Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Puppy Poems

I came across these two Christmas puppy poems and immediatly realized they had to be posted on this blog. Every year we see people buying puppies for Christmas to give to their loved ones. How many times have you seen (be it on television, picture in a magazine, etc) a child opening a box and out pops that adorable puppy.

Yes it's beautiful at the moment, but come a couple months down the road, they realize that this adorable puppy is more than they expected (especially with our precious Labrador Retrievers), and decide it's to much trouble. Watch your local pet rescues and shelters in Febuary and March and see that they get overrun with dogs in these months.

Often people get dogs for all the wrong reasons not thinking about the life long commitment that they are getting into. This is just a simple reminder that are dogs are a lifetime commitment.

Christmas Puppy Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
With no thought of the dog filling their head.
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Knew he was cold, but didn't care about that.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Figuring the dog was free and into the trash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa Claus - his eyes full of tears.

He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick,
Last years Christmas present, now thin and sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog's name.
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain;

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Let's find this dog a home where he'll be loved by all"

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year,
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear,
The gift of a dog is not just for the season,
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.

In our haste to think of giving the kids a gift
There was one important thing that we missed.
A dog should be family, and cared for the same!
You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain.

And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight,
"You weren't given a gift! You were given a life!"

—Author Unknown

Poem number two: The Christmas Puppy

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The Christmas Puppy

The Christmas Puppy
- Author Unknown -

It seemed like such a good idea in the beginning. There I was, in my cage at the pet store with my brother and sister. I could tell by the crowds in the store everyday that Christmas was drawing near. My brother, sister, and I all hoped each morning that today would be the day we would go to a new home, one filled with loving, caring people.

First it was the beagle in the cage next to us. I saw the excited gleam in his eye as his new family prepared to take him home. I hoped one day that Iwould feel the same excitement. Then the cute little bunny from one aisle over was picked. When the ferret with the bad case of psoriasis found a newhome, I began to think I would stay a pet store puppy forever! Finally, it happened.

I had seen the couple in the store the week before, talking about bringing home a Christmas puppy for their son Billy. You see, Billy was eight years old, and had been pestering his folks for a puppy for some time now.


Although they were busy people, they had decided that a new puppy would make the ideal Christmas present for Billy. The car ride home was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It seemed so cold outside, and I was very glad that Billy would keep me inside.

I stayed at Billy's aunt's house until the night before Christmas, so as not to ruin the surprise. That night, Billy's dad put me in a small, dark box with a couple of holes punched in the side for air. I could see through the holes the pretty green bow they had tied around my box.

Finally, it came time for Billy to open his presents. There was a GI Joe figure, some new slippers, and a big truck or two. At last, I felt my box being picked up and heard Billy's mom say, "OK, Billy, one more present. We saved the best for last". I felt like I was going to turn inside out with anticipation, when suddenly the box was flooded with light and there was my new boy, Billy. He shrieked so loud when he saw me that it was a little bit scary! "A puppy, a puppy!"

The first few days with Billy were puppy heaven! He was out of school you see, and had lots of time to take care of me. We played all day, and I slept in his bed at night. Things just couldn't have been better.

After a week or so, Billy's mom took me to my new doctor. By then, Billy's holiday vacation was over and he was back in school. The doctor told Mom all about how to keep me healthy and happy. Mom did seem a little distracted though, especially when the nurse from school called on her cell phone to say that Billy had a bloody nose.

I didn't even mind the shot I had to get, because like the doctor told me it was better than getting sick! As Mom and I left, the doctor reminded us that I needed more than just one shot to be protected, and I should come back in a month for another check-up. I never saw the doctor again.

As time went by, I really started to grow! I suppose that I wasn't quite as cute as before, because Billy and I didn't spend as much time together. He seemed to have a lot of things to do beside take me for walks and fill my food bowl.

Billy and his friends sat in front of a strange box filled with moving pictures every afternoon, playing some game I suppose. Heck, I couldn't even pronounce Nintendo, much less play those kind of games. I started to get confused about what my real name was.

At first, everyone called me Petey, which I thought was a great name. A funny thing started to happen when I got to be about six months old. Mom and Dad stopped calling me Petey, and started calling me "the dog". I guess that was OK, I am a dog after all. A few weeks later though, they changed my name again. Now I was "that damn dog". I wasn't sure, but I didn't think that was such a nice name.

Since my family didn't have much time for me anymore, I had to think of things to do on my own. I liked to chew, and so I did! Remember that GI Joe, Billy got for Christmas? Well somehow I managed to chew off his left leg, which Billy seemed mad about. After a couple more incidents like that, Billy's dad decided I should live outside.

Well, spring had come, and the weather was nice so I figured, why not? I thought they would build me one of those nice doghouses like I had seen in the pet store. Maybe it would have carpeting and a soft blanket to sleep on. Well, they must have forgotten to build it, because I spent most of the time tied to a tree in the yard.

That was OK for a while, but I began to get pretty bored. I found some nice soft dirt to dig in, but that made Mom mad. Something about flower bulbs and grass seed that I really didn't understand. There was a dog next door tied to a tree in his yard, so we spent most of the day talking. For some reason, that made Dad mad too! I just couldn't seem to do anything right.

Finally, one day I heard Dad say to Mom, "I don't care how you do it, just get rid of that damn dog!" I figured Billy would convince them I should stay, but he didn't much care one way or the other. Mom came outside and unhooked me from the chain. She put an old belt of Dad's through my collar and we went out to the car.

At first I thought it was time to go to the doctor's for a checkup. Once we drove off though, we headed in the opposite direction. I could hear all the dogs talking inside the building as soon as we turned into the driveway.

Mom and I went inside, and she handed the belt to the lady at the counter. Then she patted my head, and walked away, without me. The lady at the desk took me in the back and put me in a cage like the one I had in the pet store, only colder and dirtier. The room was filled with dogs, I even saw that cute Beagle I had known at the pet store.

That was five days ago. I guess that I must have a new home now, because a man came by this morning and put a red sticker on my cage door. Here comes the lady who feeds me, and she is carrying a thing to give shots with, just like my doctor did. As she walks me into another room, I see some of the friends I have made in this new place. Funny, they all seem to be asleep on the floor.

Oh well, the lady just told me not to worry, everything would be all right. She seems sad though, and I don't really understand why. Maybe being a Christmas puppy wasn't so great after all.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Labrador Retriever Pup - Lilly

Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy My name is Lilly and I am a beautiful 15 month old Labrador Retriever puppy. My mom seems to think I have a chewing problem...

Labrador Retriever puppy chewing everything

but I told her I'm not much different than most Labrador puppies my age.

Thanks Jayne for the great pictures and good luck with her training.

Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Labrador Paw Problem Update

Just an update from Nicola on her Labrador Retriever's paw problem. "Buddy" had his pad ripped open and glued back by the vet, but was constantly licking the paw and had problems on walks. See Labrador Paw Problem.

