About Metro East Lab Rescue


JCACStray1_1AMy interest in rescuing Labrador Retrievers started in 1986 when I was helping to develop the Highland Animal Shelter. Soon after the shelter opened, a three month old yellow lab puppy was brought to the shelter as a stray. The owners were located, but did not want him back! “Gus” was getting picked on by the other puppies at the shelter, so I brought him home “for the weekend”… We enjoyed Gus for 15 years! Soon after adopting Gus, I realized I wanted to help more labs in need.Twenty-seven years later, my passion is still helping as many labs for which I have the time and finances. I feel it is an unspeakable tragedy that we, as a society, put to death millions of healthy adoptable pets. In 2012 Madison County Animal Control euthanized 68% of all dogs and cats taken in.

ClancyAI feel I can do a better job if I focus on helping one breed. However, because I love all dogs and cats, I almost always have several non-labs and several cats that need good homes. It is heartbreaking to turn down a homeless dog or cat, but I need to be realistic in regard to my time and finances. Therefore, I try to limit myself to ten to fifteen homeless dogs and two or three homeless cats at a time. Even then, I am always over my limit! Sadly, I easily turn away five dogs/cats a week. I wish breeders could hear what I hear and maybe they would stop breeding..

For the AKC’s definition of a responsible breeder, please click here


I prefer to rescue dogs and cats that are truly homeless; on the street or in the pound. This usually means that these animals will be dead soon if I can not take them! Because of this, I generally have little or no history on the pets. However, I have just as good results placing the pets with unknown backgrounds as I do the pets with a known background. I have come to the conclusion that an over whelming majority of strays have nothing wrong with them… only irresponsible first owners. Many lost pets are not reclaimed because surprisingly, people do not know where to look for their pet or do not care to look for them!

I try to help families that no longer want their pets. I explain to them the enormity and magnitude of the homeless pet problem and try my best to convince them to keep their pet. Amazingly, shedding is a huge reason people get rid of pets! To help reduce shedding, brushing and grooming is necessary. Feeding your pet the best food you can afford will also help. In addition, spaying/neutering will eliminate hormones, as well as help decrease shedding and numerous other problems. We shave many pets, especially labs, because of shedding. They are not bald, but short like a crew cut. They will shed but it is much more manageable.

Frequently after the newness has worn off, the pet no longer fits into the owner’s lifestyle. many pets loose their lives for this reason! I try to convince people to honor the commitment they made and to realize this is a pet, not a sofa. Other common reasons for getting rid of pets include divorce, a new baby, moving, allergies, death of an owner, training situations…

I cannot accept a pet that is a threat to people or other animals. The owner will need to spend the time and money to solve the problem or have the pet euthanized. I ask people to please pay the extra money to have a vet euthanize a “problem animal” rather than take it to the pound, humane society or worse, dumping it.

I usually do not get a lot of puppies under six months old; maybe two or three a year. Most of my calls are about young males that are one to two years old. The young male dog’s hormones have started, they get obnoxious, take off and often end up on the street or in the pound. The owners do not know where to look for them or simply do not care! The poor dog just needed to be neutered before the age of nine months! All too frequently, after six months, the newness has worn off, the pup is getting big and rowdy, and the owners are no longer committed or responsible.



In general, I speak with people over the phone to get an idea what they might want for a companion pet. I try to make the best match possible; otherwise I am wasting your time, the pet’s time, as well as my own. Please make an appointment for meeting the rescues. I am available seven days a week, but some days are better than others.I discourage having pets with children less than five years old unless the parents are extremely motivated and can supervise them at all times. You have to protect the child from the dog AND the dog from the child. Children rarely know how to behave around a dog and should not be trusted unsupervised with any dog. Children rarely know how to “read” a dog’s body language. Pets and children are just like swimming pools and children… they should always be supervised.cat_cageA

The adoption fee is $200 for dogs and $75 for cats. This covers my costs for spay/neuter, vaccinations, heartworm testing, worming, heartworm and flea preventive, micro-chipping, grooming, and boarding at the Critter Camp or the occasional foster home while the pet is homeless. Quite a bargain! Once a selection has been made, your pet will receive a final grooming before going home with you. Paperwork has to be completed and I will go over 10-15 tips to help the initial transition. The first one to two weeks is often the most challenging and there are always a few issues to iron out. If the pet does not work out, I will always take him/her back.

The majority of pets are companion animals (vs work dogs or service dogs) thus they SHOULD BE INSIDE the house as part of the family. Dogs are pack animals. They do best in a pack and are not meant to be out in a pen or backyard alone. Dogs that are left in a pen alone are more likely to be neglected, or become a nuisance and a burden… very sad and such a waste! “As pack animals, dogs have a strong predisposition to feel more comfortable when part of a social group, so spending time alone is not natural for them” – July 2003 Dog Fancy


Cindy’s Critter Camp is home to Metro East Labrador Retriever Rescue (But we always have a few mixes and other purebred breeds!) We invite you to please take a look at the pets we currently have for adoption by visiting us at Metro East Labrador Rescue orCindy’s Critter Camp on Facebook. Here you will be able to see the little guys, and read about their background and status. Since 1994, Metro East Labrador Retriever Rescue has been able to save more than 1180 pets. We are very proud to say that some of the people who have opened their hearts and homes to these animals have been repeat adopters.

Check out some of our most recent adoptions, our Happy Tails!!!


When you rescue a pet you save two lives, The life of your new friend
and you make room for another to be rescued!


Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor, peering apprehensively into the kennels.I felt her need instantly and new I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors So many more to be saved. At least I could save oneDogBehindBarsI rescued a human today.——Janine Allen CPDT
Metroeast Lab Rescue
2330 S. Center St.
Maryville, IL 62062
Phone 618-344-4096