Monthly Archives: June 2016

Happy Tail: Melli (formerly Lilo)

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We at LVLR are moved beyond words to receive this incredibly loving Happy Tail for Melli (formerly Lilo). Updates like this make every day better.

"Melli's happy tail!

Melli a.k.a. Lilo came to us from the Las Vegas Lab Rescue in September after we had finally opened our hearts to bring a new dog into our family after losing our beloved black lab, Jasmine, in 2014. Our family's last name is Grant. We renamed Lilo to Melli because we wanted to have a brand-new name for her for her brand-new life, and we borrowed the name Melli from the TV show Scandal where the first lady of the United States is named Mellie Grant. Our own Melli Grant is the first lady of our household!

Roxxi, our 2006 rescue from LVLR accepted Melli from the very first visit from her loving foster mom Joni. Sweet Melli was practically only a puppy herself when she gave birth to a litter of puppies and then was discarded like trash somewhere in Utah with milk still leaking out of her from lack of nursing. I thank God every day for the great volunteers at LVLR who rescued Melli from a sad set of circumstances, had her spayed, and then brought into the rescue for us to adopt her. This sweet girl has the most expressive eyes and she lights up the room every time she is in it. When she wakes up in the morning with me, she takes herself out to potty and then while I'm making coffee she comes bursting in the doggie door and grabs a toy, and starts running around trying to entice Roxxi to play with her. Her nickname is Hurricane Melli!

Melli absolutely loves my eight-year-old daughter, and is so gentle with kids. She loves when my daughter has sleepovers. I'll never forget, shortly after we had adopted Melli, my daughter had a sleepover and Melli was the center of attention. She loved having five kids doting on her all night long and slept in the middle of their pile of sleeping bags.

Melli loves going on walks, even though she is still learning how to be a good girl on leash. She loves going to the park and playing her version of fetch, which is really a game of keepaway.

Melli does have a slight case of separation anxiety; I have a feeling it's because everything she loved in her life before us was taken away. Her puppies were taken from her when she was still nursing, and then her home was taken away. When Melli first came to us, she would tremble and cry out in her sleep - I can only imagine what her nightmares entailed! Thankfully, that only lasted a couple of months. Now she sleeps quietly at the foot of my bed. I pray that within the coming months she realizes that we will never, ever let her go, and that we will always come home to her. Fortunately for Melli, my husband and I both work from home so there is usually always someone home with her. And recently, we went on a weeklong vacation and my older niece stayed at our house so that Melli would not have to go to a strange environment.

Melli enjoys car rides with Roxxi to take my daughter to school or summer camp. The second she sees me pick up my daughter's lunch box, it is her cue to run to the back door and pounce up-and-down in anticipation of being able to run out to my SUV. It is so darn cute, I can't imagine a happier way to start our morning! When I have a morning that I have a meeting or need to run errands after drop off and can't take the girls with me, well, let's just say that the disappointment in Melli's eyes can be a heart breaker!

Melli came to us not knowing how to give kisses. She gets a little more willing as each month goes by, but she's very parsimonious with her kisses and it takes a lot of begging! Each one we receive is newsworthy for the whole family. In that respect, she is the opposite of Roxxi. Roxxi will unload her slobber kisses on anyone and everyone, that little minx!

Last fall, my daughter's school had a "bring your pet to school" day and Melli was the center of attention as 300 kids that got to pet and love on her.

Some of Melli's favorite pastimes include:
- Scamming free pets from anyone with a dangling hand.
- Rough housing with her "cousin" Monkey, a lab-coon-pit mix.
- Swimming, but only from the steps of the pool - hasn't graduated to jumping in yet.
- Terrorizing the neighbors 2 lap dogs through a tiny drainage hole in our backyard's common wall. She doesn't bark, she just looks through there and they go nuts!
- Demanding attention from the yard crew and the pool guy - scamming more free pets.
- Watching Game of Thrones and Outlander - she loves the horses. Hoping to take her to the farm with us to watch my daughter ride once it cools off.
- Laying atop Roxxi in some form or fashion, she's a snuggler!
- Being my shadow - can't even go to the bathroom alone!
- Stealing the kitchen throw rug and moving it to the dining room. She doesn't chew it, she's just redecorating every day! A regular Martha Stewart!

Melli has been such a perfect addition to our family and has helped me personally close the hole that was in my heart from the loss of Jasmine. Thanks again for finding her for us!

