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German shepherd rescued after 13 years tied to tree still needs Seattle home

For the first thirteen years of his life, JJ the German shepherd was tied to a tree in Washington State. How he must have wondered when he would finally be loved.

JJ, who spent 13 years chained to a tree, receiving some love from his champion, Helen Anne Gately
Courtesy of Helen Anne Gately
German shepherd rescued after 13 years tied to tree still seeks Seattle home
Courtesy of Helen Anne Gately

JJ’s story resonated with animal lovers worldwide - but despite hundreds of emails from as far away as Japan, the senior German shepherd still needs a Seattle-area home. He has so much love to give – he only needs a family to reciprocate that love.

Many found JJ’s story almost unbelievable – who would leave a sweet dog chained up for more than a dozen years? After languishing at the end of that chain during all four seasons, day in and day out, a Good Samaritan intervened. Six months ago, she demanded that JJ’s owner relinquish him. Fortunately for JJ, the owner did – and Bremerton, Wash. organization Animal Rescue Families (ARF) stepped in to help him. ARF volunteer Helen Anne Gately volunteered to help JJ when his situation became urgent.

Gately stated today: “I’m advocating for JJ because ARF is a very small rescue with limited resources, run by one person and few volunteers. And I have a soft spot for seniors.”

Now his champions are hoping that his happy ending trumps the tragedy of his first 13 years. ARF doesn’t have the resources for an out-of-state adoption, but they hope that JJ’s future family sees this article and falls in love with him.

Gately, whose own senior dog Aisha passed away only six months ago, was stunned by the initial response to JJ’s story.

“We had a huge outpouring of responses from the Seattle Pets Examiner article and from Susie's Senior Dogs,” she stated.

“So many people expressed their compassion, wanting to know how they could help since they couldn’t adopt JJ. This inspired us to create Saving Our Seniors, or SOS. This campaign will allow us to continue helping dogs like JJ as well as educating and assisting pet guardians about resources to care for their aging dogs, rather than surrendering them to shelters.”

To donate to SOS today, visit this link.

Gately is familiar with the plight of senior dogs like JJ – dogs who have long been overlooked, for one reason or another.

"I adopted Aisha from ARF when she was 11. Her wise, soulful eyes spoke to my heart so I inquired about her,” she explained.

“I was the only one that did. When I learned of her abused and neglected past, I knew she’d have difficulty getting adopted. I adopted her without hesitation. She was an extraordinary dog who profoundly changed my life. I’m forever grateful for her – she’s why I’m advocating for our beloved seniors. Aisha was given a second chance in life and I acted on it.

“Adopting a senior dog is a very special act of compassion. I was constantly asked, ‘Why adopt an older dog?’ and I always responded: ‘Why not?’ Wouldn't you want someone to take you in and care for you in your golden years? Aisha and I had two years together. She passed away in my arms this past January knowing safety, comfort, and love on her final journey. She taught me a lot. I secretly believe she sent JJ along so that he, too, can know that... yes, we care.

"Adopting JJ locally is ideal because we can continue to monitor his care, offer support and resources, and help with an end of life plan. People don't like to think about the death of our animals, but it’s a reality when you adopt an older dog. When you have a plan in place, it takes the stress off of the moment so you can be present for your animal companion on their final journey. When Aisha was diagnosed with cancer and surgery wasn't a choice, I opted for palliative/hospice care.

"With the support of the local animal hospice group AHELP Project (, I could continue caring for Aisha in a way that served her needs, while keeping her comfortable, knowing that her time could come at any time, but I had a plan in place. In the end, it was a beautiful departure and I knew that I had done right by Aisha."

JJ is currently in the Seattle area in a very temporary foster arrangement. For the first time, he’s truly experiencing life, with regular outings including walks to the park and along the beach. He even has a Facebook page: JJ the Magnificent German Shepherd Dog, which has grown tremendously since his story came out.

JJ is an intact male German shepherd dog who weighs approximately 120 pounds. He’s housebroken, indicating that he was trained at some point in his life. JJ does have a strong prey drive, likely as a result of being chained for so long, and will need to a forever home with no cats or other small animals. He would prefer a home that has no other dogs, but could possibly live with an older female dog. JJ also neesd a home that doesn't have small children - not because he doesn't love them, but because he'll require a lot of time and attention.

After living for so many years exposed to the elements, JJ must be allowed to be indoors with his new person or family. A fenced yard is a must, although it doesn't have to be large. German shepherds like JJ love to patrol their territory, so a large yard would likely be too much for this sweet senior.

Although he lived without attention for years, JJ seeks out affection and loves his nose rubs. JJ loves to go on walks and has wonderful leash manners. He wears a harness to protect his neck and spine and welcomes every new adventure. He does require pain management with anti-inflammatory medication that is not untypical for a senior dog. He’s sensitive about having his paws touched, but this could change as trust is built with his new person. He will come with a medication supply as-needed and an end of life plan and other canine resources to ensure that the December of his days are filled with the love, comfort, and support that he was denied during the first thirteen years of his life.

Gately added: “I am completely committed to JJ and will not rest until I find him his final home where he can be at peace.”

Can you open your heart and home to this deserving dog? JJ is in Seattle and needs to go to a Seattle/Puget Sound-area home. If you are interested in giving JJ a home, please contact Helen Anne Gately at hag 68 @ yahoo. com. Join JJ the Magnificent German Shepherd Dog Facebook page for updates.

If you can't adopt JJ at this time, please share his story and help him find a loving local home.

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