Alfie by Mark from our latest link magazine

Having lost our old dog we soon found we missed the company and the outdoor life which owning a dog involves. So eventually we felt we were ready to give another dog a home and felt re-homing a dog would be the right thing for us.

We saw a dog on the Love your Labrador website and thought we could give him a home and look after him. After completing the application form and a home visit we were pleased to be deemed suitable to look after the dog we had seen.

We attended a few training sessions but found this was not suitable for Alfie’s needs and by a stroke of luck met an old work colleague who understood Alfie.
We had a number of 1 to 1 training sessions in a local park and slowly we started to understand Alfie and he gradually became more comfortable in an open strange environment with dogs and people about.

When we first met Alfie he was a timid nervous dog who hadn’t really been socialised with either other dogs or people. This was evident straight away when we first took him for a walk and he completely shocked us by his reaction to both other dogs and people. He barked and jumped at everything aggressively to warn them off and protect himself.

We identified that he enjoyed doing agility and became really focussed and learned things quickly, but he gets bored easily once he’s done the task.

At home Alfie settled in very well, he’s never chewed anything or had an accident inside. 

Slowly by playing with him he is learning how to be a dog and that it was ok to chase a ball, eat a chew and use his nose to find things. He came to trust us and to know he was safe.

Alfie attends training classes in a barn with other dogs each week and is working towards his Kennel Club Bronze good citizen award. He loves water and really enjoys the beach and sea. He has at least two 45min – 1 hour walks a day and plays with the football, practices agility and does scent work most days.

He’s been with us to Whitby, enjoys time at the pub and walks with his dog friends in the woods and nature reserve. We are due to go walking in the Peak district next week.

Occasionally if we drop something, move quickly or startle him, Alfie will run off an hide and every now and again bark at another dog.

We have identified he has a sensitive stomach and now eats half and half kibble and tinned natural food which he loves.

We are 90% there with him and will continue to exercise and stimulate him.

He is a very loving and intelligent dog who is now a part of our family.

Sam

by Alan

We lost our beautiful black Labrador Hattie after spending a wonderful 14 years together. We had had her since she was a 14 week old puppy and, from the outset, we invested time and effort in making sure she was as well-trained as we could possibly make her. With weekly training from almost the first week we bought her she became a fabulous companion. She even had incredible road sense. We could take her for a walk through our hometown of Matlock completely off the lead. She would stop at every kerb and sitg waiting for us to arrive to receive the word of command ‘walk on’. An incredible dog.At the age of 14 her back legs gave up on her and we had to take the awful decision to end her life. She left us with an incredible back catalogue of wonderful memories. She had her favourite places and she knew when we were driving close to them. A number one place would be Chatsworth House. She even knew which cattle grid we had driven across before we reached its car park. Amazing.


Life without a dog took a different turn for us. I had retired from the Fire and Rescue Service only to discover, two years later, that I have advanced prostate cancer. The metastases associated with this cancer are in my spine my ribs my collarbone and my pelvis. On diagnosis my prognosis was 18 to 24 months. That was overs five years ago! This, coupled with my wife’s battle with two rounds of sepsis and periods in intensive care and coronary care, led us to buy this wonderful property in the heart of the village in Derbyshire.
Since moving here we have completely embraced community life, getting involved with as many projects and initiatives as possible in the village.

Life without a dog was good, it gave us the freedom to know that we could go on long cycle rides for the entire day and not worry about any separation anxiety and leaving our dog at home alone. It also allowed us to attend some community events that we would otherwise would not have been able to, once again leaving a dog home alone for prolonged periods of time.

That period of freedom eventually gave way to a realisation that life with a dog is inevitably richer. So then I began a search. Since being diagnosed with this terminal disease I have had the good fortune of being able to walk my daughter down the aisle and hold not one but two grandchildren in my arms, something, that without the help of the medical team keeping me as healthy as possible for as long as possible, would not have been possible.

Having two grandchildren under the age of two led to a long search for a dog to give a forever home to. The majority of websites and organisations that offer rescue Labradors also have caveats that usually state a dog can be rehomed in a home with children over the age of 10 or 12. After more than a year of searching I came across this wonderful organisation. On its website was golden Labrador called Bam. The accompanying information was scant but the limited history available told us that he came from a family with two children under the age of two. We were therefore confident that he would be more than happy and indeed safe with both of our grandchildren.

I sent an email to LRSE&C via the Love Your Labrador website and explained our situation. We were quickly contacted by Jane who asked us some further questions about our background and situation and, although we live outside of their usual catchment area, she said she felt that we would suit this particular dog and that he would suit us. 

