Safe Harbor Lab Rescue successfully places about a dozen labs a month into loving homes. Adoptive families love to share their joyful experiences with us. Over 1,970 of those success stories are listed on the following pages. We'd like to thank these very special people for sharing their stories with us!
Mr. Diggie Ziggles (formerly Jerry)
Four-month-old Jerry, (brother to puppy Ben), is home with his wonderful new parents, Louis and Shae, and he now proudly goes by the name of Mr. Diggie Ziggles. While that might be rather a mouthful for some Labs, our young hero reports no problems making introductions at the local dog park.
We caught up with the eloquent Mr. Diggie Ziggles recently, and he shared his story with us:
I've come a long way from Arkansas when my brother and I were found tangled up in the springs of a couch. I live with my humans in the tech center. They tell me every day it was love at first sight. My mom held me like a baby all the way home the night we met. She still does, every day, even though I'm just about 40 pounds. They call me, Mr. Diggie Ziggles. I haven't yet figured out how I feel about the smaller furry animal running around the house. She goes by Tuxie Boots, I like to chase her around the house, I think the hissing is her laughing. I think she likes me. My Dad and I hang during the day and get to sleep in most morning before our first walk around the green belt. We also are regulars at the local dog park. I am not shy to humans or other dogs. Although there seems to be some misunderstanding when I try to hug the other dogs from behind. My humans tell me that will be "fixed" when I'm a little older, not sure what that means but I'm looking forward to it, I think. I've been told that my brother and I will reunite sometime soon, I'm so excited. I can't wait to hear if he enjoys the rabbit treats as much as me, I just can't get enough of that tasty delights. I've recently learned that if I bring a ball to my humans they will repeatedly launch it into the air, only for me to bring it back. We went to the beach recently, not sure about the water rushing at my feet. My Dad assures me one day I will want to spend my entire day paddling away. My mom and dad sure are excited that I am here and all of us thank SafeHarbor for bringing us together.
Riley (formerly Ben)
Now that his wandering days are over and he is home forever with Adam and Nicole, four-month-old Ben (nka Riley) takes his new duties as a Family Lab in Training very seriously. He knows that he must fill his new parents' days with sweet puppy kisses and happy puppy tails, and as the only child he is solely responsible for making sure that his parents are taken for walks several times a day. Riley's other chores include keeping his mom and dad on their toes, and helping them practice their ball throwing skills. "Practice makes perfect", Riley always tells them whenever they need a little extra encouragement. What a good boy.
Riley's new parents write:
We decided to rescue a puppy rather than going to a breeder, and we are very happy with our decision. We adopted Riley, formerly Ben, and he has proved to be a very smart and sweet boy! He enjoys playing, going for walks, and raising a little trouble from time to time. He has quickly climbed into our hearts and is now a cherished member of the family. We love him!
Miss Beaseley (formerly Vida)
Vida, now known as Miss Beaseley, is an 8 month old black Lab pup. She is just as excited as can be with her new mom, Laurie. like most young Labs she is bright and inquisitive, and has much to learn in her new life. From the sounds of things, Miss Beaseley seems to be watching Laurie closely, attempting to do the same things that her human companion does, bringing surprise and much needed laughter into Laurie’s life. Laurie adopted young Bea, after losing her other black Lab earlier that month. She knew that adopting Miss Beaseley, would help them both. Needless to say, this young girl has became the center of Laurie’s world!
Here is an update on our Miss Beaseley:
Miss Beaseley (formerly known as Vida) is enjoying her days at doggie daycare and long walks in the evening in the summer breeze. She very quickly made herself at home taking naps on the sofa and snuggling in bed at night. For several weeks, she even hopped into the shower to get a quick rinse in the morning. Miss Beaseley is quite the social butterfly as she made several escape attempts during Take Your Dog to Work Day to visit other pups around the office. She views everyone as her next best friend and wakes up every morning wanting to know “WHAT are we going to do today?”. Without a doubt, Miss Beaseley has found her life-time human companion. She is loved more and more each day!
