The Second Chance Times

LABMED Quarterly News:  Volume 3, Issue 2: May, 2003
LABMED Quarterly News Archives
What's Inside: Memorializing One Lab's Love Can Save Many Lab Lives, Meet LABMED's Fleece Menagerie! , Poison Prevention ,
Hip Dysplasia,
Life with a confirmed dog-lover . . . , LABMED Calendar
LABMED Board Members:

Deb Hamele,

Dianne Walsh,
Vice President

Heather Bowden,

Andrew Sherriff,

Beth Adamson

Linda Bagby

Beth Bodenstein

Judi Ebbert

Jim Groenke

Donna Harrison

Andrea Walker

Jude Fine - Intern

Laura Mansfield - Intern

Vicki Smith-Boyd - Intern


Dogs Funded:

1st Quarter 2003:

2nd Quarter 2003:

Memorializing One Lab's Love Can Save Many Lab Lives

With the loss of one's beloved Lab, even the kindest gestures of well-meaning friends bring little comfort. The loss of a connection too powerful for words causes a pain so intense that there is no remedy. Perhaps the only way to find a bit of relief is to attempt the seemingly impossible task of transforming loss into gain. How, might you ask, can you spin anything positive out of a negative event as harsh as losing one's beloved Lab? You can do what two wonderful families have done.

When Jack and Ann Arnold lost their very special friend, Buddy, they wanted to memorialize his heart and soul. Buddy Arnold, their beautiful chocolate Lab, was 11 years old when he died of complications from malignant fibrosarcoma. This new cancer followed malignant oral melanoma, which had been treated successfully by four surgeries in March 2001.

LABMED and the Labrador-L e-mail list first heard of Buddy in April of 1998, when he was 7 years old. He had had cruciate ligament surgery, which went well, but he developed aspiration pneumonia and fought for his life for 7 intense days before he recovered. Less than three years later, however, he got oral cancer, and just a few short months after that diagnosis, he was gone.

Buddy Arnold

The Arnolds showed their love and devotion to Buddy in numerous ways. There was always a family member willing to sleep on the floor if Buddy couldn't climb the stairs to the bedroom. They would take their recuperating dog to work with them so he wouldn't have to be home all day by himself. They would spend any amount they could if it would just help their dog to get well or if they could relieve some of his suffering. But the time came when no matter what they did, or how hard they tried, they had to say good-bye.

Jack and Anne said good-bye to their best friend Buddy on November 23, 2001, nine days after his 11th birthday.

Jack Arnold was a very special friend of LABMED as early as August 15, 1996, when the Labrador-L e-mail list first heard about the Sad Little Man who was to become Buddy Whaley, LABMED's ambassador. Jack Arnold was the first person to e-mail Buddy's rescuers with a very significant message: "Don't let them put this dog down due to lack of funds. Here is my donation." More money from other kind-hearted people poured in, of course, and LABMED was born. But Jack was the first.

Fitch's Buddy of Cottontown
November 14, 1990 -
November 23, 2001

Meet just a few of the rescued Labs that have gotten a second chance at a happy, healthy life thanks to Jack Arnold. Thank you, Jack, for your generous spirit and your devotion to our cause. And for your love for your Buddy. We know it was repaid, time and time again.

The Pecos Memorial Fund is dedicated to helping Labradors who have suffered at the hands of humans yet kept their grace and spirit despite the cruel treatment they received. This fund was started in memory of Pecos, a yellow Lab who escaped from his yard while his owners were on vacation and somehow found his way home despite the severe injuries he received after he had been doused with lighter fluid and set afire. Although Pecos was transferred to a vet school with the best of facilities, once he was assessed there, it was felt that the burns he received were too severe and the most humane thing to do was to euthanize him. A $5,000 reward fund was established to help bring the abusers to justice, but unfortunately they have not been caught yet. Due to press coverage of this tragic event, donations had started to come in to help with Pecos' treatment and continued to come in even after he was euthanized. Through the generosity of Georgia Labrador Retriever Rescue who decided to donate all of the funds raised for Pecos to LABMED and another nonprofit group, we can help keep the memory of Pecos alive by using these funds to help those Labs and Lab-mixes who come to us for assistance when they have suffered injuries or illness due to abuse or neglect.




