For the Love of Labradors (and Other Breeds of Dogs Too).

Loving Labradors

When I think about Mugen’s life, I realize that I always thought that he was the dog in the background. He was my quiet little patch of puppy wonderfulness and serenity standing in Lucy’s shadow. After Lucy died, I could not have made it through grieving for her without him. He stayed by my side constantly and licked away my tears and then stole my dish towels to make me laugh. I can never express to anyone how special Mugen was. I’m pretty good with words, but Mugen was so much more than just my dog. He was my salvation and while I knew that, I didn’t think that anyone else saw him like I did. Now, when I think back on all the moments with him that I never told anyone about, the private ones, where we are sitting on the living room sofa and he has managed to pack his 70 pound self into my lap with his head on my chest and he sighs just before he starts to snore in my ear, I know how warm and full my heart was and I keenly feel the emptiness that has been left behind. Then I think of all the wonderful things that photos could never capture, how he ran at the dog beach to go after bumpers and how the trainers admired our bond when we were in dog school together and when I put them all together, I know exactly what Mugen meant to me.

I kept a lot of that stuff to myself though. I shared everything about Lucy’s life because Lucy was larger than life to me. Lucy had so much personality that there was no way I couldn’t share her story with the world. Mugen though, he was different. He was quiet, his life was not meant to be the subject of public scrutiny. He didn’t need all of that. All he needed was my lap and a blanket and funnily enough, that was just what I needed too.

I had no idea that Mugen had also touched so many hearts. I feel like I will always grieve for Mugen and for the life that we were supposed to have with him, but I did not know just how many people were grieving with us until now. The wonderful and generous folks of the Lab Board were grieving with me and my family the whole time, but where I was having trouble getting out of bed in the mornings, they were moved to action. I am in awe of what they have accomplished.

They wanted to do something to remember Mugen and to commemorate his short, but beautiful, life. So, they all got together and raised money to donate to three charities, SPARRO, which is a rescue that focuses on caring for senior animals, mostly Labs, and gives them forever homes, NOLA, Northern Louisiana Lab Rescue and a local charity very close to my own heart, because they do so much good work for the homeless pets in my own community, The Spokane Humane Society. The money will be split three ways between each group and will go to save the lives of dogs or cats that might otherwise not have found shelter and veterinary care at a time in their life when they needed it most. I will not reveal the amount of money raised, but I will tell you that the third that will be sent to the Spokane Humane Society will pay to maintain three kennels in their facility for an entire year.

Yes, they were that awesome!

I just want to say to the Lab Board folks: You guys ROCK!

Katie and Justine, you are nothing less than angels for these wonderful folks in the Lab Board community for organizing this donation drive for them. You empowered every person that donated to express their feelings in a way that suited them best. To each and every one of you who donated: you are an angel for every single life that you have saved with the money you have raised to donate to these worthy charities. Thank you, for your support, for your donations and for loving me and my great brown dog enough to be moved to do something this amazing. I can never repay you, but know that from the bottom of my heart, I thank you and so do the animals whose lives you just saved.

If you were unable to donate in the donation drive, you can still make a donation. Just donate directly and let them know you would like to make a donation in memory of “Mugen Jones”. Here are links to the group’s websites so you can get information on how to donate to them directly:

Northern Louisiana Lab Rescue (NOLA)

Southwestern PA Retriever Rescue Organization (SPARRO) 

The Spokane Humane Society