Tom (formerly RJ)
This is the story of RJ now known as Tom. We are thrilled to say that he was adopted by Jeff and Jaime, two of SHLR’s long time volunteers! He has thrived after being in their care, and has become the beautiful two year old yellow Lab you see in the photo. His story became their story and has a happy ending for all. Their story tells of the amazing love that our hearts can hold, and how lives can change, when we respond to those that need us the most.
Here is Tom’s story:
Tom was our fifth SHLR foster. The day before we picked him up we got his medical info from Alameda East, which said he was a sweet boy, but very hyper and had allergies and 'smelly, inflamed skin'. So, we were a little apprehensive. When we went to pick him up, he was a very cute guy, with a wagging tail, and the most beautiful dark brown eyes, but he also had lots of patches of missing hair and raw skin from his excessive itching. We loaded him up and he promptly peed all through the car and started barking, which lasted the entire 45 minute trip home. He had a very hoarse bark (I suspect he barked ALL the way from Kansas), which resulted in his name Tom (he reminded us of a musician we like who has a very hoarse, gravelly voice). His allergies were pretty bad and he seemed very uncomfortable at first, but after changing his diet and a few vet visits, things improved considerably. So, he had some issues, but he had an extremely sweet disposition and gentleness that outweighed all those things. From the first day we trusted him out of the crate (which we've never done with any of our other fosters) and we were able to let him do a little off leash running - he had attached to us and responded amazingly well to the name Tom. By the end of the first week, we had started considering keeping him, but our 3 year old yellow lab Mingo has always been a little jealous of the fosters and we didn't want to upset Mingo (the king of the house) by having a permanent second dog. He also got along well with our cat Toby and Toby loves all dogs.
Tom's allergies resulted in medical hold and we had him for close to a month to get everything under control During this time we really grew to love him and he was so EASY - very obedient, very submissive to our dog, never fighting for food or toys. And he had transformed so much. He was developing a beautiful coat and seemed much less uncomfortable and peaceful with his allergies under control. But still, we wanted to keep Mingo as our only dog. At the end of May Tom was off of medical leave and we headed to an adoption event at Colorado Mills Mall where he met lots of prospective adopters - he was looking great and behaved like an angel. Although, I noticed that every time someone approached Tom, he would look at me and sometimes would hide behind my legs. I knew he had started thinking that I was his mom. I went home that night, wrote out his foster profile, sent his pics off to be published to the web and cried at the thought of someone else taking him. That afternoon he was posted on SHLR's website, I sent it to my husband and we unanimously decided that we couldn't give him up, and that Mingo could learn to love him too. We all had enough love to go around. And we knew that whatever Tom had been through before he got to us it hadn't been very good and we decided that we didn't want him to be abandoned by a family or go through anything bad ever again. So we decided to adopt him the day after the adoption event. That night he and Mingo started some puppy play (which sealed the deal) and every day they seem to get along better and better. I know they will be best friends soon.
Tom is a little anxious, hates the car, and doesn't like to be left alone, but a little love (and treats) have changed him into a different dog in under two months. I can't wait to see him what kind of dog he will grow into after spending years with a family that loves him.
This whole experience of fostering and ultimately adopting Tom has been wonderful. We bought Mingo from a breeder and although he is my baby, rescuing Tom has been an amazing experience and we would never do it any other way again. An adopted pup is so grateful and loving for just having their basic needs met. I love looking at Tom's shiny new coat and clear brown eyes, and remembering what bad shape he was in when we picked him up, and knowing that we had the ability to give him all that. And in return he give us sooooo much love and appreciation (and gives us running/jumping hugs when we get home at the end of the day).
Pauline, now known as Ruby, has found her forever home! She is a beautiful 5 year old chocolate Lab, when bathed in the sunshine, her coat will take on a warm ginger hue. As beautiful and sweet as she is, Miss Ruby had to wait for the perfect family to come along. Little did any of us know, that she had a special role to fulfill. Tonya and Gary heard about Ruby, and thought that she might be a good match for the family. We were thrilled! These adopters are well known to us, as they have adopted two other dogs from SHLR, Wyatt and Molly. As you will see in the story that follows, Molly has special needs and Ruby has taken on the role of being Molly's helper. We are grateful for Tonya and Gary. They both have huge hearts and open arms for Labs in need.
