If You Give a Dog a Home

A local nonprofit changes the lives of labs and animal-lovers one canine at a time

"Last year there were 346 dogs adopted. Er like to say about a dog a day." --Kate Richter

“Last year there were 346 dogs adopted. Er like to say about a dog a day.” –Kate Richter

Across the country there are many animal shelters categorized as ‘high kill’ shelters. Unable to keep animals long-term, these shelters euthanize them if not adopted after a certain time in order to create space for incoming animals. While it can be argued that these shelters serve a purpose, it is incredibly challenging for animal-lovers to wrap their heads around the concept. At Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue (RMLR) volunteers work together to rescue labs and lab mixes that are ultimately left at these kill shelters on a probable path to demise, in hopes of giving them a fulfilling life.

RMLR has a small volunteer board of six members who set time aside from their full-time jobs to ensure that labs rescued from nearby states, such as Missouri and Kansas, as well as some surrenders from Colorado, are brought to the rescue and receive the care and treatment they need before placing them in foster homes to await their anticipated adoption. “I think what we do is pretty amazing for such a small team,” says volunteer and 5K coordinator, Kate Richter. At press time, there were 200 total volunteers, with 20-30 assisting with everything from foster homes and transportation to fundraising and adoption events. With somewhat of an open door policy, RMLR accepts all labs and lab mixes regardless of their health as long as there are active foster homes to place them in.

Foster homes and “parents” are vital to the survival of this life-saving organization. With no central location, or shelter, RMLR is limited to the number of dogs they are able to rescue pending the number of fosters homes available. Sometimes RMLR resorts to posting dogs in need of a foster home on their Facebook page on a dog-by-dog basis if they are in need of new homes. When fostering a lab, all expenses are covered including medical bills, food and anything essential to the survival of the lab. The labs rescued tend be adopted quickly, based on a first-come-first-serve basis; there are no holding or reserving lists. “Last year, there were 346 dogs adopted,” says Richter. “We like to say about a dog a day.”

Once the lab is in the process of adoption, it’s the job of the foster parent to review the application and check for any potential red flags. The process is usually extensive, involving phone interviews, home visits and everyone in the potential adoptive family, including furry friends, meeting the lab in a neutral location. After labs are adopted, their new owner has 72 hours to ensure that they are the right fit, allowing the lab some time to settle in and become more comfortable in his or her new home.

RMLR would not be possible without the support from adoption fees, donations and funds raised from events. All funds are used to cover the labs’ medical needs even if they’re sick or have special needs; transportation from out-of-state locations; food; and any additional needs. If you have a soft spot for labs or animals in general, RMLR is always looking for new foster homes, donations and anyone interested in adopting a new friend. If you have your heart set on the pitter patter of puppy paws, they are always rescuing puppies in addition to adult and senior labs. Open your heart and your home to a lab waiting at RMLR.

Get Involved
The Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue 5K is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Taking place at E.B Rains Jr. Memorial Park in Northglenn on September 20, this highly anticipated event involves vendors, music, dogs and more. Funds raised from the occasion ensure that RMLR can continue saving labs near and far. Register at runningguru.com/event/rmlr2014

To donate or get more information on RMLR and its foster and adoption processes, call 303.818.8508 or visit rockymtnlabrescue.com

UP NEXT: Born Out of Tragedy