After nearly 12 years with us, we lost Romy, our yellow Lab, to illness in the fall of 2010. While the ache of that loss never went away entirely, we did get to the point where we were considering bringing another Labrador into our family.
One day, we happened upon the Indi Lab website. It looked like exactly what we wanted: a caring place from which to adopt our favorite breed of family companion. We completed the adoption application in late January 2011, got approved after our house visit, and assumed--like prospective adoptive parents waiting for a child--that it might be a very long time before we'd found a match.
Happily, that wasn't the case. On Super Bowl Sunday, we received a phone call from one of Indi Lab's foster parents, saying that she had a dog for us to meet. The heck with the Big Game; we were off to meet Hershey, an eight-year-old, female, chocolate Lab. She was everything we could have asked for: great disposition, tail wagging in overdrive and a dog that would follow you anywhere.
Yes, we made a love connection and adopted her on the spot. After an initial adjustment period (for some reason, she was a little skittish walking from carpet to tile floors), Hershey's settled into our home and our hearts. The tail's still wagging, she still follows us everywhere and she loves going on walks and fetching her favorite rope and football toys. And after only the quickest of family discussions, she's still Hershey--what better name for a sweet chocolate Lab?
Thank you Indi Lab for your commitment to finding homes for these wonderful dogs, and thank you for giving us the joy of adopting Hershey.
Libby's Story : a VERY special rescue Lab
Libby was rescued by Indi Lab Rescue in 2009. She is now celebrating her 1 year anniversary with her new loving family.
When Libby was adopted, her new little girl made the entire family sign a contact vowing to accept Libby and love her as a genuine part of their family for the rest of her life. It was a child that first told us how special Libby was, and it wasn't long before we found out that Libby's love of children was more than something special - it was her calling.
Libby came to us from an extremely high kill Los Angeles County shelter where
she was in immediate danger of euthanasia. She didn't
seem to realize her life was in danger when she jumped in the car with
another Lab, wiggling and wagging and just happy to be going for a
"ride" - yet had we not been there that day, it may have been Libby's last day alive.
So much has changed in this Labby girl's life.
Libby loves children more than anything else. And not just "her" children - ALL children. Her gentle loving and patient nature made Libby the perfect candidate for therapy work. Libby is now a certified therapy dog who helps special children learn to read.
She is a volunteer pup with the BARK reading program for children. Libby worked very closely with our volunteer Roxann to get where she needed to be. Roxann made all of this possible and we are so proud of her and all our dedicated volunteers. We now have SEVERAL Labs in the BARK reading therapy dog program!
Please see the photos of Libby with her family and the photo of Libby with her mom and Roxann, our dedicated volunteer who's own dog Abbey is a BARK reading therapy dog!
Please view Libby's video to see why we do what we do. And we warn you... get out the Kleenex, you will for sure cry tears of joy.
To help dogs JUST like Libby who are in danger every day, please donate today. Any amount no matter how small, can help save a life. A life just like Libby's.
Libby with her girls and mom and her new certificate!
Roxann, Berlynn (Libby's mom) and Libby!
DeeDee Happy Tails!
Dee Dee is VERY happy in her new home :) She loves to sniff your face, she sleeps a lot (and snores the cutest snore), loves to play, and loves to chase around the remote control car we got her.
She is SHOWERED with non-stop attention, affection, and love. Everybody on our block loves Dee Dee and always comments on how pretty and wonderful she is.
Dee Dee is so gentle, affectionate, kind, protective, beautiful and is such a WONDERFUL and PERFECT cuddle bug. She is just the BEST dog.
We loves to dress Dee Dee in coats and jackets!!! Since Dee Dee is and XXL she fills out her coats and dresses wonderfully, like a fatty piggy.
We can't imagine our life without this Angel. She loves going for walks and eating (of course) and she seems do be doing much better with her arthritis and loves to be on her back getting belly scratches :)
We want to get more senior labs as soon as we are able!!! Indi Lab note:
DeeDee was a very special rescue for us. At 8 years old and almost 114 lbs, her family had not only neglected DeeDee and let her get so fat she could not walk at all due to arthritis and weight, they actually threw her away in one of the highest kill shelters in all of California.