"Thanks for emailing me back about Buddy's paw.I have been bathing it in aloe vera and within 2 days he has no longer been licking his paw. I did take budddy to a new place where there was lots of woodland, but he seems much better. You have helped me alot. Thanks very much...Mrs Roberts "

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Labrador Retriever puppy chewing everything (part one)

Jayne writes:

Hi, I am at my wits end. My Labrador Lilly is chewing every thing. She chewed my dad's ear aid, it was £1200.00. She chewed my son’s psp £200. Shoes, two phones and lots more. Please HELP. Jayne and Lilly

Hi Jayne,

Please provide me with some more information and we will see if we can correct Lilly's chewing condition.

1. How old is Lilly?

2. Where did you get Lilly from (pet store, breeder, etc)?

3. Are there other dogs besides Lilly?

4. Is Lilly left alone for more than a few hours each day?

5. Is she confined to the home all day? Does she get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation?

Get back to me at your earliest convenience with the answers to the above questions. Thanks


Part Two

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Labrador Retriever puppy chewing everything (part two)

This is part two of an email from Jayne, who is having a problem with her Labrador Retriever puppy chewing everything.

Hi Fay, how are you. Lilly is 15 mouths old we got her from a breeder when she was 12 weeks old we exercise her for half a hour a day we got two kids and she play football with my son Alex in the garden. She is not left a lone much as I am not working we have just had her spaded hope to hear from you soon Jayne


Thanks for quick response; let’s see what we can do.

First off, many Labs are terrible with chewing things. Lilly is not the first and definitely won't be the last. Chewing is normal for her age, with her permanent teeth getting settled by chewing.

Make sure that your home is dog proofed, with nothing lying around that she can get to.

One of the best solutions I can recommend is the crate (a question I forgot to ask you). Believe me, your home and all its possessions will be much safer when you are away. I know you said Lilly is not alone much, but for the time she is, the crate will be a tremendous help.

Just because your home with Lilly doesn't mean you can watch her every single second. In the blink of an eye, our lovable Labs can get into mischief. If you’re doing something in another part of the house bring Lilly with you. Keep her in with a gate across the room or shutting the door, this way you can keep an eye on her.

When you see Lilly start to chew the wrong thing, simply say "Leave It" or "Drop It" in a firm voice while maintaining eye contact until she drops it. Immediately pick up one of Lilly's favorite toys, and give it to her. When she starts to chew it, softly praise her. Jayne, this will take time, consistency and love.

Make sure you have plenty of good solid toys for her and that these toys are large enough that the particular dog can't get them into the throat.

Last but not least Jayne, make sure Lilly gets her exercise, and plenty of it, as it is essential for her.

Plenty of patience and supervision is the key here. Please let me know if this helps and keep me informed of how it is going. If you have any more questions on this or anything else, don't hesitate to ask.


Part one

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chocolate Labrador Pup - Princess Daisy Lerma

This cute chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy was sent in by Diana. Her name is Princess Daisy Lerma. Diana was having trouble with this little pup play biting (Labrador Retriever puppy biting).

Thanks for the photo, she is so adorable.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Looking For Labrador Love?

I had seen this ad about a month or two ago and wanted to put it up on the blog, but forgot where I saw it. Finally had a friend e-mail it to me yesterday.

The following ad appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It is reported to have received the most calls ever on a singles ad. It read:

"Single Black Female seeks male companionship. Ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good-looking girl who loves to play.

I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, swimming naked in the pond, hunting, camping, fishing trips and cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hands.

Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me.

Kiss me and I'm yours. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy."

"Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society about an eight-week old black Labrador retriever."

Funny stuff, with all those responses I'm sure the Lab pup found a good home.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Labrador Trainer Needed

I have a reader of this blog that is in desperate need of a professional trainer in the Alabama area. She has had two biting incidents with her 3 1/2 year old Labrador and is desperately looking for help. I can only help her so much as we are miles apart. If anyone can recommend a trainer in Tuscaloosa AL or surrounding area it would be greatly appreciated. THANKS.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to take the time to wish all of your families a very Happy and safe Thanksgiving!!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bed Bug Detection Team

Here's a pair of purebred Labrador Retrievers, that are helping prevent bed bug bites when staying at hotels. I'm truely amazed at what Labrador Retrievers are being trained to do these days. Equally impressive is what these two Labradors were also trained to sniff out.

Bed Bugs Be Gone - Jennifer Quam, Robson Valley Times

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Limping Labrador

Readers email :

Hi, my name is a Dina, I have a 6 month old chocolate lab named Bennelli. When he was about 4 months old he began to limp. I watched him closely and noticed that the leg he was limping on would change. I took him to my vet and she told me it looked like Pano, too change the protein level in his food and he should improve. For the pain give a buffered asiprin which I also do.

He is now 6 months, he does not limp as often but when he does he almost avoids putting any pressure on the leg at all. I have touched and applied pressure to the current leg and I get no response of pain from him. I am just worried about him is there anything else I can do for him?

Thank you for your time,


Hi Dina,

I'm sorry to hear about Bennelli. For cases of Pano, choose a high quality dog food, one that doesn't have a high percentage of protein, provides moderate fats, and provides a complete balance of nutrients for him. What are you feeding him now?

I do know some breeders that recommend changing to an adult dog food as early as six months of age.

I have also heard others that have used vitamin C or Ester-C - 1000 mg/day.

Were x-rays taken of Bennelli?

Let me know how it is going if you try the vitamin C and/or switch dog foods also. Will also try to find out more help with Pano.

Take care,


I changed his dog food to a low fat and low protein diet at 4 months. He has had 2 x-rays and they where normal. I took him to the vet this past Friday, he was examed again and given the remander of his vacine cycles. The vet has stated she has seen pano up to 7 months.

Bennelli has been limping now for about 5 days straight. I still give him 2 buffered aspirin every 6 to 8 hours to help with the pain. From what I undestand to Bennelli it feels like athritis. I just want him to be a happy dog and it bothers me so much there isn't much more I can do. I can tell he wants to be more active but he ends up just lieing around. I get about 2 gusts of energy a day the biggest when I get home from work.

I read about the vit C as well but some sites tell you to use and some say its a don't because it throws off the balance from his dog food, but I am going to research it so me more to make aure it is a safe opition for him. Again I thank you for your time and as I get more info I will share with you.

Thank you again from Bennelli and myself. Have a wonderful day.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

My Apologies to all

My apologies to all that have been reading this blog. When I first started this blog, I thought it would be easy to just sit and write everyday. How untrue that has become. With a large family, time is tough to spare and I have neglected publishing for quite some time. My email box is filled, and I'm getting caught up with the questions, pictures and everything else sent. Thanks to all who have emailed me, and I'm glad to have offered assistance. I will continue to publish this blog, as I have missed it (although it will not be daily). I shooting for a couple time per week . For those that I didn't get to respond to with an email, I apologize. If you still have problems , please let me know!
Thanks for reading

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Labrador Paw Problem

Here is an email received from Nicola Roberts who is having a problem with her Labrador Buddy's paw.

My two year old labrador called buddy cut open his pad two weeks ago and had to have it glued by the vet. He was also given antibiotics just incase of infection. That cleaned up in a couple of days and he seemed fine.