Here is Ruby’s story:
We would love to share our story...
Connie, the foster mom from Fort Collins, called us in April 2015 and said she thought Pauline (now called Ruby and sometimes called Ruby Tuesday) would be a great fit to our Lab family because she knows our other two Labs, Wyatt (known by SHLR as Westin and we adopted him in Nov 2014) and Molly (we adopted her August of 2013). Connie knew we were on the look for one more pup.. We knew our Molly needed a little more energy to balance out Wyatt because we lost one of our main Labs in Nov 2014; I felt Molly missed that energy that can come with a pack of three pups versus two pups.
Connie was right - again! She thought Pauline (now Ruby) would help Molly feel more centered around Wyatt and it has happened. You may recall that Molly is mostly blind and has that different cerebellum, so she deals with gait ataxia. We recently consulted with a behaviorist who also recommended we follow with a neurologist for Molly because her needs can change and we want to make sure we have the best medication and behavior recommendations for our Molly. Molly is our sensory-neuro pup that sometimes just has a different take on pup-hood. Oh we love her so because she teaches us so much about what the other dogs see and she can't see (just like our humans).
Two months into Pauline now Ruby being with us...Ruby's weight is just where the vet wants it (78LBs) and she is the glue that holds down the fort with my other two Lab pups. Ruby is loving and smart and seems to know when Molly needs a little more support; she seems to know when to just be a pup looking for her water thrills, and a walk with her favorite pups and human family.
We love SHLR organization and we love all of our three Labs that we feel blessed all came from SHLR and that dog whisperer we love so much, Connie from Fort Collins, CO.
Thank you for checking in with us - we couldn't tell Pauline now Ruby's story without the other pup mentions!
Tonya & Gary and all the Labs we love so much...Wyatt, Molly, and Ruby!
Miss Emma now known as Sedona, found herself homeless at just 3 years of age. Having undergone extreme pain and difficulty in her life, she was brought to Safe Harbor Lab Rescue desperately needing a miracle. SHLR Foster, Penny nursed her through weeks of medical treatments, helping to bring Sedona out of her extreme shyness toward people. In the mean time, Brittany, a veterinary student at the hospital, noticed Sedona and was heartbroken to see her cower away from the people most trying to help her. We will let Brittany tell the rest of the story. Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending!
Here is Brittany’s update
We just love her so much!!!!
Sedona has had several health problems which we knew when we took her. I fell in love with her while i was working at VCA Alameda East and she came in for her spay. She was so scared of people and other animals that she crawled back to the kennel area and i was heart broken to see a dog so afraid of everything. After her spay, she had a reaction to her medication and was not feeling well. I sat with her in her kennel to try to get her to eat and give her some love. That was my first encounter with Sedona, and i wasn't expecting to ever see her again. After several more visits at Alameda, i knew it was meant to be. The last time she came in i remember asking why Sedona was here this time. I just fed her a bunch of treats and put her in a kennel. I laughed as i was told she was Anorexic but i just got her to eat a bunch of treats. For 3 days following that i came to work before school, after school and at work to make sure she ate her food. At that point i had to take her, and after some major help from SHLR i finally got to take her when i moved back to Michigan.
After having her home with us in Michigan for 2 months she tore her cranial cruciate ligament (knee). Being in internship and unemployed i was a little stressed out because repairing a knee is an expensive surgery. Thank goodness for Go Fund me, where friends and family donated most of the money for her surgery! She had surgery in June and is doing well, her knee is stable and shes moving around like a normal dog! Then in July we were running bloodwork to make sure her liver was ok after being on pain medication for her knee. Even though she wasn't due for a heartworm test until January, it was accidentally put on the bloodwork and she came back positive. That was a big surprise because she was tested in January and came back negative but being a veterinary technician i knew that it takes ~6 months for heartworms to develop and come up positive on a test therefore Januarys test was a false negative. She is currently still going through treatment for that, but we caught it very early and she has no symptoms. Hopefully she will be heartworm free when we re-test in 2 months!
