Lowcountry Lab Rescue

Lowcountry Lab Rescue
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Labrador Retriever is one of the friendliest dog breeds. They are hugely popular as family pets and appear frequently in commercials and ads representing the “ideal” dog.

Rescue Spotlight - Lowcountry Lab Rescue

 Because of this, many people may not know that there are too many labs out there who don’t yet have that idyllic family life.  Thankfully, Lowcountry Lab Rescue (LLR) is here to change that for as many dogs as possible.  

LLR was founded in the late 1990’s by San LeBoeuf.  She was saddened and shocked by all of the needless euthanization of Labradors taking place in South Carolina and decided she needed to help.  Years later, the organization is still going strong.  San is still involved, and works closely with the current Executive Director, Amy Fabri, to ensure her mission continues.

Gail Golightly, LLR Volunteer and Event Coordinator spoke with me and gave me some facts about the rescue.  “We are all volunteer.  We are very proud that with no facility and no paid employees LLR has averaged saving the lives of 100 labs in each of the last 10 years.”  In 2016, LLR is well on their way to meeting that goal again.  As of May 13th, they have placed 30 dogs in their furever homes.  Gail is an animal lover who adopted her first Labrador in 2000, named Radcliffe.  He was a part of their family, and when they lost him twelve years later, Gail says “[We] wanted to give back to the organization that brought us the love of our life…” so they started volunteering with LLR and adopted another lab, Jack, in 2013.  Jack came to the rescue after being hit by a car and losing a front leg.  After he healed, he was placed with a family who, unfortunately, had to give him up after seven years.  He returned to LLR where he eventually ended up with Gail and her family.   Gail told me that his rough start to life didn’t stop him from being a wonderful dog.  “Jack’s personality was one of absolute sunshine.  He loved everybody and everything.”  He became a therapy dog and worked with children and Alzheimer’s patients until his passing.

LLR will never turn an animal away because they are too ill or too old.  In fact, they frequently take in dogs for the sole purpose of hospice care so they don’t have to cross the Rainbow Bridge without knowing someone loved them.  Gail says “We never hesitate to ask ‘Can we afford to care for a dog?’  We just work harder to figure out how to pay for [the necessary care].”  She then told me about Carly, their latest special needs rescue.  This sweet girl was hit by a car and surrendered to a shelter with limited ability to provide medical care.  LLR was contacted by a volunteer at the shelter and sprang into action to save Carly.  She was rushed to a veterinary hospital where they discovered she had a severe infection in one of her paws, major internal injuries and, heart-breakingly, was full of buckshot.  Thanks to some critically needed medical attention, Carly is doing much better but still faces a long road to recovery.  Her estimated vet bills for surgery and follow-up care are $4,000.  If you would like to learn how you can help, please visit their website (http://www.lowcountrylabrescue.org/) for information on donating towards Carly’s care.

Most people know how friendly and easy-going Labrador retrievers are, so I asked Gail if she could tell me something about this breed that not many people realize or perhaps misunderstand.  “Part of what I think is so very special about this breed is that they are smart but they are also people pleasers.  They want to be with you and work with you which is why they are such great dogs for so many things - companion dogs, family dogs, therapy dogs, service dogs…”  She also told me that many people believe that all labs will grow up to be very large dogs.  However, most of the dogs at LLR are the “English-style”, and a fully-grown male dog will likely weigh close to 70 pounds, as opposed to the “American-style” Labradors that weigh in closer to 100 pounds.  

If you have done your research and decided that adopting from LLR is something you would like to do, the first step is visiting www.lowcountrylabrescue.org/adopt and reading about the adoption process.  You will be required to fill out an adoption application but before you do this, make sure all prerequisites are met.  You must be 21 or older, agree to keep the dog indoors and have a fenced-in yard (with a few exceptions).  There is a $10 non-refundable fee to fill out the application and if you are approved, that money will go towards the $275 adoption fee, which covers spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchipping and any other vetting necessary for a healthy animal.

Lowcountry Lab Rescue needs your support in order to continue their mission of rescuing and rehoming stray and unwanted labs.  They are 100% volunteer based and all donations are tax-deductible and go towards the care of the animals.  They have a PayPal link on their website and also accept credit/debit card payments.  If you are unable to make a monetary donation, there are other ways you can help.  You can apply to become a LLR Foster Home (see website for details) or take part in one of the many volunteer opportunities offered by the rescue.  You can also show your support by patronizing one of the many businesses in our community that support this rescue.  LLR is currently partnered with the Rusty Rudder in Mount Pleasant and the Fat Hen on Johns Island and on certain days, a portion of each establishment’s profits go directly to the rescue.  (Please check Facebook for details on these events!)  LLR recently held a charity shoe drive and Dog & Duck (Belle Hall) as well as Woofgang Bakery both volunteered to be donation drop-off spots.  Finally, a wonderful business called SheSellsCandles created an exclusive candle for the rescue that could only be purchased on their website.  Please consider supporting these amazing community-minded businesses so they may continue to pay it forward to all the dogs who need furever homes.

According to Gail, the biggest way you can help Lowcountry Lab Rescue, as well as all of the organizations like them, is to spread the message about spay/neuter.  “The reason the Lowcountry Lab Rescues of the world...have to exist is because we are not in control of our pet population.”  So please....tweet, ‘gram, post, text and, if you’re old-fashioned like me, talk to your neighbor and spread the word that spaying and neutering saves lives.  Maybe there will come a time when animal rescues aren’t such a huge need but until then, organizations like Lowcountry Lab Rescue will be there to help.