Guest Post: When Luisa incorporated a love of animals into her life, dogs in shelters gained a new champion.

Original post written by Nina Biggar Del Vecchio on April 26, 2017

When grief over the loss of a beloved pet needs to be channeled and your love of animals runs deep, you get forces of nature like Luisa Paucchi starting a foster based dog rescue in Alexandria, VA. Since taking this on in 2015 Luisa and her devoted team of volunteers have saved at least a couple hundred dogs (some quite sick and needing immediate medical attention) and brought so much joy to the families who were lucky enough to be entrusted with this new family member.

Luisa has been saving homeless animals since she was just a little girl (including a monkey!) but her love for Labradors began in 1999 when she welcomed Petey into her home and heart.

Her first dog transport over-night turned into a week-long emergency foster and she was so hooked she never looked back. After several years of being involved in every aspect of animal rescue…from transporting to fostering, adoption and foster coordinating, joining a rescue to understand the ins and outs, and then to independent rescue, she finally decided to take a huge leap of faith and begin her own animal rescue. Lu’s Labs was born in February 2015 and this endeavor is the culmination of her lifelong dream.  Lu’s Labs likes to focus on dogs in the South that are in high-kill shelters, but we will pull from anywhere we see a need.

Follow Lu’s Labs and the wonderful stories of these dogs – you’ll be surprised at how attached one can get to these dogs via pictures and stories!

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Volunteer Spotlight - Donna McClaugherty

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Lu’s Labs likes to spotlight the amazing people who make this rescue work. We have the most dedicated and caring people you will find from the south to the north.

This month, let’s talk about puppies and adoption coordinators. Donna McClaugherty, from Gainesvillle, VA, wears several hats here at Lu’s Labs. She is the Director of AC Training, she is the Puppy Coordinator, and she is also a foster. In the last two years, Donna has helped 78 adopters find their fur-ever lab friends.

Donna found her way into Lu’s Labs when a friend simply asked her to “like the Facebook page”.  Little did she know that two years later she’d be in integral part of the volunteers here at our rescue. She initially answered Luisa’s plea for adoption coordinators, and the rest was history. “I own my own full-service travel company, Cruise and Travel by Donna, and when I realized Lu’s Labs was willing to work around my travel schedule it made volunteering easy.”

The team work, and being part of a great rescue, is what keeps Donna taking on more and more responsibility. “Some days are crazier than others, especially if I am fostering,” says Donna. “My day consists of booking travel for my clients, calling vets and personal references, and then more travel.” At night Donna usually can be found on the phone again doing interviews, and once or twice a month she trains new Adoption Coordinators. (AC’s) And of course, when she has a foster in the house then play time is a must.

Her resident bonded yellow labs, Bailey and Bacardi don’t give much notice to the fosters that come through her home. “They really ignore my fosters after the initial meeting.” They are very laid back couch potatoes and prefer not to play with other dogs.” But they are very tolerant of visitors so they make it a good environment to host new dogs.

With all of Donna’s hats, you can’t forget the Puppy List! Donna keeps track of all the puppy requests and litters that are coming into Lu’s Labs so that she can match baby fur balls to their new homes. This is just one of the many rewarding things about being a volunteer. “It makes me feel so good to help rescue these pups,” Says Donna, referring to older and young pups alike. “Some of the stories are heartbreaking and I feel so good when I give them a happily ever after.”

Since Donna is both an AC and a Foster, she knows what it’s like through every aspect of the adoption process with Lu’s Labs. Over the last two years she has fostered 11 adult dogs and several litters of puppies. “My little volunteer job has grown in the past two years but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Whether you want to get involved in fostering, or become a match maker between Lu’s Labs and their families, Donna is a great resource and loves what she does.

If you’d like more information on becoming a foster, or an adoption coordinator please reach out and talk with us. Committing to just even one dog to foster at a time helps us save lives, and the more adoption coordinators we have, the quicker we can match applicants up with the dog of their dreams.



Volunteer Spotlight - Stacy Eagles

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Lu’s Labs likes to spotlight the amazing people who make this rescue work. We have the most dedicated and caring people you will find from the south to the north.

Our Volunteer Spotlight features Stacie Eagle, one of our southern fosters from Louisiana.

Fostering animals since age seven, she’s been with Lu’s Labs since 2016.


A day in the life at Stacie’s home is busy. At any given time, she has between two and eight fosters – even more if she has puppies. Not only is Stacie an amazing foster mom, she also has kids, and teaches.

While life may be crazy at times, the rewards of being able to help save animals and give them a better life comes from her heart. “I have my own personal zoo,” says Stacie. “My pups range
from 90 pounds to 8 pounds, male and female, playful to grouchy! They are used to the
revolving door and wouldn’t know what to do if we didn’t have guests!” With dogs, a cat, and 7
chickens, this diversity is a great personality test for foster dogs.

One of the most rewarding aspects of rescue for Stacie is watching dogs come out of their shell. “It is amazing to see a dog with such broken spirits see that humans are kind, food is plentiful, and they are safe. It’s as if you can see them exhale and just relax. They know they are finally going to be okay,” says Stacie.

Fostering is a part of Stacie’s DNA. She points out that every doggie kiss is worth a lost flip flop or two or picking up piles of poop. The pros far outweigh the cons. For Stacie saving a life and giving a lab a chance at a new home is worth it.

Her best advice for newbie fosters, “If you love them, let them go. A foster cannot be selfish.”
Several have taken a piece of her heart with them. “People always say, ‘I couldn’t give them up,’
and many times, I don’t want to. But, I know that if I love them, I must. They deserve to be
someone’s star!” With each dog Stacie preps for its new home and their journey north, she
opens up another space for the next lab. 

If you’d like information on becoming a Lu’s Lab Foster, please let us know.  Committing to even one dog at a time helps saves lives.