Sadie’s Story

After last week’s heart-wrenching blog post,, I am happy to share a much happier story this week. This is Sadie’s story. It’s an illustration of how rescue should work. If not for stories like Sadies, I’d probably curl up in a ball. It seems as if 90% of the time, what we see in rescue isn’t joyful. There’s a lot of sadness involved. This “calling” isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my retirement years. At times I see the worst of humanity. Thankfully, there is a flip side to that coin. The rescue community has some of the most awesome humans on the planet. Thankfully, some of them are involved in our rescue, Must Luv Dogs. Sadie’s story is an example of what makes all the hard work and sometimes deep sorrow worthwhile. It proves that when like-minded people take the time to help these beautiful creatures, that we’ve been entrusted with, we can make a difference. It puts into motion our mission statement, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Remember, it all begins with one person. One person who makes the sometimes split-second decision NOT to drive past a stray without DOING something. One person, willing to be inconvenienced enough to turn their car around and stop, can begin a chain reaction of love and hope for that helpless creature. Thankfully, Sadie’s story begins with one such person. An ordinary person who did an extraordinary thing. A man who has a servant’s heart and an incredible love for these four-legged creatures we call “DOG”. Here’s the story:

Sadie when first rescued. Starving and lost. J D Hudson rescued her and contacted Must Luv Dogs Rescue for help.

Several months ago, a fellow dog lover and FB friend and follower, J D Hudson, contacted our lost pets site about a stray dog that he found. She was a starving boxer mix and looked to be in pretty poor condition. Her coat was covered in ring worms and bites, as well as several scarred areas, where she was either attacked or abused. J D is a regular donor to our rescue, as well as a champion for dogs everywhere. He currently has aggressive dogs so he can’t foster at this time. Even so, he pulled over and did what was necessary to get this beautiful big girl out of harm’s way. He protected her from a horrible fate that so many strays succumb to…. being hit by a car. J D’s kindness began Sadie’s road to healing. This simple act of love and concern soon gave Sadie her second chance at life. After taking Sadie to his vet and paying for her initial care, J D handed her off to Sadie’s next hero. Vikki Riggle, another MLD friend and rescue contributor, was following the situation online. Vikki took one look at Sadie’s beautiful face and skeletal body and knew she had to step up to take Sadie in. We agreed to take Sadie into our program and cover her expenses and get her on the path to adoption. Vikki and husband Andre brought Sadie home and were determined to fatten her up and teach her about being a part of a family. For the first time, Sadie experienced the love of a human. It was obvious that she had been a breeder at some point and was likely discarded once the owners no longer needed her. Sadie was soon gaining weight and her skin was clearing up. Must Luv Dogs’ vet, Dr. Liz Ezelle, began her heart worm treatment, as well as courses of antibiotics to clear up her skin infections. We also spayed Sadie so that she could enjoy the rest of her life as a happy-go-lucky girl. We all watched as slowly she grew into the beautiful girl she was meant to be. Under Vikki’s love and guidance, Sadie learned how to play. She came to adoption events, but was always a bit leery of other large dogs. This is a rescue behavior of defensive posturing, indicative that she was possibly attacked at some point in her life. One thing that was so beautiful about Sadie is that she never blamed humans for her terrible lot in life. She LOVES humans. She loves getting her back scratched and snuggling. We were all praying for the perfect forever family for Sadie.

Vikki Riggle says goodbye to Sadie. Vikki acted as Sadie’s foster mom, loving her back to health.

At our last adoption event, we were discussing our wish list for Sadie. We always try to match up the perfect family for our pups. Remarkably, God always seems to find a way to send them our way. We wished for a family where Sadie would be the only dog so that he could always feel safe and secure. We also hoped for older children because we knew she loved kids. I sometimes worry for our dogs that have special adoption needs. It narrows the field of possibilities for them finding their forever families. However, as God has proven time and again…He already had a family in mind for Sadie. A few days after our event, I was contacted by Shanna Prejean. Shanna has owned & loved boxers all of her life. She and her beautiful 8 yr old daughter, Paylin, lost their last boxer a few years ago. She knew she would add another boxer to her family, but had been waiting for just the right time. When she found Sadie and saw her photo online, she knew Sadie was the one! With a prayer on my lips, I quickly forwarded Shanna’s Adoption Application to Brenda Z, our Due Diligence Coordinator. I tried to put it out of my mind and give Brenda the time to check out vet records, references etc. I already knew that Shanna had a secure yard- CHECK. I knew she had no other dogs – CHECK. I knew that Shanna had the almost perfect working situation in order to spend lots of quality time with Sadie- CHECK. I almost couldn’t contain myself. I wanted to contact Vikki and let her know, but didn’t want to get her hopes up. In record time, Brenda let me know that Shanna was the perfect applicant! What joy! Vikki was over the moon when I let her know. Shanna and I soon talked over the phone. I could hear the excitement when I told her she had been approved to adopt Sadie. I could also hear the loving person that she was. After a rough few weeks with the rescue of late, tears rolled down my cheeks when I hung up the phone. This time they were tears of joy. Happiness that all started with one person. One person whose extraordinary act had started a chain reaction that was now changing the course of Sadie’s life. J D was Sadie’s white knight.

It’s hard to describe how it feels when handing over one of our beautiful dogs to their new family. We’ve poured so much love and attention into these precious pups and we don’t take it lightly. It was hard watching Vikki’s last moments with Sadie. As a foster many times over, I know how gut wrenching it can be to let them go. It is a PURE SELFLESS act. As I tell my team so often, “fostering ‘aint for sissys.” After driving away toward the meeting with Shanna, I was so excited for her future and looking forward to meeting Shanna and Paylin in person. I was thinking about how many humans had a hand in her coming full circle, getting rescued, getting healthy and finally starting her life over with a brand new family. J D, Vikki, Andre, and my entire team at Must Luv Dogs played a hand in Sadie’s new beginnings. Feeling thankful for all who participated in this wonderful rescue process, I drove Sadie to our meeting place. I looked back to see her lying there, calm as ever. Its as if she knew her life was about to change. I believe that dogs are very intuitive and have senses that we don’t. This thinking may not be very scientific, but I’ve seen it so many times. I must say that this meet and greet did NOT disappoint. When Shanna and Paylin drove up and got out, Sadie’s little nub began to wag, the very picture of what we call “happy tails”! I believe Sadie fell in love with her new family the moment she saw them. She was especially crazy about Paylin. Paylin’s beautiful little smile lit up the place when Sadie happily jumped into their car, settling in for their long ride home. I’ve shared some photos of these wonderful moments. I will forever be grateful for those involved in Sadie’s rescue and new life, as well as the over 120 other dogs we’ve saved this past year. I’m especially thankful to Shanna for adopting, and not shopping, when she was ready to grow her family by one! It seems that we shed a lot of tears in this line of work. Thankfully tears of joy are included.

Cindy Shotwell, Exec. Director of Must Luv Dogs Rescue giving Sadie a final hug goodbye.
Shanna & Paylin, giving Sadie a welcome kiss!
Shanna & Paylin Prejean with Sadie, their newest family member.
This says it all!!!

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