We run a rescue for senior dogs. At any given time there are between three and seven dogs at our house, plus dogs in foster care. Our wedding vows allowed for three dogs (well, two plus an emergency, which obviously means three) but that was before Suzanne started Retired Retrievers. Once the rescue got going we had to renegotiate. Five is the current maximum at our house and Suzanne sticks to that (for the most part) when Kevin is home. When Kevin is traveling, however, that number may creep up a bit…
With so many dogs in our lives, we had to make some tough decisions about who gets to participate in the road trip. Kevin wanted to bring two dogs, Suzanne wanted to bring 12 dogs, so we agreed on three. Thanks to our wonderful foster families and volunteers, we are able to make this trip happen. So without further ado, here are the three dogs who will be joining us on RV Trip 2.0.
10 years old*
Noah was picked up as a stray in Rowan County, North Carolina, where he was found wandering down a dirt road all by himself. He was emaciated, covered in fleas and ticks, and tested positive for heartworms. With all of the black labs in all of the shelters in the south, there was something about this particular dog that inspired us to get in the car and drive 10+ hours roundtrip to save him. We picked him up on the morning he was scheduled to be euthanized and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
Noah is a gentle giant. He has become the welcoming committee for every other dog who passes through our home on the way to finding their own forever homes. He grooms them, snuggles them, takes naps with them, and lets them know that everything is going to be alright.
*To be honest, we have no idea how old Noah is. He’s the only dog we’ve ever had where we can’t even take a guess. He could be 15, he could be 5. So let’s call him 10. I’m pretty sure he’s been 10 years old for the past three years.
14 years old
Anna joined the Retired Retrievers family in August 2015. She ended up in a shelter after her owner asked an animal control officer to shoot her because she had a large mass on her side. We brought her into our rescue and had the mass surgically removed. We still don’t know why no one adopted her right away, she’s one of the best dogs we have ever met. Maybe it was her age. At 14 years old she is no spring chicken, even though she is still the best tennis ball chaser this side of the Mississippi.
When we found out in October that Anna likely had bladder cancer we knew her chances of being adopted were slim, but we offered to cover her medical care if someone would give her a home. A recent ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis and showed that the tumors are growing. At this point, we’ve decided it’s best if our Anna Banana stays here with us. We love this girl with all of our hearts and are spoiling her every day for however much time she has. Three words to describe Anna: humble, gentle, grateful.
14 years old
Oh Snappah, what can we say about this sweet old soul. His actual name is Rex, but when he gets overwhelmed or excited he starts snapping at the air in front of him. So around here he is lovingly referred to as Snapper, SnapSnap, Snaps, and Snappah.
Snappah was picked up as a stray in January 2015, and the shelter told us he didn’t have a microchip. Because he was diagnosed with a severe case of heartworms, our vet took chest x-rays to get a better look at just how much damage the heartworms had caused to his heart and lungs. The x-rays showed two interesting things. First, Snappah was shot multiple times with a BB gun at some point in his life. The wounds have healed but the BBs remain inside him. Second, he actually does have a microchip. With visions of a beautiful family reunion, we worked hard to track down his previous owner and were met on the phone with a long pause and then, “…nah…I ain’t lookin’ for that dog.”
For the first 6 months or so, we tried to find Snappah a new forever home. But with time it became increasingly clear that he has some reduced mental capacity and it is getting progressively worse. It could be a brain tumor, it could be dementia, it could be the result of abuse he suffered in his previous home. Whatever the cause, Snappah is now a permanent member of our pack and we make sure he knows he is safe and loved.
So there you have it, that’s the team for RV Trip 2.0! One of these days we hope to get a picture of all three of them together, because they make a perfect lab rainbow: Black Lab, Yellow Lab, Chocolate Lab. For now though, we’ll have to steal a picture from the internets. We’ll see you on down the road!