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93-year-old Navy veteran saves dog from euthanasia after owner deploys

One of the many dogs who stayed at the Souris Valley animal shelter at the North Dakota State University Extension Center due to flooding. (Senior Airman Jesse Lopez/U.S. Air Force)
December 10, 2018

A 93-year-old Navy veteran from California stepped in to adopt a 13-year-old white German Shepherd who was days away from being euthanized after his owner left due to a Navy deployment.

George Johnson, a decorated war veteran, lost his dog a few years ago and ever since he has wanted what he calls a “new buddy,” CBS News reported.

Johnson had called a local rescue group, German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County, in search of an older German Shepherd but had no luck.

The organization told Johnson they would keep an eye out for one.

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A few days later the group contacted Johnson, informing him they had found a white German Shepherd in Arizona.

Johnson had always had a passion for white German Shepherds and when he went to pick up Sam, he said, “it was love at first sight.”

Johnson said he decided to adopt Sam because the “two were meant to be together.”

“He’s an old gentleman, so I say this, two old dogs together, old sea dog and an old German Shepherd and we’re gonna hang in there as long as we can,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he’s “received medals, ribbons, and recommendations during his naval career but the dog fills his heart more than all of them put together.”

The Petco Foundation donated $25,000 to the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County after hearing about Johnson’s story and Sam received a holiday shopping spree.

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In Florida, an organization called “K9 Partners for Patriots” works to save dogs like Sam from being euthanized by matching them up with veterans, ABC Action News reported.

The organization locates veterans who are in search of dogs.

One dog, Blackjack, was in a shelter and scheduled to be put down but he saw Vietnam vet Tom Gahagam, and went directly to him.

Mary Peter, CEO of K9 Partners for Patriots said, “Within seconds you see a smile you haven’t seen, it’s a life-changing moment.”

Blackjack found his new home with Gahagam.

“That’s the best part, helping two, saving two: a dog that was going to be put down and a veteran that may not be here without the help of a service dog,” said Peter.

An all-female motorcycle group called the “Diva Angels” donated $600 to K9 Partners for Patriots as an early Christmas gift to help train dogs so they can rehome with veterans.