Even Lab Rescues did not want to take DeeDee in thinking she was unadoptable due to her inability to walk and her weight and depression, but we could NOT let DeeDee die in that horrible place. Through weeks of weight loss, medicine, massage, and slow rehab, this girl came back to life.
We saw DeeDee's heart and it was pure beauty. We imagined her as a a puppy butterball and how much everyone loved her and we wanted that for her again.
Seeing DeeDee now with her loving family means everything to us. DeeDee you are the best!
Eva & Gigi (now Belle and Tiara) Happy Tails!
I could send you a ton of pictures of the dogs since they are so photogenic, but I've tried to pick just a few of our favorites.
After the first day of not wanting to go in the car, they are now avid car riders since they know they are going somewhere fun. They love the dog park at Tuckers grove, all walking paths, and the beach. On Thanksgiving we took them on our traditional beach walk to Ellwood Mesa. They were off leash the whole time and enjoyed meeting other fury friends, but always came back when we called. They followed one dog into the water before they knew what was going on. They are still not sure of the ocean but I'm sure that is just a matter of time.
They are getting both a morning and afternoon walk and Belle is consistently loosing weight. Belle is getting much more playful and it is a site to see her run with fur and fat a flying. Tiana is definitely the one out front, the first to say hi to any new experience.
They are both terrific with other dogs and people and they have gotten many flattering compliments. It is very easy to get attached to this pair. They are very loving and are well integrated with the family. The dogs have been great about the cats, but the cats at first were very frightened. The little cat has now ventured out when the dogs are sleeping at our feet and the cat will sit in our lap. The bigger boy cat is still tentative but is coming around. Through all this the dogs have been very calm and respectful of the cats so it is just a matter of time and a little bravery on the cats part.
The gifts they have... gentle spirits, happy natures and a love of people and other dogs!
Dixon (now Winston) happy tails!
Dear Donna, Kim, Susan and the other wonderful people at Indi Lab Rescue,
Just wanted to update you on our beloved lab, Winston (Dixon when he was rescued from the Downey shelter in July 2009). We absolutely adore our boy! He will be six in January, and he has been such a wonderful addition to our family! He was the STAR on our Christmas card last year - I've attached that photo for you! He was still a bit heavy at that time - he has gone from 94 pounds down to a healthy 72 pounds - daily walks and a good diet do wonders for a lab's waistline! He is the sweetest dog, and we feel blessed every day that we have him in our lives.
Thanks for all of the work that you do to help these fabulous dogs find their forever homes. Winston has his, and I've just made a contribution to IndiLabRescue so that other dogs will be as lucky!
Have a wonderful Holiday Season! Most sincerely, Chris and Mark and Winston!
Indi Lab Dog Rummy and volunteer Niki
Burgan do Water Rescue!
When members of Indi Lab
volunteer Niki Burgan’s family died in a small-plane crash off the
Carlsbad coast in 2007, she was convinced that search-and-rescue dogs
could have recovered her stepfather’s body.
The bodies of her mother and sister were found, but her stepfather’s
body was never recovered. Burgan has been on a mission ever since.
“I’d like to see a lifeguard dog program develop like the K-9 units
for police officers,” said Burgan, a Calforniasenior park aide who oversees special projects such as the
Carlsbad Beach Fest.
“Why couldn’t lifeguards have canine backup for safety and rescue and
retrieval? They would be one more tool in the public safety tool belt,”
Burgan, who has earned search-and-rescue certification through the
National Association for Search and Rescue, has worked throughout
California, and on other missing-person searches since 2001, including
those for Danielle van Dam and Amber Dubois in San Diego County.
With the support of the California Department of Parks and
Recreation, Burgan has volunteered to train her own dogs to start a
program to rescue drowning victims and search for missing people in
Rummy, 6, is a yellow Labrador retriever in the NASAR
process. Bivy, a 9-year-old Australian cattle dog, is already
for search and rescue, and was used in the van Dam case. Burgan’s friend
and assistant Sandra Dickerman and her black Lab, Coasta, are also part
of the team.
Rummy, a Independent Labrador Retriever Rescue
adopted dog to Niki Burgan, carries a rescue buoy during training at
San Elijo State Beach. For their own safety, the dogs wear "float coats"
-- life jackets that allow natural movement.
