Sunny Yellow Labrador Retriever Female 6 Years Old

Monday, January 6, 2020

Sunny has come a very long way from the scared, timid, confused and anxious farm breeder dog that I picked up in Lancaster, PA back in mid-October of last year. We have been through a lot together! From learning to live in a house (crossing thresholds, climbing stairs, sleeping on a dog bed to sleeping with me on my bed, walking on a leash, getting in and out of a car, meeting lots of new people, learning to chew bones and romp ( a little bit) with other dogs in my yard. However, the biggest hurdle that she is now getting better and better at is letting me out of her sight, and staying home without me!!!Yellow Labrador Retriever and boy

She started to develop separation anxiety about 3 weeks after arriving, and by her 5th or 6th week with me, it was pretty bad! In the beginning, I couldn’t walk out of a room without her immediately following me – however no alarms went off in my head because a lot of rescue dogs are “velcro” at first. Foster dogs, regardless of whether they come from a shelter, off the farm, or are owner surrenders or strays found on the street, often follow their fosters around and become “shadows” for the first weeks, even months.

Sunny’s anxiety however did not wane. Rather, she began to manifest signs of much more serious separation anxiety that included  relentlessly trying  to escape from my bedroom or office (the rooms my dogs stay in when I am not home) multiple times, causing varying degrees of damage. In the beginning, she was too shut-down, confused, overwhelmed and dazed to try much of anything … even eating and going out to the yard to potty were an effort for her! Crating her to keep her from trying to escape is also not possible. Due to having lived in a cage her entire life, the crate terrifies and upsets to the point that she tried to escape one time and strained a front leg in the process. The vet even prescribed the sedative Trazodone, however Sunny reacts poorly to it becoming more agitated and anxious.

Therefore, over the last month I have been working very diligently with her on counter-conditioning and desensitization by following specific step-by-step techniques outlined in Patricia McConnell’s book “I’ll Be Home Soon.” We have begun to see HUGE progress and I am so proud of Sunny! Whoever is lucky enough to adopt this beautiful, soulful, sensitive, loving and special dog must be willing and able to commit to continuing the work we started. Some dogs take weeks or months to emerge from the fear, stress and anxiety of separation anxiety – but for a few, it can take as long as a year to see significant results. Of course Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue, as well as I, will support her eventual adopter to continue the work Sunny and I have started together, so that she can have the very best life possible!

Saturday, December 25, 2019

Yellow Labrador RetrieverSunny went with me to my extended family’s Christmas celebration in Philadelphia today. She was wonderful and everyone raved about how sweet and gentle she is … even with my little great-nephew who is just 14-months old. She was nervous when we first arrived, which is to be expected since she doesn’t go to many gatherings with 17 people! However, she settled next to me on the floor and seemed content to watch the festivities, and was especially happy to get an occasional treat from my 18-yr old nephew who loves dogs (his family has two dogs; one a very recent rescue). She handled the whole day much better than I had even hoped she would, considering how anxious she can be around new people. I guess because my family are all dog savvy and knew not approach her, but instead let her make friends at her own pace, that she felt more at ease.  I was very proud of her!!!


Yellow Labrador Retriever sleepingSaturday, October 26, 2019

Sunny is THE BEST patient!!! Right now, as I type this, she is lying in the kitchen, snoring softly (don’t you just LOVE dogs that snore?!? I know I do!) Her incision looks great already, and with her appetite back on track, I am sure she will heal quickly and be able to be posted as available in a couple of weeks. She is due for her distemper booster at the end of next week; otherwise, she is also completely up-to-date on her vaccinations.

Since she’s only been with me a short while, and in the beginning she had a lot to get used to, I haven’t walked her other than to and from the car to go to the vet. However, I don’t expect her to be a puller – she accepts the harness being placed on her with no struggle, and just needs to be given patient encouragement to become comfortable walking in the “big world.” Having come from an Amish farm, just about everything is new to her – cars, trucks, kids on bikes – but she is quick to adjust as long as you don’t rush her!