Even though Sedona has been a huge problem child in the health aspect, she is the best dog i could ever ask for. My boyfriend and I love her so much that we wouldn't change anything. She is a completely different dog than she was the first day i met her at Alameda. She lives here with our two cats, ferret and Chinchilla and its one big happy family. She is much better with people, she now only barks at new males that come into the house. She loves to cuddle, play and we are currently working on clicker training just for fun. We are also working on a certificate with her for teaching her tricks. We may of had some bad luck with her health but we lucked out with her loving personality and attitude after all she has been through. I am so happy we found each other and i am so grateful that there is a rescue like Safe Harbor to find good homes for all these loving dogs that need a second chance.
Still just a youngster at about 1-1/2 years-old, Reagan, (fka Molly/Penny), has been through some very tough times in her life, but all of that is now a distant memory as this beautiful girl soaks up the love from her new parents, Kippen and Mike, and wakes up each morning knowing that she is a much adored family Lab.
Reagan's new mom writes:
The first day we met this precious dog, she was so friendly and welcoming, we just knew she was the one for us. After hearing her heartbreaking rescue story, I wanted to show her the love and affection she deserves. She has an upstairs bed and a downstairs bed, two special doggy blankets, a pretty new collar and leash along with a basket of toys and some new bones.
Her first few days with us proved to be joyous. She is house broken, loves to be with us, gets excited over her new toys & bones and she loves exploring in the backyard. We had her sleep in a crate the first couple nights but soon realized she is such a good dog, she was able to sleep on her bed in our room all night with not a peep. We let her roam the house all the time, the crate has been put away! She has made friends with the neighbor dogs and gets along well with guests. She needs some training on a leash, but that will come with time when she is able to take longer walks.
She makes us laugh every day when she plays with her toys. She grabs them off her blanket, tosses them in the air, brings a toy to me, then waits for me to try and get it from her. She watches TV with us, snuggled up on the floor getting her belly scratched. We were fixing screens one day on the floor and she decided to “help” hold the screen down for my husband, Mike. One of my favorite things about her is the greeting I get when I have been gone, even if it’s only for a few minutes. She lies next to my chair when I am working in my office, puts her paw on my leg when she wants to be petted and loves having so much attention.
Due to her heart worm problem, she is still on restricted activity so we have yet to take her on a hike or swimming. But we have all that to look forward to when she is completely better. I know she will love our camping trips, evening walks, tug of war toys and chasing each other around the yard.
After the loss of our last beloved lab 8 months ago I wasn’t sure how a new dog would feel around the house, but my sweet Reagan has filled our home with joy, laughter and she gets all the love she could possibly need!! I look forward to each morning when she puts her paws up on my bed and waits for me to pet her.
Thank you Safe Harbour for letting us adopt this sweet bundle of fur! She is loved!
Little Miss Lucy, an eight-year-old Lab princess, tells us that she is so happy to have been adopted by Valerie and is thrilled that she currently has her new mom and her new forever castle all to herself! Not only does Lucy get all of her mom's attention, but she will also be spending a lot of quality time with her new doting grandparents. "It doesn't get much better than this!", Lucy woofed enthusiastically when we caught up with her recently.
Lucy's new mom sent us this update:
Lucy (formerly Ellie) is a wonderful addition to my family. She is truly a good natured girl and each day I see her growing calmer as she settles into her new home. She loves going for walks and is doing a good job understanding when to heel and when she can sniff until her heart's content. After a few false starts, we finally found a food she likes and she's gained a little over two pounds! That's good as she's a little too skinny.
She's begun spending time at my folks' house where she will go for doggy daycare when the school year starts. I'm pretty sure she loves her memaw and pawpaw already.
I'm thankful each day for sweet and spicy Lucy. Her companionship along with her goofy grin and her soulful brown eyes bring smiles to me each and every day.
