LABMEDRx for Rescued Labs
Colby - home at last This page is dedicated to Colby. May her memory be a blessing.

Colby's Story: A Case for Owner Education
As Told by her Rescuer

From: Robin Shives

Many of you may recall reading posts from me and more recently from Administration about a Chocolate Lab in need of rescue. Along with several other individuals, (some on this list, some on Lab-L, and some belonging to no list at all), I had been searching for a home for Colby a 9 1/2 year old female with diabetes and low thyroid. This search began in March and ended today, breaking many hearts.

After finally finding a foster home and possible permanent home, as well as securing offers for funding from the LABSR4U Rescue Fund, LABMED, and individuals, I picked Colby up from her owner yesterday and transported her to my veterinary clinic to have her vaccinations updated, heartworm test, and glucose monitoring over a three day period. Urine and glucose testing yesterday looked pretty good. This morning Colby's glucose was the lowest it had been since her diabetes was diagnosed. The office didn't have heartworm test kits available at their office yesterday and, therefore, had to send the test out for evaluation. Colby's heartworm test came back positive.

A relaxed ColbyTreatment of heartworms is extremely hard on even an otherwise healthy dog. The medication is arsenic based and the dog must be fed a diet very high in carbohydrates for a period of time prior to the testing to help prepare their bodies for the poison that will be introduced into it. This treatment combined with Colby's unstabalized diabetes and low thyroid made her prognosis extremely grim. It was decided that Colby's home was to be at the Rainbow Bridge.

I, along with the others involved in this very emotional battle to save Colby, are extremely angry that this was allowed to happen. This wasn't something that happened by was almost entirely avoidable!!! Simple treatment once a month with a heartworm pill and Colby would have been home free!

It really seemed as if we had jumped the last hurdle last night when Doc told me that there were no ketones in her urine. It was explained to me, that if left untreated, these ketones build up and prognosis from there goes downhill pretty fast. Colby had not been receiving regular insulin injections and was not taken back to the vet to have her glucose checked as she should have been. This worried me very much as it seemed to be a concern of the vet's.

I had never met Colby before yesterday...I was afraid to go see her...afraid that my rescue attempt was going to fail...I thought that it would be easier if she were just a name. Well, she was NEVER just a name and meeting her only reinforced how nice I thought she was going to be. Sure, she needed some work...a good brushing, some touch-up obedience training (although she was EXTREMELY well behaved), and lots of LOVE...but she was quite a girl.

Don't let Colby's death have been in vain! There are things that YOU can do.

First, if you know someone with a dog, ask if they're on heartworm preventative (just work it right into the conversation!). If not, explain that it only takes the bite of ONE mosquito to transmit this horrible disease. Here in Maryland, we have LOTS of mosquitoes and I, for one, ain't taking a chance! Just because you are aware of heartworms and heartworm preventative, doesn't mean that the next guy is. Please help to educate as much as you can that using a heartworm preventative is just as important as keeping your dog's vaccinations up to date.

Robin Shives
Stoney Run Retrievers

To learn more about heartworms:

Responsible Pet Care:

Colby wearing a bandana

Ten Commandments for Responsible Pet Ownership
used with permission from Laura Michaels

  1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be very painful.
  2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
  3. Place your trust in me - it is crucial for my well-being.
  4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment. I HAVE ONLY YOU.
  5. Talk to me, Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.
  6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.
  7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose not to bite you.
  8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart may be getting old and weak.
  9. Take care of me when I get old. You, too, will grow old.
  10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or, "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, I love you.

Don't let Colby have died in vain.

If you would like to honor Colby and help to educate owners about heartworm, there are several things you can do. Please feel free to print this page and pass it on to others. You can also link to this page on your own pages. We have made the Colby graphic to the right available for free. Please put it on your web pages with a link to this page. Here is how to do it:

  1. Download the image. Using Netscape Communicator for Windows 95, right click the image and select "Save Image As." On a Mac, put the cursor over the image and hold the button down until you see a pop-up menu with the "Save As" option. Similar steps achieve the same result with Internet Explorer.
  2. Save the image in the same directory as the Web page(s) you plan to link to us from.
  3. Place the image on the page(s).
  4. Link to this page at LABMED by cutting and pasting the following code into your page(s):
    <a href=""><img src="colbylink.jpg" border="0"></a>
Thank you from all the people who tried to save Colby.

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