Our affection for the Labrador Retriever dates back to 2004 when Terese adopted Gracie, a rescue she met and fell in love with at the Capital Area Humane Society in Columbus, Ohio. Gracie was rescued by the kind people of the Humane Society when a concerned citizen reported that she had suspected that a neighbor was subjecting a dog to abuse, and possibly running a neglectful back yard puppy mill. The Humane Society investigated the claim, and were appalled at what they discovered. Upon rescuing Gracie, they were concerned that her critical condition would require more care than the Society was equipped to provide; however, with the aid of their Special Care and Cruelty Fund, supported by the generous donations from the community, as well as the kind veterinarians who committed to donating their services to help, the Humane Society was able to nurse Gracie back to health within four months.
Some may call it coincidence; however, Terese says it was fate that drew her to the Humane Society on the very same day that Gracie was to make her first public appearance after her months long recovery in the medical center. Although Gracie was considered to be healthy and ready for adoption, she would still require additional time to completely heal from the neglect she suffered through and it was the goal of the Humane Society to find Gracie a new home to help her through this. Terese had gone there with the intention of adopting a new puppy; however, instead she found herself face to face with Gracie. Despite her mangy looking coat, still growing in from having been shaved to address the flea infestation she suffered through, and a mouth of broken and missing teeth, Terese couldn't resist the gentle smile in Gracie's eyes as she peered up at her through the bars of her kennel.
It was love at first sight for both Gracie and Terese, and while it has been said that we gave Gracie the gift of a second chance, there is no doubt in our minds that the real gift was Gracie and we feel so blessed to have found her. The doctors and staff of the Humane Society were unclear as to how old Gracie really was since most of her teeth were severely damaged, making it difficult to estimate an age; however, they thought she was close to five years old. For the next five years of her life, Gracie showered us with her unconditional love, loyalty, and adoration. It was her perseverance, her capacity to love without boundaries, and her ability to move beyond her difficulties that inspired us and continues to kindle the flame of our love for the breed.
Today, while Gracie will forever live in our memories, our home is filled with the love and affection of three beautiful Chocolate Labradors: Stella, Maggie, Riley, and Hadley.