How’d we get here?
As told by Kristie Wilder, Executive Director:
My late husband Joie (pronounced Joey) and I started a boarding and training facility in 1996. Over the years, we took in and cared for an average of 4-6 homeless dogs at a time and would find them loving homes.
Joie passed away unexpectedly in 2007, just after completing veterinary school and just as we were entering the recession.
I realized that I was spending an average of $600 per month to care for the additional dogs and started asking clients for donations to help support them. Clients willingly donated. In 2009, Drew joined the operation and we designed and sold t-shirts under the name “Life is labs” to help support the homeless dogs in our care.
In the spring of 2010, we took our first trip to a shelter to save a dog, Tonya. We publicized it on our Facebook page and the support for the rescue grew exponentially. Tonya was later placed as a service dog for a recently paralyzed young man and she continues to be his service dog today. We named our rescue Life is labs Rescue, Inc.
Over the years that followed, our rescue program has grown to house an average of 75 dogs at a time at our full service facility in West Georgia. We rescue primarily larger dogs, but about 25% of our dogs are smaller breeds and mixes. We provide daily care, medical needs, exercise, socialization and training at our home-based facility. We have large play yards and a lake. We have a small staff the cares for the dogs at our facility along with the help of volunteers. While the majority of dogs in our care are healthy puppy to adult dogs, we do have a hospice and palliative care program where we take in homeless dogs that are in their twilight. We provide medical care, daily needs and keep them comfortable until they are ready to pass on. We also work with every dog daily on behavior, training, socialization and exercise based on each dog’s particular needs. Our goal is to have happy, relaxed, well-balanced dogs.
In addition to our rescue program, we have continued to offer boarding and training to the public. Proceeds from these services also support our rescue.
We recently leased the old Dearborn Animal Hospital in Decatur, GA just a few miles from downtown Atlanta to give us access to more adopters, volunteers and clients for our services that support our mission. We are currently completing work on the building and hope to open in 2016.
We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (EIN 27-4828916) and a dba of Life is labs Rescue, Inc.