Heart of Texas Lab Rescue Memorial Page

This page is dedicated to the beloved labs of
Heart of Texas Lab Rescue, Inc. that have since crossed to the bridge.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When
an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here,
that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all
of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is
plenty of food, water, and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor;
Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we
remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are
happy and content, except for one small thing; They each miss someone very
special, someone who was left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops
and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body
begins to quiver. Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green
grass, faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your
special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to
be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress
the beloved head, and you look once more into those trusting eyes, so long gone
from your life, but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...

Author Unknown
Rufus Rufus Rufus
Rufus: 2004-2018

This love story began 14 yrs ago when a beautiful big black lab came to our house for a short visit from the HOT Lab Rescue. Rufus knew his stay was forever the moment he walked with our pack despite our efforts to show him off. Every day since then he filled our house with his happy go lucky ways and wet kisses. We got big tail wags that could hurt your leg or make a loud thump. He loved his twice daily walks and would remind you of them too. Any water activity was wonderful as long as it was not a bath. Most of all he loved food!! He loved it so much he was willing to eat snacks taken from luggage, popsicles with the stick and all and could pull food from the table without making a mess. In his younger days he would jump up and down for every meal like it was his first. In his last days at the young age of 15 yrs he could no longer jump but his tail would still give away his excitement for food. Run my Rufus! Your soul is ready for the next adventure. Thank you for the unconditional love and it was our privilege to have enjoyed and love you all these years. We only wish we could have had more time. Thank you Heart of Texas Lab Rescue for the honor you gave us to have been Rufus? family.
Paris: 2006-2018

Sweet Paris also crossed the bridge this week: Paris " Sweet P" 2007-5/26/18- Sad to announce that our "Sweet P" lost her short battle against cancer yesterday. Paris joined our pack from HOTLAB around 2008 as a gangly teen. She was the color of black velvet but her HOTLAB name of "Paris" (think Paris Hilton here) just stayed with her as she was a beautiful diva! The kindest and most gentle fur-daughter anyone could ever ask for. We take comfort in knowing she is with her sisters and big brother at the Rainbow Bridge where they will be at the beach everyday, hanging out, swimming and fetching until they can no more. We are thankful for her last few days with us being good ones and her passing at our home in peace"
Twyla Twyla
Twyla: 2010-2018

We wanted to let your organization know that our Twyla crossed the rainbow bridge on May 30. We adopted her in March 2010 and she filled our home with so much joy. (The couple who owned the boarding/training facility in Dripping Springs was her foster parents.) Twyla was definitely one of a kind. She brought our other lab Zoe out of her funk after the death of our first dog; she was our protector (would guard the kids? rooms when guests spent the night); and she was our hunter (chased away or caught any critter that came onto our property). Though we didn?t know her full story, we came to believe that she was a country dog as she loved her time at the lake and at the ranch. She did not like pools! Only lakes and ponds! Her symptoms came on very quickly and her diagnosis was conclusive, so we are finding some comfort that she was not in pain very long. Our children (7 and 9) were able to say goodbye and drew her pictures of the rainbow bridge and then my husband and I were with her until the end. Twyla was truly remarkable and we thank Heart of Texas Lab Rescue for the opportunity to bring her into our family nine years ago. Below are two pictures? one of her on the shore of the lake last summer and the other is the last picture taken on our patio a week or so ago. We loved Twyla to the fullest.
Paris: 2007-2018

ad to announce that our "Sweet P" lost her short battle against cancer yesterday. Paris joined our pack from HOTLAB around 2008 as a gangly teen. She was the color of black velvet but her HOTLAB name of "Paris" (think Paris Hilton here) just stayed with her as she was a beautiful diva! The kindest and most gentle fur-daughter anyone could ever ask for. We take comfort in knowing she is with her sisters and big brother at the Rainbow Bridge where they will be at the beach everyday, hanging out, swimming and fetching until they can no more. We are thankful for her last few days with us being good ones and her passing at our home in peace"
Murphy Murphy
Murphy: 2005-2018

We adopted sweet Murphy from HOTLR in the spring of 2006 because we wanted a doggy sibling for our beloved Daisy, a catahoula mix. Daisy, while only 35 pounds, was alpha and needed an easy-going companion who could handle a bossy "big" sis. Murphy was a strikingly handsome (strangers would often comment on how handsome he was), 70-plus pound goofy yellow guy with the most gentle spirit. Murphy completed our family and was the perfect brother for Daisy. He was playful, snuggly, and loving.

