Friday, August 20, 2010

Because of Teddy....

ALR Family and Friends,

In February of 2001, I did something that changed my life and possibly many of yours as well. I rescued a golden retriever that I named Teddy.

For months I attended adoptions, looking for a yellow female and each time got passed over for a “stay at home mom” with a pool and a house at the lake. Finally, after my fourth Adoption Day, they called about my third choice, a 2 year old red male, which wasn’t at all what I was looking for and I wondered why I had even put him on my list? The next day the foster called and we set up a visit. Reluctantly, I drove to Peachtree City to meet “Ash.” I had no intention of adopting him, but the foster told me there was another shelter dog waiting to take his space, so of course, I signed the papers and we headed home.

The first few days were a disaster. He was apparently a country dog and he was on a mission to escape my small fenced yard, which he did successfully about three times in the first two days. To make matters worse, he had no personality and wanted nothing to do with me. After 3-4 days of this, I decided he wasn’t the dog for me and I called the foster to return him. Of course there was NO foster available, so they asked if I could hang onto him for a day or two more. Well, the very next day Ash did a complete turnaround and he was here to stay. I changed his name to Teddy and he quickly became my constant companion and co-pilot. I was so excited about my rescue experience and this great new friend, that I decided I’d like to help more dogs like Teddy find forever homes.

Teddy became the “Ambassadog” to the 600+ dogs that came to live with us over the years, patiently sharing my time and his home with 4-5 fosters, often at the same time. He welcomed each new dog accordingly, taking it all in stride, which wasn’t the case with my other dogs, who made it their mission to keep them in their place. One by one my family and friends all found themselves with dogs they never knew they wanted, but soon couldn’t live without. The passion became a mission and we decided to start our own rescue in 2007. Since every dog in every shelter is described as a “lab” or “lab mix,” we decided to start Atlanta Lab Rescue. With lots of help and support, and by partnering with other groups around the country, we’ve pulled, transported and rescued over 2,500 dogs...and it’s all because of a slightly raggedy red retriever named Teddy.

About a month ago I found out that Ted had liver cancer. Monday, after a brief and very brave fight, we said goodbye to him. At home surrounded by friends he went with a smile on his face, wagging his tail. Teddy’s big goofy grin was hard to resist and constantly reminded me how lucky I was. My heart is truly breaking and I find it hard to believe how much this dog changed my life for the better. Someone gave me a book a couple of years ago called “Rescuing Sprite by Mark Levin, a nationally syndicated broadcaster. The book talks about a dog he rescued named Sprite and how this dog enriched his life, it’s a must read for anyone who has rescued a dog.

This week we’ve taken in 6 more dogs (so far), including Laurel a yellow lab in Warner Robins shelter  that has been so neglected she’s developed a skin condition and chronic ear infection that are literally torturing her. Our bank account has about $1000 in it which will barely cover Laurel ’s vet bills, and I’m told we can’t afford anymore dogs right now, but how do we say no to her or any of the other 5? Someday they too may change someone’s life…God bless all of you who open your hearts and homes to these dogs to foster and adopt and those who so faithfully support our efforts.

Thank you,
Becky Cross
Co-founder/Director Atlanta Lab Rescue
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