Great Lakes Lab Rescue

Placing Great Labs in Great Homes around the Great Lakes 

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Adoptable Labs!







Crisp cool air and shorter days means time to snuggle up on the couch with a good movie and your new furry friend! Don't have someone to snuggle with?! I can help you with that! 
JayDee, an agile,trim 3 year old Chocolate Lab with a zest for life! I love to keep active by playing fetch in the yard with my foster brothers and sisters, going for long walks and socializing with people of all ages and sizes! I am housebroken, do not need to be crated and know basic commands. I'm eager to find that on the go type of family that likes to keep busy but at the end of the day, curl up next to you and keep your feet warm! I make an excellent foot warmer!








Aloha! I'm Kona, at 7 years old I am a petite, perfect lady! I have the best manners, love people and even bringing you toys when I want to play. I love going for walks and dog parks but love going for car rides even more! I am very obedient and do not need to be crated. I am lucky to curl up in bed with my foster family at night. Are you the perfect ‘Ohana for me? 

How Rescue and Adoption Work

Good rescue organizations will evaluate a dog before accepting him/her (medically, behaviorally, and for breed confirmation), rehabilitate if necessary, and place the animal only when he/she is ready and to a home that matches and is realistic about the commitment necessary to provide the dog with the best home possible.

When Great Lakes is contacted about a Lab who needs a new home, one of our volunteers identifies the dog as primarily Lab, tests the dogs temperament and verifies vaccinations, training, etc. prior to accepting the dog into the program. The dog is then transported to a foster home. A veterinary exam is scheduled, including a heartworm check, all inoculations, and the dog is spayed or neutered if necessary. During the fostering period, the foster family learns about the dog's personality and current level of training. Professional training is also provided if required.

Because they become so knowledgeable about the Lab in their care, we ask foster families to speak directly with prospective adopters who are interested in the dog, and arrange for them to meet the dog, usually in the foster family's home. The more time and effort that go into fostering, the sooner the dog will be adopted and the better companion she/he will be. All dogs are evaluated for temperament. We do not accept any dog with a history of biting or other aggressive behavior.

Why Rescue A Lab? Labs who have been uprooted from their happy homes or have not had the best start in life are more likely to bond very completely and deeply with their new people. Those who have lost their families through death, divorce or lifestyle change go through a terrible mourning process. But, once attached to a new loving family, they seem to want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again. Those Labs that are just learning about the good life and good people seem to bond even deeper. They know what life on the streets, on the end of a chain, or worse is all about, and they revel and blossom in a nurturing, loving environment.

Most rescues make exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions. Unfortunately, many folks think dogs that end up in rescue are all genetically and/or behaviorally inferior. But, it is not uncommon for us to get $500-$1,000 dogs that have either outlived their usefulness or their novelty with impulsive owners who considered their dog a possession rather than a friend or member of the family, or simply did not really consider the time, effort and expense needed to be a dog owner. Choosing a rescue dog over a purchased pup will not solve the pet overpopulation problem (only responsible pet owners and breeders can do that), but it does give many of them a chance they otherwise would not have. But, beyond doing a "good deed", adopting a rescue dog can be the best decision and addition to the family you ever made.

Where do the rescued dogs come from? All GLLR are pure-bred to the best of our knowledge. While many come from shelters (these are our priority), others are surrendered by their owners for a variety of reasons (allergies, change in life situations, owner's death or illness, owner lack of commitment, etc.) Some have been abused; some have medical conditions; some were strays; all of them are very lovable and affectionate. You will be advised of any concerns so you can make a well-informed decision as to whether a particular Lab is the right dog for your situation.

What are the requirements to adopt a dog from GLLR?  We do not adopt out as a gift or surprise -- the applicant must retain ownership of the dog or it must be returned to GLLR. All persons living in the home must be present at the home visit. This includes any day care providers even if the nanny/sitter does not live in the home. If you have other pets in your home, your vet will be contacted to ensure that you have kept the animals up to date on vaccines and preventatives and that they feel you are a responsible pet owner. If you do not own your living space, written permission and acknowledgement by your landlord is required. You must have a fence (either physical or electric). Additionally, you must have the dog live indoors with you -- outdoor dog kennels and tie outs are not acceptable to GLLR. You must live in the greater Chicagoland area (including southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana). We must visit your home and can only go so far. We recommend basic obedience lessons for rescued dogs. In some cases, this is actually a requirement because of the dogs previous situation and to encourage bonding. If you wish to adopt a puppy under 8 months old, you must be home (or be able to come home to let the puppy out) at midday. You must be aware of the significant time commitment to bringing a new "baby" into your home.