Murphy was an incredible swimmer and loved swimming and hiking. My husband and I are fortunate to have lived in many amazing cities around the country. From walks through Central Park and peaceful redwood groves, to strolling the streets of Philadelphia, to swimming off the beaches of coastal Maine, the Jersey Shore, the Pacific Ocean, and Lake Michigan, to hikes and trail runs in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, upstate New York, and Northern California, Murphy experienced it all, tail always wagging and eager for the next adventure in our lives.

When our kiddos (now ages two and almost four) joined the clan, our coast to coast travels slowed down (a lot), as did mom and dad (tired parents). As a senior, Murphy too slowed down and tired more easily. He was content with his new adventures, which included family walks around the duck pond in our quiet neighborhood, trips to Nana's lake house, and getting lots of hugs from our kids. Our daughter, who just turned two, loved to play nap time with Murphy. He would patiently lie down while she covered him with blankets and dish towels, and she would whisper "night night" into his big, floppy ears. When we recently lost Daisy to pulmonary disease, Murphy mourned the loss of his sister but adjusted to becoming the only furry child, happy for the extra hugs and cuddles we needed to get through this difficult time.

Sadly, on February 3rd, Murphy joined Daisy over the rainbow bridge and passed away at home from an infection caused by gastrointestinal surgical complications. We loved him and will miss him every day. Thank you HOTLR for giving us our sweet Murphy and for all you do to help dogs in need.

Annamaria (Trinity)
Annamaria (Trinity) Annamaria (Trinity) Annamaria (Trinity)
Annamaria (Trinity)

Annamaria "Trinity" --the best, sweetest, kindest, and most gentle, "chill," beautiful dog--passed away today, June 14, 2017. She was a true friend and companion, and carried a lot of water for me, as one person recently reminded me. I couldn't have asked for more. Here she is pictured three summers ago, in Cornwall, CT, in front of a charming valley near where she would swim every day in the local stream, sometimes powerfully against the current after the strong rains swept through--as gorgeous and dignified and elegant as ever. (I was told to send three pictures: one is of her in the valley, which is the picture referenced in the memorial. Another is of her swimming in the creek swollen with rainwater, which is also references in the memorial. A third is just a picture of her on the couch, being ?chill??.)
Banner (Casey)
Banner (Casey) Banner (Casey) Banner (Casey)
Banner (Casey): 2001-216

We adopted Banner (formerly Casey) back in 2003 when she was two years old. She was one of the Amarillo seven, a sweet, beautiful English lab with a gentle spirit. She joined our family when our two daughters were five and seven. We were blessed to have her for over twelve years, and she saw our youngest daughter through every year of school, from kindergarten through her high school graduation this month. She was in amazingly good health even through most of her last years, but last week her arthritis reached the point where we could not relieve her pain or help her mobility, and we had to make the decision to let her rest on the other side of the bridge, at the age of 14 1/2. We loved every minute we had with her. She was a very quiet, calm dog with soulful eyes, never interested in water, retrieving or playing, preferring instead just to be with us. She was fiercely loved and is now dearly missed. We are grateful to HOTLR for entrusting her to us so many years ago. Thank you for all you do to help dogs like Banner and families like us.
Skyler Skyler Skyler
Skyler: 2001-2014

Skyler, one of the Amarillo seven, passed over the Rainbow Bridge on November 2nd after a courageous battle with Cushing's disease. She was adopted at age two and lived to be almost 13. Even though she was all lab, she chose to avoid water, had no interest in fetching or chewing on toys. She preferred, instead, to just hang out with us as much as possible---a real lovebug. At the HOTLR reunions we attended which were held near a river or pond, she and her mother (Barbara, I think was her name) were the only dry dogs at these events. As much as she hated getting her paws wet, she really loved the snow. When we traveled to our vacation home in Colorado, she had the time of her life. She chased snowballs incessantly , rolled and romped in snowbanks , and snowplowed through the fresh powder after snowfalls. We eventually moved to Colorado and she was definitely in her element. We took long hikes together, climbed mountains, slept out under the stars. She had a good life and ours was so much better for having her in it. We miss her very much, but take comfort in knowing she is no longer in pain, and she is most likely romping through the meadows once more. Until we meet again...................
Dixie Dixie
Dixie: 2003-2016

I wanted to let you know that Dixie's time with us came to a peaceful end last night. She was such a wonderful dog and we are crushed as we try and deal with the fact that she is no longer with us - but we know that she is at peace. We adopted Dixie in 2005 when we lived in Castroville, Texas. She instantly accepted us and became a loving part of our family. She was such a happy dog and brought so much joy to our family. In 2009 my job took our family to Anchorage, Alaska. Dixie loved Alaska and everything about it. Playing in the snow, looking at moose and the long cool summers. In 2012 my job took our family to Portland, Oregon where we reside today. You could tell Dixie was at home in Portland. She loved swimming in the rivers, going to the dog park or just hanging out on rainy days. Last night we had to make the hardest decision of our lives. Dixie's health (cancer) had gotten to the point where we could no longer make her comfortable. When know in our hearts that we did the right thing and Dixie is now at the Rainbow Bridge awaiting the day that we reunite. Thank you for all you do on behalf of Labs!
Remington Remington Remington
Remington: 2008-2014