The past couples of days he seems to be licking it all the time and when i have been taking him for walks he has been stopping and lying down, the vet cannot find anything wrong but i still am worried .

Is there anything you can advice me on on how to care for his paws? Would be very grateful.

Nicola roberts

Hi Nicola,

Thanks for writing, and I'm sorry to hear about Buddy.

Is there any kind of bad smell to the foot, sort of like an old shoe smell? Generally that bad smell is the smell of infection, which can be a cause of all the licking.

There is also a possibility that Buddy may have allergies. Certain foods or airborne particles like pollen and house dust can be causing the itchy feet.

Have there been any new places you have been walking him (new trails, woods, etc..) Did you change the food you feed Buddy?

Here are some things you can do to help:

A nice cool bath can be helpful, since the water will assist in relieving the itching. You can add a little colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) to the bathwater, which will help soothe the foot or your veterinarian can prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Make sure you rinse Buddy's foot thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

You can just soak his foot for five minutes, four times a day, in cool water. Add a sprinkle of Epsom salts to the water as it will also help soothe the foot. A compress applied the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

Another method that you can try is Aloe Vera applied to the paw. Make sure its 100% Aloe Vera not the mixture. This will not hurt Buddy if he is to lick it off.

Tea Tree oil, which you can obtain in a health food store is a antibacterial and anti fungal agent that can also be used.

Has your vet has ruled out the possibility of infection?

Did your vet mention anything about allergies?

Try any of the above and see if it helps to alleviate the problem. Please get back to me with the answers to the few questions I have asked.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

More Freebies for you Labrador

Hurry and get your free samples while supplies last. If you know of any free samples available, please drop me a line so I can post for our other Labrador Retriever owners.

Schmackos™ - dog treats made with real bacon

Scoopex™ - free disposable poop-scooper

Pet 'n Shape - 100% natural ingredient treats, offered by Treat People. You will have to pay shipping and handling on this one.

Providing for Your Pet's Future Without You - Free Kit provided by the Human Society of the United States.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Labrador Retriever – Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping

You have brought your new Labrador Retriever puppy home and all is well, except for the occasional biting from your pup. Sure the biting hardly ever causes serious harm or injury, but by ignoring this problem and believing your Labrador will grow out of it, you are risking the chance that a serious injury could occur as your Lab puppy reaches adulthood. If your Labrador puppy does have a habit of biting, nipping, or “mouthing” you or your loved ones, try some or all of the following to help correct its behavior.

1. Teach your Labrador Retriever puppy that biting hurts. When he does bite, let out a sharp “no” or “ouch” while maintaining eye contact with him. It will teach him that his play is to rough, and you will not continue to play until he is gentler.

2. Close Your Mouth – gently hold your Labrador Retriever’s mouth shut while stating “no”.

3. Time Out – while maintaining eye contact with your pup, state “no”, or “ouch”, and then get up and move away, stopping interaction with your Labrador. You can also place him in his crate, if you do use one for training. By walking away, or placing him in his crate, you teach him that he will lose his playmate if he continues to nip and bite.

4. Rough Housing – Do you let your Labrador puppy grab your hands in its mouth while playing? Then when he bites your hand to hard, you scold him and state “no”. You’re encouraging him one minute and scolding him the next. What your doing is completely confusing your poor little Labrador puppy.

5. Teach your Lab pup the “off” command.

Helpful Tips:

Make sure your Labrador puppy gets plenty of play time and exercise daily. These are great distractions and may help reduce your puppies biting.

Be consistent with whatever methods you use to help break the nipping and biting habit. Make sure family members are consistent also.

Have plenty of chew toys for your Labrador puppy.

Always reinforce your Labs good behavior. Whenever he plays nicely or licks you without biting and nipping, shower him with love and praise.

Watch the tone of your voice with the “no” and “ouch” commands. They should always be sharp and to the point.

A Word of Caution:

If you have small young children, never leave your Labrador Retriever puppy alone with them until he has learned biting and nipping are unacceptable.

Games like tug-of-war and rough housing encourage your Labrador puppy to bite. Waiting until he is fully trained in the “off” command until introducing these games.

If for some reason your Lab puppy becomes more aggressive when he bites, or your training methods don’t seem to be working, seek help from your veterinarian or professional trainer.

Apply one or more of the above training procedures, be consistent with your training, and shower your Labrador Retriever puppy with praise for doing good, and you’ll be on your way to nipping your Labradors biting habit in the bud.

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Labrador Retriever puppy biting

Received this email from Diana regarding a biting problem with her Labrador puppy.

Hello. I'm experiencing a lot of difficulties with my lab doing a lot of play biting. She bites my arms and I look like I encountered a piranha. I have a 2 year old baby, a five year old girl, and a nine year old boy. It's very difficult because they want to play with her but all she wants to do is bite. Any suggestions to help my family?

Thank you very much

Thanks for writing Diana. I have posted the article Labrador Retriever - Training your puppy to stop biting and nipping.

Try applying some of the methods listed with your Lab pup. REMEMBER be consistent with your training. Please keep me posted along the way.

To see an adorable photo of Diana's Labrador Retriever click: Princess Daisy Lerma

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Monday, April 17, 2006

All About Labradors Award

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't had a chance to post in over a week. Had a touch of the flu and then the Easter holiday. Will get caught up with your email ASAP!

With everything going on I missed my posting of All About Labradors being selected Cool Site of the Day (April 16, 2006) by

I would like to thank Takashi Ito, webmaster of for honoring this blog, I am very grateful for the award.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Million Pixel Dog Contest

Received this email from Daniel Nicolas, asking for help in promoting his contest. They are presently running two different contest, and offer some neat prizes. Be sure to take a look and enter your Labrador Retrievers. Good Luck.

Perhaps you could talk on your blog about our , which is sponsored by St. Amour, Inc, a Southern California manufacturer of dog treats, People can enter the contest and have a chance to win great prizes by uploading photos of their dogs. The first 1000 dog submissions are free of charge. Companies that want to reach dog owners can purchase an advertising link to their web site for 3 years on our grid for as little as $50.

I appreciate your help.
Sincerely Daniel Nicolas

Million Pixel Dog Contest

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Your Labrador Retrievers Life

Is there a limit to how much you would spend to save your Labrador Retrievers life?

Is it a hard question to answer?

Do you have to think about it?

Would it depend on different circumstances?

To answer my own question:

I would spend whatever it takes for my Labrador Retrievers. You can't put a price on life. I believe that the emotional attachments between you and your Labrador Retriever (any pet for that matter) is something that is priceless.

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When you take on the responsibility of a Labrador, they become part of your family. The amount of pleasure my family receives from our Labrador Retrievers far exceeds any monetary value to help save them.

No matter what kind of day it has been, I can always come home and there they will be, happy to welcome me. They didn't ask me to take them in, it was my choice, my responsibility. Now it's my responsibility to make sure they receive whatever treatments they need to help them, no matter what the cost.

Cost isn't a consideration. I would do whatever was needed.

How much would you spend?

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Labrador Adoption - California

For those of you looking to adopt a Labrador Retriever, and reside in the state of California, we have compiled this list for you.

