We Remember


When Apollo first came to Saving Paws Rescue, his condition brought tears to our eyes. He was barely recognizable as a German Shepherd. In April, 2018, the county shelter’s notes described him as “very old, very skinny, hair missing, strong odor, edema, potential endocrine disorder….. can’t tolerate anesthesia, humanely euthanize.” Pleas went out to save him. With the support PACC 911’s Golden Angel Fund, we took in the failing senior. Apollo was also part of our Seniors For Seniors Program. Volunteers rallied providing him with all his needs. He was bathed, ridding him of the terrible stench, and all his head to toe wounds were cleaned. He was given a warm, soft bed and blankets providing relief to his bones, and a jacket for warmth having lost most of his hair. Emaciated and starving he cried in pain, struggling to stand or walk. With all the cruelty he’d suffered, all were amazed at his sweet, gentle demeanor.

His skin biopsy revealed Pemphigus Foliaceus (PM) which causes raw, painful skin pustules and crusting. It is considered an autoimmune disease without cure, but with treatment may go into remission. Volunteers spent countless hours caring for the dog no one wanted. He has picked up weight and is no longer considered emaciated or neglected.

In July 2018 Apollo left for his forever foster home via our Love For Life Program, where he enjoyed a great life with a family who loved him dearly. Rest in peace, sweet boy. You were very loved.


In memory of Bruce, a handsome big boy who captured the hearts of many in a very short period of time.  Your spirit, strength and gentle soul will remain with all of us at Saving Paws Rescue for a long time to come.  I’ll remember you always as “my big handsome guy.”
– Charis Williams, SPR Volunteer “Foster Mom”


Our sweet Cole was dumped off at Pinal County Animal Control back in November 2016.  He looked so sad, so of course we had to save him.  Cole had trust issues and it took him awhile to warm up to new people, especially men. He was also plagued with ear issues and had to have a procedure called a Total Ear Ablation. It was necessary for the vet to remove his ear canals and stitch them shut due to excessive calcification of the ear canals.  It was a painful and bothersome condition and the ablation was a necessity. We think he could hear louder sounds, but they would be muffled – not unlike when you’re swimming underwater and you hear people talk to you who are above the water. We know he felt vibrations, and definitely knew when smaller dogs were around.

Cole spent his days lounging in his private suite at the Dog House, complete with his own couch. Most of us found him irresistible and gave in to his pleas for belly rubs on the couch! He also loved playing in the water and catching the hose. You will be missed Cole, run free now. You were very loved.

We think this handsome dude is at least 8 years old, if not older.  We don’t think he was treated well in his previous life, and because of his age, and his past physical and emotional neglect, he is a member of our Dog House Sanctuary.  We may consider an adopter who is willing to spend lots of time getting to know him and what makes him tick.


We are beyond saddened to announce our Love for Life dog, Ghost crossed over the rainbow bridge on January 31, 2019. Ghost was surrounded by those that loved him the most, his foster parents John and Deb and his pack! He was such a fighter, having survived abandonment by his original family to the county shelter, a 10 pound tumor, vestibular episode and who knows what else happened in the 11 years prior to him coming to SPR. He spent the last two years enjoying all that life had to offer him. A family that loved him, a pack that included him and a network of volunteers and supports who did everything to ensure his final years were full of love and safety. John and Deb made certain his final morning was filled with lots of love, treats and a wagon ride to his favorite place, the park, where he was able to walk a few steps, smell and mark one last time. He was the ‘grumpy old man’ always barking at Donny and Marie for disturbing him, (Marie regularly giving him kisses), even though he probably loved them in his own grumpy old man way. Ghost loved people, especially children. He always lit up when kids came around. We are wrapping our arms around the foster family as they feel the void of losing such a special boy. He will be greatly missed by all the SPR volunteers who got to take care of him when he spent a few days here and there at the doghouse. Run free Ghost, you will be missed by all!


