German Shepherd Rescue of Sacramento Valley
Picture/Story Scrapbook

This page is dedicated to the dogs that people have adopted from GSRSV, their guardians, and their canine companions. Share the love that you have for your GSD/GSD mix with others!

Feel free to submit your own picture or story that you'd like to share on this Website to Brian Foran at Please try to keep picture file sizes to 2 MB or less.

A Thanksgiving Story--20 Years Hence
(posted 11-24-19)

November 24, 1999, marks the genesis of German Shepherd Rescue of Sacramento Valley.

Back in 1999, I had two German Shepherds: Buddy (left), a male who I had purchased as a puppy in 1991, and Samantha (right), a female  who I took in from a friend who was moving to Santa Cruz in 1999. (Sam had been Buddy's "daytime playmate" for a few years and my friend felt that Sam was better off with Buddy and me.) 

For years, I had been taking Buddy along with me any time I visited my parents in Southern California, where I grew up. This included the yearly visit at Thanksgiving time. Until I adopted Sam, Buddy was the only dog living with me full-time and my parents welcomed him with open arms. (My mom referred to Buddy as her "grandpuppy", as I began taking him home when he was very young--see left.)

As I prepared to drive home for Thanksgiving in 1999, I called my mom to ask if it would be OK if brought both Buddy and Sam with me. At the time my parents had a female Collie named Jenny. Though Jenny was very sweet and mellow, my mom was concerned about how Jenny and Sam would interact and didn't want too many dogs in the house with all the guests. So, she asked that I only bring Buddy along.

I asked my good friends Kelly and Wendy Smith of South Land Park if they'd watch Sam for me while I was gone and they graciously said yes. So, on the night of November 24, 1999, I dropped Sam off at the Smiths just before hitting I-5 south towards Los Angeles.

Oh--did I mention that I neglected to leave my parents' phone number with the Smiths and I did not have a cell phone back then?

Though I had left both Buddy and Sam together with the Smiths before, I had never left Sam without Buddy. She freaked out. Within 30 minutes, she busted through their wood fence and took off running trying to find Buddy and me. She headed south from their place just north of Fruitridge Bl......but I didn't know any of this at the time.

I enjoyed my Thanksgiving stay with my parents and family, and headed back to Sacramento Sunday night, Nov 28, 1999. On the morning of Monday, Nov 29, I called the Smiths to see how Sam was doing. It was only then that I found out she had busted out of their yard the previous Wednesday and was nowhere to be found. 

I immediately started to make a mental list of the tasks I needed to take to find my beloved Sam. First I called the Sacramento Bee and placed an ad in the "Lost and Found" section of their newspaper. (Not sure if they even had online ads back then.)

Next, I called in to work to let them know I'd be coming in late as I needed to start looking for Sam. First stop was the Sacramento City ("Front Street") Animal Shelter. I walked up and down the kennels full of dogs hoping to find Sam, but she wasn't there. What I did find, though, radically changed my life.

Standing in one of the kennels was an approx 10 month-old purebred German Shepherd. I couldn't believe it! "What on earth" I thought to myself "is a beautiful, young purebred German Shepherd doing in a shelter?"

I went up to the front counter to inquire about the young GSD in the kennel. The lady at the counter told me my timing was great as there was a woman who worked with the "rescue coordinator" of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Sacramento Valley (Judy Hurley) who was walking the kennels that very moment looking for GSDs to pull.

I went to speak with the associate of Judy and she explained to me that if I was to foster the young GSD that Judy would pay the dog's adoption fee and find him a good home. I found out that the young GSD at the shelter was already two days past his "safe period."  However, I wasn't exactly prepared to take on a new dog at the time so I resisted the temptation of taking him home that day.

Not long after placing the lost ad for Sam in the Sac Bee I began to receive some responses. People were telling me they had seen a dog who fit her description in neighborhoods near South Land Park south of Fruitridge but could not get her to come to them. Some put food out for her and she would stay for awhile but not let them get too close. Each time I followed up on a lead regarding Sam it seemed I was two steps behind.

Late in the week I received a call from a woman near South Land Park south of Florin Rd (several miles away from the Smiths) who had been feeding a dog that sounded like Sam for a couple of days. However, the dog had apparently taken off. I was grief-stricken. Florin Rd is a four-lane street that is one of Sacramento's busiest (see left). I figured that surely Sam would be struck and killed by a car and that I'd never know about it. I was starting to lose hope......