Dash (formerly Chase) Happy Tails!
Dear Indi Lab Rescue:
Today is Dash's (Chase) one-year anniversary with us. A Happy Day indeed! It's about time I sent you an update on him for the "Happy Ending" page.
Dash, as was mentioned in his profile on your website, is a truly happy, playful and sweet dog who loves stuffed toys. He likes to take anything that resembles these toys, like my leopard slippers. He never destroys them but just hopes that you’ll come and play with him. Dash loves to frolic with other dogs and especially enjoys being chased by them, hence his name. He’s frequented many dog parks up and down the entire west coast. Dash’s favorite place is a beach in Washington State where he gets great exercise chasing the birds. It’s wonderful to watch him in what is purely doggie heaven.
Since Dash is so eager to please he’s been quite trainable and is now a very, very good boy. We just love him to pieces. He’s so much fun, totally huggable and gives the best kisses too!
For a fellow who was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Carson, his is a story with a real “Happy Ending!”
Thank you Indi Lab Rescue for bringing Dash into our lives and for all the good you do for these remarkable creatures.
Best regards, Claudia
Bart (now Barkley) Happy Times!
Barkley is asleep at my feet and is the best dog ever!
He is so happy and is a total little lover. He gets up on the bed at night between my girlfriend and I and sleeps right between us with all four legs up in the air totally stretched out.
He is very happy and also amazing in the car, which makes taking him places much easier and fun.
Here are a couple of pics. He came to a St Patrick's day festival with us up in Ventura. (the ears were Amanda's idea).
Thanks again for all you guys do!
Hope you are well,
(a note on Bart: Bart came from one of the highest kill shelters around where he was already in danger of euthanasia. Look at him now!)
Tulip (now Abby Gail) Happy Tails
Tulip came from one of the highest kill shelters known.
Dear Indi Lab Rescue:
Thank you very much.
Abby Gail is such a wonderful dog!!! We are so fortunate to have her.
I should really call her 'my shadow' as she follows me everywhere around the house. If I move from one chair to another...she moves too. If I go from the living room to the kitchen, where she can still see me, she comes too. She is never a bother, just always there around me, near me, very quiet and gentle. What a love.
We love to play ball!
I would have more photos of her...but I'm always me holding the camera and she's stays so close...it's hard to get far enough way to get a good photo.
I attached a few photos, our Sandy dog is doing great too.
I've been telling everyone about your website. People can hardly believe we recently rescued Abby.
Thank you for making this all possible!
We really appreciate it.
Valerie & Ann
two perfect Labbies!
Abby Gail and Sandy play Tugga!
Tulip (Abby Gail) and sister Sandy
Sable (now Lola) Happy Tails!
Dear Indi Lab Rescue:
2 years ago today Lola was delivered to my home and my life has never been the same.
I wanted to again thank you for the excellent care you gave Lola in her short time with you.
Because of her temperament and a bit of training on my part, she is now a full fledged member of the BARK reading program and listens to kids read to her every week in a Long Beach elementary school. She also goes to Long Beach Memorial Hospital and spreads her sunshine with the patients there including the oncology ward, the hospital personnel and the waiting room!
(BARK is a volunteer program that encourages children to increase their reading skills by reading aloud to certified therapy dogs. Students find it intimidating to read in front of classmates, but love to read to the non-judgmental, calming dogs.)
I even bring Lola to work!
We did our first 5k together and truly Lola charmed the whole city of Seal Beach. I always tell everyone she was adopted through Lab rescue and how fulfilling my life is with her.
So thank you so very much, all of you. My dog is my best friend, she adores my sons and seems to just smile at the world. We all feel blessed by her presence and look forward to many happy years to come.
Enjoy the pictures! Love, Karen and Lola
Muddy's Happily Ever After!
We love Muddy! He's doing great. Here's a couple pictures. The most recent on Easter with his Easter Bonnet!
I've also attached a link to a video of him playing with Lili in our arena with our horses. He has a totally new life! He loves the ranch and running free!
Muddy has lots of names now.. Mud Waffle, Mud Wafa, and Dylan's favorite Bernie Mudolf the master mind behind an e-Labrador ponzi scheme!
He's the greatest dog on the planet!
We will always think about you guys and will refer everyone we know to you to save more beautiful labs.
