McNeil Labradors


      Int. Ch Allendale Adagio At McNeil, WC, JH



            December 30th, 1996 - July 16th, 2002

She was a beauty, she was a love, always happy…truly the most devoted companion!  Alex has been gone eleven years today (July 16th, 2013).  There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought of her, missed her deeply.  Alex never expected anything except that I love her – the Labrador world lost a Grand Lady!  She gave more than I could have ever expected in my lifetime - joy, laughter, smiles, beautiful memories to cherish, until we meet again.

The pain of her absence still lingers but there are many things that make me smile.  I remember the day I was in my office working, I hadn't lived in NC but six months.  Alex was outside with Beamer and Abbie, they were playing and having a wonderful time.  All of a sudden, Alex disappeared for a few minutes - I thought nothing of it, "she's just gone for a drink of water or a little dip in the pool to cool off".  When I looked up again, I saw the most spectacular site - my Melon Azalea bush trotting across the yard in a horizontal position in full luscious bloom with four black legs underneath and a black tail from behind wagging with such pride.  "Look what I've done mom!"  She dug it up, root ball and the lot!  The Azalea garden has since been put off limits - I didn't know at the time that Azaleas can make dogs very sick and can also be fatal.  This morning a big black nose was next to my bed, it was Beamer with a toy that he and Alex loved to play with, the blue toy jukebox that plays the "Chicken Dance".

In all our travels, good times together, and wonderful experiences, Alex' life ended suddenly, early morning July 16th, 2002 when she slipped peacefully away to a better place. 

Alex was six weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  I came downstairs early one morning to feed the dogs and found her in the floor completely lame.  She was fine the night before at midnight - she chased a kitten up the tree - what fun that was!  When I moved to NC from Las Vegas, NV, I heard so much discussion about Lyme Disease but I never thought the ghost would visit my door step.   

Frontline is a topical flea and tick preventive that I treat my dogs with from March until October, when ticks are the greatest threat in this region.  What I didn't realize until Alex' death and I began my search for answers, topical preventive only helps protect against tick infestation, it does not prevent the tick from biting and transmitting the disease!!  The tick can live on a dog for a  brief period of time (a day or two perhaps) until the tick bites and attaches, then it dies and falls off.  Once the infected tick bites the dog, the dog becomes infected.  Deer ticks can be microscopic and extremely difficult to find on a dog with a thick black coat. 

Three years later I still don't know the exact cause of Alex' death - at this point, I'm sure I'll never know.  However, I can only speculate that the combination of disease, treatment drugs, carrying a litter of 13 for 9 weeks, and the stress of an emergency C-Section necessitated by two puppies trying to arrive at the same time, was more than her body could handle.  Alex never woke up from surgery, she died as soon as the 13th puppy was safely in my care.  I'll never forget for as long as I live, that lonely morning coming back home, my friend Kathy driving, Alex' limp body behind me waiting to be buried and a basket of 13 puppies on my lap.  I didn't know what in the world I would do or how I would raise these babies by myself.  Kathy said, "Don't worry, I'll find help, I'll get on the Lab List when I get home and I'll find someone to help you, but first we have to bottle feed these babies, they'll be hungry".

The week before Alex' due date, I knew she would have a large litter through monitoring with a Fetal Heart Doppler which indicated a large litter.  When I told  my friend Ann Hawkins about the large litter Alex was expecting, she told me that she would send "Cassie" to help Alex, if needed.  Cassie had babies almost ready to go to their homes and still had a lot of milk.  "That's very thoughtful, Ann, but Alex is a good mum and she'll be just fine with her babies".  Little did I know........

Another Labrador friend, drove to SC and brought Cassie to me early that afternoon.  Cassie and I raised Alex' babies for the next few weeks - Cassie performing motherly duties while I helped with bottle feeding.  The beauty of this breed, to accept unfamiliar territory, strangers, a litter of orphaned puppies and a huge responsibility!!  What a wonderful little girl Cassie was to help with such an enormous task! 

Those of us who truly love dogs know that when any of us suffer, all of us suffer together…… Alex is with me in spirit as I find strength in what she left me: the ability to love unconditionally, life lessons, and wonderful memories. 

Alex echoed her wonderful, gentle, loving ways through what she left me and so many others - children at Ivy Creek Guide School, families who are blessed with her children, and the blessing of the wonderful children she gave me.   It's almost as if Alex is still here making sure that I'm doing alright........until we meet again.

My heartfelt appreciation to all of you for your kindness, prayers and thoughtful notes.  You've been truly wonderful!                                                                                

                               "Cassie" and "Keeper" 1 week of age....

                            "Keeper" at 7 Weeks of age


                         "I've just been swimming".........


                           "What do you think they're doing over there?"........

The Spirit of a Labrador Retriever

I was standing on a hillside in a field of blowing wheat, and the spirit of a Labrador retriever was lying at my feet.

She looked at me with kind dark eyes, an ancient wisdom shining through, and in the essence of her being I saw love there too.

Her mind did lock upon my heart as I stood there on that day and she told me of this story about a place so far away.

I stood upon that hillside in a field of blowing wheat and in a twinkling of a second her spirit left my feet.

Her tale did put my heart at ease, my fears did fade away, about what lay ahead of me on another distant day.

I live among God's creatures now, in the heavens of your mind, so do not grieve for me my friend, as I am with my kind.

My collar is a rainbow's hue, my leash a shooting star, my boundaries are the Milky Way where I sparkle from afar.

There are no pens or kennels here for I am not confined, but free to roam God's heavens among my Retriever kind.

I nap the day on a snowy cloud, gentle breezes rocking me, and dream the dreams of earthlings and how it used to be.  The trees are full of liver treats
and bumpers abound, and Milkbones line the walkways just waiting to be found.

There even is a ring set up, the grass all lush and green and everyone who gaits around becomes the Best of Breed.

For we're all winners in this place, we have no faults, you see, and God passes out those ribbons to each one, even me.

I drink from waters laced with gold, my world a beauty to behold, and wise old dogs do form my pride to amble at my very side.

At night I sleep in an angel's arms, her wings protecting me, and moonbeams dance about us as stardust falls on thee.

So when your life on earth is spent and you stand at Heaven's gate, have no fear of loneliness, for here, you know I wait.

 Author Unknown…………

In memory of Alex - June 30th, 1996 - July 16th, 2002



McNeil Labradors
Statesville, NC 28677

Return To Home Page

Last Updated:  September 16, 2013

© Copyright 2001 - 2008 by Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors, All Rights Reserved.
Page Created By:  Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors

Thought for the Day:

"Do not wait for life.
Do not long for it.  Be
aware, always
and at every
moment, realize
the miracle is
in the here and now......." -
Marcel Proust