March 1990 - October 2002

Max's Fund was established by several individuals who were profoundly touched in a lasting way by a wonderful Labrador Retriever named Max. Their hearts will always carry a piece of the love Max spread around so generously.

In the donor's own words: Anyone who has loved a Lab certainly has a story to tell and Max is no exception. His story would fill the pages of an entire book, and in his 12 1/2 years he touched the lives of so many people beyond his immediate family. He lived to love (not to be loved) and the list of people who loved him in return and miss him is endless. Perhaps Max's real legacy is the way he actually CAN live forever through this fund that helps provide medical care to other Labs who otherwise wouldn't have access to the resources that Max did. During his life, Max's medical bills were significant, and the surgery, treatment and attention he required to correct hip dysplasia when he was just 2 years old and the discomfort of arthritis later in life was extensive. Max had the luxury of never having to forego any medical help due to cost. He had 24-hour a day care at home from his family. If only every Lab were so lucky. Max's owners said: "Max was quite simply the love of our lives. Until the day he died, we still believed he could live forever, because the thought of life without him was inconceivable. As time has passed, we have begun to accept that we may never get over Max's absence in our family, and our broken hearts may never completely mend. And that is O.K. We hope that this fund can be yet another one of Max's amazing gifts, as well as our way of thanking him for changing the way we live and love."  


Murphy's Memorial Donation Fund comes from the Pilcher Family, who designated that their gift be used to help "any Lab needing the money at the moment when you might not have the funds for its care." The phenomenal reciprocal love between Murphy and his family is beautifully captured in Geri Pilcher's poem to the late great Murphy:

To Murphelsesis:

You taught me love, how to give not take,
You ran like the wind, you swam in the lake,
You slept on my bed, curled up in a ball,
Until the time when the angels would call.
My brave little boy, the time had come,
To go to heaven, now your pain is gone,
Take walks in the clouds with dad and mom,
We'll be together when Mac, Maia, and I come.

-- Geri Pilcher



Alex's Party

What could be a better birthday present than seeing your guests collectively contribute to the well-being of a Lab in need of help? That's how Liz and Alex King felt when they planned a party to celebrate son Alex's 13th birthday. Guest donations to LABMED totalled $334, which can go a long way toward ensuring a second chance for at least one Lab.

Alex King

From the Kings' description, it sounds like we all would have had a great time.

Boy, did we have a party.  Nineteen 12 year olds showed up to cloudy skies and the threat of rain, but it did not stop us from having one heck of a good time. We bobbed for donuts hanging on strings, juggled, danced crazy and had a 'cookie walk.' The kids were so proud of what we did.....$334 raised for LABMED!!!!!! Check out our donation jar with the LABMED logo in the attached photo! Alex was so very very happy......and pleased. We are hoping to sponsor a dog so that he can share this info with all his guests. I will begin that process right away. Thanks for all that you do,
Liz and Alex King

LABMED is grateful for all of these funds, which help create a solid funding base for helping rescuers cover the veterinary costs of ailing Labs. Each month, these funds save lives while helping to memorialize the Lab's infinite capacity for unconditional love.

Meet LABMED's Fleece Menagerie!

Treat your dog to a SPRING FLING with these adorable 8-10 inch plush toys! Their richly textured coats and 2 internal squeakers will make all dogs think they are retrieving the most perfect creatures that ever waddled through barnyard heaven!

