dog that fit our home. Luisa was always caring about the resident cats as well as wanting to make sure she made the best match for one of her babies – the rescue dogs.

We never even “tried out” the first dog in my home because of my concerns, even though it was a foster to adopt situation. At Lu’s Labs, the goal is always to have the least transition for a dog. Rescue dogs have been through enough, we do not want them hopping from home to home as people “try out a dog.” And this is especially true with homes with cats. We want both the safety and well-being of the resident cat to be thought of, as well as the safety and well-being of one of our rescue babies. To that end, we have 4 different designations we use internally in all of our communications. This is done between the intake coordinators and the VP of Adoptions, VP of Fosters, and Medical Director so that they know where and how to best place a dog. Not only into a foster home, but into a forever home. All the adoption coordinators have access to this information on the dogs.

Lu’s Labs has a very definitive 4-part rating system to help the AC’s coordinate with their adopters and explain which dogs may be available to adopters with cats.

No – Well if a dog is a “no” with cats, it’s a no. This means the dog has, for whatever reason, proven itself to be untrustworthy living in a home with cats. Something has been observed either before Lu’s Labs took in the rescue, or during its evaluation, medical, or stay with a southern foster. We’ve deemed it not a safe dog to adopt to a home with cats. No means no.

Unknown – This means that we have not had a chance to observe this dog around cats. We have no idea how it will react, whether or not it will have prey drive toward a cat, and whether or not the two can co-exist in a home together. In these cases, we err on the side of caution and do not adopt these dogs out to homes with cats. Why tempt fate? Unknown dogs are just as much a no to cat homes according to Lu’s Labs, as a “No.”

Maybe – In a maybe situation that means the dog has come into contact with a cat but doesn’t necessarily live with one. It may be that the dog was temperament tested with a cat at the shelter, but that does not give a full picture. It may mean that the dog saw a cat out on its walk and didn’t chase it. It may mean that the dog encountered a cat and chased it but did not seem to want to harm the cat.  These scenarios are very short-term and have not been proven over longtime exposure through Lu’s Labs or previous owners. In a “Maybe” situation, then we will adopt the dog out to a home where the people have experience with dogs, and the cat is dog savvy. This still means proper introductions need to take place. Please see our protocol.

Yes – This is the rating with cats that a first-time dog adopter who owns cats needs to be looking for when it comes to adopting a Lu’s Lab. When a dog is a yes with a cat, that means that it has lived with a cat and has proven itself not to harm cats. But here’s the rub. Every dog and cat is different. Just like you aren’t going to be friends with every person you meet, not every dog and cat are going to be friends either. It is a process that takes time, energy, and effort. Just like my story in the beginning. I knew my cats well enough that I knew introducing a dog who wanted to play with them, wasn’t going to work. You have to know your cat. Yes does not automatically mean yes for every situation. And EVEN in a yes case, you MUST use proper protocol for introducing a dog and cat.

As a dog and cat owner you HAVE to want to take the time to introduce a dog to your cat and vise versa. Not all cats are easy going, and not all dogs are either. You have to have a plan in place. And if you are going to give up after a couple of hours, a day, or week, and return the dog because it’s not adjusting fast enough you are missing the point of adopting and rescuing a dog. They are not all perfect right out of the chute. But with love, care, and time they will learn and grow with your family. It may mean special training with a personal trainer that comes to your home, or a very patient and deliberate supervision that spans months.

Please check out our separate blog detailing cat and dog introductions and protocol.