Thank you,
Jen Grant"

Have your own Happy Tail to share? Please email your story and pictures to: [email protected].

Adopted: Bella, a 2-3 year old Female Chocolate Labrador

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Adopted: Bella, a 2-3 year old Female Chocolate Labrador, has found her forever home.

Here is a Bio from Her foster family……..

"Bella is a sweet natured and loving dog. From the moment I picked her up she has won me over as a sweet natured and fun-loving girl. She is potty trained and can use the doggy door, and does not get up on furniture. Once she got to know our other dogs she mixed well with them in the house, playing outside and in the pool or on walks. At first Bella pulled on the leash during walks but after a couple days learned how to walk well on the leash, come when called, and knows basic commands. Bella has some young dog traits and has escaped from the kennel a time or two, is curious about the cat and is not a fan of being left behind. Bella was not familiar with pools or swimming but quickly learned to fetch and play along with the other dogs. Bella will make a great addition to the lucky family that will give her a forever home."

See a list of Available Labs here

Happy Tail: Tony

What a fantastic accomplishment for Tony and his family! "Tony has been with us for a little over two years now. He still doesn't like getting wet but he did recently enjoy running the BadAss Dash obstacle race!" Have your own Happy Tail to share? Please email your story and pictures to: [email protected].
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Adopted: Zeus, a 16 month old Male Chocolate Labrador

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Adopted: Zeus, a 16 month old Chocolate Male Labrador, has found his forever home.

Here is a Bio from his foster family……..

"My name is Zeus. I am not a god of the sky or anything like that, but I am strong and I have presence when I trot into a room. I am a handsome chocolate Labrador mix with a beautiful white strip down my chest and adorable white toes. I am 16 months old with energy and a lot of joy. I am crate and house trained and well behaved. I rarely bark. I do not jump up on people or onto furniture. I like being outdoors to play a game of fetch or to hang with my canine buddies. I'm pretty easy going. I'm just looking for my forever home. Oh, by the way - my ideal home is one that does not have a cat living in it. Just sayin'...."

See a list of Available Labs here

Adopted: Grizzly, a 4-5 year old Male Chocolate Labrador

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Adopted: Grizzly, a 4-5 year old Chocolate Male Labrador, has found his forever home.

Here is a Bio from his foster family……..

"My name is Bonnie and I am a ‘foster mom’ with the Las Vegas Labrador Rescue (LVLR). This means that when a dog is rescued, after it is medically checked out and spayed or neutered, it goes to one of the many foster homes that are part of the LVLR team. This is an amazing Labrador that has a medical condition which took three months to diagnose and bring him back to a normal healthy, happy Labrador Retriever. Grizzly has Atypical Addison’s Disease. His current status is a happy guy looking for a forever home that meets his needs, abides by all veterinary instructions, financially able to cover increased veterinarian visits and prescriptions “estimated” to be $950.00 annually, plus normal vaccinations and/or other medical needs, and ability/willingness to provide him with a more leisurely lifestyle and drinking water available 24/7. If the above introduction seems overwhelming or out of your financial reach, you should consider looking for another Labrador Retriever. Should you request a meet & greet with Grizzly, we will most likely ask why you want him, what you know about his condition and why you believe his best direction in life is to be your Labrador Retriever.

Here’s my part of his amazing story

When Grizzly first arrived, he was in pretty tough shape. He weighed only 57 pounds, and his bones were sticking out everywhere. He showed signs of illness (no appetite, vomiting), but when he stopped drinking water, I knew it was time to bring him to the vet.

Grizzly stayed at Camino Al Norte Animal Hospital for the next two weeks where Dr. Jessica Hagstette and her team looked after him and worked non-stop to diagnose what was wrong. Two weeks in the hospital resulted in an exhaustive list of all the problems Grizzly DIDN’T have, and a dog that seemed to be feeling better with no apparent explanation, but still no diagnosis. Undeterred but convinced that Grizzly might continue to improve more happily in a known home environment, Dr. Hagstette released Grizzly. Still working on the mystery, two days later, she called us back so he could have one more test. At long last – a diagnosis!

