The Second Chance Times

LABMED Quarterly News :   Volume 1, Issue 1: April, 2001

LABMED Board Members:

Jim Groenke, President

Margie Dykstra, Vice-President

Dranda Whaley, Secretary

Deb Hamele, Treasurer

Beth Bodenstein

Heather Bowden

Audrey Bowman

Edith Bryan

Sue Erickson

Pat Kolb

Lori Lewis

Anne O'Mahony

Karen Reardon

Saralyn Sharp

Ivy Smith

Karlene Turkington

Dianne Walsh

Eric Watanabe

Dogs Funded:

1st Quarter, 2001:

Max2 and Molly6
Sarah Jane


How are we doing financially?

As in previous years, we have seen an increase in applications in our 5th year. We funded 97 dogs in 2000, spending over $45,000 and have reached another milestone: our 200th dog - Buddy9 - was funded in December.

This graph illustrates how much LABMED has grown in the 5 years we have been helping rescued Labrador Retrievers.


Graph of Funded dogs

Who are we funding?

As in past years, many applications are for heartworm treatment and we have also had a large number of dogs that have been hit by cars and needed treatment for broken bones. We have helped dogs that suffered from abuse and neglect; not only the neglect seen in dogs that have been on their own for many weeks or months but also abuse and neglect from uncaring owners and "breeders".

Not all applications are approved; some of the reasons an application will be denied is that the dog is owned, the dog is not predominantly a Labrador Retriever, or the prognosis for recovery is poor. We will fund recent rescues but cannot fund established pets; we fund Lab mixes but the dog must have recognizable characteristics of the breed or be a known Lab cross. While we can not always foresee if a dog will recover from injuries or illness, we have to carefully consider the chances of recovery and cannot fund a dog who has little hope of getting better.

Not every story is a success story...

Despite our - and the rescuer's efforts - one of the dogs we funded this past year went to the Rainbow Bridge. Wilbur was a stray with numerous problems but the rescuer and the vet who treated him were very optimistic that they could help; sadly he died shortly after he was treated but we are glad he was in such loving hands during his last weeks. Another dog we funded, Hope, was reclaimed by her owner after being in her rescuer's care for months.

...but most of them are!

Amber Image


Most of the stories posted on our web site have a happy ending; these unwanted Labs were given a second chance at living the wonderful life they should have had from the start thanks to their rescuers and the generosity of LABMED's supporters. We are proud of the fact that we have never turned a dog away due to lack of funds. Our Fundraising Committee has worked hard to keep up with the ever increasing requests for assistance from LABMED, and we thank our supporters for the success of our Annual Donation Drive and the Bullet's Benefit Bash, as well as the many other projects we attempt throughout the year.

Our fundraising efforts help us help Labs!

Our first LABMED Quilt brought in much needed funds, and we hope the second LABMED Quilting Bee will be as successful. We have added several new items to our Shopping Pages, and we are always adding affiliates - merchants who give a percentage of the revenue generated through our site to LABMED.

We have completely redone the popular book "Labrador Tales: A Celebration of America's Favorite Dog". Our Fundraising Committee is working hard thinking of ways to raise the money needed for re-printing the book.

To show our appreciation to our supporters, we have started a new page on our website: Buddies of LABMED lists some of the many people who have enabled LABMED to help so many Labradors. We couldn't do it without you!

Another new page - Adopt a LABMED Dog lists dogs we have funded that are still looking for their forever homes.

Fat...But Not Happy!

© 1999 by Terry Albert

(This article was awarded a Maxwell Award for 2000 by the Dog Writer's Association of America! Many thanks to Terry Albert for allowing us to reprint it here. )

Meet Slim. He is not "distinguished." Or "chubby." Or "well-fed," "pleasingly plump," or "stocky." The dog is fat. We don't need a lot of charts and arguments about why being overweight is as bad for our dog as it is for us.

So I will dispense with the lecture that makes us all feel guilty, and get on with the good part; the solution! Please keep in mind that obesity is a serious condition, and you should consult with your veterinarian for his or her help in returning Slim to good health. First, feel Slim's rib cage.

Coal Image

If those ribs are hard to find, he should lose a few pounds. We have Labs come into rescue that needed to take off as much as 20 pounds. What causes extreme obesity, especially in Labradors? Labs are bred to run and work hard, and they have appetites that match their intended energy output. Most of us don't hunt or do other heavy physical work with our dogs.

