A Tribute to Garth

Last Thursday I was told by my good friend that it was time to say good bye to Garth, his yellow Labrador. Many of you may or may not know  Our Story of how It’s a Lab Thing came about. Our obsession with Labradors began when my wife and I visited some good friends of ours in South Carolina. Upon arriving at the house we were greeted by the friendliest, goofiest dog ever – a Labrador named Garth. A long story short, after a weekend with our friends and Garth we were hooked. The wife and I had to have a Lab!

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Garth was the epitome of a Labrador, big, goofy, master counter surfer and a heart so big it was contagious. He was our inspiration Garth is everything to Karen and I. Who would have thought one weekend with him could spark so much love and admiration for Labradors. We owe so much to him and I can not even begin to fathom what it must feel like to lose your Lab or dog, but I will say that this had to be the closest thing to it.

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Garth loved to rummage through bags and purses and he could counter surf with the best of them. The first time we met him, we were told to make sure the doors to our rooms stayed closed at all times and to not leave any food on the counter. Like most Labs, Garth was an ask for forgiveness later kind of Labrador. When we finally got our first Labrador Brody, we could not wait for him to meet Garth. Instant friends! I have no doubt that Garth passed on some secrets and tips to Brody.

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As Garth got older he got a human brother that would love him to no end. You could not ask for a more gentler big brother than Garth.


The day came and it was time to say good bye to Garth. He has been there through thick and thin, unwavering in loyalty and love. As my wife said to Dan:

“I don’t know what to say except that I believe in my heart that dogs are angels and you have gone through a very tough life change and he was right there the whole time. You have this behind you and now Garth can rest knowing you will be ok. He is still watching over you and Cole just now doing it from heaven…”

So today I leave a tribute to the Labrador that sparked inspiration, love and admiration for Labs. We love you and will forever miss you.


19 Responses

  1. Barbara Young

    Thank you for this tribute to Garth – what a lovely story – wonderful and sad at the same time. Rest in peace Garth – you have joined many of our lab family where there is no more pain and eternal youth! See you over the rainbow bridge!

    • Judi Quirin

      Thinking of you and the loss of your beloved Garth.We had to say goodbye to our first black Lab of 12 years, 4 years ago. Not a day goes by, I don’t think of Dozer. He was “my guy” my baby boy. Those of us that love our dogs, know exactly how you feel. Gone, but definitely not forgotten. Hugs!

  2. Joan Murad

    RIP Garth. You will be greeted by my Sika who past this past Sept. Say hello for us. She will be your best friend. There is nothing like a labs love and it gets return.

  3. Alyssa Cash

    What a beautiful thing for you to do. Although the tears sreamed down my cheeks as I read your story. We all are thankful to Garth for inspiring you the way he has.

  4. Lee McKeon

    What a lovebug of a dog, I can feel his character through your words and pictures! I can just add that having your life touched by a lab has to be a little bit of heaven on earth.

  5. Marjorie Cox Fabian

    I read your tribute to Garth with a big lump in my throat. What a beautiful Lab he was.
    We have had four generations of Labs in the 23 years we lived on our lovely farm. We have a pet cemetery where they rest and watch over us.
    Our biggest Lab was Ridge, a small horse, but the gentlest of all dogs. The only way he could possibly hurt your was when he sat on your lap and nearly pressed the air out of you! He has been gone five years already, but seeing a dog like Garth brings back the memories…and the pain of loss.
    As we have gotten older, we keep the number of Labs down to two instead of five. But I hope I never have to be without a Lab. They are a special breed, soul mates that bless our lives.
    Thank you so much for sharing Garth’s story and for bringing us “It’s a Lab Thing”.

  6. Jaime

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to Garth. Rest in peace, Garth. I am sure you are still counter surfing and having a blast in dog heaven now. Thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends and to all the hearts that your big goofy lab soul touched forever. xo

  7. Terri

    So sorry to hear about your Garth. I have a lab mix but mainly all lab behaviors and beautiful face. She’s our Girl ” CHER, we saved her the next day she and her siblings were going to be killed. So I got my girl and put her in my cart, and got on my phone and made two of our friends buy the others. Cher is our Sweet, big Hearted girl!! It’s true what everyone says about labs, after having one you will sure get another. Looking for my girl a sister or a brother. God bless your Garth”

  8. Jan

    So very sorry for the loss of your precious boy fur baby Garth. 🙁
    I lost my yellow girl fur baby Lexie this last September at the age of 12 ( and I miss her every day and always will) – we rescued her from a puppy mill which she had been in for 6 years. We weren’t sure if we could rehabilitate her or not, but knew I wanted to try. Her last 6 years of her life were the best and people that didn’t know about her past couldn’t tell she had ever been so badly treated and starved to a mere 39 lbs. Funny – she never did any counter surfer or trash dumping. She was for sure my soul mate and the best dog I have ever had. Just proves that Labs really are the greatest dogs – give them unconditional love and you get it back three-fold. RIP Garth and hope you will visit my Lexie – I know she will like you.

  9. Kip

    My Bair is a 13 year old black lab and has out lived his sister Cubby by 2 years. Everyday is a blessing. He has gotten real slow and blind, but wont let you forget his daily car ride to town.
    My heart goes out to you. BUT We have looked into the eyes of pure love.

  10. Nate

    Great tribute to a Lab who was obviously loved a great deal. Safe journey, Garth!

  11. Gary Wallis

    It totally sucks to lose a lab. My heart goes out to your friend. My wife and I have lost 3, two within 3 months of each other and will probably lose many more before we pass. The fun and enjoyment for 10-14 years outweighs the 1 day of excruciating heart break and is well worth it.