Remington, 2008 ? 2014 Remington came to us in 2010 from HOTLR. He was full of energy and extremely ball oriented. He would chase after a thrown tennis ball for hours if you let him, interspersed with brief dips in his wading pool. I made it a point to play with him and throw his tennis ball every single day. He would sit and wait for me to come home and then run to the box where we kept all of the tennis balls. He would look at the box then back at me. Then back at the box. Then back at me. Until I picked one out and we headed to the yard. Our dog Sadie actually picked Remington out of the group of dogs at the HOTLR meet and greet we attended. Most of the dogs were too much in Sadie?s face and she didn?t like that. But she and Remi latched on to each other immediately. So even though Remi was Sadie?s pick, Remi was always my dog. He wanted to be next to me no matter what I was doing on the ranch. If I was off fixing a fence in the rain, he wanted to be right there with me. If I was cleaning horse hooves, he wanted to be in the mix with us. If I was working in the garden, he would come out and lay in the shade where he could watch me. Meal time was always an adventure (although not solely because of Remi). Our old Yellow Lab (Trudy) who passed away in 2013 was very vocal about meal time. And the others all learned that from her. So as the food was being put together they would stand around ?asking? me to hurry up. In addition, Remi would bounce up and down with excitement. At the end of July 2014, Remi was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and given a prognosis of 4-6 weeks (even with any treatment). He passed away in my arms 6 weeks and a day after his prognosis. Goodbye buddy. I miss you every day.

Only One: Stood out to me at the Lab Rescue meet and greet. Made her love of riding in the car so obvious from our first meeting. Got excited at the sight of us getting a pair of socks or our "walking" shoes. Showed her joy by rolling on her back and wriggling all over the ground. Bounced up and down on her hind legs and barked at the words "Tell Peta". Sulked when we wouldn't take her in the car when it was 100 degrees out. Shed enough to stuff many mattresses and clog many vacuum cleaners. Could slobber on or lick me and not have me get mad or grossed out. Would not be embarrassed by silly songs sung to her. Wouldn't embarrass me by telling anyone about my silly songs. Would get animated at hearing words like "go" and "walk" and "car" and "Peta" Enjoyed the simplest things that money can't buy - stick, walk, pat, or swim. Could change your mind with just a look or by wagging her tail. We're gonna miss that One.
Tanner Tanner Tanner
Tanner: 2002 - 2013

?Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Tanner come over!? That's what we said in March 2004 when we notified Margaret at HOT-LR that we were ready to pick up our two year-old rescue. Tanner came as advertised: a strong-willed and wildly curious-to-a-fault blockhead. We were fortunate to get to love and play with him for the next nine years. He accepted us despite our failings and provided many a smile or laugh over the years. Tanner was our ?empty nest? dog. The kids were out of the house, and Tanner took it upon himself to fill our home with love. Tanner patiently went through the motions of obedience class so we could learn the commands he already knew. He had a hard time with the lessons of skunks, and ?snake-proofing? was quite a chore, but Tanner loved the attention he got after his misdeeds. Tanner was an old soul. I called him ?the watcher?, because he was so connected to us physically and emotionally. Tanner always positioned himself in the house so he could keep tabs on both of us at the same time. His was the first tail to wag when things were going right; yet, so attentive when he felt tension or anxiety in his family, especially during football games. That blockhead seemed to always find its way to the right lap, knowing that patting his head or scratching his ears would calm your nerves and ease the situation. You could set your watch by Tanner. Of course, most of that had to do with his feeding schedule. However, at night he was as stoic as a parent, standing at the bedroom door until Janie got the message it was time for her to go to bed. Although his home was in Texas, Tanner loved his visits to our place in Colorado. There were so many scents to follow! He liked to sit on the deck and watch for wildlife. He loved running the mountain trails and golf course. Evenings by the fireplace were the best. We lost Tanner to cancer today. Our hearts hurt so badly right now it is difficult to explain. There is a hole in our hearts that a dog used to fill, but we know he is running with the pack in a much better place. Thanks to HOT-LR for their work. We are so glad Tanner came over.
Tahoe (Arrow)
Tahoe (Arrow): 2000-2013