On November 16, 2017 at 7:45 pm our Teddy Bear in residence, Gonch, crossed over the rainbow bridge. Volunteers stopped by all evening to snuggle and remind him that he made such an impact on all of us in such a short time. When Gonch passed, he was surrounded by volunteers who offered him love and comfort, with reminders of what a good boy he was, how strong he was, and how much everyone who met him loved him. While he was waiting for a forever home, Gonch encountered nothing but love and kindness from all the volunteers he encountered daily. Though he may not have been adopted, he did have a family – a really BIG family with SPR. Unfortunately, Gonch’s health declined quickly over the past week. Our veterinary team discovered some suspicious growths which were very concerning, and we suspect may have been the root cause. We also suspect that those growths may have contributed to possible neurological issues that lead him to stop eating and drinking well.

Gonch originally came to us from California in pretty rough shape; he was mostly deaf and completely blind. But despite his physical challenges, he stole many hearts in the short time he spent with us: including our volunteers, and especially his doggy friend Kimbra. His favorite activity was going for walks, and he walked absolutely beautifully on a leash. He is now in the company of many who have gone before and we know he is able to see amazing things now. Run free big guy, until we meet again!


Rest in peace Isa

On August 4, 2017 our SPR family suffered a devastating loss. Our courageous Isa lost her battle at 2:15 am and passed away in her bed at the doghouse with volunteers by her side. She was surrounded by all the things she had come to love – her roommates, Cosy and Jasmine, her collection of stuffed toys, a warm bed and surrounded in the love of the volunteers and supporters who rallied her to fight. She was wrapped in the loving arms of those who came to feed her, love her and encourage her to fight from the first day she arrived until the last breath she took.

There had to be a reason we had a volunteer sitting in the lobby of county picking up another dog that day – to bring this sweet girl to a place that would push and go beyond to give her a chance. Sadly her life before SPR had been too hard to overcome.

As she slipped away, volunteers talked to her of all the wonderful SPR dogs who would greet her as she crossed over. Run free sweet Isa.

Thank you to all the volunteers and supporters who have followed, sent prayers, donated and shared her story.

Jackie ‘O

On January 7, 2019, our beloved Jackie ‘O, grand dame of the Dog House, passed away over night. We think she was at least 8 years old, but we never really knew. She was rescued from the county shelter in December, 2013. She was adopted briefly twice, but didn’t like her adopter’s small animals, and just didn’t seem happy.

Her place was at the Dog House. Supervising. Keeping every one and every dog in check. She was nosy. She was bossy. But she was so, so loved by all of the volunteers.

One of her favorite spots to lie was on the other side of the Dog House front door. When you opened the door, she would not move, so you had to squeeze in through the crack. She never apologized for it and would look at you rather indignantly.

She was snared when she was picked up by county, so she always hated her neck to be touched. We avoided this issue by getting her to move from spot to spot with treats, since she would never move just because you asked! Thus, she developed her rather “fluffy” figure.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue to honor Miss Jackie ‘O with stories and pictures.

Run free, Jackie. Heaven needs you to keep all those 4-legged, young whipper snappers in line. You are so terribly missed.


Jefke the Belgian Malinois

With heavy hearts we said goodbye to Jefke on January 3, 2019 when it was discovered that he was suffering from prostate cancer that had spread. He was in the loving arms of volunteers he loved and trusted and the caring professional veterinary team at VetMed.

Jefke was found tethered to an animal hospital and picked up by county in September of 2015. He has been a resident of the doghouse for most of that time except for a period in foster with a K9 handler and with our trainer Andrew. He has tested and challenged all of the volunteers with his ability to “outsmart” us. He’s always been considered the smartest dog we have ever had.

“Dogs like him are the ones you remember forever” — the words we got in a text today when word went out about Jefke. We could not have said it any better. Jefke, you will be missed and you will be forever loved. You can now walk and smell every smell, roll in the grass, tear up anything you want, pee on everything you see and bathe in the warmth of the sun!


