Fourth annual ‘Lab Fest ’focuses on breed, helps dogs find homes
Hundreds of dogs and their owners took over Four Freedoms Park on Saturday as part of the fourth annual “Lab Fest”, a celebration of all things labrador.
Co-sponsored by the Cape Dog Bakery and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, the event started four years ago as fund-raiser for the breed.
According to Dog Bakery owners Lou and Anita Simmons, they wanted to help Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida any way they could.
Saturday’s event was no different, though the festival has expanded to include several pro-canine non-profit groups like Southeastern Guide Dogs and K9 Rescue.
“We have so many people who have labs we said, let’s have a Lab Fest!”, Lou Simmons said. “It just gets bigger every year and goes to a good cause. And the labs love it!”
Indeed, the labradors were having a blast on Saturday, swimming in the yacht basin, playing fetch and romping with one another in the park.
There were also a few labradors who were looking for good homes.
Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida had several dogs on hand in hopes of pairing them with would-be owners.
District Coordinator Laurie Posey said the non-profit organization, founded in 2000, has placed over 3,000 labs in good homes during that time frame.
“There are so many dogs that need to be rescued its much easier to focus on one breed,” Posey said of the group’s mission. “We adopted out 560 labs last year alone.”
The group carefully places dogs in homes, pairing labs of different ages with owners who are up to the responsibility. Along with background checks, the group also conducts home inspections of potential owners.
Posey said older labrador are often easier to adopt, as they don’t require the same type of constant attention as younger dogs.
“If you work all day you can’t train the dog for just an hour a night,” Posey said. “They are such good dogs but they do require a lot of attention.”
Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida currently has plenty of labs available. They do not have a facility, so all dogs are placed in foster homes and in the care of volunteers.
For more information visit: www.labradorrescue.net.