The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Sara the Sick Puppy

Sara the Sick Puppy

The first time I saw Sara was on Steve Williams’ facebook page. Was there ever a more adorable puppy? I think not! I put out a feeler on her, but didn’t really pursue it because she was in Alabama and I knew she’d get adopted right away. That was May 10th. Imagine my surprise when Terry Watts sent me another message about her on May 23rd. She hadn’t been adopted yet! I asked Terry to contact Steve and, if she was still available, see what she could do about getting her to us. Steve said an adopter was supposed to be coming that night, but if they didn’t, he would let us know. Guess what ~ they no-showed, and Terry and Steve agreed to rendezvous in Pensacola on the 25th.

On the road

The morning of the 25th, Terry called me, all smiles. She had little Sara and she was precious, just a cute and cuddly as you could ever hope. Steve was wonderful, and Terry was happy. In fact, she was so happy I suggested that rather than transport Sara to me, how about she just foster her there in Panama City until she was adopted. Let’s just say I didn’t have to twist Terry’s arm. She said she had a wonderful vet, Dr. Gerrie Barr of Vet’s Pets, who would work with her on getting Sara spayed and ready for her new life.  We set up Sara’s photo album in anticipation of posting her when she was settled in.

Lounging with Terry

The next afternoon Terry called to say Sara had diarrhea. I wasn’t too concerned ~ it was probably coccidea, very common in puppies after the stress of transport. I recommended that she take her to the vet and get some Albon and Metronidozole; in the meanwhile, give her some canned pumpkin in her food. It helps stablize the digestive system. Terry’s vet was out of the office until the next morning, but she had the first appointment. We touched base a few more times throughout the evening. Sara’s condition was worsening, but she was still taking water. We talked about the possibility of parvo, but agreed it was unlikely since Sara had gotten her shots on the 10th, and had been with Steve for a couple of weeks.

The next morning, this morning, May 27th, I called Terry early. She’d been up all night with little Sara, who’d had the runs all night and seemed lethargic. Terry had finally fallen asleep with the puppy on her lap. She awoke to licks on her chin. Sara ate a little chicken and rice, but now her stools were coated in mucous.

An hour later she called from the vet’s office. Tearfully she confirmed our worst fears ~ parvo.

I spoke with Dr. Barr on the phone. He is the type of person you like right away. He has that steady voice, that reassuring manner that we all hope for in a vet. He told me that Sara tested “hot positive” for parvo. It wasn’t a false positive as I had hoped since her vaccine was two weeks earlier. He said he treats about 50 parvo cases a month, that about 60% pull through. I asked him is to explain his standard protocol, which he kindly did. He then told me that what I chose to do was up to me, that I would get no pressure from him. He understood that as a rescue, we operate under financial restraints. I told him I’d call him back in five minutes…..

Dr. Barr with Sara

Gisele and I came to agreement, and I called Dr. Barr. Please treat Sara with your standard protocol, but contact me when we are at $400. At that point we’ll have to evaluate how she is doing. I then asked him to give Terry a hug for me. Poor Terry. She was trying to be such a big girl. She has operated in the world of rescue a long time and knows the hard decisions we make. But she doesn’t foster puppies. And she hasn’t had to deal with parvo. We couldn’t just say no……

And now Terry has another hard phone call to make. She has to call Steve and tell him. If he is fostering other puppies at home, this will be especially hard news. If you are involved with puppies long enough, you will have to deal with parvo. It is just reality. It has little to do with care or cleanliness. It is just part of the puppy world.

So now we wait. We wait to see if Sara responds to the IVs and antibiotics. We wait and hope and pray.

I invite you to wait with us. To say a prayer. And to hope for Sara…..

~ Holly



We’ve been asked if we are going to do a Chipin to help defer the cost of this procedure.  Rather than that, if you would like to help, we ask that you contact Dr. Barr’s office directly and donate to Sara’s case.  That way there is no question that your money is going to her care.  And remember, if you live in the Panama City area, we couldn’t recommend this doctor higher!  He has two offices, so one of them may very well be close to you!

Dr. Gerrie Barr
Vets Pets
8905 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
(850) 233-7800


Sara with Laurie McCorkile

May 28th Update:

Laurie, from Dr. Barr’s office, took Sara home last night to ensure her care.  In the comments of this page you can see the update she posted this morning.  Joy!  Terry Watts sent these photos update as well.  Notice the stuffed sheep in the photo:

” Laurie Alysen McCorkile, Master Groomer alias Puppy Lover and spoiler! Sara is wiggling and waggling and learning to herd her sheep! She is on Fluids and antibiotics round thec lock, and she goes home with Laurie every night. They love her so much!


Sara with Alex

Alex Barr, Doc’s daughter and Puppy spoiler & healer! Sara is loved by Alex, and Samantha Fuller, Maggie Lynch, Mike Collins and of course, Doc’s sweetheart and wife, Pam Barr. This bunch is wonderful!”

I’m choosing to be optimistic, how about you!?!

June 1st update:

Little Sara is at peace, having crossed the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon. Laurie held her ’til the end, which was peaceful. Thank you to Terry Watts and Steve Williams who rescued her. Thank you to Dr Barr, Laurie and the other good people of Vets Pets who strove to save her. And thank you to all the kind people who offered us words of consolation when I shared her passing on her Facebook page.   Sara knew great love in the last weeks of her life.

One thought on “Sara the Sick Puppy

  1. Hi! This is Laurie, from Dr. Barr’s office. Just an update on your little furry pal Sara-she’s holding her own this morning, wouldn’t stop giving me kisses while I was flushing her IV to hang a fresh bag, and is as sweet as a puppy can be! Not out of the woods yet, but hangin’ tough! We’ll do our part, and God will do his!


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