How much is the adoption fee? Our adoption fee is normally $275.00 for puppies and Labs up to 6 years old. For dogs over 6 years, the fee is $225. This may vary depending upon the individual dog. Please discuss the donation with your Great Lakes Representative. If a returning adopter in good standing wishes to adopt a second dog within 6 months of the initial adoption, we will offer a discounted fee.

What is included in the adoption fee? For your money, you will get a dog that has been sterilized (spayed or neutered), brought current on all vaccinations including rabies, received a heartworm test and cure/preventatives (whichever is necessary). For strays, a complete exam by our vet will advise us if your new lab faces any known medical issues. For surrendered Labs, we confirm with the dog's prior vet any medical conditions and verify that they are current on all tests and shots. Basic obedience training is provided for all rescued Labs. And, of course, you will receive the joy of a Great Lab that has been specifically placed in your loving home according to your requirements and our assessment of your family situation.

What can I expect from GLLR after I adopt my new Lab? Our goal is to make sure our rescue Labs never have to uprooted again. We are here to help in any way we can, just ask! A GLLR representative will be contacting you within 10 days of the adoption of your new Lab to make sure all is going well. However, if you have any questions or concerns prior to that time, please contact us. We are happy to help with the transition of your new friend. How do I go about getting a lab from your organization? The first step is to complete an application on line APPLICATION HERE. Because we are a strictly volunteer based organization (with NO paid staff), we ask that you be patient and allow 10 days for a response. However, if you do not receive a response to your application or inquiry, please feel free to call us at 708-572-4552. Upon receipt of the completed application, one of the Board Members will contact you as a pre-screening. They will go over your application via the phone and get any additional information/clarification. Following this phone call, your home will be visited by one of our volunteers. They may bring a dog with them to see how your family and other pets in the home react to a new presence. The dog they bring may, or may not, be available for adoption. The next step is approval. At this time, the volunteer who did the home visit will work with the Board in determining what type of Lab is best suited for your home and environment. A meeting with a currently adoptable dog who best meets the needs of the family is arranged. If the family and volunteer and Board Member are comfortable with the Lab, the dog may be adopted at that time. An adoption contract is completed and the adoption fee is collected. You will receive a fact sheet about your Lab that has been filled out by the fostering family as they know the dog best. Approximately 10 days after the dog is placed in your home, you will get a follow-up call to see how things are going. At that point, you will also receive your rabies certificate and information on how to change the registration to your name and county.

Before you start-

Please note that we do a Home Visit to all potential adopters. For this reason, we do require that you live in the greater Chicago-land area (including southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana). If you do not live in these areas, please understand that we will not consider your application.

Additionally, private homes are required to have a fence prior to adopting a dog. If you do not currently have a fence and are unwilling to install one (either physical or electric), you will not be considered for a GLLR dog.

*Please read Fence Requirements HERE

*Please read Adoption Requirements HERE

*Read BOTH prior to filling out Application

GLLR is a volunteer run organization. All volunteers have lives outside of GLLR. Many work in other jobs or have families that have needs. Please understand that you may not hear from us for 10 days after your application has been submitted. If you have not heard from a volunteer within 10 days, please call us as your application may not have been transmitted properly. But, please be patient and wait ten days before calling.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Get a Lab

#1 Labs shed. Labs shed A LOT! A female will generally blow her coat (shed heavily) twice a year with her heat cycle. All other Labs (neutered and unaltered males, and spayed females) will shed moderately throughout the year and more so as the seasons change. This hair collects on furniture, clothes and blows across the floor in tumbleweeds. You will be amazed at where you will find dog hair. As we like to say, "Home is where the dog hair sticks to everything except the dog".

#2 Labs are people dogs. If you have allergies to dog hair, dander or saliva, you will probably have problems with a Lab. The somewhat oilier coat does keep down some dander, but not all of it. Many breeders and owners would be glad to have you visit their dogs to see if you can tolerate being around them. It is never fair to get a puppy then find out your allergies are too bad and you have to tie the dog up outside away from the family for the majority of its life. A Lab should be with people. They should NEVER be left outside away from their people. They will NEVER be happy living that way. Think of what is best for the dog.

#3 Labradors are not clean. If you are a neat freak, you will not like a Lab. They shed. They can dig holes in your yard. Track in mud. Chew on things. Rub up against and leave marks on your walls. Clear off the coffee table with one wag of its tail. If you are a neat freak, and want a dog as a showpiece, don't get a Lab. Get a stuffed dog or one of those new robot dogs.

