Please Think Before Rushing Out and Getting a Lab

A Lab like Marley Could Be the Pet for You, But Do Your Research First and Consider Adopting from a Shelter, Urges the American Humane Association

20th Century Fox’s Marley & Me, hit theaters on Christmas Day. Recent history indicates the popularity of “Marley” will lead to an increase in Labrador retrievers being acquired. Unfortunately, many of them might soon be surrendered to shelters and breed-rescue groups nationwide as families find out this particular breed just wasn’t the right fit for their lifestyle. Similar upticks in animal acquisitions happened after films such as Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians and even the more recent Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

The American Humane Association and 20th Century Fox have launched a public-awareness campaign about the increased relinquishment of specific breeds of animals after they have been featured in blockbuster movies. Too many dogs are given up after reality sets in about how much responsibility or care they require, or that their needs are diametrically different than the person or families who acquired them. 

American Humane and 20th Century Fox want people to know that when it comes to getting a pet, they should consider adopting from the millions of animals that end up in shelters each year.

“American Humane is working collaboratively with 20th Century Fox on vital animal issues and we’re particularly excited about our combined efforts to raise national awareness about the importance of adopting animals from shelters and breed-rescue groups,” ­said Marie Belew Wheatley, president and CEO of American Humane.

The main dog that plays “Marley” in the film is, himself, a dog from a rescue – proving that great dogs can be found at our nation’s shelters. In the movie, “Marley” chews, shreds and wreaks havoc, but his unconditional love inspires.

American Humane points out that the antics in the movie Marley & Me are not far from the truth for most puppies and young adult dogs.

“In the case of the dog in Marley & Me, what you see is what you might get,” said Wheatley. “It’s important for potential pet owners to keep this in mind when deciding whether to adopt a dog.”

When adopting an animal, American Humane suggests people research specific dog breeds to ensure the new pet will fit their lifestyle. Before adopting a Labrador, American Humane encourages people to determine whether a Lab is right for them.

Just the Lab Facts:

  • Labs are the most popular breed in the U.S.
  • They can develop slowly and continue puppy-like behavior even past age two.
  • Labs can be wonderful companion dogs for active families.
  • Many animal shelters and rescues have a large variety of Lab mixes available for adoption.
  • Black Labs and Lab mixes tend to be adopted less often than other dogs.
  • Labs are multi-talented and can excel in animal-assisted therapy, swimming, retrieving and much more.

American Humane is designated by the Screen Actors Guild as the only animal welfare organization with on-set jurisdiction. Throughout the filming of Marley & Me, an American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative monitored the animal action. The movie’s safe use of animals has earned it American Humane’s “Monitored: Outstanding” rating and the “No Animals Were Harmed ® end-credit disclaimer.