All About Labradors rescue list will be updated frequently - adding other rescue organizations and updating organizations links. If you know of any Labrador Rescue organizations or shelters in California, that aren't on this list, please email them to us and we will list them.

These volunteer based organizations work very hard at placing Labrador Retrievers into new homes. All About Labradors thanks all the Labrador rescue organizations for their unselfish, compassionate service they provide.

Good Luck in finding your new Labrador, and do us a favor. When you do adopt a Labrador Retriever, please share your new family member with us.

All Retriever Rescue Foundation
arrfinc (at)

ARF - All Retriever Friends
AllRetrievers (at); megand (at)
Phone: (818) 951-8686

Central California Labrador Retriever Rescue [CCLRR]
jackilab (at)

Fetching Companions Retriever Rescue (FCRR)
info (at)
Voicemail/FAX line: 888-4-1-2-FETCH (888-412-3382)

Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.
Please visit their website for contact information
info (at)
Phone: (619) 819-0234

Retrievers & Friends of Southern California

Southern California Retriever Rescue (SCLRR)
1-888-55-4ALAB (1-888-554-2522)

You'll notice the email address given to these rescue organizations doesn't have an at sign (@) . This is to try and stop spammers from gathering mail addresses from web pages online. As much as we hate getting spam in our mailbox, I'm sue the companies feel the same.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Lost Labrador Retriever returns

Here is a wonderful email we recieved from mymy in Las Vegas

This is an amazing story:

Last January 10, 2005, our 7 month old chocolate lab "Hannah" jumped over our back fence. In less than 10 minutes, with my husband, children and neighbors (8 in all), looking for her, she totally vanished. We were devastated. Even though we had just received her a few days before, our vet had not even had a chance to see her. But, she did have a chip we registered to us and our vet, just in case.


Every day for weeks I went to the animal shelters nearby, posted signs everywhere, and faxed information to every vet within a 35 mile radius (we live in Las Vegas so there are a lot!) with her chip number and description hoping some one might take her there and hoping they would scan her. Nothing. Both the police and the local animal control said she was probably stolen. Interestingly enough - 3 more dogs and two cats were also missing within the two weeks after she disappeared. They had the same theory about them as well.

Months went by and we just gave up, hoping she was alive and would be well taken care of. Then, on March 23, 2006, our vets office called. They asked if we had given her to anyone out of state. She was 200 miles away, in St. George, Utah at an animal control office. Because of her chip, they traced her to us! Over a year later.

We have her back now, and she is in wonderful condition. She is slowly coming around-but we are sure she remembers us. Needless to say, the kids and my husband and I are thrilled and feel we are truly blessed with her safe return. If only she could talk!

If you have not "chipped" any of your animals - I would strongly suggest you do. As you can see, it really pays.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Medical problem with my Labrador Retriever - part three

This is part three of an email received from Deanna in regards to a medical problem she is having with her black Labrador Retriever mix. If anyone has any ideas on this please comment or email me and I will forward them to Deanna. Thanks.

Hi Fay,

Thanks for all your hard work on this. I have been reading the information you sent. It sounds a lot like IVD, but not like arthritis. But I didn’t read anything in the IVD articles about the intermittent nature of Dakota’s problems. I will mention it to the vet, though. She does have the crawling skin mentioned in one of the articles. The article said that they can be poked with a needle near the injured vertebrae, and their skin would crawl. Naturally, we don’t poke Dakota with needles, but her skin does crawl when you just barely touch her back when she is feeling bad. She has been feeling bad nearly every day now. I don’t know if it’s the medicine change or if her condition is worsening, but I guess I need to insist that she be changed back. If the vet refuses to change, I suppose I will have to change vets yet again. I really prefer my dogs to have continuous care, but it needs to be the right care.


Here are the answers to your questions:

Why did you change your first veterinarian?

We heard rumors of abuse by one of the vets (the owner) in our vet’s office. We had it confirmed by several different sources and decided that even though we liked the two female vets our dogs had been seeing there, we could not risk our dogs in case they had to stay overnight or during the day for some reason.

I asked what testing was done besides the X-ray for Dakota and you stated none, really. Were there any blood work test done, any other specific test done on her or just x-rays?

No blood work was done to diagnose her back. Just an examination and x-rays.

As far as switching back to the muscle relaxer if you feel it works better than your new medicine I would switch back. This original muscle relaxer was prescribed by your first veterinarian?

Yes, and the new vet said she does not use it, because it doesn’t work. She gave us Tramydol as a replacement, but when we ordered it, we found out that Tramydol is a pain med and not a muscle relaxer.

Thanks again for your time,


Hi Deanna,

Have you received any other news on Dakota? I'm a little stumped with this because the more I talk to others, and the more searching I do I just keep getting a mix of problems. I still searching though and will keep you updated if I find other help.

Its a little scary about the alleged abuse at your old vet. I would have switched myself though.

Your right with Tramadol being a pain killer. It is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain, but not a muscle relaxer. Curious to why you weren't given another muscle relaxer if it was working.

Please keep me updated as you find out more as I will with you.

My heart and prayers are with Dakota that her condition improves.


Read part one of this email
Read part two of this email

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Medical problem with my Labrador Retriever - part two

This is part two of an email received from Deanna in regards to a medical problem she is having with her black Labrador Retriever mix. If anyone has any ideas on this please comment or email me and I will forward them to Deanna. Thanks

Thanks Fay, I really appreciate it.

1. How old is Dakota, and when did this problem first start occurring?

She is four years old. The problem started 1 1/2 years ago.

2. What is Dakota's weight? She now weighs 85 pounds.

2 years ago, she was 101 pounds, but did not lose weight, even when we brought her down to 2 cups of food per day. She started taking thyroid meds and she lost 16 pounds very quickly. She has held steady since then. Surprisingly, she also got smarter on the thyroid meds. She could stand to lose a little more, probably.


3. What other testing was done by your veterinarian?

None, really. She examined Dakota twice shortly after episodes, but could find nothing. We can't get Dakota to the vet while she is having an episode, because they usually last about 15-20 minutes. Although, the last episode was longer, maybe 30 minutes. The vet toyed with the idea of an exercise-induced problem that some labs have, but decided that probably wasn't it.

4. Are there changes in her posture?

When she stands, are her back legs straight down at her sides, or does she have a narrow stance where her hocks (like our ankles) come close together under her body, with her back feet pointed out on an angle? Her legs are straight, although the doctor says she's post-legged in the back. There is not much of a bend in the back leg.

5. You said x-rays were taken, was there any mention of hip dysplasia?

No hip dysplasia. She said the hips looked good.

6. When Dakota is standing, does she have any difficulty balancing?

No problems balancing except during the episode, and the problem with balance seems to be that she is in severe pain, but I'm not sure of that.

7. Do you notice any uneven wear on the rear nails, especially on the innermost nails of the rear feet.

The nails wear evenly in the back, I think -1 just clipped them this week, but I'll check when I get home tonight to be sure.

