Rescue Dog Returns The Favor By Saving Owner's Life

Photo: Nadezhda Manakhova / Shutterstock
German shepherd

Brian Myers of New Jersey got an unexpected return on his investment after rescuing an unwanted dog from a “last resort” shelter.

Sadie, his recently adopted German shepherd, saved her new owner's when he found himself laying on the floor unable to move due to a stroke.

Back in September, Sadie, a 6-year-old abandoned German shepherd, had been at Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge In Oakland, NJ, for just over a month. She was brought to the shelter after her previous family moved into a home that didn’t allow certain dog breeds, including her own, that are thought to be aggressive.

Heather Centrella, adoptions office manager at the shelter, told reporters that unfortunately “it’s not uncommon for us to get a call like this one, where the landlord has some sort of prejudice against misunderstood breeds such as a shepherd or a pit bull.”

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Sadie had also been rejected by three other shelters due to her large size, at nearly 100 pounds, and her nervous disposition.

Megan Brinster, the shelter’s executive director, told CNN that Ramapo-Bergen “is kind of the last resort place for unwanted dogs.”

“Our purpose is really to take the ones that don't have anywhere else to go,” said Megan. “And that was Sadie.”

Sadie had struggled to find new owners due to her anxiety and discomfort around men, among other issues.

“We'd thought Sadie would end up in a female's home,” Brinster said. “But as soon as we brought Brian in to meet her, we knew it was an instant match. She was all over him.”

Brian’s connection with Sadie was swift and powerful. He decided to adopt her.

“I thought, let me give this dog a chance,” Myers said, “because she's beautiful and I think I can work through her issues.”

After a few months, the pair managed to soothe Sadie’s anxiety, and they grew closer during the pandemic as they isolated together.

Sadie took to sleeping in Brian’s bed at night, often bringing toys with her. And for Brian's part, the new puppy parent welcomed his pet’s presence.

“She follows me everywhere,” said Brian. “She’s my best friend.”

Sadie stayed by Brian’s side after the 59-year-old found himself battling Covid-19. After what seemed like his full recovery, the two resumed their normal habit of taking daily four-mile walks, and all seemed to be well again.

However, Myers would soon experience delayed life-threatening complications of the disease.

“I thought I was out of the woods with Covid,” Brian said. “But apparently many people are developing blood clots after they've recovered from Covid. And so unbeknownst to me, I had a stroke in the middle of the night.”

On January 16, Brian attempted to get up from his bed, only to ;feel his legs collapse under him. He lay on the floor, frightened and barely able to move.

“I was trapped in a small space between my bed and the wall, unable to reach my cellphone,” he explained. “I laid there on the floor wondering, ‘How long will I be stuck here before someone finds me?’”

And that's when Sadie came to the rescue.

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The loyal shepherd laid by Brian’s side, licking ;his face in what he says was an expression of worry and sympathy. He grasped the dog’s collar in an attempt to comfort her and tried to pull himself up, but Sadie had other ideas.

The large animal began to move backward, pulling her weak owner across the floor. Sadie dragged Brian out of his trapped position, allowing him to reach his cell phone and call for help.

In short, Sadie the rescue dog saved her new owner's life.

If it wasn’t for Sadie, Brian said, “I may be still laying there right now.”

Brian was rushed to Englewood Health for emergency treatment, where he remained for a few weeks receiving intensive physical and speech therapy as he recovered from the stroke.

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During Brian’s rehab, his brother stayed with Sadie, keeping Brian updated with pictures and videos of her and even calling for an occasional FaceTime between the two.

Sadie would put her nose to the screen during the calls, confused by Brian’s absence and missing her human.

After almost three weeks of inpatient therapy, Brian was finally able to reunite with Sadie. He was helped out of the hospital in a wheelchair, and Sadie arrived on a leash before a small crowd of onlookers.

As soon as the dog recognized her owner, she leaped into his arms.

“She was jumping all over me, kissing me, knocking my mask off,” Brian recalled. “All I could think was ‘I love this dog.’”

Going forward, Brian said he intends to give Sadie “the best life I possibly can.”

Brian also plans to write a children’s book about his canine companion. He hopes that sharing his story will encourage other people to adopt pets.

“I think it's important to get the word out there that there are many animals that are in need,” he said, “and all they need is a chance.”

Centrella said hearing the story from Myers made her emotional. She admires the strong bond he had formed with the rejected dog.

“We think Brian and Sadie are an incredible duo, and they are both heroes,” the animal rescue worker said. “Brian saved Sadie and Sadie saved Brian in return. It’s just amazing.”

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.