Here are some common problems we encounter in the way Lab owners feed their dogs:

· "Poor dog": In assuming your rescued Labrador has been abused in his former home, there is a temptation to over indulge him with food, treats and goodies. Those big, sad brown canine eyes learn quickly how to manipulate the person who controls the food dish. Resist! They really don't need a lot of variety. In fact, it will upset their digestion.

· Table scraps: "But she only gets two cups a day!" the owner told me honestly. Then she sheepishly added that her pet gets the dinner leftovers every night. Mashed potatoes and gravy add hundreds of calories! (Cooked bones are always dangerous). He will quickly learn to turn up his nose at dog food, and hold out for the "good" stuff.

· Fattening treats and supplements: A quality dog food doesn't count for much if you're buying salty, additive-filled treats. These can also be the source of allergies, ear infections and skin problems. Consider switching to vegetables (like carrots), a portion of your dog's regular kibble, or biscuits from the same food manufacturer. Also, if you supplement his diet with fatty oils, like LipidermTM, these are "fat" with calories. Consider eliminating them, or consult your vet for a lower calorie skin supplement, like Derm-CapsTM.

· Free feeding: Putting food on the floor and leaving it all day is a habit many single-dog owners find easy. BUT, a Lab doesn't generally self-regulate its eating, and our breed will just gorge themselves. Put the dish down for 20 minutes, pick it up and put it away for the next meal. He may miss a meal or even two, but it won't hurt him. He'll soon learn to eat and be done with it. This also helps you bond with your dog. You become the pack leader in his eyes, because you are the food source.

· Low thyroid: Some symptoms of low thyroid include obesity, lethargy, and flaky or oily skin. Consider getting him a blood test if you suspect Slim might have this problem.

· Too much food: A non-working Lab doesn't need as much food as the instructions on the bag recommend. If your dog is too heavy on four cups a day, cut him back to three, or even two. A sedentary or older dog can often do just fine on two cups a day of premium food. (By premium, I mean pet store brands rather than grocery store brands.)

THE SOLUTIONS: Now we know how Slim got that way, how do we fix it? I don't recommend going cold turkey and immediately cutting your dog's portions in half or worse. A drastic change will cause his metabolism to slow down. Fool his body and gradually reduce his food by 1/4 cup per day until you reach the new amount. This also helps prevent turning your dog into a counter-surfing trashcan-pilaging monster. Keep an eye on your dog, and adjust his intake by how he looks. It takes up to a month or more to see results, so be patient! The vet may let you bring him in for regular weigh-ins.

· To help your dog feel full on the reduced rations, you can add canned pumpkin (plain, unsweetened!). It's high in fiber. You can also add canned green beans, carrots, or other vegetables.

· Consider switching to a low-calorie, high-fiber food. Science Diet® r/d and Nutro® for Overweight Dogs (which pictures a fat black Lab on the bag!) are two I have used with great success. Make the switch gradually, mixing with the old food each day at first.

· Feed on a regular schedule, at the same times, preferably twice a day. Large breeds are prone to bloat, so smaller meals are safer for them. It also helps reduce hunger pangs and resulting behavior problems. If you don't feed until evening, Slim sits home all day, starving to death (in his mind!), and then stuffs himself with a huge dinner. Hunger stress can cause barking and trashcan trashing, too!

· Add water to his food and let it stand a few minutes before you feed. This helps Slim feel full, because the food expands in the bowl instead of in his stomach.

· The Buster CubeTM solution: This is a toy available at most pet supply stores. You put your dog's dry kibble in it, and he plays with it, rolling it around while bits of food drop out as a reward. Besides keeping him entertained when you leave for work, it slows down his eating. If you feed two cups, try pouring one of the cups in the Cube when you leave. WARNING: I have found this causes fights, so I only recommend it in a one-dog household. If you have a pool, don't use it outside, either.

· Exercise: You knew this part was coming, didn't you? Just like with people, exercise helps burn fat and contributes to a healthy body. The AKC points out, in their Fit and Trim brochure, that letting your dog out in the back yard does not constitute exercise! If you aren't physically active, you can still get your dog moving by throwing a tennis ball or toy for him. For seriously fat dogs, work up the time gradually, and STOP if Slim starts to pant heavily. Labs will play until they collapse of heat exhaustion. An easy walk is enough for many. Consider hiring a petsitter or neighbor child to walk your dog if you can't. Swimming is also great exercise, especially for dogs with dysplasia. A healthy, trim dog stays active much later in life. Some Labs hunt until they are 12 years old. At 10, mine still competes in obedience. Those with joint problems, arthritis, hip or elbow dysplasia will remain active much longer without excess weight bearing down on sore bones. They don't live long enough as it is.