On Friday, Dec 3, 1999, I was at work when I received a call from Wendy Smith. She was frantic. She told me that Sam had returned and was hiding in the bushes in front of her house. Wendy could not lure Sam into her yard and every time she went close Sam would take off.

I jumped into my car and tore off for the Smith's house. There, huddled in the bushes in front of the house was my miracle dog Sam. Over the course of a week she had travelled south approximately 3.1 miles, crossing several busy roads, and had returned likely along the same route to the very place she had ran off from on the night of Nov 24. I was beyond ecstatic. I thanked Wendy, Sam jumped into my car, and I raced home to reunite Sam with her pal Buddy.

Throughout my search for Sam my thoughts never left that black GSD at the City shelter. Part of me didn't want to disrupt the chemistry between Buddy, Sam and me, but part of me could not turn my back on that shelter dog. I didn't know anything about shelters or their euthanasia rates at the time, but I knew that if the dog was not adopted that he would eventually be put down. Finally, I decided to foster the dog and let Judy find him a good home. On Dec 1, 1999, I went to the Sacramento City Shelter and rescued the young male GSD I saw the previous week.

I named the  "Blackie" (right), as the first dog I had as a child was named "Brownie." I have to admit that my first experience fostering a dog was bittersweet. Though my dog Buddy totally accepted Sam he was pretty miffed about having Blackie around. It made me feel very guilty but I stayed the course. I figured that it wouldn't take long to find a great home for Blackie; after all, he was a stunning purebred GSD!

Days turned into weeks, and Blackie had yet to be adopted. I started wondering what kind of outreach Judy had to promote the dogs she had available for adoption. Turns out not much. Judy was "low tech" and mostly relied on word-of-mouth with her network of GSD lovers to help her dogs get adopted. No Website, no listings on, no "meet & greets." Judy was pretty much a one-woman rescue show among her GSD fanciers with the GSD Dog Club, which focused on breeding and showing GSDs. In other words, she didn't have a whole lot of resources to turn to.

I wanted to help Judy, and I also wanted to find a home for Blackie so that I could restore the sanctity of my two-dog home. I felt that the first step in helping Blackie and Judy's foster dogs find new homes would be to develop a Website to promote the dogs. I was not exactly a Web wiz (nor am I now), but I had learned a few Website development skills at work and had a wonderful supervisor (Jeff Hunts) with lots of Website skills willing to help me. The Website that you see right here is the same one that Jeff helped me develop in 2000. I know--way old school, but good enough.....

We had an "Intranet" at work for sharing info with our fellow employees, and I posted an adoption ad for Blackie on that site, too. Before long, one of my co-workers expressed an interest in Blackie and in mid-January 2000 ended up adopting him. This was the first adoption of a dog that I helped facilitate, but certainly wouldn't be the last.

After Blackie was adopted, I happily settled back into my routine at home with Buddy and Sam. However, I was now aware of the fact that it was not uncommon for loving, noble purebred German Shepherds like Blackie to be languishing in municipal "dog pounds" with the clock ticking towards their demise. This knowledge was too much for me to turn away from. I knew what incredible dogs German Shepherds are and the thought of such wonderful, living animals like my GSD Buddy being locked up in a cage, or even worse being put to death simply because there wasn't anyone who wanted him or her, was too much for me to take. As much as I didn't want to create competition for Buddy--who was the center of my life--I knew I had to somehow help German Shepherds get out of the shelters near me.

On May 20, 2000, I went to the old Sacramento County Shelter and began walking the rows of kennels looking for a GSD to rescue. There were several to choose from. I ended up pulling a middle-age female GSD from the Sacramento County Shelter who I named Cindy (left). I'll never forget the exuberance that Cindy displayed as we walked out through the shelter lobby doors--she was literally dancing. The elation that I felt in seeing Cindy's happiness was like a drug, and it hooked me. From that point forward, I knew that rescuing dogs (not just German Shepherds) was my calling.

Come Thanksgiving of 2000, my mom relented and let me take Sam down to her and my dad's home along with Buddy (see right). Maybe she felt a little guilty about Sam running away from my friend's house the year before!

After rescuing Cindy I rescued nine more German Shepherds in 2000 and with Judy's assistance placed them in new homes  under the umbrella of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Sacramento Valley.

Judy had been running her little rescue program for five years and was growing a little weary of it. My rescue work had energized my life and I was just starting to build momentum. I offered to take over the GSD rescue program from Judy and incorporate independently from the club. She took me up on my offer.