We drove across to Sleaford, to the kennels where Bam was being kept, and met him for a short space of time in their paddock. That first meeting was not one that you would consider a complete success. He was completely disinterested in us, being completely engaged in searching the ground across the whole of the paddock. On that first occasion he barely made eye contact with us. We slipped a lead on him and took him for a short walk in the fields next door to the kennels, or should I say he took us for a drag. I did manage to get him to sit, and he took a treat instantly from my hand. Some little progress we thought.

We stayed nearby in a lovely hotel in Woodhall Spa and discussed our options over dinner. Both of us were really taken with Bam and we decided to bite the bullet and bring him home.

The next day we returned to the kennel and had a second battle to put him into a harness so we could secure him in the rear of our car for the journey home. The journey home was around an hour and a half, and for the first 45 minutes for Bam went nuts! It was plain that he was under immense stress, completely unsure as to what was about to happen to him. By the time we got home our car was about 3 feet deep in Labrador fur, and poor old Bam stank.

That evening I took Bam for his first village walk. It was raining. As cars drove down our hill the hiss from the tyres in the rain panicked Bam and he did his level best to throw himself, barking, at every passing car. It was terrifying.

That night we made it as comfortable as possible for him in the kitchen and stayed up until around midnight trying to make him feel at home. We both lay in bed for a least an hour without speaking to one another expecting howling and scratching from him. This did not happen. The next day when we woke he was calm and comfortable in the kitchen, but he still stank.

Off we went to our first floor shower and it was then I discovered just how much he loves water. For the next 20 minutes I had a battle and immense fun working his fur into an incredible lather and then rinsing him to bring him up smelly sweet. Two baths later and he was smelling sweeter.

It quickly became apparent that poor old Bam, who by this time had been rechristened Sam, had and has issues. He has now been with us for nine months and in that time we discovered that he has a particular issue with people dressed in black. This becomes very apparent when we take him out to a restaurant or pub. Any of the serving staff wearing black, delivering food or clearing plates, coming towards our table, Sam will bark profusely, bare his teeth and lunge for the head of the waiter or waitress. It was terrifying. We have put a great deal of work into building Sam’s confidence around such people and now that we are fully aware of this issue, we warn staff about it and his reactions are becoming less and less, the more he is exposed.

It was also readily apparent that Sam had never been properly socialised, either with people or dogs. This has slowly changed over the last nine months, and in the last fortnight, following a great deal of training and support from the local dog training school called k9konnect I now have the confidence to allow him off the lead and to run and play with other dogs.

Sam has attended training in obedience and recall and we both enjoyed the experience immensely. Perhaps the most important piece of advice I got from the owner of the training school as we finished our last recall session was and is, you may have finished your training here with us but work with the dog never ends. You also need to remember that however much training you put into your dog and work with your dog they are still a dog and they will always let you down at some point in the future, they are just a dog.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are contemplating taking on a dog, whether it be from a pup or from a rescue organisation, always remember that it’s going to mean a lot of hard work most of it from you.
Sam is now a wonderful addition to our family and we can’t wait to explore the country with him. Thank you LRSE&C we couldn’t have done it without you!

In March 2020, we escaped our one bed flat in South-East London and moved in with family in Norfolk for what we thought would be a two-week lockdown. We spent time enjoying the countryside and caring for the  senior four-legged family member, Zack (also fromLRSE&C).

Zack was a very-special dog to us both and he taught us so much about ourselves, the importance of patience and the power of love.

Although he was an old man, he was full of life and released his inner puppy every time he found Alice in the kitchen baking dog friendly treats, especially his favourite cheese dinosaur biscuits. Although he did not make it to our wedding in August 2021, he featured on our wedding cake, and we feel this was the perfect place for him to be! Millie (also from LRSE&C) was an honorary Bridesmaid and took on the role of ring bearer.

After nine months of restrictions and lockdowns in 2020, we decided not to go back to London and instead bought our first home (with a garden suitable for doggy playtimes) in Cambridgeshire. After Alexander’s lifetime experience of family dogs and our joint experience of caring for Zack and more recently Millie, we knew our home would not be complete without our own four-legged family member, so once we had settled into our home we started to apply for dogs on the LRSE&C website.

In March 2022, we got the call we had been waiting for and started the process of rehoming Teddy, our now 11 month old black Labrador.

Having a dog in our home, especially such a young and energetic dog, was definitely a lifestyle change for us, but he is settling into our home and into his new routine quickly. He still has his cheeky monkey moments, but with regular walks, playtime, training and the all-important cuddles, he is becoming much calmer and a very happy boy indeed. Teddy loves to explore the countryside and he looks longingly at the river whenever we pass on our walks. He is desperate to explore off-lead and we hope that he will be able to do this soon, once we are more confident in his recall. Teddy makes friends with anyone he finds, from butterflies, to other dogs and people (especially people with treats in their pockets!). He is extremely sociable and we look forward to taking him to group classes and letting him off-lead on walks with doggy friends once we have mastered his basic training. Every day, Teddy’s confidence grows and as he settles more and more, we look forward to seeing more of his playful, cheeky and loving personality coming though.

