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Senior Shelter Dog Was Due To Be Put Down Until Navy Vet, 93, Adopted Him From Another State

The bond between dogs and army veterans is a deep one. Recently, a 93-year-old Navy veteran in Southern California saved a senior German Shepherd in an Arizona shelter from being euthanized. The proud new owner says he and his new fury friend will live out their golden years together.

Surrendered By His Owner

Although Sam, a 13-year-old German Shepherd, had lived with one family since his puppy days, however his owner eventually reached a point where they felt they couldn’t continue to take care of him as needed. When his owner was deployed to the Navy, Sam went to live in an animal shelter in Arizona.

Petco Foundation

Unfortunately, visitors to the shelter often overlooked him, instead choosing kittens, younger dogs and puppies. Sadly, the older dog lingered in the shelter and was eventually scheduled to be euthanized.

In The Nick Of Time

Then, along came George Johnson, a 93-year-old retired US Navy veteran and a big fan of white German Shepherds. During his service in WWII, he received a “Dear John” letter from his then-sweetheart. He recovered from the heartbreak by finding “peace through my four-legged best friends.”

Petco Foundation

Johnson’s lifetime love of dogs reached a turning point when his white German Shepherd passed away a few years ago. So, he decided to look for a new loyal buddy. He reached out to the German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County. It turned out that they didn’t have a dog for Johnson, but they had heard about Sam in Arizona. Johnson knew he had to have to dog.

Love At First Sight

A volunteer from the rescue group picked up Sam in Arizona and transported him to Johnson. “When I met him,” Johnson recalls, “it was love at first sight.” After sniffing Johnson, Sam seemed to think the plucky veteran would do.

Petco Foundation

Since then, Sam and Johnson have been bonding. “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,” Johnson told KABC. The two are now fond of working in the yard together. Sam is also a big fan of car rides, although it takes a little extra effort for him to climb up to the seat these days.

“I’ve received a few medals, ribbons, and commendations during my Naval career,” Johnson wrote, “but this dog fills my heart more than all of them put together.”

Having heard of Johnson’s adoption story, the Petco Foundation decided to award the pet rescue group in Orange County with $25,000. We’re sure glad these heroes found each other.


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