On Feb 5, 2001, German Shepherd Rescue of Sacramento Valley was officially incorporated by the State of California. The rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Thanksgiving, and a word from the wise: TAKE YOUR DOGS WITH YOU!!


Kids & Dogs--A Natural Pairing

Can pictures get any cuter than these?

That's Ariel & Lana (adopted 10-9-16) at left, and Annabelle & Tazz (adopted 3-24-17) at right.

Puppy Love!  

Garth's Awesome Adoption Update!

Garth, a then-2-yo male GSD that GSRSV rescued from the Stanislaus County Shelter 11-6-15 (adopted 12-12-15), sent me this awesome picture book telling how happy he is with his adopters, the Christensens of Antioch. Katie, one of the two Christensen daughters, helped Garth handle the pen! Thanks for the good news, Garth!




Ready for a Good Cry?

The 11-minute film "Unleashed Love", created by animal trainer Steven Ritt and film maker Andy Madison, will likely leave you tearful but inspired just the same. The film, viewable online at TheAnimalNetwork.TV, celebrates not only the bond between people and their dogs, but even more so the bond between two dogs. Plus, the soundtrack is enchanting.

TheAnimalNetwork.TV is "dedicated to educating and enlightening people about animals, animal issues, and rescue thru creating and delivering unique programming for animal lovers everywhere." Though it is a for-profit enterprise, 15% of all proceeds go to animal rescue.

Have "Shep",
Will Ride!

That's 5-yo Rowan Turner-Hinaman taking her first bicycle ride on two wheels in 2013--led by her faithful GSD stuffy "Shep."





Three years later, Rowan (third from left in photo at right) and her family adopted Zaila from GSRSV.

Another GSD-lover for life! 


Let them Woof Cake!
(posted 9-22-16)

Lauren Humpbert, an 8th grader at the Sacramento Waldorf School, created and baked the uber-cute cake at left (with help from her mom, Christy) to raise funds for GSRSV. Christy, an employee with the State agency Cal Recycle, entered the cake in a silent  auction 9-13-16 held at Cal Recycle's headquarters in Sacramento in conjunction with a promotional event for the Calif State Employees Charitable Campaign.

Lauren chose animal rescue as the topic of her 8th grade project. She is working in conjunction with both GSRSV and El Dorado County GS Rescue.

High-five to Lauren for choosing to focus on animal welfare for her class project.


Happy 16th
Birthday to Rocky,
a 2004 Adoptee!

Here's something to celebrate: Rocky, a GSD/Terrier/??? mix adopted from GSRSV by the Davis family of Roseville (now in Land Park) on July 10, 2004, turned 16 years old on June 1!

Rocky is still spry and still goes for daily walks. He is very much loved by all of the Davis family, but especially Lauren (now in her third year at Colorado State Univ) and her mother Jerri.

Lauren used to volunteer at GSRSV's rescue ranch, and Jerri slaved through the process of applying for GSRSV's non-profit status.

Thank you to the Davis' for giving Rocky such a long, happy life.

For me?

Well, if you insist.

I can't believe I ate the
whole thing!

More, please?

Dog Heroine!

Liz Fabian is a tireless rescue volunteer who has pulled and transported hundreds of dogs from the Stanislaus County Shelter in Modesto for multiple rescue groups throughout California and the Western U.S.

On Jan. 28, 2016, Liz asked me to rescue the male GSD at left (who I named "Lucky"), because another GSD rescue group had turned it down for what they interpreted as "severe dog aggressiveness." That was the death sentence for this dog as the shelter could not give him a further extension having already been passed up for rescue, and he was scheduled to be euthanized the following day.

Though I rarely take other rescuer's evaluations at face value, I was hesitant to rescue Lucky because of the circumstances surrounding the foster home I had available. So I passed on Lucky, even though I knew he was going to be euthanized. 

Liz somehow found a way to have the shelter give Lucky a 24-hr reprieve, and went to the shelter to evaluate Lucky herself. The video that she took of Lucky and another dog speaks for itself. When she e-mailed me the video of Lucky, I immediately agreed to rescue him.

Liz's faith in Lucky and her persistence saved Lucky's life--no two ways about it. Lucky is now in a foster home in East Sacramento, gets along great w/ the male dog there, and already has adoption interest from the next -door neighbors.

Thank you, Liz, for going the extra mile to save Lucky's life. He's a great dog! (Update: Lucky was adopted on 3-26-16, and he's doing great in his new home in Hawthorne, NV.)