  12. Nic

    It’s never easy to say goodbye to a friend. What an amazing tribute to an amazing animal. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Patricia Parr

    I am now well into my 5th labrador. Losing the previous 4, all at a good age, still leaves a void and it never gets easier. But, it was a privilege to have shared their lives and I am well blessed that each dog taught me something different. If it does not hurt so much when you let them go, then they meant little. Those who say ‘its just a dog’ dont know what they are missing. So very much.

  14. Kimberly

    First, I am so sorry and sad to read this news. Secondly, I had to say goodbye to my Black Lab & Best Friend Shadow on January 23, 2014. So my loss is still so new. He would have turned 16 this month. My children grew up with Shadow. This is one of the hardest things to come to terms with.
    People say.. “You were so blessed to have almost 16 years with him”, and I know that is true. It doesn’t however, make the pain go away.
    As I look into Garth’s eyes in the photos posted here later in life, I see My Shadow’s eyes towards his later years. Very similar. It is odd that those eyes bring me comfort today. Almost as if they are telling me everything is ok. They are both safe and free to run and play just as they did when they were young. Thank You for that, so very much.

  15. Libbi

    I just lost my second lab mix…Rest In Peace to Sandy and Max…mommy will love you forever! But I still have my third lab Lady, and recently adopted my fourth lab Buddy. I could not live without them. Best dogs ever!

  16. Lisa Belanger

    We brought Elvis home on August 11,1999. He was 16mos.old, had been abandoned,found in very bad shape and diagnosed by the Vet with a Musculoskeletal disease that required he be put to sleep within 3months to avoid pain, injury and suffering…the Rescue asked for someone to take him in so he could have a family for the time he had left….I had no choice…he had been with us about 2 weeks…he fell down about every 5th step, had terrible balance, banged into things all the time..his “knees and elbows” were raw from falling at the rescue…but then there was his face, his beautiful big black head and deep brown eyes, his beautiful soft shiny coat (we must have bathed him 4 times) He was exquisite! You could look into his eyes and see his gentle loving soul..and he was SO HAPPY! We put runners down from back door to front so he wouldn’t slip on the tile and wood floors and my husband built a short ramp so he could slide down to the yard instead of fall down the three steps of the porch. He gained weight quickly, his paws were huge so we weren’t surprised…after 6 weeks we had to bring him to the Neurologist who was sponsoring his care…he said he was happy to see Elvis was enjoying his last days…I will only say that my prognosis and his prognosis for this Labby were polar opposites….I felt with care and love this Big Boy could have a fine quality of life until nature and God decided it was time for him to go and if no one ever let animals with this disease live past Two than how could we know if Elvis might outgrow it?????? Coat was healthy, teeth were beautiful, gaining weight, wounds were healed,he was
    Extremely intelligent..responding to commands…and we were in Love with him…the Vet felt I was being unrealistic and setting myself and my family up for a terrible heartbreak..perhaps we should consider giving him back….WHAT????….After assuring the man I would officially adopt Elvis and take financial responsibility for him, my Son and I left the office with Elvis in tow. A week later he was mine (ours) and all his “issues”were to be unacknowledged when they happened..he had no idea that anything was wrong and if you reacted when he fell or bumped himself he responded as if he had misbehaved. So Elvis was simply a Gorgeous Big Black Lab. Within one month he was no longer falling down, could walk on a lead, was as strong as a Bull and by the time we moved into our House a year later he was 105lbs of HEALTHY ,STRONG, BEAUTIFUL, BLACK LABRADOR!!!!!! When he ran his laps around the house you could actually FEEL him getting closer! No one could believe it…Elvis was our child, our brother, our friend, our confidant, our moral compass, our Joy…he survived skin cancer, what should have been a fatal attack by a mentally ill dog…..he loved the Beach, steak, asparagus, cheese and his family, ALL his family…he learned to lie down, “stay”, say “l love you”, give high fives and loved to back right up to the couch or chair and sit with you. As all of us who have had these amazing Dogs in our lives I cherish my memories of my Beautiful Boy…he lived to be 13 years old and passed away in my arms on his own bed, in his living room, his brother and Dad each holding a paw…he was very tired and sore and had stopped being able to do the things that make a Dog happy so I made the decision to let him go…he was relaxed and loving and those beautiful deep brown eyes looked into mine and said thank you…I felt his big body lean into mine and sigh a big satisfied sigh and then he was gone. We had said a prayer before we said our goodbyes…our Vet and her Nurse were wonderful. That was over two years ago and not a day has gone by that we do not miss him. We have another Lab now, her name is Murphy, she is a Gorgeous Yellow and we are totally smitten…she’s my Girl and Elvis approves….although she refuses to sit on the couch in our home (Elvis’ favorite place). I think he had a talk with her when she moved in. Well that’s my Saga of Elvis…he will remain in my heart forever and now I sign off and continue the Saga of Murphy:)

  17. Monserrat Serra

    So sorry for your loss. Shane was our yellow lab we lost almost 2 years ago. I’m sure he greated Garth over the rainbow and said come on in and let’s play. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of Shane. I still sleep with his collar. We now have cooper who is 5 months old, also a yellow lab. He has shown us what it’s like to have a puppy again and has reminded us of Shane every day. We still miss Shane every day and we will never forget him. He is the one that gave me the strength to get another dog and give him a great life!! He would of told us that it’s not fair to share our love of yellow labs with just him. He was unconditional love in its true form. All our labs are now running around and having fun over the rainbow. They are no longer in pain and are living the life of labs just the way they like it!! We will never forget our “true companion and friend”. May you always have a tennis ball in your mouth and your paws be in water!!! Rest in peace Shane and Garth. We will never forget you and we will always miss you!!!

  18. Carla

    Big love to you all. I’m so sorry for your loss xxx