Do your best friend a favor and extend his life by cutting down on his excess weight. (Terry Albert is a volunteer and foster home for Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue and member of the Dog Writer's Association of America. Terry's fine artwork can be seen at: (Note: LABMED is pleased to be holding a raffle for 4 of Terry's original prints.)

Let's Go Shopping!!

Those of you who regularly shop with LABMED know that we try to bring you a selection of attractive wearables, interesting and useful books, calendars, videos and posters, yummy canine edibles, and gift, donor, and bereavement certificates.

Yes, our best-selling LABMED cookbook is still available! But--did you know that we now also carry wearables in youth sizes? How about embroidered baseball caps? Adorable Folkmanis puppets (black and yellow Lab pups and a brown "sitting dog') that are irresistible to children and adults? And last but not least, our newest offering, a line of dog toys?

Puppet Image

You'll find many of your favorites plus a few that maybe you haven't seen. Among the items we're offering are Kongs, the Buddy Glowball, Jumballs, stuffed toys, braided tug toys, and more. Take a look at our dog toys shopping page and buy a special toy for your dog today.

Visit our shopping pages and browse our online store. We'll bet you'll find something you or your dog just can't live without. Keep coming back, too, because we add new products regularly and we have a super-special item planned for just a little later this year. If you don't find what you want in our store, please consider shopping with one of our affiliates. You can find links to these on our affiliate pages . Last year, we earned more than $1600 from our affiliates--enough to fund almost four dogs! Shop with us or our affiliates, and tell your friends about us, too! It's a fun and easy way to help more Labs in need--and you get the same quality merchandise you would if you went to the vendors site directly!.

Wacky Lab Stories Wanted!

Those Wacky Labs... Do you have a "wacky Lab" story that you would like to share with us? We'd love to hear from you! We will publish as many stories as we can as space permits. Send your story to [email protected] and give us a good laugh!

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Chaos and the Wading Pool

By Margie Dykstra, LABMED Board Member

Like many Labradors, Chaos plays in his water. A big galvanized bucket ensures that the dog's have water all day, even if does get a bit mucky by the end of the day because Chaos insists on putting his feet in it. The troops also have a nice little plastic wading pool. I never fill it all the way full because it just gets stagnant and grows moss and mosquitoes. With just a few inches of water in it, I can refresh it every couple of days and the dogs still have some cooling off water. My plants love the dirty dog water.

Recently, I noticed that the pool was nearly always dry by the end of the day. Was I just being stingy about the amount of water I put in it? And how was Chaos getting muddy in a dry yard?

Company was coming. Janet, Nita and I were going to BBQ and talk about our rescue program. Chaos was having guests also. Janet's puppies, Cat and Winney, were coming over to play. So when the kids arrived I made sure the pool was extra full of nice clean water and us grown-ups sat down to watch the fun. Fun, indeed! Mystery solved. Chaos' favorite pool game is to get in the pool, then push on the side with his front feet. As the water runs out of the pool (and it's particularly fun with a full pool) he bites at the water. Then he jumps out of the pool and splashes and digs in the mud puddle that he has created. It took him about 5 minutes to empty the pool. By the end of it we had three muddy puppies since Janet's girls were more than happy to join in the fun. They spent the rest of the evening playing chase games and skidding through the remaining quarter inch of water in the bottom of the pool.

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Cassie the Food Taster

By Ivy Smith, LABMED Board Member

Los Angeles - Alert community canine Cassie is spreading warnings about the dangers of a food eaten by humans. She has investigated this food intensively and come to the conclusion that it causes uncontrolled butt-tucking in Labrador Retrievers.

Cassie happened upon this important information accidentally. "I was in the kitchen when I found out," she recalled, clearly moved by the memory, "acting as a taste-tester." Cassie belongs to a dedicated group of canines who know it is their duty to taste all foods their humans try to eat. "It's my most important duty," she said, "except for paper shredding.

"My people haven't caught on to the tasting concept yet, so I was doing what Tasters, Intl., advises in those situations. I was lying on the floor, making quiet noises to remind my human I was there, and being alert for any dropped items, since those can give you a chance to display your tasting skills."

Dropped items, it turned out, were this dog's downfall. "It always happens eventually if you're patient, and this time was no different. Suddenly - splat! - there was a chunk of some strange dark and light substance on the floor."

