Will The Real Labrador Owners Community Please Stand Up!
The Real Labrador Owners Community In Action
Interesting title, however an explanation is in order to differentiate between two completely different entities that can lay claim to the title of being the Labrador Owners Community.
One group is the extremely large subset of people that own Labradors, breed Labradors, train Labradors and ultimately exhibit Labradors at the dog shows. It is a loosely formed group that is only joined by a common, extremely thin thread of all ending up at some venue where their dogs will compete against each other.
Some of these people may actually associate with each other, while others are totally anti-socials and come and go to these functions with nary a word expressed. For the vast majority, there is little or no integration between them, in fact at times there is so much animosity that an uneasy air envelops the entire atmosphere at some dog shows! This large group numbers in the 10’s of thousands all across the country and the world as well, but for this rendering we will only be referring to those in the geographic area of the state of Florida.
The “other” group is a much smaller group of people that have much more cohesion as part of their participation in the exact same endeavor and mostly dwelling in the same location of Florida.
This smaller group is bound by the common fact that they are all part of Chambray Labrador’s various activities provided owners, breeders and exhibitors of Labrador Retrievers. They number from 100 to about 1000 and by their choice have aligned themselves to partake in some or all the offerings by Chambray and the Herzon family. They could be owners, co-owners, co-breeders, training clients, handling clients, stud service clients or just friends with Labradors in common.
Some background information is a must to understand the immense value that this latter mentioned Labrador Owners Community provides besides the obvious of the great successes at the dog show venues. All that success is documented elsewhere throughout the www.chambraylabradors.com website in articles and in show result pages, so no need to boast and brag here.
Let’s go back in time to get a good perspective of where this article is headed.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew lambasted its way through South Florida causing at that time what was then the worst natural disaster to ever hit the USA. Our entire community was laid to waste, including my home, my kennels, my livelihood, and it displaced all of my Labrador Retrievers as there was no place to house them away from the elements.
It took months……………years to rebuild and recoup lives and homes……..and for some, never!
One of the things that captured my attention was the fact that there was no way to communicate the plight of all of the dogs to those outside the stricken area. There was no central apparatus in place to alert those that could come in to aid……………….that there indeed was a need! There was no community linked together by a common bond to first call out to and then to come and respond!
So, in my incessant, always innovating ways of thinking I decided to form a network of owners, breeder and exhibitors that had all these things in common and could be contacted when the need arose in any part of the state of Florida.
For over a year I emailed, phoned and personally contacted people everywhere I went in order to form a Labrador owners club in Central Florida that could address all of the above concerns. There already existed a South Florida Labrador Retriever Club down here in Miami (I was one of the founders back in 1989), but by the year 2000, they were only interested in monthly meetings for planning a yearly show event and those running the club could only think inside a small box, so a bigger picture mentality was needed …………….an instrument that could reach out beyond monthly meetings and adolescent, clique like attitudes.
After a year of footwork and mouth-work, finally a meeting was set up at one of the Ocala dog shows. Over 40 people showed up and the meeting got under way. Since I was the coordinator, I conducted the meeting and right away I announced that I was not in anyway interested in running the new-to-be formed club, instead I had several volunteers from the Central Florida area that would be the transition group.
I announced their names and turned the meeting over to those ladies.
Big mistake! I was soon to find out that it was a terrible move on my part as it seems that nefarious meetings had taken place by a few of the Labrador matriarchs of the area and they decided to come to the meeting and totally scuttle the plan. Their announcement was “We don’t need an area club!” No names need to be rehashed here, because everyone remembers the incident well and every time that the subject comes up in conversations the same names are mentioned over and over again.
The majority in attendance was stunned as I was, but since I had removed myself from the equation, it was up to those there to either continue on or totally be browbeaten by the muddle-headed few and not continue with the plans for a Labrador owner’s community. The latter would occur and that was that, end of discussion and once again, no system of communication for such a large area with so many people involved in raising and owning Labradors.
Since I am not one to lie around and be disillusioned by nearsightedness, that singular event would be the impetus for forming the now Real Chambray Labrador Owners Community.
Never mind having useless meetings……….never mind having to deal with small minded mentalities……….never mind having to deal with naysayers and poopooers, forget about the “know it all, do nothing” personas, so in a take the “bull by the horns” I went ahead full steam with a Labrador Owners Community and formed it around our own kennel, around our own dog owners and now having been in existence 11 years later, over 1000 strong (actually there are 1297 in my address database) we have the huge successes at the dog shows as our most evident sign to show for our presence, however I revel in even a greater accomplishment!
Success is sweet and I savor every moment of those; the main priority in forming the Labrador Owners Community was coming to the rescue of Labradors and that is MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
How It Is Supposed To Work With A System In Place!
Not once, but twice in those 11 years, major situations presented themselves where dozens of people’s lives were affected and scores of dogs needed urgent attention and those people and their dogs benefited from being part of the Real Labrador Owners Community!
With the network in place this is how it worked the first time; Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma within a month of each other made their trek through South Florida. Thousands would be affected by the wide spread damage caused by both major storms. A total of 27 Labradors from 5 different owners were impacted and they all needed immediate rescue as the owner’s homes were severely damaged.
Within a day of the hurricane’s passing, the contact was made and all those dogs would be here at Chambray Acres as a safe haven until they could return home or in several cases be relocated to new homes with new owners. I put the word out and dozens would offer their assistance and also offer food and supplies if needed.
How It Didn’t Work With The "Every Woman For Themselves System"!
In Central Florida over a period of 4 years more than 5 hurricanes would criss cross back and forth through that densely populated area, causing billions of dollars in damage to hundreds of thousands of people, including Labrador owners, breeders and exhibitors and to some of the same folk that refused forming a community bound by the same interest that could also serve as a rescue network in case of situations such as these!
There was no way of knowing who was affected and who needed aid, only weeks after did people know what and who had suffered extensive damage and who had needed help with their dogs. Of course by that time, it was a done deal and many suffered needlessly that could have been avoided if they had a form of communicating with each other. No plan, no system in place………………each to their own resources, each to fend for themselves, many people and dogs in distress!
Once Again How It Worked Recently With A System In Place!
One of the members of Chambray Labradors Owners Community suddenly passes away at the age of 40. She owns 11 Labradors and now there is no one to care for these dogs, until I am notified and within minutes an email goes out to well over 1000 people on our Chambray Labradors Owners Community address database………………………30 minutes later 85 emails have come back offering assistance, food, supplies, donations and best of all, forever homes for the 11 dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By the end of the day well over 200 people have responded with offers of every kind.
We arrange to pick the dogs up and to bring them here to Chambray Acres where they are housed and cared for. All their paper work, their shots, their monthly treatments and microchips are taken care of, in the case of the micro chips, they are either identified or new ones are implanted, vaccinations are updated and new colorful collars are given each to be able to identify and call each by their name.
Those who volunteered forever homes are each contacted and interviewed and apprised of each dog that is available for placement. Although it put a huge strain on our way of life with so many dogs to care for, our immediate concern was the well being of each dog.
Within a week, all the dogs are now in their new homes and will be followed up with either visits back here to Chambray for retraining with their new owners or via email and phone with those further away.
That’s MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
The difference between the two Labrador Owners Community; is the difference between night and day for the dogs and owners involved; total darkness for one and the clarity of day for the Real Labrador Owners Community.
Did I say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?
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