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Labrador Lifeline

One of Puppy Dog Hotel’s clients helps and support this charity. Please consider helping this wonderful charity in any way you can. Thank you.

We – that being me, my husband, Thierry, and our two Labs, Poppy and Coco (sisters, aged 8) - have fostered for Labrador Lifeline since April 2012. We live in a small house with a big garden and were happy “just fostering”. There was no intent to add another permanent feature to our

little pack. Admittedly, we had a couple of near misses as novices when, after standing bawling in the street handing one pooch or another over to a new home, we’d think we’d made an awful mistake by not offering the dog our home. But then we’d settle down, tell ourselves that four occupants of a little house was more than enough and that we would be able to help more dogs by fostering many, rather than adopting just one. Then along came Jack....

My husband went to collect him from his first

fosterers who had adored him but were unable

to keep him because of their caravanning habit

and he immediately called me to say how lovely

Jack was. That was the first sign of something

amiss. We met at the local common with Poppy

 and Coco and Jack heaved and pulled on the lead

like a dog possessed, so my first impressions were

not serene ones. However, he and the girls were

fine together and we got dragged around the

common by a heaving and wheezing creature for

45 minutes (not realising he should have been on

a Halti) before setting off for home.

At home he was a completely different dog -

just switches off the mania at the door and it

stays off until you touch a coat, shoes or a lead.

How we’ve cursed accidentally brushing past a

jingling lead time and again! He settled into our routine with amazing ease and we realised that five creatures could fit into a little house quite comfortably and the three dogs shared the dog beds with remarkable ease. Admittedly, we now seem to have more dog seating/bedding than human but, a small price to pay.

There were a few issues that needed addressing, with Jack initially being far more interested in begging for human food than wanting a bowl of kibble or dog treat but we weaned him off that idea and with the use of a dog gate between the lounge and kitchen, he has now learnt to settle with the girls in the lounge after his dinner, rather than very actively beg around our cooking and meal times. He has also learnt to love a Kong stuffed with a bit of Lily’s Kitchen meat at lunchtime and a dried fish or duck “crunchy” after walks.  He also is very active in the flatulence department and every evening, depending on where Jack is lying, either Thierry or I suddenly flail around gasping for air and gagging, rendering the other in a fit of malicious giggles. We’ll be switching to Pero Labrador Life to see if that remedies that problem.

And then there is “walk time”. Jack is clearly not used to being lead walked and is not at all fussed by having a Halti digging into his snout as he drags forward with all his worth. After a mile, he eases off and after 2 miles, he settles into an S shaped pattern, zigzagging across the pavement but at least he’s not pulling as much. When let off in a field or the woods, it is like releasing a greyhound from a trap. His speed is quite breathtaking but he is yet to learn the art of a meditative lead walk: to him a lead is a means to getting somewhere to run like the wind. His recall is selective 5% of the time but we are improving that with dried chicken treats. He swims like a drunken otter – weaves around manically taking half the reeds and grasses from the river banks with him and always has to get out at the muddiest, boggiest, smelliest part of the bank. I am not proud of his “green paw print” because when we leave the river, it looks as though a family of hippos have had a significant ruckus in the area. He has run full pelt into a mesh fence clearly only focussing on the deep river on the other side and bounced back like a tennis ball: we struggled to stifle our mirth at his obvious embarrassment. He is such a boy and often very funny with it! I am unsure how he has survived this long and no-one could accuse him of over-thinking his physical feats.

However, despite the minor challenges that he brings, he is the soppiest, most loving boy you could ever wish to meet. He has a smile like a Staffie and when you bend over to stroke him, he squeezes his eyes shut and literally smiles. The neighbours’ children are entranced by that trait. He is very tactile and will come and climb into your lap like a Chihuahua or will somersault into it, wanting a cuddle – dainty he is not but he is incredibly gentle. He is ball obsessed and only ever wants a tennis ball so is a low maintenance in the dog toy department.

He is also in awe of his sisters which is a novelty for them, particularly for Coco, who is not famous for her high IQ. As suggested earlier, he makes her seem bright and it is funny watching her derisory expression as he tries to work out how his tennis ball disappeared (behind your back). He has a, huhhhhhhhhhh, Scooby Doo bafflement about him and that is a real novelty for her, with Poppy being whip-smart. He forages and explores in the garden and woods with Coco and competes and runs  for the ball with Poppy but is always respectful of them. He’s the ideal companion for both. And then there’s us...

Less than a week into fostering, Jack finished his dinner and his dental stick, climbed up and settled into Thierry’s lap, gave a big sigh of contentment and fell asleep, completely settled into his new routine and family. That confirmed that we were in trouble. I tried to picture us handing him over to a new family and struggled with the idea for days. Thought it might just be me but I was wrong. Within two weeks of fostering, we delicately raised the idea of adoption with Janet and Ros and, to our delight, they were equally receptive to the idea. So thank you very much, Labrador Lifeline and in particular, Janet and Ros, for bringing such a lovely boy into our lives. We are all so happy with him and hope to have many more happy years with the three of them.

PLEASE consider helping this superb charity by offering your services in some way or by making a donation...even small amounts can make a huge difference. Thank you.

The aim of The Labrador Lifeline Trust is to help Labradors in need.

Would you like more information about us? Do you have a Labrador that needs to be rehomed? Could you offer a good home to a Labrador?

Could you offer some time to help us? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, please contact one of the following…

Contact Area Coordinator:Janet

Tel: - 01923 446785


Registered Charity: 1076061

Puppy Dog Hotel is accredited by: Chiltern District Council, Pet Industry Federation, Several veterinary Practices across The Home Counties and London, Chiltern Chamber and Buckinghamshire Business First.