We assume that someone loved him once. He wags his tail for everyone and at every word.

Yet he was all alone when animal control officers snared him out of a Tennessee river.  Examined in a county holding facility, this genial elder pup was labeled unadoptable and put on the euthanasia list.

A young volunteer refused to give up. She searched the Internet for information on his presumed ailment, a search that led her to Top Dog Foundation. Late on a Friday night, she emailed us asking if we could help a dog the facility staff now called “River.”

We did. We found someone who found someone who pulled River out and away just 45 minutes before his time ran out on Saturday.

River spent the next two weeks at a Tennessee veterinary clinic before being cleared to travel up to us in Minnesota. Perking up and building strength, his outlook seemed to match up with ours: We texted a pilot friend of Top Dog to see if he knew anyone who could offer this recuperating dog a plane ride. This compassionate man veered his own private jet eastward, collected River, gave him a bed for the night, and delivered him to us the next morning.

River claimed a spot as co-pilot for the ride, clearly enjoying the view (and we’d like to think he enjoyed the freedom too.)

Sometimes it takes a village and a plane ride to get a rescue done.

Honestly, we don’t know the rest of River’s story yet. It is still evolving. He is receiving needed veterinary care and enjoying a warm place to sleep, lots of safe space to stroll and play, and using up a lot of calories wagging his tail.

What we can tell you—really—is that someone loves River again.

Mary Gustafson

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