Labrador Life Line – An Introduction

| October 1, 2011 | 2 Comments
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About The Author

Cindy Sherburne -

Cindy Sherburne

Cindy Sherburne joined Labrador Life Line in March 2009 and is currently the Triage Chair and Vice President. Despite having a degree in Elementary Education, she has learned that dogs are her true passion and she lives with two amazing Labrador Retrievers, her black beauty, Ayla, and nutty chocolate, Kira.


Can you imagine a beautiful day out working in your garden, your dogs by your side, thinking how perfect life is at that moment? It doesn’t get much better, right? However, life can change in an instant and tragedy can happen when you expect it least. That’s what happened on a July day in 1999. For one member of the LABSR4U mailing list, life went from the ideal to the unthinkable in the blink of an eye. Hero, a less than two year old yellow Lab was full of life in that garden one minute and hit by a car, critically injured, the next. Despite a four hour drive to an orthopedic neurosurgeon, the prognosis was grim and Hero did not survive.

It doesn’t get any worse for any person who loves their dog, or does it? Now imagine that, no matter how much you love your dog and want to help, you simply do not have the money to even give your best friend a chance for survival. Your dog may be in pain, but love doesn’t pay the vet bills. Hero at least had the financial opportunity to be helped if he hadn’t been so badly wounded. So many dogs don’t even get that chance, though, and out of this tragedy came the idea to not let Hero’s death be in vain. A difference could be made.

Labrador Life Line Logo -

Visit The Labrador Life Line Website

Hero’s Inspiration

Labrador Life Line was organized in 1999 and became a 501c3 nonprofit in 2000. Members of the LABSR4U list decided to take Hero’s tragedy and turn it into a positive. They were inspired to form an organization to help pure bred Labrador Retrievers and the logo that represents LLL is a sketch of Hero’s face with a life preserver around him. The organization would serve as a “life line” to help those less fortunate who are unable to afford medical treatments for their Labs. It was set up to help end the suffering of America’s most popular breed and to give these families a chance that they financially wouldn’t have otherwise.

Who We Are

Labrador Life Line does this while being a volunteer organization. The only compensation any member receives is the joy of knowing that lives can be saved and that they can make that difference that was envisioned. Applicants come in increasing numbers every year. In 1999, although a partial year, eleven Labs were funded. Another fifteen were helped in 2000. It has steadily progressed and in 2010 a record seventy seven Labs were helped! Who would have ever guessed that one tragedy, one life cut short, could make such a huge impact. In total, over 525 Labrador Retrievers have been helped since that fateful day in 1999. In order to receive help, people must be able to find LLL online and then fill out an application for assistance.

Applicants must go through a strict approval process to determine if they qualify and to ensure that only those truly in need receive help. Labrador Life Line helps both individuals and rescue groups. An individual may receive 75% up to a maximum of $500 for any treatment and a rescue group receives 50% or $250. Unfortunately these amounts used to be greater but, just as with many Americans, the poor economy has also taken its toll on LLL. Yet, despite the decrease in money available, LLL’s funds can still end suffering and save lives.

An example of a life saved would be a Lab who was diagnosed with bloat or gastric dilation-volvulus. This is a twisting of the stomach and is life threatening without immediate treatment. Any dog with this condition will die without surgery. The individual came to LLL for help and the vet would not begin surgery without an approval. This dog would surely have died but thanks to the quick work of the LLL volunteers, funding was secured, surgery began, and a life was saved.

Hero’s Legacy

Hero’s life couldn’t be saved, but thanks to the generosity of his family and those members of the LABSR4U list, who had the inspiration and vision to form Labrador Life Line, many other lives have been saved and many more have been brought out of pain. Labrador Life Line, whose mission is to alleviate such tragedies as the needless suffering and death of America’s most beloved canine, makes a difference for so many individuals who simply can’t afford the needed medical treatment for their Labs. Out of a tragedy came opportunity and a truly special organization.

Category : Good Cause, Health

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

Comments (2)

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  1. Carole Jensen says:

    Thanks so much for featuring LLL. I was honored to have served on the LLL board for a number of years and to own Hero’s little sister fondly referred to as rotten yella dawg. One little piece of history not included in this piece was while Hero became the face of LLL, the original inspiration was a dog that if memory serves correct was named Teddy. Teddy was in need of help and a number of the LabsR4U listers sent in money to help with his vet care costs. That act of kindness by a group brought together only by our love of labradors grew into LLL. Hero’s mom was a huge part of the 4U family and we all were saddened by his loss and his beautiful face was chosen as the logo and the logo was designed by another lister. Kudos to all who have been part of LLL and have donated over the years.

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