We adopted Tahoe in December 2005 and he immediately became our running and walking partner. The vet estimated he was 4 or 5 years old at the time, but he had the energy of a puppy. Since joining our family, he ran over 4200 miles and walked another 4,000 with us at his side. Tahoe or T-Dog as I would call him was the most kind and gentle guy and our true best friend. We want to thank everyone at HOTLAB for the great job you do and the difference you make in not only a Labs life, but the families like us who find a wonderful family member. We miss Tahoe, but we know he is running in a much better place today and we will someday meet up for another walk and run.
Trudy Trudy Trudy
Trudy: 1999-2013

One of the characteristics of our human brains is that we see patterns. A pattern may be meaningless. A pattern may be a coincidence. It may be as simple as the grouping of numbers on a clock. You may glance at a clock regularly, but your brain tends to notice numbers in a pattern more than just a random time. For about the last 10-12 months I had been noticing the time of 1:11. And I know that is just my brain remembering that I saw 1:11 because it?s easier to remember 1:11 than it is 6:41. So I tend to make more of a mental note when I see that 1:11. I rescued Trudy in 2003 when she was 4ish. When the Lab Rescue picked her up from Town Lake Animal Shelter, she weighed 92 pounds on a 70-pound frame. She was also covered in thick mud as she seemed to have had a great time running through it around Town Lake while running around as a stray. She likely escaped her home at that time ? probably looking for food. But she was healthy (albeit fat). I lived in Round Rock at the time and Trudy and I regularly went to Walnut Creek Park so she could run in the creek, swim in the deeper water holes and chase her tennis ball in the water. She was incredibly ball-oriented and all she wanted to do was run and chase. And eat. But the exercise helped trim her down. In no time she was down to 80 pounds and then 75 pounds. A couple years later, I rescued old Earl too. He was old but he loved going to the creek with Trudy and running around in the water. Earl passed away in 2008 at the age of 15ish. The year before Earl passed away, my wife and I bought a horse ranch and farm east of Austin. The dogs loved running around in the open spaces. Trudy had lots of room to chase a tennis ball and we had a stock tank on the property were they occasionally went swimming. Trudy was pampered and my wife occasionally referred to Trudy as ?Princess?. Two and a half years before Trudy died, she became rapidly and severely diabetic. We got her diagnosed and proceeded to administer insulin to her with every meal. She never minded a bit and always walked in to the kitchen after her meal and waited for her shot. Towards the end though, we had to routinely reduce her dosage. The vet said there could be many possible causes of that including a cancer burning through the sugar in her system. It became clearer that was likely the case in her last couple days. The night before she died, I made her a medium-well steak, which she passed up. I always told my wife than when Trudy doesn?t want any food, something was seriously wrong. I called the vet the following morning to make her last appointment. I knew that the diabetes and cancer were battling inside her. They both won and I made an appointment for 3:30. I got home from work early around noon and saw just how bad she was doing. I immediately called the vet and asked if we could come in earlier. They said 1:00. We got there and the vet saw her condition and made the same diagnosis we did. She administered Trudy?s shot shortly after 1:00. I glanced at the time when the vet said Trudy?s heart had stopped. It was 1:11. You will be missed tremendously Trudy. Say hello to Earl for us.
Jackson Jackson Jackson
Jackson: 1997-2012

We fell in love with Jackson the moment we met him at Dick and Luanne?s property. He was about 1.5 yrs old and basically picked us! We decided to adopt from HOT Lab Rescue when our Lancelot got sick in 1999 with pneumonia. Lancelot was 12 yrs old so we thought he might not recover and it would be very hard on our 7 year old Lab mix, Buck. Lancelot got well and we ended up with ALL THREE of them until he passed in August 2001! That was a LOT of dog in our small house but it was also a lot of love! Jackson was a wonderful companion for us as well as Lancelot and Buck. His sweet nature was such a calming influence on our household. He was so flexible and congenial, nothing phased him. Buck passed in 2008. We had Jackson by himself for a couple of years until we adopted Zeke from HOT Lab Rescue in 2011. Jackson was happy to have a companion again and loved to snuggle with Zeke. His good nature made it difficult for us to determine how much pain he was in toward the end. It was so hard to say good bye to him in April 2012 but we know he is playing with Lancelot and Buck while waiting for us across the Rainbow Bridge.

Thank you to Margaret Huston and all of the wonderful volunteers at Heart of Texas Labrador Rescue. On January 1, 2001 we brought Cody home to Kingwood. He immediately became the light of our lives. He was the closest thing to the perfect dog that you could hope for or imagine. He did everything right (except occasionally go after other male dogs). One of the volunteers referred to him as "Our Big Yellow Fellow" and I frequently addressed him that way over the years.

