In her role as the Webmaster for Safe Harbor Lab Rescue, Polly is familiar with every Lab that is up for adoption. She sees all of their photos and reads their “poop sheets” as she posts them to our website and admits there are a few that she has been tempted to adopt. However, when Polly isn’t volunteering for Safe Harbor her job has her traveling globally and therefore thinking it was always easier to just have one lab since she is gone a lot. That all changed when a 10-year-old handsome and worldly yellow lab named “Henri” hit her inbox to post in early March.
“I’ve always loved Labs, but the black ones were my color of choice. My first Safe Harbor Lab, was black and my current Safe Harbor Lab, Osborne, is black. When I foster, they are usually black and I usually end up transporting the black Labs when they come in on the transports. Everyone knows how much I love black Labs so when Henri hit my radar, a few of the volunteers jokingly pointed out, “You do know that Henri is a Yellow Lab, right?”
Osborne is a goofy, yet particular Lab and I often joke he is a “cat in a Lab body” as he wants nothing to do with normal “Lab” activities such as fetching, swimming, playing in the snow, and he is as independent as a Lab can be. He has always liked being an “only” dog and when the occasional foster dog comes to stay, he gives me that look that says, “This is only temporary, right Mom?”.
I was posting the “Coming Soon” dogs to our website when I opened up the file for Henri. After reading his story and seeing his photos, I knew I had to adopt this sweet boy. Henri was an owner surrender from a family in Houston, where he lived until they moved to Europe while he was still a young pup. Henri spent a good portion of his Lab years in London, Amsterdam, and Geneva where he became a worldly and well-cultured Lab before they moved back to the US. After their return to Houston, he developed skin and ear allergies, so when he was surrendered the local rescue determined that it would be best to get Henri to the Colorado climate to help control his allergies.
I was able to connect with Henri’s Foster Mom in Houston prior to his transport from Texas to Colorado, and every time we talked, I knew he had to be mine. She would send videos and photos and he was simply perfect! He looked half his age (everyone who meets him still thinks he is much younger than he is), had a perfect prance to his walk (almost like he competed in a dog show at one time) and was as well-mannered as a dog could be. When the vet here met him for the first time and saw him prance around the vet office, she said it became very clear why he was “Henri with an ‘i’ and not a ‘y’!” My friends and I joke that maybe Henri is bilingual and answers to the French pronunciation of his name, too. Henri arrived on St. Patrick’s Day on the transport from Houston where I picked him up and brought him home to meet Osborne. Osborne is used to me bringing home with a Foster Lab, but I think I surprised him when I showed up with a yellow lab and not a black one.
After a couple of days, I could tell Osborne actually liked Henri and was warming up to the idea of having an “older brother” and I knew Henri liked Osborne. Henri had a little bit of separation anxiety when he got here, but Osborne would sit or lay down next to him almost in a comforting way until Henri relaxed. Henri is the happiest dog I have ever been around. His tail wags non-stop—when he’s eating, drinking, in his sleep, and even when I am cleaning his ears, which is his least favorite thing. Since I adopted Henri, his fur and skin are healthy and his ear infections are gone. We still clean them twice a week to stay on top of things to be safe. He’s even been able to go off of a daily allergy medicine that he was on when he arrived.
Henri is OBSESSED with tennis balls! He always has a tennis ball in his mouth when he is outside and when he drops it at your feet and you don’t immediately pick it up and throw it, he will pounce on it, pushing it towards you and giving off an excited squeal until you engage in a game of fetch. It’s too cute to ignore! Henri’s love of non-stop fetching has not worn off on Osborne, but Osborne is content to lie in the sun and watch Henri chase the ball until it’s time to come in. Henri politely will drop the ball by the back door before coming inside. He knows we don’t fetch indoors. Henri and Osborne love their daily walks and walk almost in synchronization and right by each other’s side. Henri’s proper behavior in the car and on walks has definitely been a positive influence for Osborne as his car manners and leash manners are much more civilized now that Henri is a part of the family. They take turns sleeping in each other’s beds and licking each other’s food bowl after a meal. On occasion, Osborne still wanders off in the house for a little bit of “alone time”. While Osborne is snoring loudly from the other room, Henri and I compare travel tips and stories from our favorite places in Europe.
We love having Henri in our lives and can’t imagine him not being here. Henri turned 11 at the end of May and we celebrated with a Starbucks “puppuccino” and a new supply of tennis balls. We look forward to many more birthday celebrations and games of endless fetch with Henri!
Thank you, Safe Harbor, the Texas Transport team, and Cindy, Henri’s Foster Mom in Houston for bringing Henri to us!