Who we are

Labrador Education And Rescue Network (L.E.A.R.N.), an ALL VOLUNTEER non-profit 501(c)3 organization, serves Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. A network of foster homes and volunteers connect through the Internet and at L.E.A.R.N. events. L.E.A.R.N. does not have an adoption facility. We take in and foster Labradors of ALL ages, from adolescent to geriatric (rarely puppies). We are not breeders.

What we do

L.E.A.R.N. began rescuing Labs in 1999. As of July 2022, LEARN has found forever homes for 2,331 Labs. L.E.A.R.N. places abandoned Labrador Retrievers or those who need homes for a variety of reasons in new forever homes. L.E.A.R.N. educates adopters and the public on the importance of spaying/neutering, training, and the humane treatment of dogs. 

How we do it

L.E.A.R.N. is supported entirely by donations, fundraising, and fees charged for adoption. Donations bridge the gap between available funds and veterinary bills. Raised funds help us to save more Labs. L.E.A.R.N.’s most important asset—our dedicated network of over 120 volunteers—makes our rescue work possible: from clerical duties and intake assessments, to fostering and transporting, we all play a role in finding the Labs a new forever home. After nearly 20 years, we continue to go strong and save Labs!

Want to save a Lab’s life? Opportunities to help save Labs abound, and volunteering can take many shapes and levels of commitment.  For more information on fostering and other volunteer opportunities, see our Volunteer page. The more foster homes we have, the more Labs we can save. ( L.E.A.R.N. covers a foster dog’s veterinary expenses.)

Retrievers & Redemption Program

Retrievers & Redemption is a collaboration between L.E.A.R.N. and Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections, Thompson Correctional Center (TCC).     

L.E.A.R.N. evaluates pre-screened inmates at TCC throughout the program. L.E.A.R.N’s Intake Committee selects incoming Labradors for the R&R Program and each dog is paired with a TCC handler. For two to eight weeks (or longer, if needed), the dogs live with their handlers, and together, work on basic dog manners and socialization. L.E.A.R.N. instructs TCC handlers in positive reinforcement training techniques so that they properly train and interact with the Labradors. Throughout a Labrador’s stay at TCC, L.E.A.R.N. assesses each Labrador’s needs for a good fit with a forever home.   R&R benefits not only the Labradors, but also the TCC inmates, who help dogs in need and thus give back to the community. TCC inmates experience unconditional love, compassion, and hard work and the TCC inmates benefit from the bond formed with their assigned Labrador and the consistency they must give with care and training. 

Why adopt from L.E.A.R.N.?

Here are a few of the many reasons for adopting a Rescue dog:

  • Save the life of a healthy, happy dog.
  • Know the temperament and behavioral traits before bringing a dog home.
  • Adopt a dog that may already be house trained and know some obedience.
  • Help address the huge dog overpopulation problem.
  • Find a new and appreciative best friend!

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