#4 Labs need a lot of exercise. The Labrador is an active breed. This may not seem a problem if you are in the mood for some exercise yourself. But they need an outlet for this energy every day. That means when it is raining, on days you work late, when you are not feeling good- your Lab will still want to go for a run, walk, play ball, go swimming...whatever you two normally do together. If you do not provide an outlet for his pent-up energy....he may find one!

#5 Labs are prone to genetically linked problems. Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems, epilepsy...the list goes on. Do your homework! Ask your Vet or read more about all of these things.

#6 Labs are prone to other health problems. Some of which may or may not be genetically linked. Included but not limited to: bloat, PANO, OCD, thyroid problems and other immune system and endocrine problems.

#7 Labs stay puppies for a very long time. You may think, "Great, I love puppies!" Well, only their minds stay puppies. Their bodies get big! They remain clumsy, hard-headed, goofy and immature for a long time. Labs are not usually difficult to train, but you have to remain persistent. They do need some form of training. Labs don't really mature until they are 2-3 years old.

#8 Labs can be easy to find. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It means you should be able to find one easily, but also that everybody and their brother are breeding them. Not everyone is doing so properly and paying attention to temperament and health. Reputable breeder's puppies are not cheap. Some people feel they can get off cheaper by paying less someplace else. Remember you get what you pay for. You may purchase a puppy from an unreliable source just to get a puppy at a lower price, and run into many problems with the pup as he grows. Most good breeders plan 1 or 2 litters a year. They often wait years in-between breeding so they can evaluate what they are producing. Beware of a breeder who always has puppies, or seems to be breeding numerous litters every year. They may be out for their own gain, and not for the overall health of the pups they produce.

#9 A Lab may not be the best dog if you have very small children. Labs are usually good around kids, but like all dogs, they have to be taught to behave around children. A small puppy will naturally bite and chew on, clothing, shoes, hands.... Those sharp puppy teeth can hurt a child's hands without the puppy knowing it. A growing puppy will often knock down a toddler in play. You have to supervise any dog around small children.

#10 Labs shed. Oh, did I mention that already? I couldn't see the computer screen through all this dog hair!

So, you think you want a puppy??

Search Your Soul...

Sure. You have the desire, but have you searched your soul and asked yourself if you are really ready to take on all of the responsibilities of dog ownership? Are you prepared to take on a new family member? One who depends upon you for everything? Will you be able to provide it with adequate companionship, nutrition, exercise, grooming, veterinary care and training? Do you have a fenced yard? A stable home life? Are you anticipating any life changes which might cause you to consider giving up your dog? Are you prepared for this 10 - 15 year commitment?

A LABRADOR IN YOUR LIFE...are you sure this is the breed for you? Are you familiar with the less desirable nature of Labradors? They chew, dig, eat a reasonable amount of food, and have a HUGE amount of energy. Have you read at least two books on Labradors? If not, perhaps this would be a good idea before you make the commitment.

HAVE YOU SPENT TIME WITH ADULT LABRADORS? A cute fuzzy Labrador puppy is little for about four then becomes an endless amount of adolescent Labrador energy. The adolescent period of a Labrador lasts about two years! If you know an adult Labrador personally, ask its owner if he/she remembers the damage the dog did as a puppy, and how much training it took to make that dog a well behaved pet.

ARE YOU FINANCIALLY CAPABLE OF CARING FOR A LABRADOR? Labradors eat about three to six cups of high quality dog food each day. Additionally, there is veterinary care, crates, a house or a bed, equipment, supplies, toys, and any of the dozens of "extras" that come along with dog ownership.

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT ADOPTING AN ADULT LABRADOR? There are many Lab rescues across the country, and many breeders often have adults available for placement.

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED COLOR AND GENDER PREFERENCES? Very often we hear that people think that females make better pets. In the Labrador breed this simply is NOT true. Labrador males are silly, affectionate, and love you with every cell in their body. It is the females who are more reserved in their nature, although the differences are hardly noticeable. The male Labrador is larger and takes slightly longer to mature, but they make wonderful and sweet pets. No labrador of either sex is loyal or protective... they'll go home with anyone. They make terrible guard dogs, except that they are a reasonably sized dog, which often is enough to deter someone from wishing to enter your yard. You have no doubt heard of major differences in temperament, medical problems, and activity levels of the three colors in Labs. Now that all of the 'experts' have filled you with their prejudices, you should hear the truth. Basically, the coat colors in Labs are similar to the hair colors in people. I am sure you know some dumb blonds, some ill-tempered red-heads, and some smart brunettes, but I'll bet you also know some very smart blonds, very sweet red-heads, and some really dumb brown hair folks.... Don't you love how people generalize?