Thank you Jane and Jacky for finding us our best friend and for trusting us to provide the home and life that Teddy deserves, full of love, patience, treats and lots of outdoor exploration sessions!

Alice & Alexander 

Max & Duke
Update from Louise their new owner

The first of February 2022 was a particularly special day for us as we were blessed with these two beautiful boys, Max & Duke.

We had seen them on the website for Labrador Rescue SE&C & fell in love

immediately but we didn’t think we had a chance as they were out of our area but we both just kept looking.

Their eyes just were telling us they had so much love to give & they have done just that since being with us, as I am sure they have done in their previous home.

We then decided we should contact to see if there was any chance we could try & adopt. Everyone we have spoken to have been amazing & helped us give Max & Duke their forever home & we can’t thank them enough.

Our first contact was Jane who was amazing & put everything in place for a home check with Jackie & then our meet up with the boys with Dawn, which was pretty emotional, seeing them & being able to bring them home.

They have from day 1 brought us, & will continue to bring us, so much joy. They are 2 amazing boys, full of love & mischief, obviously!

Please don’t be put off by a dog who has been living in a kennel previously, as they have both adapted well to being in a home environment. We have had no accidents at all, apart from one cocked leg on the first night by our elderly boy Max, which, to be honest, is nothing to even mention in the case of a working dog who has not lived in a house for any of his 11 years!

We can’t thank everyone enough for helping us to have these boys as a part of our family as they are so very special & loved so very much. Thank you!

“They have brought us so much joy”

A short story from our Link Magazine.

Bonnie By Elaine Tolliday

As a health care professional, I have becoming increasingly interested in equine and canine trauma support. When I had the good fortune to adopt Bonnie ; a 9 year old black lab, I realised early on that she had something special.
She is gentle and patient, and has this amazing ability to help humans feel calm. I started to take her to work, and watched her sit quietly next to colleagues whilst they talked. She seemed to love the fuss, and never tired of seeing people. I therefore decided to apply to Pets as Therapy. After an application to make sure all was in order for me (references, DBS etc) Bonnie had her assessment.
Our assessor marked her on how
she interacted with people and other dogs, how she walked on and off a lead, how she responded to being stroked, poked and groomed. Treats were offered, and expected to be taken gently ( the biggest challenge for a lab), she had to walk past noise, banging bin lids and wait patiently whilst I chatted. She passed with flying colours!
After uploading all her vaccinations and completing all the paperwork we excitedly awaited our approval. So far, she has been to a few support sessions I have run with healthcare colleagues, and visited the young people at SENSE, an education environment for young adults with multi sensory disorders, and complex needs. There was much excitement, and lots of smiles as she sat quietly next to the young people in wheelchairs, and laid on the floor with a young man. She coped brilliantly with being stroked, and the noise of the young people. The nurses and Doctors love seeing her. They talk about the stresses of work and feel calm and relaxed when with her. One of the team, said “she has a calmness about her which radiates to all of us”.
She certainly has a special quality and a gift.

StreetVet is the brainchild of two vets, Jade Statt and Sam Joseph, who (unbeknownst to each other) started walking the streets of London and offering free veterinary advice to homeless pet owners. Several years later StreetVet is a registered charity offering outreach ‘street clinics’ in seventeen towns and cities across the UK. Each city runs as a fully-accredited veterinary practice providing free advice, treatment and basic essentials to hundreds of pets. But this is no small feat and it very much relies on professional volunteers, industry support and charitable donations.

Many of the StreetVet volunteers also work in veterinary practices and going out on the streets with a stethoscope and backpack provides a very stark contrast to their regular work day. As you can imagine, sessions are challenging. Examining excited or nervous dogs on a busy shopping street with traffic, sirens and general pandemonium is not always easy, but the reassurance they provide and the personal connection the volunteers have with the owners and their pets is priceless. Our volunteers pride themselves on gaining the trust of their regular clients, and in doing so, helping to make their lives a bit easier in some small way.

