Lab Rescue
One of my all time favorite fosters was Lucy.  This sweet, beautiful girl was found nearly starved, weighing only 45 lbs, yet still nursing a large litter of puppies at the Humane Society.  I brought her home (where she was quickly befriended by my crew) since she was unadoptable in her current condition.  I began to nurse her back to health when I noticed she also had a serious hip issue-- X-rays showed she had suffered a broken pelvis about 1 year earlier and her one hip was destroyed.   LABMED and PSLRA funded the necessary FHO surgery which was provided at a greatly reduced cost by Tieton Drive Animal Clinic.  After approximately 6 months of rehabilitation,  Lucy was quickly adopted out to a loving, forever home.   
Teddy was found as a stray by animal control, bitten by a female he was trying to breed!  Our group had him treated and neutered immediately, and he was given the much needed basic obedience here until he was adopted out and lived out a long life in luxury!  It's too bad his original owners were not as committed to his training and welfare...
This yellow escape artist finally found a forever home where she wouldn't be left alone all day to worry and injure herself again.
Kelsey was rescued by our group from the C. WA Humane Society.  She had a medical issue that her original owner was apparently unwilling to deal with.  She's another victim of the "throw away" mentality that plagues so many pet owners today.
This page is dedicated to everyone involved in pet rescue.    Some volunteer for small non-profits, whereas others work for our local humane society for minimal wages.  They all do all they can to save as many homeless animals as possible, given the resources they have.  Though not every homeless dog can be saved,  at least those of sound temperament and health can be given a second chance... all because of this group of caring folks!  

Unless you've worked in  rescue before, you'd probably have no idea how much time and money is spent annually in attempts to "clean up" after the many irresponsible breeders and dog owners in our Valley.   Up until just a few years ago, I fostered, trained and adopted out one Lab after another through the YVKC Purebred Dog Rescue program which has since been terminated.  As my own gang grew in numbers and work and competition loads increased, I had to "retire" from fostering.   And, to be honest, I got frustrated..  I knew that for every dog I found a good home for, hundreds more were being "dumped" by their owners, sometimes needing to be euthanized if health or temperaments were poor, and sometimes simply because there were not enough good homes out there.  There had to be a more productive approach!   Several of us decided educational campaigns were the better way to tackle the problem.  I was recently invited to serve on the Labrador Retriever Club, Inc. (AKC parent club) Rescue Task Force and now try to help with rescue and education efforts on a nationwide level.

Prevention of unplanned and irresponsibly bred litters is my main focus now.  I feel if the public is better educated regarding responsible breeding practices as well as pet ownership, we will make much more rapid progress in tackling this spiraling rescue situation.    If only folks would stop patronizing the backyard breeders and puppy millers, it would no longer be a profitable "business" for them. 

Irresponsible breeders care about one thing-- and that is your money!   They will not be there to take back a pup if circumstances warrant, or to help you with any questions or problems you may have-- no matter what they claim.  They certainly won't care if you call to tell them the pup has a serious health issue such as hip or elbow dysplasia, severe allergies, temperament issues and the like-- all things that potentially run into thousands of dollars to treat (if treatable at all).    Afterall, they didn't care enough to do the preventative genetic testing in the first place!

Many pet buyers are also guilty of perpetuating the rescue problem by purchasing a dog from such breeders based on things like price, sex, color and "novelty" (including the new designer breeds like the Labradoodle, Silver Labs and Pointing Labs).   Oftentimes, buyers are very disappointed with the end product, and turn to rescue for help. 

Many families I speak with have also not seriously thought about the lifetime commitment of owning and training a dog.  According to the AKC, the average cost to raise a dog is over $1300 per year.   It doesn't matter if it's the "free" puppy acquired from the guy parked in front of the K-Mart or if it's a well bred purebred purchased from a responsible breeder who has spent all the time and money to do the research, genetic certification, titling, socializing, and preventative vet care involved in responsible breeding.  In fact, the cheap or "free" dogs commonly cost  their owners far more due to the numerous health and behavioral issues they oftentimes come with!

That said, if the initial purchase price is a concern, I strongly encourage folks to consider adopting through a Rescue (or shelter) instead of paying the $200-500 (and more!) to unscrupulous backyard breeders or puppy millers who are just in it for profit.  By adopting from a Rescue, you will often get the same dog, albeit "recycled" from the same BYBs, etc., and you will give that dog a 2nd chance at life!  Here is a listing of a few of our local rescues that I'd highly recommend:

Yakima Valley Pet Rescue
Humane Society of Central Washington
Wags to Riches Animal Rescue
Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue

At the national level, please find our LRC rescue affiliates listed by state. 

Occasionally, responsible breeders may rehome older puppies or dogs, some which they've taken back from previous owners.  Many are well socialized, have hip, elbow and eye (CERF) checks done and have received some training.  For a listing of these Labs, please visit the PSLRA website.

If you (or someone you know) wants to rehome a family pet, PLEASE:

1) Contact the breeder the dog was acquired from to see if they will take it back. GOOD breeders will happily take back their pups for any reason, at any time.  If they won't, SHAME ON THEM!!!

2)  If #1 fails, please advertise the dog yourself and be prepared to screen potential buyers thoroughly.   Be completely honest about any health or temperament issues.  PLEASE spay or neuter the dog FIRST.

3)  Contact a rescue (or shelter) as a last resort.  These good people are often already overloaded with homeless strays.  Rescues were never meant to be "brokers" for able-bodied owners.  Be prepared to pay a generous fee for advertising and placing your pet!!!  Remember, these folks often have full time jobs, families and pets of their own to care for and are only doing this for the sake of the animals!   Please don't dump sick, elderly or aggressive animals on someone else to take care of.