Foster Dog Finds Forever and Brings Healing to her Mom—and the Dogs they Foster Together

When Amber adopted Sage, she knew they were meant to live a happy, adventurous life together. But she didn’t realize that Sage would bring healing to so many.

Amber + Sage

Amber was grieving the loss of her dog when she met Sage, a beautiful dog in need of a second chance. Together, Amber and Sage began to live life to the fullest, with so much love to share that they fostered and rehabilitated other dogs in need.

"It was Christmas Eve as I drove to Rottie Empire Rescue’s transport pick-up. The moment the van doors opened, I saw blue and brown eyes staring at me. When it was my turn to take her leash, I grasped the crate walls that held her, and she feverishly licked my hands. I named her Sage instantly, but I never imagined just how healing she would be."

A ripple: a series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by an object dropping into it. There are moments in our lives that create a ripple effect, too. Moments that create waves that sweep into every part of who we are.

For me, those moments have always been my dogs. Their names are Ariel and Sage.

I lost Ariel, my soul dog, last November. She lived a beautiful and long life, but the inevitable goodbye left me shattered and barely a shell of who I was. The past year threatened to break me—from plummeting mental health, the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease, and losing loved ones, all while the world was in turmoil. After Ariel passed, I needed to continue hanging on to all that she taught me. Together Ariel and I had welcomed fosters into our home and to honor her legacy, I knew I needed to keep fostering. I needed to do something to make sure her ripple continued on. 

It was Christmas Eve as I drove to Rottie Empire Rescue’s transport pick-up. The moment the van doors opened, I saw blue and brown eyes staring at me. When it was my turn to take her leash, I grasped the crate walls that held her, and she feverishly licked my hands. I named her Sage instantly, but I never imagined just how healing she would be.

Sage found her forever home and I think I knew it the very moment our eyes met. It was the same similar ripple that I felt when I saw Ariel’s blue and brown eyes. Sage was never in the plan. I didn’t think I was ready for another dog, especially one so similar to my soul dog, but I knew she came to me for a reason. She was a stray from the south, days away from euthanasia before she was saved, and I intended to give her the very best life possible.

Sage went from the shelters to climbing summits, paddling on lakes, camping in the wilderness, and running down trails to her heart’s content. She has watched the sunrise and set from the mountaintops and has sprinted blissfully along the ocean shore. In her short time with me, Sage has seen and experienced more than she had in her entire life, and she has held together my broken grieving heart.

Along the way, we have welcomed more and more foster dogs into our home. All of them had heartbreaking beginnings but were saved by Rottie Empire Rescue and learned to be loved and safe while with me and Sage. Scout, who was dying in a garbage can. Ranger, who was abandoned at a gas station. Evie, who was completely shut down with fear. They have all joined us on camping trips, on sunset hikes, and for days on the lake.

Our fosters have found their forever homes with the most amazing families and I know they will go on to create their own ripples in this world. 

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Amber won Rottie Empire Rescue in Saratoga Springs, New York a 2021 Love Stories award.