The golden retriever sat tied to a tree in a yard, left behind after his owners moved out of the house. The older dog had owners who had given him a place to live and stay, but when it was time to move, they left him behind.

The stray dog was found tethered without slack to a tree, no food, no water. When our local rescuer in Pickens County S.C., found him, he was starved. Loaded with fleas and ticks, he had a serious skin infection and ear infection. He needed treatment to combat heartworm disease. The dog once had owners, but what he really needed was a family.

Sawyer's first photo after he was saved by our local rescuer in South Carolina.
Sawyer’s first photo after he was saved by our local rescuer in South Carolina.
Sawyer found the love he longed for in our Pickens County rescue partner, Pam.
Even though his skin was raw and infected (check out his toes), Sawyer showed love and fondness toward our South Carolina rescue partner, Pam.

The abandoned senior dog got a new name to mark a new chapter in his life story. In the moments after becoming a rescued dog, Sawyer found his life rapidly getting better. With the help of a loving community dedicated to making lives better for unwanted, abused or neglected dogs and cats, Sawyer received medical care, love, attention, food and a ride to the DC region. After a nine-hour car ride — what those in the rescue world call “transport” — he met the people who would not only be his owners, but became his family.

Sawyer's "freedom ride" to his forever home.
Sawyer’s first car ride to his forever home.

Sawyer’s new family adopted him “off transport.” They completed an application and the adoption process, and made the decision to adopt him by signing a contract before even meeting this older dog that had a rough start.

Sawyer’s new family made sure he continued to receive the best care for his ear infections (including two surgeries) and his skin. Over time, they saw the transformation that often happens when a shelter dog is safe in a home.

Three months after adoption, following a surgery to help heal his chronically infected ears and near the end of several months of antibiotics, his family witnessed what appeared to be Sawyer’s happiest moment.

“This is the biggest smile we’ve seen on Sawyer to date. He has recovered well from surgery and is a day away from being antibiotic-free for the first time in months. Also, his grandparents are visiting from Texas which means four more hands to pet him. This picture is of him patiently awaiting his dinner after an exciting day.”

Sawyer at about three months after adoption. Surgery, antibiotics and a safe and loving home are helping him heal.
Sawyer at about three months after adoption. Surgery, antibiotics and a safe and loving home are helping him heal.

It’s been a little more than a year since Sawyer went from homeless to homebound. A dog once left attached to a tree, likely to die, is now living the best life ever. His family even celebrated his 9th birthday.

“We don’t actually know his birthday, but June 11 was written on his vet records from Pickens so we just went with it. He had a dog-friendly homemade dinner and dessert! We sang, he was confused … then he finally got to eat.”

Happy birthday, sweet Sawyer.
Happy birthday, sweet Sawyer.
sawyer mom
All love. All the time.
Living the dream: a happy dog and his favorite duck in a really big bed.
Living the dream: a happy dog and his favorite duck in a really big bed.
Sawyer is all smiles.
Sawyer has found his happily ever after.

Thank you to the Gann family for adopting Sawyer and sharing his story and photos.

Want to help us help more dogs like Sawyer? Foster. Volunteer. Donate

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