Thank you, Valerie, for giving this sweet older girl a loving home, and congratulations on adopting your third Safe Harbor Lab!
Bella and RJ (formerly Gracie and Darby)
Cathy, one of our wonderful volunteers, recently adopted her second Safe Harbor Lab and tells the story of how two of her foster dogs became her beloved forever dogs:
All of my dogs have been rescues. My first 2 chocolate labs were rescued 3 months apart and lived a happy life with me for over 12 years. So when the inevitable happened with Reggie passing away last year, I decided to foster with SHLR to give my youngest dog playmates. Many dogs have come through our home but I first became a foster failure when RJ (formerly Darby) arrived. He was 9 months old at the time and scared of everything except Coffee and Sophie (my resident dogs), and squirrels. His coat was scruffy, two toned and in need of grooming, but he wouldn't let us near him. He was so skittish that I began to wonder if we were going to be able to keep him inside before winter came! Apparently he had not had much interaction with people prior to his rescue and kept his distance at first. With lots of love and encouragement, handsome RJ now is a happy member of our pack. Last September when it was Coffee's time to cross over the rainbow bridge, 10 month old RJ sat by Coffee's side like only a true friend and old soul would - that is RJ. He decided one evening that he wanted to sleep on my bed (which I never allowed a dog to do before) and has been sleeping there ever since. I decided if that's what it took to get him past his fear of people, I could live with it. While he has more fears to overcome, he's made tremendous progress with us and we're so lucky to have him. He's such a good boy and we love him so much.
After Coffee's passing, we began fostering again. After several months enter Bella (formerly Gracie), a beautiful yellow lab, 1.5 years old, who was an owner surrender. She had been transported from Utah to Denver and was spayed, then transported from Denver to my home for foster. Apparently she hadn't had much experience in the car and seemed very confused by the changes she was experiencing. She arrived in the transport vehicle of another SHLR volunteer looking confused with such a sad face and didn't seem to want to get out. I asked her if she would like to come out and play and slowly she made her way to me. I introduced her to our big back yard and the other pups. Her expression changed to joy and I immediately failed as a foster for the second time. I could not put her through another transition so now her forever home is with me and my pack. She is quite the wiggler and talker, and always has a bone or ball in her mouth, ready to play. She follows me everywhere, no matter whether its day or night and has settled in with the others really well. She is an absolute delight and we love her too!
Thank you SHLR for all that you do for these wonderful dogs. I'm so fortunate to have fostered with you and found my forever pups doing so.
Pictured are RJ (left) and Bella (right), with Cali the cat. Their sister, Sophie, was not present for the photo op.
Lovely Sophie arrived at Safe Harbor without much luggage, but she was carrying around about 35 pounds of extra baggage. When Dan and Judy met Miss Sophie they immediately saw the beauty within and knew that this six-year-old Lab girl with the happy smile and open, loving heart would be the perfect addition to their family. Sophie's new parents are committed to helping her get down to a healthy weight, and with all the walks, ball games, and farm chores on her schedule, Sophie will be slim and trim and giving her greyhound siblings a run for their money in no time.
Sophie new mom tells us:
Sophie settled in immediately – as if she was always part of the family. She answers to Sophie so we kept that name. She is good with the other dogs (3 greyhounds) and our 4 kitties - and everyone she meets. She is Dan’s farm dog. She helps Dan with some of the chores and follows him around happily. We all go for daily walks too which she enjoys thoroughly. She is perfect for us.
Dan is bringing Sophie into the vets tomorrow to weigh her, so we can also send her current weight loss status. She is looking and feeling so much better – much more active and agile after losing some of that weight. She is just a wonderful addition to our family! She has not met a person or a critter she doesn’t like as far as we know. Even Sam, our barn cat, likes her. She loves doing chores with Dan and is getting used to sleeping on a dog bed instead of the floor. She is starting to go into the dog toy box and pick out some toys to play with once in a while instead of only tennis balls – although chasing the ball is her favorite game. Thank you for all you do for the pups!
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