Read a heart-warming letter from "Polar" (the dog on the right in the photo, along with his buddy Sampson). Bethany adopted Polar through GSRSV on 
April 6, 2013.

Click on this link.
(posted 4-11-15)


A Howling Thank You to Joe and Karrie Fonseca of Vallejo for Rescuing "Pepper" (April 2012)


Update: October 2015 


Joe and his wife Karrie continue to keep in touch w/ Seth and occasionally go up to Lake Tahoe to visit Logan (formerly Pepper), bringing lots of goodies with them.

The picture at right is of Joe and Logan at Seth's place on 10-11-15. 

"Pepper" was a 10-mos old purebred black GSD whose life would have been truly tragic had not Joe and Karrie Fonseca gone out on a limb and saved him. Joe & Karrie's neighbors had purchased Pepper as a puppy and didn't know what they were getting into. As Pepper grew and became more and more energetic, the petite woman next door became afraid of him. The neighbors ended up keeping Pepper in a crate, rarely letting him out other than to eat and relieve himself. The Fonsecas were bothered by Pepper's isolation, and also justifiably concerned that Pepper's confinement would adversely affect his growth. 

The Fonsecas approached their neighbors and offered to exercise Pepper and give him some time outside his crate. The neighbors agreed, and soon the Fonsecas were walking Pepper daily. 

The Fonsecas convinced their neighbors to let GSRSV find Pepper a new home, and on April 23, 2012, brought him all the way out from Vallejo to my place in Pleasant Grove for me to evaluate him. Along the way, they convinced their neighbor to let Pepper stay on a long lead rather than in the crate, and had the neighbors bring him to a clinic for his vaccinations.

As time went on, the Fonsecas grew very fond of Pepper, and couldn't bear to even return him to their neighbors' yard to put him back on the lead. Though the Fonseca's yard is not that big, and though they have several indoor cats that Pepper clearly would go after given the chance, they went ahead and brought him into their yard full time. They had Pepper neutered at their expense, and even purchased a chain link kennel to keep him in at night. 

On July 13, 2012, Seth Heesy of North Lake Tahoe adopted Pepper. The Fonsecas sent Pepper (now named Logan) off with well over $200 worth of food, supplements, toys and bedding. Logan is now living a dream life of hiking, swimming, and going most everywhere with his new owner in the mountains.

Many people, especially those with cats, would have been afraid to take on a "project" like Pepper. The Fonsecas not only had the fortitude to work with their neighbors, but were willing to give Pepper a temporary home to build his muscles back up, in spite of the fact that he did not get along with their cats.

Both Seth and I are just amazed at how much the Fonsecas did to turn Pepper's life around, and are truly grateful to them. 


From Miserable.....

Sac County Shelter 
ID #536889, 11-20-10

to Magnificent!

"Jager", Mendocino Coast, 1-22-11
Adopted from GSRSV by Lisa Underwood, 1-16-11


The Friendship Circle 
of Zelda and Her Pups

Read about how the rescue of a GSD (Zelda) and her five puppies in 2001 led to an annual get-together for three of the adopting families and the rescuer. (Click on title above.)


Thanks, Bob Warner!

Talk about a big heart!

"Rufus", a 9-yr old male GSD living at GSRSV's rescue facility since 2006, was diagnosed with bone cancer on 10-2-07. Other than some soreness in his left rear leg with the cancer, Rufus was still very healthy. However, I knew Rufus would benefit from a home where he would receive more one-on-one attention than I could provide him. 

Though the odds of anyone adopting a 9-yr old dog with possibly terminal cancer were slim, I ran a special adoption appeal for Rufus. Bob Warner, from rural Plumas County, responded to the appeal, met Rufus on Dec. 21, 2007, and adopted him on Jan 9, 2010. On top of that, he gave a donation to GSRSV! 

Maybe it was Bob's good karma, because Rufus turned out to NOT have bone cancer after all. (The diagnosis was made by X-ray, not a biopsy.) Rufus ended up living over two more years, hiking with Bob in the woods behind his home and traveling with him in his truck. 

Yes, there are big-hearted people out there. Thanks, Bob! 


Click for larger image.

That's GSRSV dog Hank (right, adopted 9-29-06) driving GSRSV dog Miss Shasta (left, adopted 5-27-05). Submitted by Tom Guerra, October '07.

Click for larger image.

GSRSV dogs Diesel (center) & Wendy (right), both adopted , 2-25-07, with Sugar (left). Submitted by Fred & Angela Lauridsen of Pollock Pines. Taken at Sly Park Reservoir, Summer '07.

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