Lots of Love, Muddy's new family Juliet-Dylan-Chloe-Liliana Rose
A note about Mully from Indi Lab Rescue:
Muddy came to us in horrible shape requiring major surgery. Without rescue, Muddy would have been put to sleep. He had no other options.
To see dogs like Muddy come to us and then bring so much to their new loving families never stops filling us with the need to continue to save these Labradors who give us so much.
This Labrador is an exception boy with outstanding temperament who is wonderful with children. We feel blessed to have saved this boy's life.
Apollo (now Burkley) Happy Tails!
I must thank you and all those involved with ILRR. We adore Burkley (formerly known as Apollo). He is exactly what we were looking for in a companion….and more. I’m attaching a photo of Burkley meeting our daughter’s Lab, Dakota. Those two hit it off immediately and are already best of friends. Dan throws two balls simultaneously so they each have one to retrieve. And we discovered that Burkley can carry two in his mouth at one time!
He is a big gentle giant: totally housebroken, doesn’t chew, bark unnecessarily, doesn’t jump on people or beg for food. We had friends over for dinner Saturday night and they were astonished at how well-behaved he is after being with us only two days. He has already learned that when we say “bed”—that he is to go to his dog bed in the TV room. Which is about 5 feet from the couch. Last night he decided he wanted to be closer so got off his bed and dragged it over to my feet and then got back on it. He is a very smart dog.
If he sees me pick up my purse or either of us head for the garage, he’s on his feet and raring to go because “that means a ride!” We’ve been to the dog park and the park by our house for a run every day. Plus he and Dan play ball in the backyard endlessly. I have to repeat: He is a perfect dog.
I don’t know why he ended up in a shelter, but I can only assume his original owners must have been heartbroken to give him up. He looks sad at times…I think he is still adjusting to all the changes in his life, but we learned from our previous dog (also a rescue) that it will take awhile for him to totally get used to his new home and us….and stop missing his previous family.
One more thing…he likes cats! When we took him to our daughter’s house, her big old fat tom cat walked into the room, walked up to Burkley and they touched noses. He made no effort to chase Puss Puss at all and later he, Dakota and the cat lay down watching the birds through the sliding door. No issues whatsoever.
A thank-you is just not enough in this case. Please thank everyone involved in your wonderful organization. The process was so easy and we are very happy. Thanks so much again for all you’ve done for us and Burkley.
Allie (formerly Ruby) happy ending!
Hey Indi Lab Rescue,
Thought I would touch base with you and share a few pics of Allie. It's been almost a year and we've had a number of great adventures together. She's the same sweetheart today that she was when she left your care.
Want to know a few of her funny quirks?
To this day she's never let out a true bark. A yelp or whimper when at the groomer, but she's never barked. Strange, but I think I'm grateful!
She loves baths! Another blessing. She literally jumps into the shower on her own.
She has a very, very sensitive stomach. This is in regards to food or the smallest piece of a bone or chew toy she may swallow. We've had a couple ugly (and smelly) episodes requiring me to wear elbow length yellow gloves. But, ultimately California Natural has become her staple food.
Speaking of toys, she has no interest in any toys other than tennis balls. She's a pretty cheap date. And we're still working on bringing the ball back after it's been chased down. She'll do it, but only when something better doesn't catch her attention and detour her.
I know all dogs love their belly rubbed, but... I've never met one that expects it and asks for it as much as Allie. Gooooodness.
At the dog park, after she has sniffed the perimeter she is the hostess with the mostest. She will greet every dog at the park and then run to the gate when a new dog arrives to greet them into the park. Such a lady.
Well, just wanted to give you a peak into the life of a wonderful dog that you pulled from a shelter and matched with a guy who is so happy to have her in his life. Me. She's a healthy, happy little girl that hardly ever leaves my side.
Thank you, thank you! David
Diver and Piper happy tails!
Diver, (Formerly Dover, the lab) and his new BFF, Piper (Formerly Mona2, the Weimaraner), at Seaside State Beach and the San Elijo lagoon trail.
Even though they were adopted a month apart from your rescue, the dogs are best buddies, and both are so great with the kids! Piper has yet to sleep with our teenager, and instead likes to cuddle Diver on the dog bed, then crawl up on our bed in the middle of the night and get under the sheets!
