DLRR operates as a network of volunteers, which extends to Tucson and up North in Prescott and Flagstaff as well. To date, they’ve rehomed 5000 labs, rescued from a mix of shelters and owner surrenders from homes that were no longer able or willing to care for them. Due to the chronic problem of overcrowding at shelters, DLRR is often the last refuge for Labs to avoid being euthanized.
DLRR is entirely funded through donations from the public, grants, and fundraising efforts by volunteers. Without these contributions and public support, DLRR would not be able to save so many dogs. DLRR is very proud to have maintained their guarantee that 100% of all donations go to the care and rehoming of these dogs, either to direct supplies and medical, or to the operating costs of running the nonprofit — no one gets a salary.
Every year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) rates the most popular dogs in the U.S. (based on registration statistics). There’s a reason why Labrador Retrievers have spent 31 years at the top of AKC’s list, (only bumped to number two for the first time by the French Bulldog in 2023) — they’re affectionate, energetic, clever, fun, and adapt well to younger family members and other pets. Why, then, do so many of them wind up displaced? In other words, why is there such a need for DLRR to exist?
Board President Dan Grimm says there can be a variety of reasons, but the most common is a change in family circumstances like owner illness, financial challenges, or a housing change which leaves people no longer able to care for their dog friends. Other common reasons include the dog developing a medical condition too costly for the family budget, or eager new purchasers/adopters underestimating the level of time and care needed for this athletic breed, which requires far more and varied exercise than most other breeds.
DLRR takes in everything from puppies and healthy youngsters who are nearly adoption-ready, to severely injured or senior dogs with costly medical conditions. Some of the dogs they take in are suffering emotional and/or behavioral issues — either from the stress of the streets or shelters while homeless or from the trauma of separation from their family for whatever reason. These dogs may need decompression time in an approved boarding kennel and/or extended care from a qualified trainer before being approved for adoption.
Thankfully, DLRR is going stronger than ever in the fight to keep Labs healthy, housed and loved. Last year they rescued and rehomed approximately 200 dogs! Their supporters keep growing too, thanks in part to their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Corks and Collars gala. This dinner and silent auction features music, catering, wine, and beer from all local vendors, and of course the chance to mix with some splendid Labs! Their 15th annual one last November 4th was the most successful yet, with 350+ attendees and over $100k raised for AZ Labrador Retrievers!
DLRR’s primary challenge is finding more help, so they welcome volunteers! The most important thing Dan would like readers to know is that while many people feel daunted by volunteering as a major time commitment, it doesn’t have to mean 20 hours per week. Dan says that even if you just have one hour per month, that’s still precious to DLRR! What you do there all depends on your time, skill level and interest. They have a wide variety of tasks, from walking dogs to administrative work. There are also fun ways to support them, including with a Fry’s VIP card, and buying coffee from Grounds and Hounds Coffee Shop!