Volunteers provide selfless act of human kindness for dying German shepherd

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Senior German shepherd, Toby was brought into the Carson Animal Care Center in California by a person who stated, “I found this dog.” When shelter personnel scanned Toby for a microchip, sadly the person who brought the dog in as a “stray” was the dog’s registered owner. Shelter personnel reached out to the family by phone, but all they did was hang up.

The shelter staff had hoped to reunite the ailing shepherd with his family; animal control even went to their house. And in the end, the family willingly relinquished all rights to Toby – the kind and gentle German shepherd who always loved his family and couldn’t understand why he was left alone in a cage.

Tragically Toby is presumed to the have Osteosarcoma, the most common bone tumor found in dogs. The disease is extremely aggressive and has a tendency to rapidly spread to other parts of the dog’s body. And so a plan had to be formulated quickly to save a dog so bitterly betrayed by his family.

Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary agreed to help with Toby and offered Toby a home and with the help of Shawn Hamon of Harlee’s Angels, the joint effort would save an ailing dog from dying alone in the back of a shelter.

“I pulled Toby from Carson shelter today.” stated Sal Valdepena, a volunteer for the shelter. “His body clearly failing him. His kisses a true indication that he understood that he was safe. I can’t help but tear up because he’s so special, his heart so pure. The definition of man’s best friend.”

So Toby’s first stop was In-N-Out Burger for treats for all the senior dogs at Grand Paws. Toby was gently carried inside to his own bedroom with a private backyard for sniffs and exploring. He ate his burgers and then with a little German shepherd grin, laid down on his own soft bed.

“He might not have a lot of time left. What he will have is love, safety and dignity,” Sal whispered. “When the time comes he will have arms wrapped around him so he’s not afraid. I pray his final time on earth shows him that not all humans are bad, and that he’s so beyond loved.”

May every dog dumped off at a shelter by callous humans be as fortunate as Toby. Go gently into the night sweet dog; your life matters.

(All photos by Sal)

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14 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    As the owner of a senior German Shepherd, this breaks my heart. My old boy will NEVER be left in a shelter, will always have a home and love until we have to say good bye to him. Shame on his owners turning their back on Toby, I wish them the same in their later years! Thank goodness there are organizations like Grand-paws Senior Sanctuary and Harlee’s Angels willing to step up for dogs like Toby or yes, he would have died alone in the back of that nasty shelter.

  2. Pamela Garlisch says:

    So glad he was rescued and did not have to die at the shelter or be PTS. His life does matter! Rest gently Toby!

  3. Ezgi Melody says:


  4. Helen says:

    Thank you for giving Toby a loving home for his remaining time on this earth. His owner who surrendered Toby should rot in hell for not caring if this sweet pup died by himself in a cage. Toby probably gave the POS owner the best years of his life, only to be thrown away when Toby needed the family most. I wouldn’t be surprised the owner dumped Toby because of the medical expense. Shame on you.

  5. Nancy Raymond says:

    HUGE GIANTIC THANK YOU TO SAL VALDEPENA for your extreme kindness to Toby – brought tears to my eyes – this is one senior dog who will have love, kindness and compassion as long as he needs it. It also angers me in every fiber of my being that people can be so selfish, cruel and lack compassion to a dog who loved them and got dumped in return for his loyalty. These are the kind of people that should be hogtied and sent into the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a leaky raft – if not for Sal Toby would have spent his last days alone, scared, and probably euthanized within days. Again, Sal you are a hero for Toby – your heart is in the right place.

  6. Tracy Whitcomb says:

    I hope that the owners for in hell for this. Any owner who can do this needs to be thrown in a cage and forgotten about. What Assholes.

  7. Christine Brown says:

    Thank you for saving Toby. Have got tears running down my face reading this. Sharing this story on Face Book

  8. carrie ainsley says:

    I wish more people would do this for a senior. It can be a very short term commitment and so worth it. About three years ago I brought home 3 very senior dogs for what was basically hospice. They surprised me and my vet by gaining weight and perking up, some medical conditions went away or improved and the first one didn’t pass until right after our second year together. When he died peacefully in his sleep one morning, I thought about all of the good times he would have missed and how different his death would have been in that shelter. And I was very happy for him and to have been able to give him that. He really deserved it (they all do).


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