This is Sage, a German Shepherd Dog that had been given up on by her owners and turned into the animal shelter. She was an "owner surrender" which means her owners signed over their ownership to the animal shelter. The reason given: they said she was blind, deaf and could no longer get around. Once an animal is signed over to the shelter, they can put it up for adoption or euthanize it on the spot.

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I just so happened to be at the shelter taking photos for Provide a Pet a Pad the same day Sage was brought in by animal control. When I saw her, she had blood dripping from her nose, hair missing from her face and looked like she must have felt which was miserable. She had a skin infection from head to toe. Her eyes were matted with green gook and her ears were swollen. She smelled horrible but I could still see the beautiful dog she must have once been. I could see that her colors were gorgeous underneath all of the filth. Something about the way she looked at me spoke to my heart. It was as if she was quietly begging for something. She deserved more than what she was getting.

I run a German Shepherd rescue and have taken in some pretty sickly dogs in the past. I do my best to get them healthy and ready for new homes. I can't say that Sage was in the worst condition I had ever seen but she could take a close second for sure. She was old and the chances of her being adopted were slim. Heck, I didn't even know if she would make it through the night. I posted a photo of her on Facebook and waited to see if someone felt sorry enough to adopt an old dog.

All that night I kept thinking about Sage. How terrible it was that she would spend the last days of her life on a hard, cold, concrete floor. I could at least give her the peace and respect of a dignified end to her pain and suffering. I decided I would go to the shelter the next day and get her. I called the shelter as soon as they opened to tell them she had a place to go so they would know not to euthanize her.

My plan would be to take her to the vet and either hold her in my lap as she was injected with life-ending serum to stop her pain and suffering or get her started on the road to healing. Whatever the vet and I decided would be this old dog's next, or final, chapter.

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You should have seen the looks I got at the vet's office when I walked in the front door. The waiting room was full of people who must have thought I was the worst dog owner in the world for letting my dog get in this horrible condition. Sage was too heavy to carry. Her smell entered the room before she did! She hobbled through the doorway with her head tilted to the left and blood still slowly dripping from her nose. I wished I had a sign that said "Hey, I'm just the rescuer. I just got this dog out of the shelter."

The vet examined her and felt that this old dog deserved a chance. Most of her ailments could be treated with medication and Sage could have a good quality of life for whatever time was left. She didn't really have any major health issues. After a day or two at the vet and several baths later, Sage looked a lot better and she seemed to feel better too.

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Thankfully another rescue-friend offered a place for Sage to call home and spend her final days. My friend said he would be traveling through Texarkana in about two months and would pick her up then.

Sage turned out to have an adorable personality. She loved attention and even did a little watch dog duty for the rescue.  It turns out that she wasn't totally deaf and she could see well enough to make her way around just fine. She had only a few demands: she wanted canned food mixed into her dry food and she picked the area at the rescue where she wanted to spend her daylight hours. At night she had a nice dog bed where she slept.

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Two months in dog rescue time feels like much, much longer. I get used to having the dogs around and it feels like a part of me goes with each one. Sage gained five or six pounds during her time at my rescue and her tilted head straightened out considerably.

An old dog deserves more than being dumped at the shelter when they can't get around on their own anymore. Sage was once someone's pet. She was a companion that probably protected her people too. A very loyal old friend that should have been afforded either medical treatment or the dignity and kindness of being taken to the vet and humanely put to sleep while in the comforting arms of her people. Whether you agree or disagree with euthanizing animals, I'm sure you can agree that a one-way trip to the shelter is not a fair sentence for a loyal companion.

Sage, 2 months after being in rescue
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Sage left for her new home this past Sunday. Have a good life old girl! Thanks for stopping by Muttley Crew Rescue.

Sage Before and After:

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