Diver snores and dreams of running trails, as his paws twitch and he makes "happy" sounds in his sleep. Our 3-year-old says "Diver is chasing bunnies in his dream!" While Piper suffered an injury when she was a pup in the whelping box (so we are told by the breeder that we rescued her from), and her legs don't work independently while running, it has in no way deterred her from keeping pace with Diver, and she "hops" over him in many instances, enticing him to chase her. It is totally adorable.
Thanks for everything. Our family is now complete (I think!). We may always have room for another amazing 4-legged friend!
Boomer! Happy Tails!
Just wanted to give you an update on Boomer.
He is the most loving and loyal dog around. He loves to sleep with "his boy" Taylor, our 12 year old son.
He had his first snow day this past weekend, and he LOVED it!!! The kids would throw snow balls for him, and he chased them all day long. He spent the past summer out on the lake with our boat, and swam everyday.
We are so grateful to Indi Lab Rescue for bringing Boomer into our lives. He has brought us so much joy and happiness, and we couldn't imagine life without him.
Thank you again for trusting us to be Boomer's "Forever Family"!!!
Nery (now Mikey!)
Nery (now Mikey) on right with his new brother Spencer!
Mikey's new dad said:
"I renamed him to Mickey. He is so adorable. I love him so much and so does Spencer!
He is so wonderful. Like a gift from god."
Dixon (now named Winston)
To our Friends at Indi Lab Rescue,
Just wanted to say "hi" and to thank you again for our wonderful dog, Winston. You got him from the Downey shelter in July and had named him Dixon. As Kim said when she brought him to us, "he is a little heavy." Well, he left the shelter at 94 pounds, and now weighs in at 76 1/2 and we absolutely adore him! He has brought us so much happiness. He is the sweetest dog in the world. We take daily walks, and go to a dog park several times a week. We are thankful every day that we have him! (Remember, we lost our 13 1/2 year old yellow lab in May.)
Many thanks again for all of the wonderful work that you do.
Lilly's Happy Ending
love story!!!! Lilly came to us an abused, petrified girl who was skin
and bones. She was very sick with kennel cough and confused.
It took a little time but once Lilly knew she was loved and safe, she started to blossom.
At only 10 months of age, Lilly had already given birth to a litter of puppies. So sad.
was so gentle and loving in her foster home, we knew she would be
wonderful with little children so when her new family came to us
looking for a sweet Lab that would be gentle with their grandchildren,
we knew it was a fit!!!
Lilly is living her dream life now. Her mom and dad love her to pieces and she is spoiled - something she never new before.
Lilly is healthy and gaining weight. She is turning into a beautiful yellow Labrador.
It never seems to matter how bad a dog has had it. They have the most beautiful gift of forgiveness and strongest desire to love.
She is so fortunate to have come into our rescue and to have found just the best, most loving home.
CJ's Happy Ending!!!
CJ is just the best dog ever! He came to us after his owner suffered serious illness and financial trouble and was no longer able to care for CJ.
It was heartbreaking for his owner to let CJ go. His daughers were wonderful and brought CJ to us. They were so concerned for CJ and what would happen to him, but we promised them we would take the best care of CJ and find him the BEST home possible. And as you can see this boy is very, very loved!
CJ has spent months locked in a crate at his owners home after he was forced to move. He had very little exercise or attention. When he came to us he still needed to be neuterd and get his vaccines and microchip, and he had a terrible ear infection.
CJ was a star in his foster home. It became very apparent very quickly that CJ was a nut for the tennis ball and pool. His new owners tell us he is a star at the dog park too where he outruns every other dog and always gets the ball first!
CJ is so loved in his new home. His mom and dad adore him. He has become his moms walking partner and they share so much time together.
We are so blessed to have the wonderful families we have. Families that only want to give a Lab a loving home.
Thank you so much CJ's family for being who you are and giving CJ his dream home and dream life!
Sam's happy ending!
Sam (formerly Porter) has a very happy ending. This gorgeous huge male Lab was adopted by a wonderful family.
Sam was found abandoned when his owners moved out and left him and his sister Betty in the yard. Sam's sister Betty is also on this page. She was adopted and lives with another adopted Lab Hunter. You can read about them below. The dogs were left with nothing but dirty water. We fed them daily and provided fresh water until the courts finally allowed us to take the dogs out of the filthy yard and into foster.