In July 2002 my first wife, Betsy, succumbed to cancer. Cody was the one who saw me through the dark days that followed. He was my ever present companion and I don't think I could have survived without him. After a couple of years, when Susan came into our lives, and we had not seen her for a month or so, Cody gave his tacit approval. She pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and Cody began running wildly back and forth across the yard, excited to see her again. Then I knew that it was OK to propose.

We became a family again, Susan, her dog, Rex, her Siamese cat, Tiko, and Cody and I. Rex and Tiko have been gone for more than five years. We found a two lb. cat, Woody, on the Greenbelt three-and-one-half years ago and asked Cody if we could keep him. He grudgingly gave his approval. They actually became fond of one another.

Last Tuesday, October 5, I took Cody to the vet because of labored breathing. The diagnosis was lung cancer. He quickly went down hill and we had to give him back to God last Sunday, Oct. 10. We know that this is not a unique experience, and that many of you have been through it, but our hearts are aching. He is such a wonderful dog. The precious love that he shared with us is beyond putting into words. And we were able to know it because of the people who make Heart of Texas Labrador Rescue work. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Susan & Hutch Stewart

Earl Earl Earl

Earl was my second rescue from the Heart of Texas Lab Rescue. He had been at the Rescue for over two years and was something around ten years old when he moved in with us. He immediately became the alpha over our younger female yellow Lab named Trudy (aka Twinkie). But they got along great. Earl didn't play much because of his age, but Trudy's compulsive ball-fetching wore off on Earl and he started to retrieve a large tennis ball. He loved swimming and you couldn't keep him out of the water. When we lived in Round Rock, we'd all go to Walnut Creek Park in north Austin so the dogs could run in the creek and swim in the deeper holes. Earl would get so excited, he'd bounce up and down waiting for the ball to be thrown. He always had a goofy walk, probably because of his arthritis, and it became even goofier when he ran. One of Earl's peculiarities was the way he acted in a vehicle. He absolutely loved to go places and couldn't wait to get in the vehicle. But once in the vehicle, he would pant, drool, whine and pace - maybe because of the excitement of the destination. He eventually overcame much of his vehicle anxiety and began riding much better. Going to the swimming hole 3-4 times a week probably helped. We always suspected Earl was a ranch dog. He was picked up after being hit by a car near College Station. While living in Round Rock, whenever a bus or delivery vehicle drove by out front, he would bark and try and chase after it. One day he even got out and stood in front of the unloading school bus barking at it and wouldn't let it drive off. So we figured he used to live on a ranch and would get all excited when the UPS truck came up the long drive to the farm house. Last year, we bought our own horse ranch east of Austin with a long drive up to the house. Earl was instantly at home. He loved roaming around the house and outbuildings keeping the critters away. A couple times, he even got too close to a pretty black cat with two white stripes. We have about an acre and a half fenced in so he and the other dogs could roam freely. He also liked chasing after the chickens, but I think they knew he could never catch them. When he would nap in the long grass under his favorite crape myrtle tree, the chickens would occasionally nap with him. In December 2007, we rescued a Lab-mix puppy named Sadie from Wisconsin (long story). Earl took an immediate dislike to the new intruder who had no manners and needed to be taught some. She quickly learned her manners and her place with a couple lessons from Earl. She knew that Earl was old and not to play with him like she played with Trudy - very rough with lots of biting and pulling. Well, would wonders never cease? One day we looked out and the 6-month old puppy was playing tag and bitey-face with Earl who looked like he was enjoying the attention and wagging his tail. And the day before his stroke he got to do one of his favorite things. We took all the dogs back to the stock tank so they could go swimming. Unfortunately, Earl's health took a turn for the worse at the end of May 2008 when he had a moderate stroke. We weren't sure he would recover at all, but he did manage to rebound back for about ten days until other medical issues related to the stroke began to set in as well as the effects of the stroke. We suspect that he also suffered kidney damage and became diabetic (he appeared to have ketoacidosis his last couple days). Earl passed away June 4th, 2008 in our arms at 6 PM last night. Some of his ashes will be laid to rest under his favorite crape myrtle tree on his ranch...

Dixie joined my pack in 2000. We think she was 9 at the time. She was one of about 50 dogs HOTLR pulled from a failed rescue in east Texas, and was originally named Babs. She had a scar across her muzzle because her first people thought she barked too much so they tied her mouth shut. I fostered her almost immediately, and the entire time she was my foster dog she never barked. She saved the barking until she had wormed her way into my heart and was mine. And she never quit barking, but it was just fine with all of us that she talked - she was so happy when she did it. Before life with me she had never been in grass, but soon learned the complete ecstasy of rolling around on her back in thick grass. She also never knew what dog biscuits were, and my other dogs were thrilled with this because they quickly hoovered all of the crumbs that fell from her mouth. She learned pretty quickly, though, and the others were bummed. Sh loved to swim, although I often had to "cheat" on throwing things so she could have the fun of fetching a toy since she was a slow and steady swimmer. In her later years she wasn't very mobile, but loved going for car rides because it meant we were going someplace where she could lie in the sun and sunbathe. The end came quickly for her - yesterday she stopped being able to walk, and other bodily functions had also shut down. I made an appt. for later today to have the vet put her to sleep, but she beat me to it by going across the bridge on her own terms this morning. Now I know she is swimming in a beautiful river, taking breaks to roll in the thick green grass, and barking to everyone about how happy she is.
Thumper Thumper