 The mainstay of StreetVet’s service is to provide preventative healthcare:  vaccinations, worming, flea treatments and microchips. However, contrary to popular belief, the majority of their patients are older and many have been with their owners long before they became homeless. Canine arthritis is a huge issue for the older dogs, and can be challenging to manage when the dogs have to travel everywhere with their owners on foot. During colder months, this is a very difficult condition to manage for those that are ‘street sleepers’. Symptoms can be subtle such as ‘slowing down on walks’, refusing to go up or down steps/jump onto seats, mild lameness and toe dragging. Owners often prioritise their dog  over all else and as a result it is not uncommon for them to miss important appointments to the detriment of the owner’s own personal health and wellbeing.

Thankfully StreetVet are able to help by providing dog buggies and arthritis treatment, such as pain relief, alongside other complementary therapies (acupuncture, massage, laser therapy), all of which hugely improve the dog (and owner’s) quality of life.

 StreetVet is extremely proud of how their volunteers have managed to continue to provide care to their patients throughout the pandemic. But sadly their service is needed now more than ever. On a more optimistic note, StreetVet’s new Accredited Hostel Scheme is being expanded to more areas of the UK, giving hope that some of the pets and their owners will be able to access a safer living environment and this might be the stepping stone towards a happier, more secure  future for them and their pet.

 Our photo features Bruno who has been supported by LRSEC who provided his new mobility Harness.

 This is a truly invaluable service that is preventing many potential cases of loss and heartache in the

  homeless community and hope will protect that very special human-animal bond for many years to come.

We love to hear the stories of the wonderful dogs we rehome. Here is Rusty’s story, which the Sibley family have kindly given us permission to share.…….

We adopted Rusty from LRSEC when he was 8 months old as a companion for our other Lab Harvey, and in no time at all the pair were inseparable. Rusty was described as one of the most destructive dogs LRSEC had ever rescued having nearly demolished his previous owner’s home. Despite knowing this, having met him we guessed that this was probably down to boredom and a lack of exercise. He soon settled into life with us, loving his long runs in the woods and parklands with his best friend Harvey, and cuddles on the sofa in the evening. He was cheeky, loving and the most ingenious food thief that we’ve ever met, but we loved him unconditionally and that love was returned tenfold and more.

Sadly, we lost Harvey shortly before lockdown and there’s no doubt that Rusty missed him terribly. However, lockdown meant that the whole family were there 24/7 to make sure that Rusty was never alone and fussed unmercifully. Towards the end arthritis in his hips started to slow him up but with a good combination of meds he still enjoyed his walks, in comfort, albeit at a more sedate pace. He was two months shy of his 13th birthday when a routine blood test revealed he had inoperable Cancer, and on 10th December 2021 we had no option but to say goodbye. Heartbroken doesn’t do justice to how we felt and still do, but the purpose of our message is to thank LRSEC for giving us the chance to adopt one of the most remarkable Dogs we have ever known. Not only did he get a loving Forever Home but he changed and enriched all our lives in so many positive ways. The Sibley Family

Everyone at LRSEC understands that pain and sends our sincere condolences to the Sibleys and anyone else suffering the same. Sadly it’s the price we have to pay for all the love and happiness dogs bring to our lives, which is why we carry on finding forever loving homes for all the wonderful dogs that come into our care; to share the good times over and over again.

CRUFTS by Jennifer Edington

Sunday March 13th started off a bit of a wet one, but by the time we had been whisked up the M40 to the NEC (thanks Ian, who refused petrol money, so we put it in the LRSEC Fund), the sun was shining and we entered the Crufts halls along with multiple breeds and their owners for Gun Dog day. 

Carmel had coordinated the day, so Ian plus Byron ChoP, Jackie plus Woody and Jenny set up the stand to promote the charity and highlight what a super breed the Labrador Retriever is. 

Vanessa and cuddly Benson joined us, as did Sam, and Mr. Steve, with the lovely Gizzy in his chariot, and Carmel and waggy Bella. We had a great day chatting to people who clearly love labradors as much as us. There was lots of interest in why on earth labradors would need rehoming. Of course there can be many reasons: family dynamics changing, other new arrivals, people’swork circumstances changing as well as people not realising what they have taken on when they choose their snuggly pup. It is very rarely the dog’s fault that they seek a forever home. 

All the dogs received lots of fuss and cuddles from new friends. Many had tales to tell of their own beloved pets.

We celebrated Mr. Byron ChoP’s tenth birthday with Sardine and Tuna cake, made by Jackie, shared amongst the four pawed party goers. Our Chairman, Richard Best turned up in time for the human cake, taking a breather from his role as duty vet.

We heard from a gentleman who was delighted to have rehomed a dog early in lockdown summer of 2020. He told us that the dog was now happily settled and many of his previous ailments are now resolved. His profession as a vet may have had some bearing on this. He said he is eternally grateful to have welcomed him into their home.

We took turns to fetch refreshments and fit in a bit of shopping before heading home with some very tired Labradors.