BLACK SHEEP has thick, curly "hair" over a perfectly chunky body that is SO grabbable. HONEY BUNNY has tightly woven, textured "hair" and luscious, long rabbit ears, while LUCKY DUCK has fine, silky down and a beak as yellow as sunshine. See for yourself by pasting the following link into your browser (

"Dear LABMED," wrote your dog in a recent email to us. "Please tell my folks to tuck these tender creatures in my Easter basket for grateful licks and loads of fun! And if they missed Easter, there's always my birthday!!"

And remember, your gift to your dog will help a less fortunate Lab get a second chance at love and play!


Poison Prevention

March 16 through 22nd 2003 was National Poison Control Week, but it's never too late to be informed about lethal substances. Visit the ASPCA website to learn about common toxins and how to keep your pet safe. ASPCA WEBSITE

Common signs of poisoning:

  • Muscle tremors.
  • Seizures.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes with blood.
  • Excessive salivation - drooling or foaming.
  • Redness of skin, ears, eyes.
  • Mental depression or excitement.
  • Bleeding (as with rat poison ingestion).
  • Ulceration or blisters of the mouth or skin.
  • Excessive pawing at the mouth and licking.
  • Swelling of a limb or the face, as is often seen with insect bites and stings.
  • Elevated or depressed body temperature (elevations usually due to increased muscle activity -- tremors, seizures).

If you see these signs:
Call your veterinarian or veterinary emergency clinic immediately. Have the following information ready:

  • Exact name of toxin ingested, inhaled, or absorbed.
  • About how much of the toxin was ingested.
  • How long ago you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned.
  • Approximate weight of your pet.
  • What signs your pet is showing -- vomiting, tremors, salivation, and general observations -- such as color of the gums (capillary refill time), respiratory rate, heart rate, and if possible, body temperature.
  • If the poison is known, take the box or package with you.
  • Do NOT induce vomiting without consulting your veterinarian or Poison Control center first. Some toxins are caustic, and vomiting will only increase damage. Some toxins need to be neutralized with activated charcoal, others need to be expelled by vomiting, and still others have antidotes.
  • Topical toxins need to be rinsed (skin, eye) with copious amounts of water.

Know these common household poisons:

  • Antifreeze (Ethylene glycol).
  • Slug/Snail bait.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Mouse and Rat poison.
  • Some plants (indoor and outdoor), shrubs, and trees. Check with your veterinarian for help in finding information on native plants in your area that are toxic to pets.
  • Flea and Tick treatments. Using more or not following product recommendations is NOT the way to kill more fleas and ticks!
  • Lawn fertilizers, weed killers.
  • Household cleaners and chemicals.

Pet poison-proofing tips

  • Rat, slug, snail, mice, and ant baits are made to be attractive and tasty, even to the curious pet. Don't count on how well you hide these baits, either. Make sure that they are safely out of pet's reach (and that the pet isn't able to chew through something to get at them). If using locked bait boxes, keep them in locked cabinets or weight them down!! Pets have been known to pick them up and shake out the poison bait.
  • Medications made for humans may have tasty coatings. Ethylene glycol antifreeze is known to be sweet-tasting.
  • Unknowingly playing fetch or encouraging your dog to chew on plants or trees that are poisonous could have disastrous effects.
  • A spray bottle, can, or other container may look like a toy until the container is punctured and contents leak out!

by Saralyn Sharp

Hip dysplasia is a complicated disease. It has occurred in every breed of dog, but seems to be most prevalent in medium to large breed dogs. It also seems to be more prevalent in Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, although this may simply be a function of those breeds' popularity and greater numbers than a true higher prevalence.

The mechanics of hip dysplasia are simple; the hip joint is a ball-and-socket type joint meaning that the head of the femur forms a ball shape, which fits into a hollow formed by the pelvic bones. Dysplasia is created when either the "socket" part of the joint, or more usually the "ball" part of the joint, are not shaped properly and therefore don't fit together properly. When this happens, the femur head tends to move abnormally in the joint and create trauma and inflammation in the cartilage that cushions between the bones. This inflammation can lead to arthritis, and eventually to bone spurs. Bone spurs are tiny pieces of bone that grow in response to the chronic inflammation. Although the pieces are tiny, they in turn traumatize the cartilage (like grains of sand in your shoe) leading to more inflammation and pain.

