Almost 14 years ago, I adopted Isla (previously Athena) from Lab Friends. She was my first dog, and she couldn’t have been better. I literally had no idea what I was doing when I adopted her. I went to one of your adoption days to meet one very specific older dog from your site. After talking to his foster, we realized I wasn’t his perfect fit, so I tried to leave before I fell in love with ALL the others. Just then, a station wagon pulled up with a litter of puppies who had just been cleared for adoption. This gentleman blocked my car in and said if I could just help him unload he’d be happy to move. Oh, sure. Hand me a 6-week-old puppy… He told me to just let people hold her if they wanted to, walk around, and he’d get her from me after he parked. I didn’t really have a choice, so that’s what I did. But every time I handed her to someone else, she cried…every time they handed her back, she nuzzled right back into my arm. And that’s how we started

Everyone told me labs calm down around 1 or 2 years old. Then, some said it might be 3 or 4. When we passed 5, 8, 10, we just figured…this is Isla. My crazy girl with her never-ending amounts of energy, love for every person she met, and determination to catch the squirrels (any…all…it didn’t matter).

In 2020, we found cancer in her front right leg, but—after removal—she was running again within two weeks. I couldn’t believe how fast she bounced back. Frankly, I didn’t even know she could…until she saw a cat. In 2021, we bought a house and she finally had a fenced in backyard. She used to train for races with me, we walked a lot, toured the dog parks around the city…but it was always something I wanted for her. Sadly, she was only able to enjoy for a few months. We lost Isla November 6, 2021. The vets believe the cancer came back and spread to her brain. She was almost 14, and she was my constant companion. My heart and my new house definitely have a hole that won’t be filled anytime soon. But I’m not sending this for sadness. I’m sending this as a thank you.

Thank you for 14 years with my special girl. Frankly, even if my heart heals enough for another pup, I’m not sure I’ll ever get as lucky as I did with my first one. She brought so much laughter, weirdness, comfort, and pure joy into my world. Thank you for what you and your whole team do!




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