A Rescue Tale

This story has been embargoed for what seems like forever. I could not wait to report the full happily ever after.

It began in mid-December, when someone who has long been connected to our rescue saw something out of the corner of his eye as he drove down the road. Instead of continuing on, he stopped. He found two dogs, a German Shepherd and a German Pointer, tied to each other in the mud. The weather had been alternating between rain and freezing. Their only shelter was a dilapidated fruit crate. With only three feet of chain between them – only one dog could raise itself above the muck.


Our rescuer spoke to the owners. They claimed the dogs had been dumped, separately, in the surrounding country and they took them “in.” The story took twists and turns as they spoke, but the bottom line was that they would give them up. That was all he needed to know.

He and his wife set about contacting rescues. Relying on foster care, their inns were full so close to Christmas. They worried about bringing the dogs to a shelter given the Shepherd’s age. Given their breeds, they didn’t automatically think of Homeward Bound, but when our president got wind of it, she said “we’ll take them.” They were quickly transported to safety.


The Shepherd, Sadie, had a microchip; the owner on record did not return our call.


Gage had no identification. Our vet put Sadie at 13, and Gage at 6. We had been told that Gage had been joined with Sadie about a year ago.


The dogs had bonded through adversity despite the difference in their ages. Still, their needs were very different. Once freed, Sadie worked hard at keeping up with Gage who ran like the wind. At 13, a leisurely walk was more her speed.


Whenever we can, we keep bonded pairs together. But in this case, we felt that potential adopters would be looking for two very different kinds of dogs and that could significantly reduce their chances. On Christmas Eve, Sadie went home with former adopters who had been searching for a special, older dog to pair with their senior Golden. They fell instantly in love with her.


Gage was temporarily lost without her. I had taken him for a walk while Sadie was being adopted. To watch him search for her when we returned was heartbreaking. But he got extra loving and lots of play time from our volunteers who discovered that – after expending his energy – this adorable boy wanted nothing more than to climb in your lap and cuddle. Gage’s rescuers visiting with him:


We also learned that Gage didn’t have a single hunting instinct in him, which is probably why he was dumped. He walked right by bunnies and kitties, and the sound of gunfire from nearby hunters sent him running for safety.


Over New Year’s, one of our volunteers brought her neighbors out to meet Gage. This special family was already involved with Pointer rescue, and were the adoptive parents of two beautiful (human) girls. They had recently lost one of their Pointers. While they weren’t sure if they were ready, they found Gage’s story compelling.

Hiding in the adjacent yard so he wouldn’t see me, I watched and listened, hopeful, as Gage chased the girls around the Park. The family had a vacation planned and could not take him immediately. We crossed our paws, and they returned last week with their dog, Toby, for an introduction. Toby is a big Pointer mix without a care in the world. His boundless energy put Gage a little on guard. We sent them home for a trial week to make sure all would be well. And after a few days of figuring each other out – it was.


Gage was officially adopted this week. He and Toby are now playmates, and sleeping mates – in the bed, of course!


What a life Sadie and Gage will have now – because someone stopped and asked instead of driving by. It’s a small thing that can turn anyone into a rescuer and give a gift that makes a world of difference in the life of a dog – and quite possibly, yours, too.


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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

21 thoughts on “A Rescue Tale”

  1. You have the best stories at Homeward Bound. Love reading them, and I’m glad for the dogs who are lucky enough to come your way.

  2. Marvelous story!! Blessed life to the families that took these two sweet souls into their hearts and home. Great work HBGRR !

  3. Oh, what wonderful stories – for the dogs, their new families and for the warm hearts that Sadie and Gage’s rescuers must feel for stopping by in the nick of time! What a great way for everyone to start 2017! I love how this all turned out! ❤

  4. Those are some very beautiful dogs, and it’s incredible how anyone could think of abandoning them – or of abandoning any animal without thought for their welfare, for the matter. I think the work you guys are doing with rescuing dogs is very valuable and noble indeed. I hope more dogs like Sadie and Gage find loving forever homes 🙂

    1. Rescue may seem like a small thing in this big troubled world…but to us, rescue is hope. And the world could use a lot more hope right now. Thank you for your kind note.

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