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Rescue Me

Shane and Jack

By Carie Broecker


On June 24, 2013, Ruth Hammarberg was reading a column in a local newspaper and was touched by Shane’s story. Ruth was still grieving the loss of her own Shepherd, and her heart went out to Shane, a two-year-old German Shepherd who had been hit by a car and left to die on the side of the road. He lay in the dirt and weeds suffering alone day after day until a Good Samaritan finally called Monterey County Animal Services to report that he needed help.

An animal-control officer picked him up and took him to a vet clinic where they discovered his right hind leg and right front leg were both broken. The shelter then called Animal Friends Rescue Project (AFRP) for help. When Ruth read Shane’s story, he was still months away from a full recovery and in need of at least two surgeries before he would be ready for adoption. She called her daughter, Karen Rienitz and said, “I think we have our next dog.” They contacted AFRP, met Shane, fell in love, and were approved for adoption.

While they were waiting for Shane to heal so they could bring him home, Karen saw an ad in another local paper for a senior Australian Cattle Dog named Jack. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw him because, in addition to being enamored with German Shepherds, she and her mother were also quite fond of Cattle Dogs. Karen knew they had Shane coming home in a few months. She tried to put Jack out of her mind, but two weeks later she saw another ad for him in another paper.

She showed his photo to her mother, and they decided they just had to meet him. He had been picked up as a stray and had been at Monterey County Animal Services for several weeks. He was eight years old and his chances of getting adopted from the shelter were slim.  The shelter staff contacted Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, a group specializing in rehoming senior dogs, and they took him into their program. When Jack went to their vet for his exam, they discovered that he had a mast cell tumor that needed to be removed. The vet said she got good margins around the tumor and was hopeful that it would not return, but there was no guarantee. None of that mattered to Ruth and Karen.

They went to meet Jack, and he stole their hearts immediately. They knew they were complicating things by adopting a big, active male dog right before bringing Shane home. They also felt Jack deserved a second chance just like Shane did, and that they were the ones who would give it to both of them.

jack and shane

One week after bringing Jack home, they brought Shane home, and the two hit it off right away. Jack is full of joy and humor. He loves to play with squeaky balls and will fall asleep with a ball in his mouth. Shane is more serious, but he is a total lover. Even when he was in pain with two broken legs, Shane charmed his medical team with his soft soulful eyes, gentle tail wag, and constant cooperation.  

Shane and Jack have a whole support team that helps Ruth and Karen give them the best life possible. They have several dog walkers, two different trainers (one who is more attuned to Jack and the other who understands what makes Shane tick), and a great medical team who help keep both dogs healthy and fit.

Shane has metal in both of his right legs, but he runs and plays and doesn’t show any signs of pain or discomfort, although he does have a slightly funny gait.

Ruth and Karen are dog-lovers through and through. They have always taken in dogs in the most need. They say it gives them a sense of purpose and structure.

Karen says the sense of satisfaction when helping a dog in need is unbelievable. She has noticed that when rescuing older dogs, they bring an air of maturity, wisdom, and gratefulness with them.

Karen and Ruth both encourage anyone who will listen to adopt—not buy—when looking for a furry family member. And to remember that when you get a dog, it is a lifetime commitment through both good times and “ruff” times!

Shane and Jack sure are happy to be in their forever home and to be cherished members of the family.


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