The Vet Said This Dog Wasn’t Worth Saving, But Sage Met The Perfect Humans To Help Her Beat The Odds

Most animal lovers who rescue their pets will tell you that when you know you’ve met the right dog, you just know. There’s a certain feeling you get when a dog who is destined to spend its life with you appears. For Sharon Ferri, that feeling was so strong that she decided to take in a dog with a complicated medical history—she just didn’t know quite how complicated it was…yet. 

The Vet Said This Dog Wasn’t Worth Saving, But Sage Met The Perfect Humans To Help Her Beat The Odds

When Sharon first heard about Sage from her friend Kim—director of the animal rescue Pima Paws for Life in Tucson, Arizona—she knew there was something special about this dog. 1.5-year-old Sage had been found in poor condition wandering the streets by a friend of Kim’s. Hungry to the point of malnourishment, poor Sage was also pregnant. 

Despite all of the adversity she had faced in her life, Sage was a sweet dog with a smile that showed just how happy she was to have humans to trust. So, Sharon took a chance on Sage, something she would soon learn not everyone would be willing to do. 

Tackling Unforeseen Challenges—How Sage Overcame Adversity

The Vet Said This Dog Wasn’t Worth Saving, But Sage Met The Perfect Humans To Help Her Beat The Odds

Sharon knew she and Sage would be on a health journey for a while, but no one knew just how bad things really were for this sweet young dog. 

Before Sage even got a chance to settle into her forever home with Sharon, things went from bad to worse and Sage began to bleed vaginally. Sage was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor called a canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT), but that wasn’t all. The 1.5-year-old Black Mouth Cur mix had also contracted valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) and tick fever, AKA Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 

CTVT in dogs
Source: Paragon Veterinary Referrals

Following rounds of antibiotics, Sage’s tick fever was under control, and it was time to start addressing the issue of the cancerous tumors in her body.

Sage went under the knife to have the tumors removed, but after surgery, Sharon and her family were told something they never would have expected. The veterinarian who had performed the operation told them that Sage “wasn’t worth saving.” A pretty blunt and heartless message from a medical professional Sharon had trusted to care for her dog with love and compassion.

“This made us so mad and even more determined to save her,” says Sharon of the experience with Sage’s vet after surgery to remove her tumors. 

Fueled by anger towards this callous vet and renewed determination to give Sage the happy, healthy life she deserved, Sharon and her family refused to give up hope. 

Forging a New Path: Combining Holistic & Conventional Veterinary Medicine

Removing Sage’s tumors didn’t completely get rid of the cancer, but there were still more options. Luckily, Sage’s prognosis was good, since canine transmissible venereal cancer is one of the most common and curable forms of cancer in dogs. Sage was enrolled in chemotherapy, and after just three rounds, she was cancer-free!

With the light at the end of the tunnel starting to glimmer for Sage and her humans, there was still one complicated medical hurdle to jump: valley fever. 

Valley fever in dogs lungs
Source: VFCE

Valley fever is caused by inhaling Coccidiodes immitis fungal spores, which are common outdoors in dirt and dust. Common symptoms of valley fever in dogs include coughing, fever, unwanted weight loss, lack of appetite, and lethargy. If the infection becomes serious, it can lead to far more life-threatening issues like seizures, brain swelling, and even heart failure. 

To address the valley fever, Sage underwent another invasive operation, followed by a round of medication that caused uncomfortable and distressing side effects. Sage had to take the medication, but she was in so much discomfort that Sharon knew something had to be done, so she turned to holistic medicine. 

Sage began acupuncture and slowly began to recover. Monitored by a holistic veterinarian, Sharon worked with Sage to rebuild her immune system which had suffered for so long, and give her some relief with regular acupuncture. Eventually, Sage was able to come completely off of her medication.

Unwavering Determination Through Hard Moments Leads To Happy Lifetimes

The Vet Said This Dog Wasn’t Worth Saving, But Sage Met The Perfect Humans To Help Her Beat The Odds

Today, Sage is 4.5 years old and she has come a long way. It took a while for Sage to come out of her shell, but her personality and ability to trust have blossomed. 

“The first time Sage got a cactus needle in her paw on a walk she took it out herself, as a hopeless dog who doesn’t trust humans would do,” Sharon said, describing Sage when she first came home. “Now, when she gets a needle in her foot, she looks up to me to get it out! She trusts me even though pulling it out hurts her.” 

If Sharon hadn’t taken a chance on Sage or had given up hope when the vet told her she should, it would have been a big mistake. Luckily, Sharon knew there was a way she could help Sage, and she never folded to the pressures of adversity. 

The Vet Said This Dog Wasn’t Worth Saving, But Sage Met The Perfect Humans To Help Her Beat The Odds

“Sage is so happy, healthy, and playful now—we call her a kangaroo, she’s always jumping to show her enthusiasm and excitement! I slowly introduced her to the dog park and now she loves running with the other doggies,” says Sharon. “We hike with her. We also found out she loves playing fetch at the ocean’s edge—we’ve taken her to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, CA and also to Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach. Sage can’t wait for her next beach trip, and she lived up to her reputation as a sweet dog—we couldn’t be happier!” 

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