Jingle crossed the Rainbow Bridge in February, 2017. We rescued Jingle from the local shelter during the Holidays – she had been left there by her owner for medical reasons. Jingle was in terrible pain, with a huge mass on her rear leg and an eventual diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma. Even with the pain she was nothing but smiles, and we knew we had to help her. The leg needed to be amputated, but we also found that the cancer had spread and she probably had relatively little time. We decided we would give Jingle the best time of her life, no matter how long it should be. She was fostered by our vols, and we tried to hit everything on her bucket list! She went all over and visited so many special places and met wonderful people. Maybe you followed our “Where in the World is Jingle” posts! We adored this sweet girl, who deserved to much longer on this earth. We had been working hard with the vet to manage her pain, but when she took a turn for the worse, we knew it was time. Everyone came to visit her in the AM, and shared some time with this special dog. She got some frozen yogurt, and a lot of love. MANY tears were shed. We held Jingle as she crossed over – pain free now. Run Free at The Bridge, girl. You were special. You were loved. You will NEVER be forgotten.


Lady’s story was one that we see far too often in the desert. This elderly girl was found roaming around trying to find food with cactus needles stuck in her face. Skinny, tired and very fearful, she was one scared little Lady. She really wanted nothing more out of life than to be with her people, have some yummy food to eat, and a cool, air-conditioned house to stay in. She loved to bask in the A/C after spending so long out in the hot desert. She was a demure, sweet girl, who had a lot of turmoil in her past – we suspected a history of abuse, but that previous life was behind her as she found a great life in a forever foster home through our Love For Life Program. Rest in peace, Lady. You were so loved.


Martin the German Shepherd Dog

Martin crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in August 2018 while being cared for and loved by his foster parents.

Martin came to SPR in March 2017, from the county shelter. Such a handsome guy, but we think someone had de-barked him, so he could never really talk to us like he wanted to. We think he was around 10 years old, but suffered from spine and hip issues, which were being treated with localized injections. He quickly became a volunteer favorite because of his HUGE, lovable personality.

In November 2017, he went to his forever foster home with Jerry and Marilyn, where he loved rolling around in the grass, barking, going for daily walks, barking, and keeping an eye on everyone.

Run free, bark loudly and enjoy the green grass, Martin. You are loved and missed.

Mr. Magoo

Mr. Magoo joined Saving Paws Rescue in January, 2016, after he was turned in to MCACC West by his owner. Frank, a volunteer for Saving Paws, was immediately drawn to Mr. Magoo and approached Trish about fostering him. An instant loving connection was made and he went home with Frank the same day. Mr. Magoo was thought to be at least 12 years old, and almost completely blind. With time, Mr. Magoo could no longer get up and lost most of his appetite. One of Frank’s other dogs, Old Yeller sensed Mr. Magoo was failing and stayed by his side. Old Yeller himself is deaf. He even made the trip to Dr. Lopardo’s office to be by Mr. Magoo’s side for his final journey over the rainbow bridge.

Frank gave him a wonderful, loving and safe home for the last 4 months of his life, and we are extremely grateful he was able to care for Mr. Magoo. We are also thankful to PACC 911, as Mr. Magoo was a Lulu’s Angel fund recipient which assisted with medical expenses.


Oscar was part of our Love For Life Program, where he found a forever home in March of 2017. He loved playing with his ball, going on car rides, and getting brushed by his parents, Brandon and Alicia. Whenever his mom was in the shower, he would lay up against the tub, waiting for her to get out. If she took too long, he whined in case she forgot he was there. Whenever Oscar’s parents tried to give him just dry food for dinner, he would give them the “this is a joke, right?” look. When he first got to their home, Oscar would fake limp if he didn’t get his way. It worked for the first week until his mom caught on. Oscar loved to follow his parents everywhere they went. Run free, Oscar. You were so loved.


