“My husband and I worked long hours. We didn’t think we had the time for a dog until we saw all the people coming and going in our apartment building with dogs. We learned about dog walkers, doggie day care and the NYC dog world.
We knew we wanted a labrador retriever. We didn’t know about lab rescue, but we knew we didn’t want to go to a breeder.
My husband had been going to a restaurant on the upper west side, called Fred’s. It was named after a lab that was released from the Guiding Eyes of Yorktown Heights.
We began asking people whose labs we liked where they got their dogs. Several of them mentioned that they had adopted from Guiding Eyes– including our favorite pair from the neighborhood, Hoop and Hula. Their names were cheerful and the dogs were smart and had big personalities.
We investigated and put our names on a waiting list for a released puppy.
When we were called after six months we had to say no to their first offer. We were both out of town on business and only had four days to accept.
About four months later, they emailed a photo of a brindle lab in a basket with a sunflower and his little paws hanging over the side. I had a brindle mutt growing up, so as soon as I saw his coloring I knew he was mine.
The first moment that was other than pure joy was when we found out he had cancer.
My mother and my husband’s father both died from cancer, so fear was our immediate emotion.
The cancer was localized in his right hind leg near his knee. It was a tumor in the carriage. we had many choices, including radiation, but a specialist told us that amputation was the gold standard and would be curative.
After surgery he walked out of the animal hospital and hopped himself into a yellow cab.
They took his stitches out after two weeks. We went to a friends house thinking he could relax in their years and recover. The moment we turned our heads, he ran through a sprinkler and jumped in the swimming pool.
That was five and a half years ago. He’s now on wheels, but still getting around.”