Also, we can usually tell when she starts to hurt, because she arches her back like a cat and lies with chair legs or the corner of the wall or couch pressed into her back. She also would have trouble pooping. She would squat and get up repeatedly before she finally pooped. When we saw these symptoms, we used to give her a muscle relaxer, and it cleared the symptoms away for several weeks. We changed vets a few months ago, though, and our new_vet doesn't use this muscle relaxer. She says it doesn't work. She gave us Tramydol instead. When we give her that," it relieves her symptoms for a few hours, but then they come back. The problem with limping when we walk only started a month ago. This week she has even had trouble peeing a couple of times. We are toying with the idea of insisting the vet put her back on the muscle relaxer, but have not decided.



Thanks for responding back so quickly with the answers to my questions. Let me say again how sorry I am to hear about Dakota's problems. It's painful to watch your beloved pet suffer.

Even though you stated that Dakota was diagnosed with spondylosis, my first thought was hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an arthritic disease associated with the hip joint and is characterized by pain and discomfort. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include difficulty rising from a sitting position, lameness in the back legs, reluctant to go up the stairs and jumping. Some of the same symptoms you stated Dakota is experiencing. Large breed dogs such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, particularly if they are overweight. That's why I asked about her weight and if your veterinarian checked her hips.

Remember though, there are many other diseases associated with some of the symptoms Dakota has.

I am curious to a couple things you wrote in your letters.

Why did you change your first veterinarian?

I asked what testing was done besides the X-ray for Dakota and you stated none, really. Were there any blood work test done, any other specific test done on her or just x-rays?

I talked with a veterinarian friend of mine and he mentioned hip dysplasia along with a couple of other possibilities of the problem (including spondylosis). I have been doing some investigating on Dakota's symptoms and have talked to some other owners of Labrador Retrievers themselves.

My vet friend told me that a complete diagnosis of the hips can't be based on just an x-ray alone. It may require an MRI or CT scan to fully diagnose problems with the hips.

Along with spondylosis, which I hope your veterinarian explain to you in detail here are some other diseases mentioned to me and further information I found on them. I have listed some links to help further explain these to you.

In a recent survey of all veterinarians in this country, 94% of the doctors stated osteoarthritis as one of the leading causes of chronic pain in their practices. They looked for signs of reduced activity, changes in behavior and appetite and pet's difficulty in defecating and/or urinating. - on this page scroll down to symptoms

There is also the article "Your Questions On Canine Hip Dysplasia - Answered" on this blog.

I have also included a link to the exercise-induced problem (Exercise Induced Collapse) that your vet talked about.

My advice to you Deanna is that I would definitely get a second opinion. It is very important to have a second opinion when a serious condition develops with your dog. I'm not saying anything negative about you vet, but just because your veterinarian shows you an x-ray and then states his/her opinion, doesn't always make it correct.

You might want to have a canine orthopedic specialist examine Dakota to help you receive a more detailed checkup.

As far as switching back to the muscle relaxer if you feel it works better than your new medicine I would switch back. This original muscle relaxer was prescribed by your first veterinarian?

One last thing, you might also consider is taking Dakota, along with her x-rays to a canine chiropractic veterinarian.

I hope at least some of this is able to help you Deanna. I will continue to explore some other options for you. Do you mind if I post your questions on my blog? This might also help find other possible answers.

Please keep me updated with any new happenings, take care of that wonderful Labrador, and I will speak with you soon.


Part One of this email

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Medical problem with my Labrador Retriever - part one

Received this email from Deanna in the United States. This is part one of the email. If anyone has any ideas on this please comment or email me and I will forward them to Deanna. Thanks

Dear Fay,

My dog, Dakota, is actually half black lab and half golden retriever. She has a back problem that seems to be a mystery. I was wondering if this is a common problem in labs or if anyone has ever experienced this. Our vet seems to be stumped, but in her defense, she has never seen the problem. Here is what happens...

When Dakota jumps down off of something or even down from being up on her back feet, she occasionally has an episode of extreme pain. It is so bad, she can not walk. Her back end falls down, and if she tries to get up, she falls over. It is definitely not a seizure, although you might think so if you were not experienced (I had a dog with epilepsy before). She is aware of her surroundings during the episode. She is not paralyzed, though. Her poor back toes spread out and clinch in pain. We have had her x-rayed. The x-rays show the beginnings of spondulosis. Two of her vertebrae are a little too close together. Most days, she does not have episodes, but often she will, in the middle of a walk, slow down, lag behind, and limp for 10-15 of my steps. Then she perks up and is fine again. She is no longer allowed upstairs or in the bed. She has episodes about every 2-3 months.

Have you ever heard of anything like this? Any ideas?



Dear Deanna,

Dakota is a beautiful Lab mix, and I am so sorry to hear about her problem. I just wanted to let you know I received your email and will try to help you and Dakota with her condition. If I can't help, I will post your question on my blog and see if some of our readers have any ideas. I few questions you can help me with.

1. How old is Dakota, and when did this problem first start occurring?

2. What is Dakota's weight?

3. What other testing was done by your veterinarian?

4. Are there changes in her posture? When she stands, are her back legs straight down at her sides, or does she have a narrow stance where her hocks (like our ankles) come close together under her body, with her back feet pointed out on an angle?

5. You said x-rays were taken, was there any mention of hip dysplasia.

6. When Dakota is standing, does she have any difficulty balancing?

7. Do you notice any uneven wear on the rear nails, especially on the innermost nails of the rear feet.

I have some ideas of what the problem might be and we can run them by your vet for testing, but I need you to get back to me with the answer to these questions first.

Please respond back as soon as possible. Thank you for the email, and will talk soon.


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Friday, March 24, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

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The Meaning of Rescue... AKA "Baggage"

Updated 03/05/08

I would like to thank Rohan, who sent me an e-mail in regards to the proper title and author of this poem. I had the title of this poem listed as: "The Meaning of Rescue" with the author unknown. It has been brought to my attention that the real title is "Baggage" and the author is Evelyn Colbath.

My apologies to Evelyn as this happens so many times with people stealing other peoples work on the Internet and either claiming the work as theirs or not crediting the author and then re-posting it to the Internet.

By Evelyn Colbath(c)1995 Baggage All rights reserved

Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my warm new bed.
I'd like to open my baggage lest I forget
There is so much to carry - So much to regret.

Hmm . . . Yes there it is, right on the top.
Let's unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss;
And there by my leash hides Fear and Shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave –

I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.

I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
But I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.
Will you add to my baggage?

Will you help me unpack?

Or will you just look at my things -
And take me right back?

Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To put away my baggage, to never repack?
I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see,
But I do come with baggage –

Will YOU still want ME?

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Changes at All About Labradors

Well I finally got around to changing the face of this blog. I wanted to changed it for a while, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

I was reading different blogs the other day when I came across a blog titled Creative Homemaker I liked the layout of said blog and decided to write the owner to ask about the design.

I received a prompt email from Angie, owner of Creative Homemaker with some advice on creating my new blog look, and she even offered to help if I needed further advice. Big thanks to Angie!!

Be sure to take a look at Creative Homemaker as Angie has a very entertaining and insightful blog.