Friday, October 25, 2019

Today Sunny was much more alert! She spent a good part of the day lying on the deck, resting in the sun! If I didn’t know that she was just spayed yesterday, I’d never believe it! I went to the store this afternoon and bought a Rotisserie Chicken to bribe her to eat – and it worked! She also took her meds mixed into her chicken-laced kibble. Yay! This sweet, resilient, good-natured mamma dog will mend fast!


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Tomorrow Sunny will have been with me for 2 full weeks. Just 13 days ago, she was so overwhelmed, confused and scared, she could barely function. Walking around the yard, crossing the back door threshold, going up a flight of stairs, sleeping in a house, eating different food, meeting new dogs…she faced so many challenges…and yet not once has she growled, barked, snapped or been mean in any way to me, any visitors, or any of the other dogs!

She got spayed todYellow Labrador Retriever standingay. As I expected, Sunny was well-behaved at the animal hospital, though quite confused, overwhelmed and scared. Nevertheless, she maintained her gentle temperament, looking to me for reassurance. Once I left, the staff said she was the perfect patient: quiet, accommodating to all the poking and prodding, even giving licks and kisses to anyone and everyone.

I picked her up on my way home from work. She is such a trooper! She got into my car entirely on her own when we left the vet, though she needed some serious, but very gentle, pulling and prodding to exit when we got home.

She was very happy to be home, which pleased me immensely. She immediately wanted to go upstairs to my bedroom (her safe place, since that’s where she’s been sleeping at night and staying during the day when I go to work). I stopped her since lots of activity – especially stairs – are a no-no after spay surgery. She was very distressed, but was also so exhausted and still woozy from the anesthesia, that she readily capitulated.

I had placed a couple comforters on the kitchen floor, being the closest location to the back yard for pottying, and she collapsed on them, looking for reassurance in my presence. Her confidence and attachment to me in barely 2 weeks touches my heart!

She barely nibbled a couple ounces of food (turkey lunch meat – one of her favorites) but totally refused any pieces I had tucked pills into. I was left with no choice but to crush the pills (that did not require dosing with food) into chicken broth and syringed the liquid down her throat. Though she was not pleased, she nonetheless accepted it, while giving me sad eyes and a couple of indignant sputters.

I hated doing it, but I also wrapped the abhorrent but obligatory plastic cone around her neck and settled on the floor next to her, stroking her velvet ears and murmuring gently about what a good girl she is, until she snored softly. I crept off to bed sometime later, and checked her twice during the night, taking her carefully out to the yard around 11 pm. Unfortunately, she would not pee. Before my next check around 2 am, she had peed a bucketful at the back door. Expecting an accident, I had put down towels backed up by potty pads – but at least I know she tried to go out, my timing was just off!


Friday, October 11, 2019

Look at this beautiful girl!

Yellow Labrador Retriever face

Named Sunshine (we call her Sunny) by the Amish farmer who owned and bred her before surrendering her this morning to Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue. Sunny should be available for adoption soon after she’s spayed, which is next Thursday, October 24.

She’s still timid but very, very affectionate, good with dogs, probably good with cats (she lived on a farm, after all), good with kids, and though a big girl at roughly 100 lbs (she has lost some weight here), she does not jump up, is not mouthy, quiet as a mouse, and just wants to share her boundless love.

Since she was a farm breeder dog, Sunny does have the telltale “mommy tummy,” but to her foster mom, that just makes her all the more beautiful. Who wouldn’t be proud of such a patient, loving, obedient, and gentle soul who gave the first 4 years and 11 months of her life to litter after litter, getting little but the most meager subsistence in return?

Adopt Your New Best Friend!

PLEASE NOTE: While this Lab may not be available for adoption by the time you complete the adoption process, other great Labs are always finding their way into our Rescue.

If you are interested in adopting this Lab or any other Lab from our Rescue, please visit our Web site,, for more information on our adoption process. If you need additional information about the adoption process or whether you are in our coverage area, please send an e-mail to our Rescue at

Even if you are not ready to adopt, you can still help us help our Labs!

Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization funded entirely by donations. Donations are always needed to help with veterinary costs, transportation, and supplies for our dogs. For information on donating to BLRR please click here. Donations are accepted via PayPal or you can mail a check to: Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue, P.O. Box 638, Warrington, PA 18976-0638