Four Legged Life | July 2012
by Arden Moore
08:48 PM, Wednesday, July 18
In late 2005, Sue and Mike Frounfelter created Labrador Harbor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit coporation. They are seen here with Bear (left and Brandi their chocolate and yellow Labs.
In late 2005, Sue and Mike Frounfelter created Labrador Harbor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit coporation. They are seen here with Bear (left and Brandi their chocolate and yellow Labs.
Mike Frounfelter endured a situation he hopes most pet parents never have to face: a brain cancer diagnosis in his beloved Edna, a yellow Labrador retriever, on the heels of being laid off from his job triggered by this lousy economy.

“When the veterinarian gave us the diagnosis, I looked at my wife, Sue and said, ‘I will sell my car, do anything to pay for Edna’s brain surgery and follow up radiation treatment.’ We used up our savings and opened a care credit account to pay for her care that ran into the tens of thousands of dollars. She lived another six months.”

That was 2003 and it still feels more like just yesterday to the Frounfelters, of Santee. Edna’s medical condition devastated them, but they didn’t let it get the best of them. They were touched by a woman in town who gave them a little amount of money towards Edna’s medical bills. It was a small gesture that meant so much to them.

Edna’s fate inspired them to reach out as best as they can to others with limited income but limitless love for their ailing Labradors.

In late 2005, they created Labrador Harbor (, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with the goal to find funds to help others avoid economic euthanasia and to give a second chance for Labradors facing pricey surgeries.

I share their story because the Frounfelters are not flush with money, but they are wonderful examples of people who are making a small but vital difference to improve the lives of dogs, who give us so much in so many ways.

“For me, my dogs are my kids,” declares Frounfelter. “They center me, ground me and keep me focused on what really matters in life.”

Take a moment to visit the website and you will see a lineup of Labs in need, ranging from:

Lucy – a 5-year-old who needs donations to offset costs for lymphoma treatment.

Piston – a 4-year-old who punctured her esophagus due to energetic playing with a stick.

Bailee – a 7-year-old who needed emergency surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon and to save her leg.

Tahoe – an 8-year-old in need of surgery to remove a large tumor on her back. She belongs to a family who recently lost their jobs.

“People can donate to any dog on our website and know that their money goes directly to the veterinarian and all donations are 100-percent tax deductible,” he says. “We go through a good approval process and talk to the veterinarian to determine who is paying for what and what is being covered.”

Frounfelter is a realist. He recognizes that he can’t help everyone, so he does his best by focusing his charity on Labradors. Since 2006, they have raised more than $53,000 to help 195 families in California.

And on July 28, he will host a special event that I hope you can attend with your dog. It’s called Hounds for Hope and it will be held at Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is a canine cancer awareness and wellness festival that will feature a half-mile fun walk,  games, prizes, vendors and Bear’s Tree of Hope. It is a 6-foot, tree-shaped creation crafted from plywood in which people can place special leaves in honor of a pet or person who has survived – or lost – their battle with cancer for $5 donations.

The tree is named in honor of Bear, a chocolate Lab that the Frounfelters lost to bone cancer two years ago at the age of 14.

The Frounfelters may not be able to defeat cancer in dogs – yet – but that’s not stopping them from celebrating the legacies of Edna and Bear to help Labrador retrievers of this generation and beyond.


Hounds for Hope Walk is a canine cancer awareness & wellness festival designed to promote healthy care for our furry friends. A short walk around the perimeter of the park will kick off the event. This is a family-friendly celebration and all leashed dogs are welcome for a great day of fun and hope.

To learn more about how you can sponsor or be a vendor – or participate – in this event, please contact Mike Frounfelter at (619) 892-0049 or visit

Pre-Register for the Walk by July 22 and you're entered in the drawing to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card. Sign up at

Join Dagmar Midcap from NBC/7/39 news as she helps to support the 2nd annual Hounds for Hope walk on July 28th in Ocean Beach! Walkers who pre-register with Team Dagmar will receive 10 FREE raffle tickets for use at the event. Help Dagmar support our cause this year! Register today at

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