Want to also thank Thur Broeders, over at Thur's Templates for providing the design of the site.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Finding the right veterinarian for Your Labrador Retrievers

One of the most difficult things the owner of a Labrador Retriever must do is chose the right veterinarian. With a little work upfront, you will be able to find a veterinarian that you will be comfortable with, and one that will be able to serve all of your Labradors long term needs.

One of the best ways to find a good veterinarian is to start by asking your family members and friends whom themselves own pets. Neighbors, groomers, and your fellow co-workers are other good sources. You can also search your local yellow pages under dog hospitals, veterinarians, and animal clinics. An excellent online source is located at (punch in your zip code and it will locate veterinarians in your area).

Now that you have a potential list of vets, your selection process can begin.

Give each veterinarian a call and explain that you are looking for a new veterinarian for your Labrador Retriever, and you would like to meet with them to ask a few questions and to see their facility.

Typical questions and what to look for:


Fee and Services – some veterinarians are higher priced then others. Don’t be hesitant to ask about prices.

* What methods of payment do they take?
* Do they accept a pet insurance plan?
* Is full payment expected on the day of visit?
* Are there discounts for multi-pet households?
* What is the range of services that the veterinarian provides (x-rays, blood test, heartworm test, etc)?

Office Hours

* What are regular office hours?
* Who will take over if the veterinarian is on vacation or out sick?

Emergency Care for your Labrador

* What should I do if the veterinarian is closed and my Labrador Retriever gets hurt or is sick?
* In case of an accident that requires an overnight stay, will someone be with my Labrador Retriever non-stop?

Observe the Staff

Observe the interaction with the veterinarian and with the other staff. Are they courteous and caring?


* Is the facility clean and well kept?
* How many veterinarians are in the practice?
* Are appointments required?
* Are the animals in separate cages?

The last thing you might want to do is to check with the Veterinarian Medical Board to check if any complaints have been filed against the practice.

Once you have finished making your visits with the veterinarians on your list, you should have a clear picture on what veterinarian you would like to use. If for some reason your first choice doesn’t work out, you can always switch veterinarians to your next choice on your list.

By utilizing the above guidelines, you will be able to match the right veterinarian to what you are looking for, and to serving all of your Labrador Retrievers needs.

© Fay Fernandez

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Top 10 Reasons To Adopt A Rescue

by Mary and Doug Clark, of Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.

Why on earth would anyone want to adopt a rescued dog? After all, aren't they like used cars? Who wants someone else's problems? If the dog is so wonderful, why would anyone give him away? If he was a stray, why didn't someone try to find him? I'd rather buy a puppy so I know what I'm getting, and besides they're so cute!"

Labrador rescues often hear a variation of this conversation. Many prospective lab owners are just not convinced that owning an older (i.e, 6 mo.+) "pre-owned" lab is better than buying a puppy. But there are a number of reasons why adopting a Labrador from a rescue that carefully screens and evaluates its labs can provide an even better alternative. Here are the "Top 10 Reasons You Should Consider a Rescue."


10. In a Word - Housebroken

With most family members gone during the work week for 8 hours or more, housetraining a puppy and its small bladder can take awhile. Puppies need a consistent schedule with frequent opportunities to eliminate where you want them to. They can't wait for the boss to finish his meeting or the kids to come home from after school activities. An older lab can "hold it" much more reliably for longer time periods, and usually the rescue has him housebroken before he is adopted.

9. Intact Underwear

With a "chewy" puppy, you can count on at least 10 mismatched pairs of socks and a variety of unmentionables rendered to the "rag bag" before he cuts every tooth. Also, you can expect holes in your carpet (along with the urine stains), pages missing from books, stuffing exposed from couches, and at least one dead remote control. No matter how well you watch them, it will happen - this is a puppy's job! An older dog can usually have the run of the house without destroying it.

8. A Good Night's Sleep

Forget the alarm clocks and hot water bottles, a puppy can be very demanding at 2am and 4am and 6am. He misses his littermates, and that stuffed animal will not make a puppy pile with him. If you have children, you've been there and done that. How about a little peace and quiet? How about an older rescue lab?

7. Finish the Newspaper

With a puppy running amok in your house, do you think you will be able to relax when you get home from work? Do you think your kids will really feed him, clean up the messes, take him for a walk in the pouring rain every hour to get him housetrained? With an adult dog, it will only be the kids running amok, because your labby will be sitting calmly next to you, while your workday stress flows away and your blood pressure lowers as you pet him.

6. Easier Vet Trips

Those puppies need their series of puppy shots and fecals, then their rabies shot, then a trip to be altered, maybe an emergency trip or two if they've chewed something dangerous. Those puppy visits can add up (on top of what you paid for the dog). Your donation to the rescue when adopting an older pup should get you a dog with all shots current, already altered, heartworm negative and on preventative at the minimum.

5. What You See Is What You Get

How big will that puppy be? What kind of temperament will he have? Will he be easily trained? Will his personality be what you were hoping for? How active will he be? When adopting an older dog from a rescue, all of those questions are easily answered. You can pick large or small; active or couch potato; goofy or brilliant; sweet or sassy. The rescue and its foster homes can guide you to pick the right match. (Our rescue is full of puppies who became the wrong match as they got older!)

4. Unscarred Children (and Adults)

When the puppy isn't teething on your possessions, he will be teething on your children and yourself. Our rescue routinely gets called from panicked parents who are sure their lab is biting the children. Since biting implies hostile intent and would be a consideration whether we accept their give-up, we ask questions and usually find out the dog is being nippy. Parents are often too emotional to see the difference; but a growing puppy is going to put everything from food to clothes to hands in their mouths, and as they get older and bigger it definitely hurts (and will get worse, if they aren't being corrected properly.) Most older labs have "been there, done that, moved on."

3. Matchmaker Make Me a Match

Puppy love is often no more than an attachment to a look or a color. It is not much of a basis on which to make a decision that will hopefully last 15+ years. While that puppy may have been the cutest of the litter; he may grow up to be superactive (when what you wanted was a couch buddy); she may be a couch princess (when what you wanted was a tireless hiking companion); he may want to spend every waking moment in the water (while you're a landlubber); or she may want to be an only child (while you are intending to have kids or more animals). Pet mis-matches are one of the top reasons rescues get give-up phone calls. Good rescues do extensive evaluating of both their labbies and their applicants to be sure that both labby and family will be happy with each other until death due them part.

2. Instant Companion

With an older labby, you automatically have a buddy that can go everywhere and do everything with you NOW. There's no waiting for a puppy to grow up (and then hope he will like to do what you enjoy.) You will have been able to select the most compatible dog: one that travels well; one that loves to play with your friends' dogs; one with excellent house manners that you can take to your parents' new home with the new carpet and the new couch. You can come home after a long day's work and spend your time on a relaxing walk, ride or swim with your new best friend (rather than cleaning up after a small puppy.)

1. Bond, Labby Bond

Labbies who have been uprooted from their happy homes or have not had the best start in life are more likely to bond very completely and deeply with their new people. Those who have lost their families through death, divorce or lifestyle change go through a terrible mourning process. But, once attached to a new loving family, they seem to want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again. Those labbies that are just learning about the good life and good people seem to bond even deeper. They know what life on the streets, life on the end of a chain, or worse is all about, and they revel and blossom in a nurturing, loving environment. Most rescues make exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions.