December 6. 2018 – It is with incredible sadness that we share that Preston lost his battle against the infection that had ravaged his hip. He was scheduled for his biopsy Wednesday morning to see if that could provide us with an answer on whether cancer could be evil we were battling. Both vets consulted when he arrived and ran bloodwork. They called us to say that he had started to manufacture “immature” white blood cells which was an indication that he was losing the battle even more. He was not his happy self and all agreed that he was very sick and there was not a likely chance that he would recover. With an SPR Volunteer by his side, he was helped over the rainbow bridge to a place free of pain and suffering. We talked of all the volunteers and people who had pulled for him from when he was initially found. He had found loving words and gentle touches from the moment he entered the arms of SPR.

SPR volunteers and supporters did everything possible to bring this gentle boy back to a place of health, but he sadly was too compromised when he arrived to allow us to make any forward progress. We did the absolute best for him we could and he will not be forgotten. Run handsome man – you are forever loved!


Reva was helped over the Rainbow Bridge on July 18, 2016. She will always be special, as she was the pup who was the inspiration for the Love For Life Program. Reva was an older gal, but we will never really know her age. We can only imagine how rough her life had been, as she was found in the desert near Apache Junction in December 2015. She had been picked up by Apache Junction Animal Control in terrible shape. She needed immediate rescue or she would be put to sleep for humane reasons. She was emaciated, her stomach was distended, she had a mass on her chest, and numerous lesions on her body – especially around her hindquarters. It even appeared that she had been bitten and attacked by another animal. Our vet thinks she had been abandoned in the desert many, many months if not YEARS. With the help of PACC911’s Lulu’s Angel Fund and the Miracle GSD Network, the mass on her chest was examined and aspirated. Blood work and an ultrasound were also completed. Eventually, it was discovered Reva was suffering from thyroid cancer and had only a few months to live, which she spent in loving foster homes and at the Dog House.

She spent her days and evenings receiving lots of love and attention, which she craved and enjoyed. Every night she was tucked in with her favorite, a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or liverwurst. She loved getting scratched behind the ears and would repay you by burying her face in your chest. She gave the best hugs, had the happiest smile, and the brightest eyes when she knew a treat was coming her way. To this day, we miss her spunk, her feistiness, and especially her loving, piercing eyes.

She left this world being held by people who loved her dearly. We are comforted to know she enjoyed shelter from the elements, a safe place to sleep, a full belly, and lots of love the last 8 months of her life.

Run free at the Bridge, our dear Reva. We will always have a special place in our hearts for you.


Love For Life Program - Rufus

Ruffus came to Saving Paws in October, 2016, when he was surrendered by his owner for being “too old.” Ruffus was “fluffy” overweight, had some issues, and had limited mobility, but that’s not how you reward your loyal companion! Because of his age, Ruffus was immediately placed in the Love For Life program. Shortly after, Dianne and Tyler saw Ruffus on the Saving Paws page and thought he’d be a great brother for their already adopted SPR Shepherd, Malak. A meet-and-greet was scheduled not only for Ruffus but also for a little sister, Athena Rose, on the same day. Dianne immediately feel in love with such a dashing, handsome and loving Ruffus! Without hesitation, she agreed to become his forever foster. Ruffus promptly rounded out her household of shepherds, and created her gang, fondly nicknamed the F.A.R.M. (Foxie, Athena, Ruffus & Malak), all from SPR!

He loved having an instant, loving family! Over the past year, Dianne and her friend and neighbor, Tyler, gave Ruffus the life of a king and often called him “King Ruffy.” He went to lots of places with them, various SPR events, loved riding in his cart, and always looked forward to car rides with the F.A.R.M. But over the last month, Ruffus’ DM (degenerative myelopathy) got the better of him and it became apparent his time was drawing near. Sadly, last week, Ruffus walked over the Bridge, surrounded by his loving family. Get ready to run fast, Ruffus! Run free, our angel boy! You will never be forgotten and will be forever in our hearts!