This is a picture of a good hip

This is a picture of a bad hip
This is a picture of a bad hip
Now comes the complicated part. Just what causes these bones to become misshapen? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. Unlike some other canine maladies that are governed by one gene pair, hip dysplasia seems to be affected by several different genes, none of which carry complete dominance over the other, and to complicate matters even further, it does appear that diet and exercise also play a part in hip dysplasia. With the disease being controlled by many genes and containing the diet/exercise component, it has proved to be very difficult for breeders to eliminate from the breeds. In addition to this, an individual dog's response to hip dysplasia can vary widely, and onset of the disease can also vary. Conversely, hips that are the most dysplastic often are not in joint at all (subluxated) and, therefore, are not causing trauma or pain to the joint. Therefore, you can never assume that because your dog does not show pain, its hips are not dysplastic.

What are the signs of hip dysplasia? The first signs an owner may notice is a peculiar gait, often a rolling of the hips or a "wiggle" in the back end. This is often accompanied by the "bunny" hop, a gait where the dog uses both back legs together, at a run. As the disease progresses, lameness may appear, and the dog may exhibit a reluctance to stand from a sitting or prone position and a reluctance to sit. Any dog that exhibits these signs should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

The veterinarian will palpate the joint to evaluate for crepitus (grating of bone on bone) and range of motion (dogs with hip dysplasia often have reduced range of motion and pain on extension of the hips). Radiographs (X-rays) will also be recommended. The palpation may require sedation in dogs for whom it is painful. Sedation at the time of radiographs is always recommended so that the thigh muscles will relax and show the true extent of the dysplasia.

If your dog is deemed dysplastic, there are a number of treatments ranging from medical management to a Total Hip Replacement (THR). Medical management can often be used in cases of mild dysplasia and will often slow the progression of the disease. It usually includes chondro-protectives (nutraceuticals such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and Vitamin C), pain management, weight control, and moderate exercise. For cases of severe dysplasia, or where the dog displays a lot of pain, surgical intervention is usually required. The type of surgery performed often depends on the age of your dog, and your pocketbook. Young dogs, usually under eight months of age, with dysplasia but no arthritis can often be cured by a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). TPOs are a surgery where the pelvis is fractured, re-angled to invite a deeper setting of the head of the femur, and plated to allow stability during healing. Frequently this requires two surgeries, one for each side, however, the surgery is often curative. Older dogs, and those with arthritis already in the joint, need to have the joint itself addressed in surgery. The most frequently performed surgeries performed in these cases are a Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO) and a Total Hip Replacement (THR). In the FHO, the head and neck of the femur of the affected joint are removed, and the dog's muscles form a false joint. This surgery is most effective in lighter weight dogs; since it relieves the pain, however, larger dogs still can benefit from it. The false joint will probably never be as strong as the original joint, therefore this surgery is not recommended for working dogs or those in heavy training. Dogs who have this surgery should, nevertheless, be maintained with moderate exercise. By removing the head of the femur, it eliminates the knocking and grinding of bones and thus eliminates the pain. This surgery is considered curative. THR surgery is currently considered the "gold standard" treatment for hip dysplasia. In this surgery, the head and neck of the femur are removed and replaced with a titanium appliance that is made to fit into the socket. With this surgery, a dog may be expected to return to a normal working schedule. Because the ball of the appliance fits securely into the socket, the joint is made to be normal. Unlike in humans, where artificial hips may have to be replaced in 10 years, the shortened lifespan of a dog means that appliances rarely need to be replaced. Frequently, dogs with bilateral hip dysplasia need only have one hip replaced, for it can take the pressure off of the other hip, and medical management can slow the progression of the disease in the other hip. The THR is the most expensive treatment for hip dysplasia.