Unfortunately, many folks think dogs that end up in rescue are all genetically and behaviorally inferior. But, it is not uncommon for us to get $500-1000 dogs that have either outlived their usefulness or their novelty with impulsive owners who considered their dog a possession rather than a friend or member of the family, or simply did not really consider the time, effort and expense needed to be a dog owner. Not all breeders will accept "returns", so choices for giving up dogs can be limited to animal welfare organizations, such as rescues, or the owners trying to place their own dogs. Good rescues will evaluate the dog before accepting him/her (medically, behaviorally, and for breed confirmation), rehabilitate if necessary, and adopt the animal only when he/she is ready and to a home that matches and is realistic about the commitment necessary to provide the dog with the best home possible.

Choosing a rescue dog over a purchased pup will not solve the pet overpopulation problem (only responsible pet owners and breeders can do that), but it does give many of them a chance they otherwise would not have. But, beyond doing a "good deed", adopting a rescue dog can be the best decision and addition to the family you ever made.

Rescue a dog and get a devoted friend for life!

Our thanks to Mary and Doug Clark for an outstanding article. If you are thinking of adopting a Labrador Retriever, or would just like to volunteer to help please visit their website Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc. (LRR)

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Irish Dog Names to celebrate the Spirit of St Patrick’s Day

In honour of St Patrick’s Day, we celebrate our Irish canine heritage. We have made a list of Irish names that would suit a dog. In addition to well known Irish names and their meanings, we have introduced new ones. We have suggested dog breeds that would suit the names. We have included words that sound right, they are at times, whimsical and poetic.

The Irish have a special regard for dogs. They are part of our culture, our history. There is much mention of them in Irish stories and myths. The tallest dog in the world is the Irish Wolfhound, bred originally to hunt stags and wolves. Well known dog breeds from Ireland include the Irish Red and White Setters, the Irish Water Spaniel, and the Kerry Blue. We have the terriers: The Irish Terrier, the Wheaten Terrier, and The Glen of Imaal Terrier. The Irish dog breeds mentioned were bred for working. They are hardy, intelligent, courageous, and very good looking dogs.

Enjoy reading the list of names and their meanings, and a very Happy St Patrick’s Day.


Anlan – great hound or warrior, this name has a majestic ring to it
Bannon – white - wheaten terrier
Blaine – thin - greyhound, whippet
Bran, Brenna –raven, Bran is the name of an adventurer
Caha – showery mountain - Caha is two syllables, good when calling a dog
Cara – friend – every dog
Cargan – little rock – would suit a small breed of dog
Carrig - rock
Carey – dark (Black Labrador)
Conan – hound – has a protective ring to it
Conor – lover of hounds
Conry – king of wolves/hounds
Crolly – shaking dog – perhaps a spaniel or waterdog
Derry – descendent of the red haired one, or oak wood
Donn or Dun – brown - chocolate Labrador
Dougal – black strand
Egan – small fiery one -any terrier
Emly – Lake marsh of the yew tree - any beautiful dog
Finn – river in Donegal, blond haired
Fintan – white fire
Flynn – dark red
Grainna – she who inspires terror – perhaps a small wirey terrier
Hugh - fire
Kasey - brave
Kelly - warrior
Kerry – descendant of the dark one – Kerry Blue
Kyla - attractive
Lana – peaceful, attractive
Lorcan - fierce
Madden – little dog
Murphy – hound of the sea
Nola – Noble
Orla – golden princess
Paddy – short for PatrickQuinn - strong
Rory – Red king
Ryan – little king
Rua – red – red setter
Sion – fairy hill – where the author was born
Tara – rocky hill, assembly area
Tory – mountain like
Tressa - strength
Tynan – Dark
Tullia – quiet and peaceful

©2006 Clare O
Clare O Hagan is co-owner of O Hagans Irish Store. A genuine lover of dogs, Clare and fellow artist Denise Wyllie, design, produce and sell, dog clothes with an Irish twist. The artists are affiliated to leading Women's Health Institutions internationally. See their art at

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Here's Dakota after her hard day. She decided to take a break and lay on her favorite couch. Good thing the children aren't around or she would be of the couch in a second.

Now all she really did today was chase Meeko around, eat a couple of times and go to the bathroom. Yet it looks as though we had her running the trails all day.

It Must Be Nice To Be A Labrador Retriever

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

All About Labradors Freebies

Just a couple more freebies I found for your Labrador Retriever. Get your free samples with these companies supplies still last.

Benny Bully's Pet Treats - "A nutritious, pure and natural alternative to traditional pet treats".

Halo - Purely for Pets - Get a free sample of Vita Dreams Daily Greens, "a complete multi-vitamin and mineral supplement". Click Free Samples box on right side of website. U.S. Only. - Free dog treat "made of all natural products and contain no artificial flavoring or coloring"

Riplees Ranch - A free sample of Riplees Ranch dog food. You can also enter their online contest for free Riplees Ranch dog food for a year. {Canada Only}

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lucky Yellow Labrador

Here is a happy ending article of the lucky yellow Labrador Retriever who got away.

Read More

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This Old Dog

I'm getting on in years,
My coat is turning gray.
My eyes have lost their luster,
My hearing's just okay.
I spend my days dreaming
Of earlier times with you
When I could run and jump and play
And fetch the ball you threw.
I remember our first visit,
I was coming to you free
Hoping you would take me in
And keep me company

I wasn't young or handsome,
Two years I'd roamed the street.
There were scars upon my face,
I hobbled on my feet.
I could sense your disappointment
As I left my prison cage.
Oh, I hoped you would accept me
And look beyond my age.
You took me out of pity,
I accepted without shame.
Then you grew to love me,
And I admit the same.
I have shared with you your laughter,
You have wet my fur with tears.
We've come to know each other
Throughout these many years.
Just one more hug this morning
And as you drive away
Know I will think about you
Throughout your busy day.
I'll faithfully wait here for you
And though my head's a fog
My heart is yours forever.
I promise - This old dog.

-Author Unknown

Whether it be our Labrador Retrievers or any other breed, there is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Adopting Pets With A Past: Welcoming Rescued Pets into the Family is Both Rewarding & Beneficial

Millions of adoptable dogs and cats are killed every year in animal shelters and pounds across North America. While it is impossible to comprehend the magnitude of this needless suffering and waste of life, you can begin to have an idea of this tragedy if you think about a pet you are fond of and all of the animal's wonderful qualities. Then, consider that thousands of pets with equally wonderful dispositions, who want little more than to be part of a loving family, are killed every day in North America. The reason for this atrocity is simple - the supply of adoptable dogs and cats far exceeds the demand of responsible people who are seeking to provide a pet with a good, caring home.

The vast majority of companion animals who are killed in animal shelters and pounds are friendly, innocent creatures who have paid for humane ignorance and disrespect with their lives. While the pet overpopulation problem is a tragic example of how many dogs and cats are treated, it is a serious situation which can be significantly improved upon with knowledge, understanding and compassion.


