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LABMED's Letter to the President

The following letter was hand-delivered to the President with a copy of the LABMED Cookbook and a LABMED bandana for Buddy to enjoy.

Dear Mr. President and Mrs. Clinton,

Congratulations on your choice of a Labrador Retriever! These versatile, intelligent, loving dogs are the finest companions for which anyone could ask. We are certain you will grow to love your dog as much as we love ours.

Who are we? We are LABMED (Labrador-L Emergency Medical Assistance), a group of volunteers dedicated to raising funds to provide medical treatment for rescued Labradors that are sick or injured. Our group was formed on Labrador-L, an Internet e-mail list for Labrador owners, breeders, and trainers.

LABMED began on an August night in 1996 with the plight of "the sad little man," a yellow Labrador abandoned for days with a shattered leg and a face full of buckshot wounds. Although the dog's injuries were life-threatening, a veterinarian determined that he could be saved if $400 for the surgery could be found, otherwise he would be put down that day. The story was posted on Labrador-L and miraculously, donations from all over the world began to pour in to the Lab-l member who rescued him.

Soon enough money was donated to cover the cost of the surgery, and treatment proceeded for the dog, who was christened Bullet. Bullet's leg had to be amputated at the shoulder, but in no time he was up and hopping around. His facial wounds healed and his wonderful Labrador temperament saw him through his terrible ordeal. You can read the rest of Bullet's story--including how he came to be known as Buddy--in the LABMED cookbook enclosed with this letter. In the sixteen months since Bullet/Buddy's successful treatment, LABMED has funded medical treatment for 12 other Labradors and Lab-mixes.

The cookbook is our second major fund-raising effort; in it you will find the story of how LABMED was formed, our mission statement, over 500 pages of dog treats, people treats, dog care tips, and other information about dogs in general and Labrador Retrievers in particular. You will also read stories written by Labrador-L list members about their Labrador adventures.

While we applaud your choice of a Labrador, it is also a matter of great concern to us. We fear that when others see your adorable chocolate puppy, the demand for Labradors may skyrocket, much like the demand for Dalmatian puppies after Disney's release of the movie "101 Dalmatians" last Christmas. This type of publicity may lead to irresponsible "backyard" breeding, puppy mills, overflowing shelters, and overburdened rescue groups when people who did not bother to research the characteristics and needs of Labradors find that their animals are too large and active for their taste.

We ask your help in educating the public on the problem of abused and abandoned animals. Nearly every animal shelter and rescue group in the United States operates at a deficit and relies heavily on public support to continue its efforts. Please take this opportunity to educate the American public about the importance of responsible pet ownership. Encourage them to purchase puppies only from reputable breeders, and to use such resources as their local library, breed rescue organizations, veterinarians, or chat groups and e-mail lists on the Internet to research the breed they wish to purchase before they buy. In addition, there are many adult Labradors in rescues and shelters around the country waiting for loving homes; adoption of an older dog can be a good option for persons without the time or inclination to go through the trials of puppyhood, and a wonderful dog's life is saved.

We hope you enjoy the LABMED cookbook and would be honored to hear that the White House Chef has tried some of the recipes! We also encourage you to join us on Labrador-L (listserv@apple.ease.lsoft.com) where you'll learn invaluable tips on how to survive life with a Labrador puppy--and have a laugh or two along the way.

Wishing you and your new Buddy many wonderful years together.

Best regards,

Laurie J. McDonough and the LABMED Board of Directors

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