Here's Thumper. I picked her up a few years ago from the Heart of Texas Lab Rescue (HOT-LR). From the story I was told she was almost dead when HOT-LR retrieved her from her former owners. They said it took almost two years to bring her back to a point where she could be adopted. She's had a very rough life. It's sad to think someone would treat a dog as bad as that. She is a true Black Lab. She's soft, has shiny hair, big ears, wide beaver style tail and big paws. She had few of her teeth left but still loves doggie bones. Lately though her age has caught up to her and I don't expect her to be with me much longer. At least her last two or three years have been good.

Early this morning (04/07/06) I had to let Thumper go. I had the pleasure of adopting Thumper on the 11th of August, 2002. Thumper came from an abusive home and she had been in HOTLR?s care for some time before she was healthy enough to be released for adoption. At that time she was estimated to be around 10 to 12 years old. Thumper was an amazingly loving lab. She would rub her nose up against me much like a cat and walk on by, just far enough to have her behind in scratching distance. She also loved to have her ears and neck scratched. She would bounce on her front paws at feeding time and she would bark. This was the only time she would bark. She was very tolerant of the vet?s needle when that was needed. She had come down several times with forms of skin cancer which were quickly removed. About six months ago she came down with Cushing?s which caused her immune system to go crazy. Treatment with several medications helped, for awhile. Last night I was cleaning one of the lesions on her hind leg and I could see that her skin had now deteriorated to the point where it was no longer protecting the muscle under it. Pretty much Thumper had a large hole in her skin and I could see her leg muscle underneath. She snapped at me when I tried to clean the wound. This was the first and only time she had ever snapped at me. I knew she was in pain. This morning she and I visited the vet, her for the last time. The vet discussed the treatment options with me and asked me what I wanted to do. He never once suggested putting her down. I made the choice to let her go, he walked up beside me and said in a soft voice, ?I wouldn?t say it until you did, but that?s what I would do too.? I didn?t want her to be in any more pain. I stayed in the room through to the end and for a little while longer. I thank HOTLR for allowing me to have the best dog in the world. Thumper was cremated and I will be taking her ashes to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in late June to spread them near where I buried my first Black Lab, Mandy. I miss Thumper very much.


On Valentine's Day in 1998 I drove from Houston to Austin to adopt a female yellow lab from Hot Lab Rescue. I had a hard time selecting a dog and wanted them all. But one particular dog, Rusty, smiled at me and I could not resist. Rusty looked different from the other labs, and was one of the yellow labs that HOTLRC picked up from a Houston puppy mill that was closing. Sophie, also from the puppy mill, joined us in June of that year, so I was doubly blessed.

Rusty came with a few phobias. She did not like going through doorways for instance. She would not go for walks. Her big daily adventure was to go down our driveway, turn right and go one house down, turn around and go one house the other way, and then head back up the driveway. One day I thought I had lost Rusty. She darted out the garage door when it was open, but I found she had only run around to the back door to be let back in.

It didn't take long though before Rusty made herself at home. Rusty was a sweet dog, always wanting to be petted, yet she behaved when I would tell her to go sit down. Since she came from a puppy mill I was very surprised to learn she knew how to "sit", and was especially surprised just within the last year when I found she knew the command to lie down. All I can imagine is that she was somebody's pet before landing in the puppy mill. She had not forgotten her training.

I think what learned most about Rusty is to keep a good attitude. She was patient, kind and usually happy. I loved to see her "snirkle" (which is what I called her cute smile).

Rusty is now in dog heaven making new friends. My husband, Sophie and I miss her a lot.


Just wanted everyone to know that we had to send Buck over the Rainbow Bridge Saturday morning. He was truly an amazing Lab. We adopted him from HOT Lab Rescue in 2000 when he was 9 years old. He grew ill after we had him for 6 months and we thought it was his time at that ponit. Our amazing vet, told us that he wanted to do exploratory surgery to find out what was going on. We were hesitant due to the fact that we didn't want him to suffer surgery and then to die days later. But the look in our vet's eyes told us to trust him. It turned out Buck had a torque (twisted) spleen and that was causing him to be ill. The vet removed the spleen and Buck led a wonderful life for the next 5 years.