Reducing the Killing

One way to ensure that you do not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem is to have your canine and feline family members neutered (spayed - female, castrated - male). Besides being unable to contribute to the serious problem of overpopulation, neutered pets are often healthier and better behaved animals. There are no benefits to allowing your pet to reproduce, but there are many repercussions. Discuss the idea of having your pet neutered with your veterinarian.

Another simple way to reduce the number of pets destroyed is to adopt from animal shelters and pounds when you are ready to add a four-legged member to your family. Dogs and cats waiting in these facilities to be adopted are not inferior to those who come from breeders or pet stores. Often shelter animals make better companions than those bred intensively for the pet industry.

While having your pets neutered and adopting animals from shelters and pounds are important ways to fight pet overpopulation, so too is educating others about this problem. Inform people about the magnitude of the pet overpopulation problem and what they can do to improve the situation - including adopting "unwanted" pets when they are looking for canine or feline family members.

Dispelling the Myths

There are many myths associated with adopting pets from animal shelters and pounds including:

1. Shelter Animals Have Behavioural Problems

Many people believe that pets in shelters and pounds are there because they have behavioral problems. The sad truth is that most of these animals are where they are due to their previous guardians' ignorance and indifference. Often, people who have acquired pets from shelters and pounds are pleasantly surprised at the fine companions they have adopted. Animals with serious and obvious behavioral problems are not put up for adoption. Remember, many excellent animals waiting to be adopted will exhibit minor behavioural problems. Some are scared while others are excited. This should not be held against them as they are in a stressful environment.

2. Shelter Animals Are Older & Not Trainable

While most of the pets in shelters and pounds are mature animals, there are also puppies and kittens available for adoption. The saying "You cannot teach an old dog new tricks" is false. Shelter animals respond well to good, effective and humane training techniques. When training your pet it is important to be consistent, patient and understanding.

3. Shelter Animals Are Inferior To Purebred Pets

Some people mistakenly believe that purebred pets are superior to animals of mixed breeding. Purebred dogs and cats are not smarter, healthier or more even tempered than canines and felines of mixed breeding.

If you want a purebred pet you should visit your local animal shelter or pound. There was a time when purebred dogs were seldom found in these facilities. Unfortunately, due to mass breeding, purebred dogs are common and more are being surrendered to animal shelters and pounds.

If you desire a particular breed because you like the character that breed displays, why not visit your local animal shelter or pound and adopt a pet with the characteristics that you are looking for? Often a pet of mixed breeding has a disposition and character similar to the breeds who were responsible for his/her creation.

Benefits of Rescuing a Pet

There are numerous benefits with providing a good home to a pet who needs it. An obvious benefit is the rewarding experience associated with saving an animal's life. This good act is returned several times over by the loving and devoted nature of the canine or feline family member who improves the lives of his/her guardians by providing companionship, loyalty and love - to name but three things. Other benefits of adopting a dog or cat in need of a good home include:

The cost of adopting a pet at a pound or animal shelter is usually inexpensive compared to buying one from a breeder or pet store. Often animals adopted from shelters and pounds have already been neutered or there is some economic incentive to have the animal neutered. Most of these animals have also been wormed and vaccinated.

Adopting a companion animal from a pound or shelter means you are helping, and not contributing to, the pet overpopulation problem.

Adopting a mature dog or cat means that you do not have to go through the demanding stage of raising a puppy or kitten.

With a mature pet you have a good idea of the animal's temperament and you know the animal's adult size, hair coat etc.

Mature pets are often house-trained (although some mistakes will likely occur until the animal is used to his/her new family, home and routine) and may even have some basic training.

Providing the animals get along, an adopted pet can be good company for other pets.

Shelter animals have beautiful temperaments and want to please their new guardians.

While there are many benefits to adopting a rescued pet, there may be a minor concern or two. Depending on how the animal has been treated, he/she may require a little more time, understanding and guidance before being totally comfortable with his/her new family and home. However, with patience, love, understanding and a good training program, even pets with rough pasts become well-behaved family members - if they aren't already!

Where to Find a Pet in Need

There are a variety of places where a healthy, good natured canine or feline family member can be adopted. Unfortunately, most pounds and animal shelters have a large selection of friendly dogs and cats to choose from. Humane societies which do not have animal shelters often have several pets waiting for adoption in foster homes. Occasionally you can acquire a pet in need of a home at a veterinary hospital. Checking advertisements describing pets looking for homes can also result in a happy ending for the animal and his/her new guardians.

People looking for a purebred companion should begin their search at the local pound or animal shelter. If the desired breed cannot be located there, contact the purebred rescue group of the breed you are interested in adopting.

Occasionally stray animals find homes when they adopt their human guardians. People who welcome strays into the family should first check with all of the proper authorities as well as "lost" ads to ensure the animal is not lost. While the animal may not appear to have any identification, he/she may have a microchip identification implant.

Some Things to Consider When Adopting

There are many things to consider when adopting a pet. Once you have carefully considered all aspects of raising a companion animal, such as cost - both in terms of time and money - and you are still sure that you want, and can provide for, a pet, then you are ready to consider specific qualities and characteristics of the animal. Some things to consider when adopting a dog or cat include: size, temperament, sex, age and coat.

Don't overlook older animals as they often make the best pets. As well, don't overlook animals who appear quiet, scared or excited. Many animals in shelters and pounds are frightened and a little overwhelmed and may exhibit some minor behavioural problems due to their stressed state. As Bob Christiansen points out in his book Choosing & Caring For A Shelter Dog, "The trick is to look not so much at what the dog is, but at what it will become under the guidance of a kind, knowledgeable owner."

Successfully Adopting a Shelter Animal

Many adoptions are successful because there are few surprises regarding the type of pet adopted. The people adopting the pet got to know the animal they were adding to their family. When adopting a pet it is a good idea to find out as much about the animal's history as possible. Ask employees how the animal behaved while at the shelter. Do they know if the animal is good with children and other pets? It is also a good idea to have the entire family meet their prospective pet away from the stressful environment of the other animals. Many shelters have designated areas where this interaction can take place. People who already have pets might make arrangements with shelter employees to have their pets meet a prospective sibling in a controlled, neutral setting to see how they get along.

While getting to know pets before adopting them is important, so too is learning how adoptions can be made more efficient and how to effectively raise a companion animal. There are numerous books and other information available that deal with effectively raising a pet.

A Final Word

There are few experiences in life more satisfying and rewarding as saving a companion animal's life and making him/her a valued member of the family. Pets being the wonderful creatures that they are enhance our lives tremendously and give us much more than we provide for them.

If you have adopted a pet in need then you already know this. If you haven't and you are thinking of adding a canine or feline member to your family, start your search at your local animal shelter or pound. And take the time to educate others as to the importance of giving rescued pets a good home. Until the unnecessary killing of companion animals stops, we owe them no less.

I would like to thank Glenn Perrett for this wonderful, informative article. Mr Perrett's website Amorak & Friends consists of articles and reviews on topics of importance to animals, the environment and, subsequently, ourselves.

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