Memorial Kona

chocolate labrador retriever  blue ball, reading magazine, face, sitting chocolate labrador retriever running tennis ball in mouthIt is with an extremely heavy heart that I am writing this to tell you that Kona died very suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday afternoon. All seemed well on Thursday morning; he had his appetite and natural energy during our morning walk. However, at my noon time visit he was not himself and refused his treat. Cathy came home to check on him about two hours later and noted a significant decline and in fact he collapsed walking in the yard. We rushed him to the Hope Vet ER where they stabilized him and discovered he was bleeding internally. Subsequent ultrasound scans revealed several tumors on his spleen and liver and it is likely that one of the tumors ruptured and caused the internal bleeding. Surgery was not a viable option and he died without additional suffering in our arms shortly before 6pm.

Needless to say we are devastated by his death. We miss him terribly because he had transitioned into our family and was a happy dog who made the rest of the family happy with his boundless energy and playfulness. We often remarked that he acted more like a 2year old than a 9 year old. However, he had also learned how to be a canine citizen who was able to control his instincts and demonstrate patience. Walking him was a pleasure and we did not hesitate to take him into stores or on trips with us. He was able to meet people and visitors to the house without obnoxious barking. Everyone who has known him since we adopted him said how much he had matured. Our dog trainer remarked at the end of his six week class “….this is not the same dog that was here on the first day of class”. He understood that he was learning and thrived in gaining confidence. It hurts knowing that he wasn’t able to continue that growth.

two chocolate labrador retriever sleepingHis passion was playing fetch with his balls in the yard; he never seemed to tire and it had to be a daily part of the regimen here at the house. A tennis ball was his training reward, forget the snacks, just show him the ball and he would attempt most anything. He had a favorite “pink” ball that he found on a walk over six months ago and carried home. That was his ball and he treasured it. Although it suffered from use,playful chewing and is only half a ball, we still played with it. The random bounces from the half round ball seemed to add to the game. The “pink” ball is preserved and will be kept with his remains.

His activity had stabilized his weight and his coat had transformed to a shiny dark chocolate. He was handsome.

two chocolate labrador retriever standing on deck tongue outWe know that Maggie misses him as well because they had become buddies. He energized her. There was nary a mean gesture or bark between them; they followed each other constantly and most times could be found napping in the same room. They enjoyed being side by side whether on a car ride with their heads out the window, on a hiking trail, or on the backseat sharing Saturday morning donuts.
We are enriched having had time with Kona. He will be remembered fondly and it unfortunate that his time with us was too short. Thank you to Brookline and his foster mom,Kathy, for rescuing him when he needed it and to you for working with us to provide him a second home. He made his experience with us truly our gain.

We all miss Kona.

The Gerhart Family

If you are interested in adopting a Lab from Brookline Labrador Retriever 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

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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