I had tried to get him in the "got milk" ads due to his wonderful milk smile. Look at his picture and you'll see what I am talking about. He was a fiesty old man and kept up with the best of them for several years. He would greet us at the door and do this dance that looked like a bucking bronco. The last couple of years, he had started slowing down, developed cataracts and became more and more senile. He developed glaucoma which caused him so much pain that we thought it was best to let him go. His spine was fused causing him the inability to get around easily. He had other health issues as well.

I am grateful that HOT Lab Rescue allowed me to adopt such an extraordinary Lab and for Shandra and Judith for bringing him to Dallas.

Sincerely, Dana Wichita

Cocoa Cocoa
Cocoa: 1991 -2004

Cocoa came to live with us in January of 2001. She was the perfect companion to us as well as our other dog Jasper. They quickly became inseparable. Jasper succumbed to illness in April of this year. Cocoa helped us get through that loss even though she was also deeply affected by Jasper's departure. Our precious "princess" passed away on October 16th, 2004. We take much comfort in knowing she has been reunited with her brother forever.


Charlie: 1987 - 2000

Charlie was a gentle and loving soul that wasn't in the sound body that he so richly deserved. Charlie was taken to the Vet by his owner to be put down due to bone cancer and being heartworm positive. Charlie was a definite love and the Vet just couldn't tolerate the thought of putting him down. At her own expense, she treated for heartworm and removed the cancer. Charlie was approximately 12 yrs old at the time and remained at the clinic for several months. After the time at the clinic, Charlie came to Austin to be a permanent part of the Heart of Texas family. It was accepted by us that because of his age, Charlie would be a part of our family until he died. Charlie never found his forever home, but his last 6 months were possibly the happiest of his life. Charlie was a trooper, and whether it was one of his good days or bad days, he loved "messing" with the goats and playing with the other dogs. As Charlie's cancer returned rapidly thereafter, and his bad days were out numbering his good days, it was decided that this "loving old man" had been through enough and the difficult decision was made to release him from his failing body.

We all loved you Charlie. You will never be forgotten. Be young and healthy again, until we meet again and all cross the bridge together.

Updated by DP March 16, 2000

Sweet Molly Brown
Sweet Molly Brown Sweet Molly Brown
Sweet Molly Brown

Molly Brown was a female chocolate lab we pulled from a Dallas/Ft.Worth area animal shelter. She was about 3 years old when we got her on March 25th, 2001. Unfortunately, while she was in the shelter, she contracted kennel cough and distemper. She didn't have the strength to battle the disease anymore. She passed away on the morning of April 10th. Please light a candle or say a prayer for sweet Molly Brown, now at Rainbow Bridge.

I absolutely loved Molly and it kills me to know that I couldn't save her. She was so adorable. The things that she did that were adorable was a sign of her disease. She would stick her lower lip out...it looked like she had a fat lower lip. But in reality, she was sticking it out for better ventilation for her lungs. At times, she moved her lower jaw and it reminded me of those 'singing bass' that they sell at Christmas time.

No matter how sick she felt or that the mucous in her eyes was so thick where she couldn't see me, she would still wag her tail for me. Even on her last day and as weak as she was, she would thump her tail for me. It broke my heart that I couldn't save her. She was such a deserving girl! I hope I never have to witness such a senseless death. If everyone vaccinated their dogs, then these dogs wouldn't have to die.

Sincerely, HOTLR Volunteer and Loving Foster Mom


'"My name is Tyler, and I'm a yellow Lab. When I was about 2 years old, I wandered into a yard in Houston one Saturday morning. Ann, the lady next door, took me in. I had infected ears, a bacterial infection, wasn't neutered, wasn't housetrained and I had very bad knees. After I got rid of the infections, Ann took me to HOT Lab Rescue, then she decided to adopt me.

Rescue had me neutered and treated for heartworm. Ann had my right knee fixed so it didn't hurt any more. But Ann's older dogs were upset by my rambunctious behavior, and she and I never bonded, so she reluctantly returned me to Rescue. They fixed my other knee, then fixed the right knee again.

Eventually I was placed with a nice family and lived with them and my favorite little girl for nearly a year. Then I slipped out an automatic gate and was hit by a car. I loved my family so much that I tried to follow them, and this terrible accident happened. Then I went to the Rainbow Bridge.