Ideally, the easiest way to deal with hip dysplasia is to prevent it. Unfortunately, as discussed earlier, the disease is not simple to eradicate from a breeding program. Breeders thus use many methods to prevent the disease. Currently, veterinary medicine recommends that all breeding stock be radiographed for signs of the disease by either the current Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) measures, or through the newer University of Pennsylvania veterinary hospital's PENNhip methods. PENNhip is a promising method of quantifying the laxity of hip and can be done at a younger age than the current OFA method. PENNhip requires that all information on any radiographed dog be submitted and then ranks an individual dog against others of its breed. OFA does not require that all radiographs be submitted; most breeders, therefore, only send radiographs of dogs they believe will pass, making it difficult to track the true percentage of hip dysplasia in the breed. By using only dogs with good hips, the likelihood that their offspring will have good hips should increase.

The second component of hip dysplasia prevention is diet and exercise. Veterinarians noted that they saw an explosion of the disease when people began feeding puppy diets, with their superior nutrition. This was puzzling, because it seemed that the opposite should have happened, that as dogs received superior nutrition, they should be healthier. Research into this has shown that the superior nutrition actually caused the puppies to grow too quickly, and the puppies' joints were unable to keep up with the rapid growth. With this knowledge, many dog food companies created puppy food that was more moderate in protein and nutrients, so that it moderates growth and allows the cartilage and tendons to keep up with bone growth. It does not stunt the dog's growth; it simply means that the dog will take longer to reach full growth. In growing animals, moderate exercise is necessary for normal bone and joint development; excessive exercise, however, can wear on the ligaments and tendons, and is therefore not recommended until the dog has reached full growth. It is also important to breed for moderation in size of dogs, as it is known that excessive size and weight cause excessive wear and tear on the joints.

Hip dysplasia is a devastating and often debilitating disease, but there are treatments for it, and many household pets can be managed on a strict regimen of weight control, moderate exercise, chondro-protectives, and pain medicine. If surgery is required, a dog can often be maintained while the owner saves for the surgery. There are also ways to moderate or prevent the disease through good breeding programs, a large breed puppy diet, and moderate exercise during a puppy's growing years. When obtaining a puppy, make sure the breeder's stock has been checked for the disease for as many generations as possible. If you are obtaining an adult dog through rescue, and thus cannot ascertain its history, start a weight control program immediately (discuss with your veterinarian the weight at which your dog should be maintained), begin a moderate exercise program, and have your veterinarian perform an orthopedic exam to see if chondro-protectives should be added to your dog's diet.

Life with a confirmed dog-lover . . .

Notice to people who visit my home
  1. The dogs live don't.
  2. If you don't want dog hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
  3. Yes, they have some disgusting habits. So do I and so do you.
  4. OF COURSE they smell like dogs.
  5. It's their nature to try to sniff you in embarrassing places. Please feel free to sniff them.
  6. I like them a lot better than I like most people.
  7. To you they are dogs. To me they are adopted children who are short, hairy, walk on all fours, and don't speak clearly. I have no problem with any of these things.
  8. Dogs are better than kids: they eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about whether they have the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, and don't need a gazillion dollars for college.

LABMED Calendar: May - July, 2003


May 2003

  • May 3-4: PSLRA - Fall City, WA (Hunt Test & Conformation Eval.)
  • May 11: LRC-Albuquerque, NM
  • May: LRC-Pioneer Valley - Westfield, MA (Specialty)
  • May 9-10: Miami Valley LRC - Hamilton, OH (Specialty)
  • May 17-18: Sierra Vista LRC - Plymouth, CA (Obedience/Conformation Workshop)

June 2003

July 2003

  • July: Rose City LRC - St Paul, OR (Specialty)
  • July: LRC Twin Cities (Hunt Test)
  • July: Rose City LRC - Portland, OR (Hunt Test)

Abbey's Best Smile
Abbey's Best Smile