New Mexico's Pet Resource SUMMER 2005


by Beverly Ann Kaply

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Hannah, a sweet and gentle Black Lab Mix, and her eleven beautiful puppies came into our lives on a sunny December morning, shortly before they would have been euthanized by Animal Control in Alamogordo. The puppies had been placed in a sealed Styrofoam container near the door of Animal Control after hours. What does someone say to himself during the act of throwing innocent creatures away as they would a bag of garbage? It was a cold night. They had been given a death sentence. It was fortunate that someone was there at the time and recorded the license plate number.

The police were called, and both the police and animal control went to the home of the puppies’ owners. They were easily convinced to surrender Hannah when faced with a charge of animal abuse. They never really wanted her. She had come to them as a stray and they had fed her. It was clear to me that someone had confined her to a really small area. At first, she paced in a straight line. Finally, after a month here, she would venture out and quite simply dance with joy at the freedom she had found.

The puppies were only two days old when we retrieved them, took them to the vet, and then brought them all home. My husband was building the whelping box at home as I drove up the hill.

Hannah is intelligent and kind, despite significant abuse. Of the eleven puppies, three are yellow, five are black and three are brown. The yellow and black puppies look like Labs, but the brown puppies appear to have resulted from a separate breeding. They are nine weeks old now, rambunctious, verbal, loving and each with a distinct personality. As I write this, eight are thriving in terrific homes. The three that remain to be placed are one female and two males.

My friend, Judy Tudor, worked regularly with Hannah to help her learn basic manners. She is a wonderful dog and in a home now where she will receive the love and care she so desperately deserves. She is finally learning to trust and to bond. We miss her, but are so glad she is doing well.

Against tremendous odds, Hannah and her eleven puppies have survived. Adopting families have come from all over New Mexico. It has brought us great joy to know how many other people want to share their homes with rescued pups, and to know that among the people who do the wrong thing, there are people doing what is right.

Hannah And Her Puppies: The Next Chapter
By Linda Sampson

We saw the story of Hannah and her puppies on the website of Lodestar Labs, a wonderful organization run by Tom Payne, a friend and a lover of Labs from the bottom of his feet to the top of his tall frame. We had already adopted the dearest Lab we had ever had the fortune of knowing, Koko, whose lot in life was almost sealed by a cruel former owner, who left her, a beautiful blind Chocolate Lab, at the local airport in July. She got away from Tom twice, I would assume to find her family, by climbing over his high fences, and going over I-40 and Route 66, the first time appearing across from our home. She was moving up the road so fast, one would never have guessed she was blind. My husband Dan called in to me, and asked me what the name was on the Lodestar site. I said “Grace”, and he called to her, to no avail. That of course was not her name. I jumped in our truck and attempted to find her, tracing her path, and Tom came from his home also.

After the second escape, we had to meet this brave girl. Upon getting into the pen with her, we called her various names, and when my husband called her Koko, she was ecstatic. We could not leave her there, so we brought her home with us. We are former breeders of Labrador Retrievers, but nobody has taught us as much as this girl. She is almost nine years old now, and has been diagnosed with cancer, but seems in no pain, and is as happy as ever. We were looking for a dog for her to mentor, as we felt that if we could clone her we would - the next best thing would be to find one to be mentored.

That is where Trip enters the picture. He is one of Hannah’s puppies, who also was dealt, at the beginning of his life, a cruel hand. Upon reading the story on Tom’s website, we inquired if there were any puppies left. We spoke to Beverly Kaply on the phone, and she said she had one puppy who would fit the bill as being “laid back”, so he or she would be attentive to what Koko would teach. On President’s Day we received our Trip, who is a handsome boy, probably German Shepherd and Lab. We had prepared Koko for the new puppy by telling her “Trip is coming” lots of times per day. Koko had been a mom herself not too long before she came into our lives, so we thought she could handle a frisky pup. We eased them together slowly, as is wise with an older dog and a rambunctious puppy. Now they play like two pups. He has given her a spark and a bounce in her step, and in turn she has gradually taught him her wonderful patience. The first nights were hard for us all, as he howled and cried, and Koko probably wondered why this creature was here; now they are great friends, and she, the blind one, is his protector! They drink out of the same water bowl and play, to our delight.

And so the young and old have come together and are teaching each other the biggest thing of all: Hope!

Lab Rescue of So. NM/nonprofit/dedicated to rescuing Labs from undesirable situations. I have shown, loved and trained dogs for 45 years. Contact: (505) 671-8407

For a letter about another of Hannah's adopted puppies click here: The Story of Boo

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