Ann still cared a lot about me and was devastated when I died. Almost 2 years to the day after she found me, she found a little yellow Lab/beagle mix who apparently had been dumped because she was pregnant. Ann named her Mila (the Russian word for "sweet"), had her spayed, housetrained her and helped her overcome severe separation anxiety. She made the move with Ann and her two older dogs back to California and is now very happy. (I arranged for Mila and Ann to meet that early morning, because I knew Mila needed a good home ). I went through so many medical procedures, and I wasn't able to enjoy my "forever home" for very long. But at least my last year was a happy one, and I helped another Lab find her forever home.

I will never forget the people who helped me, and I know they will always remember me, too.


I sometimes think it is ironic that our Vet tells me that Darsi viewed the world in black and white, because I don?t believe I have ever seen the colors of life?s spectrum more clearly than when I watched her live life. Darsi taught us to see love with unconditional brilliance. Her love was that of a pure soul, always there to greet you at the beginning and end of each day. Like the golden rays of a morning sun, her love revealed the hidden treasures of the night and filled our hearts with gentle warmth. Darsi also showed us how to enjoy life more. She retrieved every moment that life threw her way and was always willing to bringing back her joy to share with us all. Only Darsi could convince the symphony of the birds to leave their peaceful tunes and join her in a rousing rendition of Looney Tunes. During her last days, Darsi showed us the power of optimism. Even as cancer invaded her body, she continued to smile showing no signs of slowing until the very end. We will miss her dearly, but we will always know that the colors of life?s rainbow are never black and white because we?ve seen life through the eyes of our beloved Darsi.
Jake Jake Jake
Jake: 1990 - 2003

Jake was a dog who gave new meaning to the term "mild mannered." He was an exceedingly sweet chocolate Lab who died in his foster home on May 4, 2003. I was on phone duty in September of 2001 when Jake's owner called about him. She had adopted Jake from Dick and Luanne about 6 years earlier and she loved him dearly, but she had been in a bad car accident and could not take care of him any more. We took Jake back and he lived in the Geriatric Room for the next year or so, with Moose, Thumper, and Maggie. He sure liked that doggie door! All he wanted was to sit and be petted or brushed. He was a big, loveable guy. Over time, his three roommates found forever homes, but when the Appyland Kennels closed down Jake was left all alone. We took him home and he lived with us for seven months until he died of natural causes at the age of 13. We think he enjoyed his time with us. He loved to go for walks and we had to restrain him so he didn't overdo and get too tired. His arthritic hips slowed him down, but he insisted on climbing the stairs every night to sleep at the foot of our bed. With some dietary supplements, his coat became a gorgeous chestnut brown and he seemed happy. The highlight of his time with us was when we took him to the HOTLR Reunion and he surprised us by jumping into the lake and swimming like a 2-year-old. He even tried to retrieve a post that was sticking up out of the water! He loved seeing all his old volunteer buddies at the reunion and meeting new friends. Over the next four weeks, however, he slowed down more and more. He stopped wanting to go for walks. One Saturday we came home from shopping and he did not greet us at the door with his big brown nose. We found him on the living room floor, unconscious and breathing hard. We stayed with him until he died early the next morning. We miss his cheerful face. Strange how such a quiet dog can leave such a vacant spot in a home. Lucy, our adopted HOTLR dog, misses him too. Janet Smith
Maggie: 2003

Hi- My name is Allison Ricketson. My husband Corey and I adopted the 13 year old dog Maggie last year from HOTLR. I just recieved the newsletter today, and read about the passing of Jake. I got to meet Jake when we were adopting Maggie and he was such a sweet dog. I wanted to inform you that Maggie also passed away from natural causes, ironically also on May 4th. Corey and I were out of town for a wedding and my mother-in-law was taking care of Maggie and our other lab, Dixie. Maggie passed away while we were gone, and we never got to say goodbye. She was such a sweet dog and I am so glad that we could give her a good home for that last year of her life. She was always a happy dog, especially at mealtime! We certainly miss her, but we know she is in a better place where she doesn't have arthritic hips or shortness of breath. We are thankful that we had a chance to have Maggie in our lives and we thank HOTLR for that. Thank you. I have enclosed a picture of Corey, me, Maggie and our black lab Dixie.

Brandy Brandy adopted us when we visited Luanne back in 1997. At the time Brandy had just arrived after being used and then discarded by what could at best be described as a puppy mill. A sad moment to say the least but one that turned out to be one of the happiest for my wife and I and for Brandy as well. Little did we realize the amount of love and attention that Brandy would shower on us over the next few years or the the amount of love and affection we would have for her as well. Little did we realize the strength of the bond that would develop between us and the level of sadness that we would feel when the time came for Brandy to cross the bridge. A love magnet, a consummate shadow, a friend to the very end and, above all, a member of the family who will forever have a place in our hearts and a memory that will not fade. If there is truly a heaven for friends like Brandy I hope that we will one day be worthy enough to visit it and see Brandy again!

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