Here is what Sam's owners have to say....
" He is doing so amazing! It has been so much fun watching him settle in and change everyday. Our friends and new friends at the park comment everyday what a different dog he is from when we first got him. He is playing with other dogs and even loved my 6 year old niece who came to visit! We have taken a few trips with Sam - he got to experience snow this winter (snow was clearly a new experience for him) and just recently got back from a trip to the Sierras where he learned to swim and fetch sticks in the water - although he still will not fetch anything on dry land (kinda funny).
Here are some pictures (I hope you can access the link). We have so many, it was hard to choose! I am amazed everyday that someone gave him up. Milton and I both love Sam so much, he is such a joy in our lives!"
What a great ending for this beautiful boy.
Gunnar enjoying life!!!
Gunnar was once known as Jolly when he was a foster dog in our rescue. He has since been renamed Gunnar by his new family.
Gunnar first came to us when a concerned volunteer called us telling us there was the sweetest boy in the highest kill shelter and that we had to get there as soon as possible.
When we first saw Gunnar in his kennel at the shelter we expected to see a petrified pup curled up in fear. What we saw instead was a wiggly, happy Lab who just wanted to kiss us! It was a done deal. Gunnar was coming with us.
Gunner is one of those Labs who makes you wonder why they ever ended up in a shelter in danger. This boy is beyond beautiful and with the best Labby temperament we'd seen.
Lucky for Gunner, he got out of what could have been a deadly situation and ended up with just the best home ever. We just could not have hoped for a more loving home to treasure this special boy.
Gunner enjoys his life of being loved, having tons of exercise, time with his family, laying on the couch and enjoying friends at the beach. These photos are of Gunner with one of his buddies romping through the waves.
Sometimes, it's just really good to be a Lab.
Summer's new life!
A wonderful family came to us not long ago looking for a young Labrador to love. This family's requests were simple: their new Lab had to be a loving and sweet dog that would be gentle with their young children and good with their 12 year old blind Labrador. We knew Summer was a fit!
Summer is loving her new life with this loving family! Here you can see her with her new little girls! One of them was heard saying "Summer, you're not my dog, you're my best friend. You're going to be my best friend for a long time." Hearing that brought tears to our eyes, knowing this gentle dog would have the love of these children for the rest of her life and knowing what her life would have been like without rescue - if she even had a chance to live being found in a high-kill shelter.
You can also see Summer laying in bed next to her new Labbie sister who is blind. Somehow we feel sure this is going to work out fine.
Congratulations Summer on your new life. And thank you Summer's new family for being who you are and giving Summer your love.
Dega's happy ending!
Dega was a tiny little underweight and sick girl from a very high kill shelter. Yet she was one of our all time favorite fosters. She was a pleasure to foster and so easy to fall in love with. She was so sick when we got her and her recovery took a long time.
Dega was adopted to the most wonderful home imaginable. Her mama and papa take Dega and her two sisters (a Labrador and a King Charles Spaniel) everywhere! Dega goes to the mountains, the lake, on her families houseboat and even in their airplane! She has found true love with her family who treasure her like she has always deserved.
Here are some wonderful photos of sweet Dega's travels in her new life. Imagine - from the cold, dirty floor of a high kill shelter to the family that adores her. Nothing could be more wonderful.
Betty and Homer's happy ending!
Betty a lovely purebred black Labby girl was abandoned at her home when her family moved out leaving her to fend for herself. She was left with nothing but dirty water in a filthy yard with her brother Porter (now Sam) who is also listed on this page above. For 2 weeks volunteers went daily to provide fresh food and water for the dogs until the courts finally allowed us to remove them from the property.
Homer was left at a Los Angeles shelter to await his fate - he was on the euthanasia list. He arrived as a stray dog and when his owners were found they told the shelter "we don't want him anymore, please put him down."
Now both Labradors worry only about which comfy bed to lay in, or whether to snuggle up to mom or dad. Both of these darling Labs were adopted into the same loving home where they will be treasured forever!
We feel so fortunate to have the loving dedicated families we do. The families are what make rescuing these dogs possible.