With the new knowledge that Grizzly has Atypical Addison’s disease, a treatment plan could finally begin. Luckily, Atypical Addison’s is very treatable with a daily dose of cortisol – the chemical his adrenal glands should have been producing all along, but weren’t. Because of the numerous symptoms that can be seen with Atypical Addison’s Disease, it has earned the medical nickname The Great Imitator. Here is a link for a more clinical explanation: Addison's Disease.

Dr. Hagstette is not only an excellent veterinarian, but also a patient teacher who explained what needed to happen next. First, Grizzly needed medicine, but for this particular medicine (a form of cortisol replacement), the dose is dependent on not just the size and weight of the dog, but more importantly on its level of physical activity and stress. So the optimum dose had to be calibrated over time. Second, Grizzly needed his activity and therefore stress levels to be moderated.

Dr. Hagstette started with the most broadly used medicine at the lowest dosage, which I gave to Grizzly once a day – always at roughly the same time of day, with a meal. I also ensured that his activity levels were moderate. All dogs need exercise, Grizzly included. So we went for a ½ mile walk each day, and Grizzly also played with my two other Labs, but for periods of about 10 minutes of running, fussing over toys, catching balls, etc., and then we would all take a break so that he could rest for some hours before a second playtime. It was sometimes a challenge to always keep an eye on him, but he quickly settled into the routine.

This routine – along with a very hearty and robust diet of high quality dry dog food, continued for one month. With his new medicine, I noticed that Grizzly’s water intake went up quite a bit, and his appetite grew to the point that he would wake me up at 4am to be fed. Reports of his progress and my observations were reviewed every few days by Dr. Hagstette and also by the Director of the LVLR, and we adjusted his meal plan accordingly.

During month one, Grizzly’s appetite steadily and quickly grew. His body’s ability to process protein and fat came back online, and he started to gain some much needed weight. He was still weak, but his enthusiasm and energy level increased every day. I could even start to feel him exerting more strength when we’d go for a walk and he would try to pull me down the road faster than I wanted to walk! More importantly, I could see the happiness in his face and in the wag of his tail. I believe he knew how ill he had been, and was really overjoyed to be able to play and run and feel good again.

At the end of month one, Grizzly went back to the hospital for a physical exam and panels of blood and urine tests. Based on these results, Dr. Hagstette felt Grizzly’s extra water and increased appetite, both of which can be caused by certain types of cortisol replacement, might be reduced or eliminated on a slightly different formulation. So he was switched to the new version – with more good news being that it was also a lower dose (4gm instead of 5mg), and we started another month of observation.

During month two, Grizzly’s excessive water intake came down a bit, and he stopped crying for food at 4am. His water intake is still higher than normal, but this is a small price to pay for a full recovery. He has continued to improve in all directions. He is now 79 pounds, which for a big, tall, long, male Labrador Retriever, is right where he needs to maintain. No more bones are visible anywhere, and when he pulls on the leash (a habit I am now working to break him of), I can feel even more strength than he had a month ago. He plays with my dogs and runs around the back yard – but still in 10 minute sessions, twice or three times a day at most, and only in the cooler or shady times of the day. He has started swimming, which is great exercise. Now he uses the pool for his cool downs – going for a quick swim after playing and when we come back from our evening walks. As the weather gets warmer but not too warm to walk him at all – which will happen soon enough, I may have him go in the pool or gently hose him down with cool water BEFORE we go for our evening walks.

Grizzly is good with other dogs, and with people. Everybody in our neighborhood knows him and looks forward to seeing him each day. We are working on his manners, as he likes to jump up on people to greet them, and I already mentioned that he needs a little work on heeling. Now that he’s feeling so well, his counter-surfing tendency has re-awakened, and we have to be diligent about not leaving anything on the kitchen counters or table. He can sniff out the tiniest morsel of food anywhere!

He is in all ways a normal, happy, goofy, 4-year-old giant bear of a Labrador Retriever. He runs and plays, chews every toy into shreds daily, likes to carry his empty food bowl back to the kitchen to show me he cleaned his plate, and tries to rescue the alien creatures in the swimming pool that you and I know to be the chlorine floaters. He follows me all over the house, because he knows his job is to look after me. But he’s self-confident and is fine when I go out without him.

After caring for Grizzly for almost four months I can say that the small amount of effort required for him to remain a strong beautiful and healthy Lab is minor. A pill with breakfast (or lunch in my case), and active but leisurely lifestyle, which he will fall into perfectly when he’s matched up with an adoptive family that is in synch!"

See a list of Available Labs here