Have you ever stopped to wonder how many Lab Rescue volunteers “touch” a Lab on his way to a new life? Many of whom you never see or even hear about.

Once we receive a call about a lab in need, an INTAKE volunteer steps up to gather information and pictures and, if possible, evaluate the pup in person. If the Lab is an owner surrender, the first LR contact is the LABLINE volunteer, who takes the call and passes it along to an EVALUATOR who generates a file on the dog. If a stray or surrender to a shelter, the INTAKE TEAM generates the file.

Then, the pup is going to need a ride, which the TRANSPORT TEAM coordinates: some rides are so long that they involve as many as 3 or 4 TRANSPORTERS, and possibly an overnight stay midway to the assigned vet facility.

Our MEDICAL TEAM reviews records, requests procedures and approves additional procedures for unforeseen injuries and illnesses. It’s the MEDICAL TEAM who enters the medical records and follows up on boosters, preventatives, and additional vet visits while the dog is in foster and sets up spay/neuter appointments and heartworm treatments for adopters, as well as shipping microchips and recording them with the company so new owners can register them.

The FOSTER TEAM recruits, trains, and supervises the fosters and places the Labs where they are likely to be most successful. New fosters have MENTORS to assist them with any questions or needs, and of course, sometimes the pups need a TRANSPORT to their new foster home. The PUPPY TEAM is in its own little cosmos, finding fosters for not just one or two dogs, but a whirling dervish! This crew handles the puppy applications and all assorted paperwork (no pun intended). I am not sure where to include them or what to call them, but we have volunteers throughout our service area who store crates, bowls, beds, food and other supplies- much more than they ever imagined or bargained for!

So, then it’s time for a little publicity to find the pups homes. Often it’s the FOSTER who provides the information and photographs for our database, etc. but very often additional writers, who I will just refer to as our BLESSED BARDS, who turn facts into a face and a tail for our records, Facebook and the website. The WEBSITE TEAM not only updates dogs as we discover more about them, but adds events and other news to our site, and manages our various support software platforms.

Then we have our NEWSLETTER and SOCIAL MEDIA TEAMS, who share our pups, events, and news with those friends who aren’t on Facebook. We need a way to communicate and manage donations, without which we could not survive, so we have an extensive FUNDRAISING TEAM, managing the software, sending mailers and acknowledgments, meeting with Major Donors (and recruiting our AMBASSADORS), attending State and Federal charitable giving events and whatever else it takes to raise funds for the Labs. A significant percentage of our fundraising comes from special events as our annual Lab Walk and Fun Fest and our annual auction, which are in some
phase of planning year-round by our SPECIAL EVENTS TEAM. While some members can’t commit to working on the bigger projects, they attend community events to provide information on the rescue while showing off a Lab or two. I can’t overlook our MERCHANDISE TEAM who has responsibility for creating the Rescued Labs calendar and ordering and selling a stash of swag each Fall and Spring. Oh, and we can’t forget the GRANTS COMMITTEE, who look for grant opportunities and do the extensive work to apply for said grants.

Most people’s introductions to Lab Rescue are through the ADOPTION
COORDINATORS, who interview them and scour our database to find the best matches possible. The ACs also set up the meet and greets with their intendeds at the FOSTERS or at the kennels, which require the logistics wizardry of the KENNEL CONTACTS, who must verify that a pup is medically and behaviorally cleared to go home for a test drive. While we had very few Adoption Events (Adopt a Lab Days) the past year, we hope to bring them back. In addition to the ADOPTION COORDINATORS and FOSTERS, these require a couple dozen volunteers to handle dogs and supplies, not to mention setup and clean up- thank you AALD TEAM!

Whenever an adopter needs help locating resources or finds that they cannot care for their adopted Lab any longer, up steps the ADOPTION RETURN TEAM (formerly known as the OGB TEAM). They counsel the adopters and if there are irreconcilable differences or lifestyle changes, arrange for the dog to be returned to one of our vets to be medically cleared and then update the database with current information. Our ATTORNEY is not often called upon for issues, but more often to review our policies and offer expert guidance.

The group who probably had to adapt their procedural model most abruptly during the past two years is the HOME VISIT TEAM. Whereas they had visited pups in their new homes in person, they were forced to go virtual, using the internet to try to capture the environment and chemistry of the family, and offer suggestions for any questions arising during the dog’s transition.

Then we have the LABLINE TEAM, who replies to, or forwards calls, from anyone from prospective adopters to persons donating equipment to vets trying to obtain additional records to lost or found dogs.

Lastly (I think) is the BOARD, the members of who donate their time to supervise one or more of the above activities, as well as meet regularly to tweak the engine that keeps the Rescue going. You cannot even imagine the number of hours BOARD members spend on all things Lab Rescue (day in and day out) each week – it is crazy!

My sincere gratitude to each and every one of you, and I hope that I haven’t forgotten anyone. As you can see there are many hands that touch every dog in the Rescue, and I am so grateful for every single one of you! As I close out my second year as President, I still find myself in awe at all the wonderful people with the HUGEST hearts that make up Lab Rescue of the LRCP!! Our volunteers, adopters, and supporters are the best!!

Here’s to a healthy, happy and productive 2022 and continuing to make a difference in the lives of the Labs we touch!

Thank you again,