Cassie approached the substance with alacrity and immediately showed her fearless tasting prowess by taking the object in her mouth. "It was strange, kind of rubbery," the shaken dog stated, "and it had a slightly bitter flavor. My human made some noises when I got it - maybe she was trying to warn me - but I ignored her. It's always best under those circumstances."

Dangerous circumstances indeed. "It was becoming clear to me that this was probably not something my humans should be eating. But I know it's important to make a thorough examination, so I immediately went to the living room with my find.

"After just a few experimental chews," Cassie reported, "I began to feel strange. An urge to move overcame me, starting from my tail and working down to my paws until I could not sit still. It was as though the substance had taken me over, and was ordering me to run, run, run."

The stricken dog had little choice but to obey. Her human, displaying typical human lack of understanding, put Cassie outdoors after she cornered too quickly and ran into the human's legs. The human watched while Cassie ran, laughing, completely oblivious to the serious nature of Cassie's plight.

"It took me at least fifteen minutes to run it off. More like twenty," stated the dog. "Sure, I got caught up in it, sure, I liked the run, but in retrospect, all I can think of is the horror of it - the so-called 'food' product was telling my feet what to do, and I was actually enjoying it!"

Needless to say, the evening ended in tragedy. "My human eventually called me inside and put me in my crate so I wouldn't cause any more accidents while she was cooking the demon food. I tried to warn her. 'Don't eat it!' I said. 'It's not fit for humans! You guys don't run that well! If you have to do something with it, give it to me!'"

The human ignored this sage advice, and the tragedy progressed, just as in the Great Cucumber Scare of late June, and the tragic Little Crunchy Things Episode in May.

"They ate it," Cassie said, her paws making anxious running motions. "I could see the whole thing from where I was."

Fortunately, though, the humans had hit on some method of taming the savage food. "They didn't seem any more active after they ate it," our informant admitted. "I guess it was that smelly sauce they cooked it in. But if you ask me, they're playing with fire - what if the next time they aren't so lucky?"

As Cassie fretted, she overheard the humans identifying the mystery food. "They said it was eggplant, whatever that is," she reports. "But to me, it will always be danger."

LABMED Calendar: April - June, 2001

April, 2001

1: Daylight Savings Time Begins
7: ASPCA Tag Day
11-13: Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac Specialty Frederick, MD
Visit the LABMED booth!
15: Easter
16: Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing
23: Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing
30: Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing

May, 2001

7: Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing
11-12: Miami Valley Cincinnati, OH
13: Mother's Day
14: LABMED Donation Drive Begins
Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing
21: Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing
28: Memorial Day
Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Drawing

June, 2001

1: Lab Tales Fundraising Raffle Grand Prize Drawing
9: LABMED Donation Drive Ends
14-15: Boston Specialty Boston, MA
16: Winnebago Labrador Retriever Club Specialty Beloit, WI
17: Father's Day
21-22: Rose City X, OR


Would you like to shop for thousands of dog related items and help LABMED at the same time? Then Source Ménagerie is the affiliate for you!

You may remember the Source Ménagerie name from last fall when 82 Labs were rescued in Montgomery County, Texas. Source Ménagerie was instrumental in assisting with the fundraising and donation efforts with the Heart of Texas Lab Rescue Group in saving these unfortunate dogs. Source Ménagerie is a treasure trove of Lab related gifts and merchandise. You can find the practical items you and your Labs enjoy as well as the whimsical essentials that you will treasure.

This shopping website offers many Lab designed items such as plush toys, artwork, figurines, windsocks, flags and much, much more. Lab essentials, such as BIG toys, food supplements, grooming tools, and colorful collars and leads are also offered. Best of all, Source Ménagerie offers a secure shopping link for credit card orders and 5% of your total order is sent to LABMED to help us continue our mission of saving sick and injured Labs worldwide.


2001 Bullet's Benefit Bash On-Line Auction: Donations are now being welcomed for our 6th annual Bullet's Benefit Bash! We hope to make this our biggest and best on-line auction ever. Please visit our auction page for all the details!

Lab Tales Raffle: Our Labrador Tales Raffle is underway, with the grand prize drawing set for June 1, 2001. Don't miss your chance to win some great prizes, including a beautiful set of Lab prints by Terry Albert! Visit our raffle page for more information.


Buddy at the Hoosier

Buddy enjoying the Hoosier show, March 3-4, 2001