Love heals all wounds. Paladin is proof of that. This beautiful German Shepherd came to Best Friends after unimaginable trauma—his person and a friend shut him in a cage and shot at him repeatedly. Emergency surgery pulled six bullets from Paladin's head and neck. After a miraculous recovery from his physical wounds, Paladin needed ample time and understanding to heal some human aggression issues. 

"Paladin" means heroic champion, and the staff say he deserves the name. Paladin now trusts his main caregiver, and is learning to trust two other staff members who join him on his daily walks. He actually shows positive interest when he sees them approach. They call him "Pal" for short. 

In summer, when the large pool in the dog park fills, Paladin will jump in and frolic like the other carefree dogs. What a Pal. What a champion. Please consider sponsoring Paladin today!

Paladin's Progress Journal

Paladin and Carissa
Rest easy
May 17, 2016

We’re so sorry to let you all know that Paladin has passed away. His passing was peaceful, and he was surrounded by people he loves. But his Degenerative myelopathy (DM) had taken a turn for the worse, and so we’re all mourning the loss of a majestic friend. 

Because of you, he had a wonderful life during the time he spent with us. He had endured such tragedy in the past, but at the Sanctuary, not only were we able to offer him the warm and peaceful life he’d always deserved, but he in turn, was able to give us even greater insight into what it takes to work with severely traumatized dogs. He was a dog whose love and respect you had to earn. But when you earned it, his trust was a tremendous gift. His regal nature was legendary at Dogtown, and he’ll always be a part of this place.  

In the last few weeks, though, Paladin lost his mobility. Medications stopped providing relief, and soon, he was no longer comfortable or able to enjoy himself. It was with a lot of tears that his caregivers said goodbye. He will never be forgotten.

But the real heroes in Paladin’s story were his sponsors and supporters. It’s because of all of you that he knew love and joy and safety in the end.  That he had people who cared for him, and a community he’ll always be a part of.  

Thank you for being such a good friend to regal Paladin, and for being there when he needed you most. 

We’re so grateful that you’re a part of Best Friends.

Winter moves
January 7, 2016

Pal, as Paladin is known to his friends, is doing fantastic. He continues to make new staff friends with the help of some delicious snacks to coax him along. When he sees them, his tail waves in a happy, lazy arc. He listens attentively when staff members tell him how smart he is, and how handsome his fluffy winter coat is. He really appreciates the attention. Who wouldn’t love that?

A little change is happening this winter. Pal will be moving to a new run soon, and although he will be in the same area, he’ll have a new view without stairs. While both of these changes are good for him, they may be a little unsettling to this sensitive boy. Structure and routine are Pal’s safety net. Have no worry, though. His caregivers will be there to give him extra support and attention to make this as stress-free as possible. Thanks to your sponsorship, Paladin will always have a safe place to be, where people are close by to support him.  

Everyone is a friend
January 14, 2015

Paladin’s dance card is filling up! Right now, he spends six days a week slowly building relationships with different staff members. And little by little, he’s learning that everybody is a friend. 

Most recently, Paladin had a little breakthrough with a male staff member named Chris. After a few days of walking and getting to say hello on his own terms, Paladin was able to walk comfortably with Chris holding his leash — a pretty insignificant thing for many dogs, but a giant leap of faith for Paladin. 

This handsome shepherd, with the help of his caregivers, is slowly but surely overcoming his once debilitating fear, making new friends and learning to enjoy the world around him again. 

Thank you so much for sponsoring Paladin. Your support helps provide him, and other animals like him, top-notch care and all the love he deserves.

New tricks
August 1, 2015

Paladin, now affectionately called “Pal,” continues to progress by remarkable leaps and bounds, whether he’s playing with a squeaky toy or working to overcome his trust issues with new people. 

Pal’s caregivers, slowly but surely, have been adding new staff members to his circle of friends and he’s really starting to blossom. He’s also got a particular group of people he thinks is the best thing since sliced dog treats — Sanctuary interns. 

When a new group of interns visit, they hang out a few feet away from the fence in his yard while his caregiver, Carissa talks to the group and Pal shows off his tricks. He sits, spins and throws out some downs before anyone even asks him too! 

Then, before the interns leave, they toss a few treats and a brand new squeaky toy to him. At which point, Pal prances and bounces around his yard like a kid on Christmas morning. Whereas new people approaching his fence were once unsettling for him, they’re becoming the thing he looks forward to the most. 

Now that it’s summertime, Pal spends his time playing with the water hose (so fun) and begging his caregivers to hurry up and fill the pool in the dog park so that he can swim with his buddies again. He’s also become infatuated with the large yellow ball in Tara’s Run, where he goes for agility training and playtime. The ball is as big as he is and we’re pretty sure he’d steal it and take it back to his yard with him if he could.

Thank you for sponsoring this beautiful, brave boy. His courage and progress amaze us every day.  

Snow dog
April 23, 2014

Winter is Paladin’s favorite time of year, and he had a blast this past season! In case you didn’t know, Paladin is very much a water dog, and the only thing he loves more than water is snow. We had a big snowstorm in Kanab in December, and Pal was over-the-moon ecstatic about it. Most dogs wouldn't even go outside with so much snow on the ground, but Paladin’s caregiver had a hard time getting him to come in. He went on a nice walk, and had so much fun leaping through the freshly fallen snow.

Paladin and his caregivers have made great progress with his trust issues. He has a very small circle of people, whom he trusts and is comfortable with, but he has made a few new friends, too. One of our maintenance technicians comes up for weekly visits with Pal, and the two of them have formed quite the bond. He is also learning to trust a few new caregivers, too. This is huge progress for a dog who went through such a traumatic experience as he did, and his caregivers are so proud of him.

Thank you so much for sponsoring Paladin!