Sweet Pea

On March 17, 2018 precious Sweet Pea crossed the rainbow bridge. We’d like to take a moment to remember her and the lasting impact she’s made on our hearts. Sweet Pea came to us on recommendation after an article was published online detailing how sad she was that her family had unceremoniously dumped her at a high-kill shelter. Sweet Pea was a senior girl with significant tumors and we identified that with help from our vet that she would be a hospice case. After a plea went out for a fur-ever foster, the amazing Jess stepped up to provide Sweet Pea with an amazing home and all the love she’d been missing. And PACC 911 graciously stepped up to assist with her significant medical bills through a Heidi’s Healing Fund grant. 

Soon after getting home, her tumors grew so much that they began to seriously impact her quality of life. Rather than keep her in her Thundershirt all the time, we made the decision to go ahead and remove what was possible. From that point forward, Sweet Pea was nearly unstoppable.

For 6 months, Sweet Pea traveled, lived, and loved. And she stole all our hearts in the process. 

We’re very thankful for everyone that liked, shared, and donated when we reached out to ask for funds to help cover the cost of her surgery. We’re continually thankful to PACC 911 for providing the funds that enable us to give these dogs a fighting chance. We’re forever grateful for the amazing life and lots of love Jess showed her. But we’re most thankful to Sweet Pea herself for being the most amazing and inspiring dog anyone could wish for.

We’re going to choose to remember Sweet Pea as she was in these photos – full of love and life and with the sweetest eyes you’ve ever seen. We’ll all miss you terribly until we meet again!

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things. Sweet Pea was a dog who never stopped enjoying life to the fullest, even up until the very end. She hiked, played, swam, and loved with all her heart. She was trusting and loving even though the world had dealt her a bad hand in life. For 6 months, she thrived in her foster home and lived out her final days with joy. In her final weeks she began to develop tumors and eventually lost her appetite. She never let go of her sweet nature. When she saw how upset I would get when she wouldn’t eat she would take the food in her mouth, pretend to eat it, and then hide it under her bed. Eventually, she let me know it was her time to go. She passed away peacefully in my arms. Sweet Pea’s journey was a tough one, but with the help of the SPR family it became a happy ending. She left this world safe and loved. Thank you to all who joined Sweet Pea on the final leg of her journey to her happy ending.” – Jess, Sweet Pea’s Love For Life Foster


We said goodbye to our amazing Tootsie in February, 2017. She was born to Dolly with a fatal heart condition, Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia. We made a promise to Dolly to give her and her puppies a safe loving environment to grow up in (with so much help from our amazing puppy nannies) and when Tootsie was diagnosed our promise was to give her the absolute best life possible while she was able to enjoy it. We could not have asked for a better place for her than with Anna, Gary and Echo, who took her in. Seeing the daily escapades of Tootsie and her dad brought smiles and laughter. Our vol Charis fostered her as a teeny pup, and was also able to be there with Anna & Gary to help Tootsie finish her journey. They told them at the vet “she has a very big heart”, we know they meant in a physical sense, but we all knew that her heart was big from all the love she had for life and all those that helped her live it. We love you, Tootsie Pop – run Free at the Bridge!

A note from Anna and Gary:
“The littlest angels leave the biggest mark, and so it was with our sweet Tootsie. We were so honored to be chosen to care for her in the Saving Paws Love 4 Life program after she was diagnosed with several severe heart conditions. She brought her dad, Echo so much fun and activity and she brought Gary and me so much love and puppy kisses. We were the lucky ones. As recently as yesterday afternoon, she and Echo were playing with their favorite squeaky toys together. She was so spirited and feisty that Echo chose to leap over the corner of the sofa to get to his safe crate rather than try to walk in front of her and negotiate her playful spirit. She had a peaceful night, but this morning began to decline very rapidly, gasping for breath by the time we made it to the ER. Charis and I let her know she was loved to her last heartbeat and she left us with her GIANT heart full of love and a sparkly pink bandage on her leg. Go, Tootsie, go!”