AL is a 13 month old solid black, plush coated male whose Dad passed away leaving him in need of a new human family. His Dad's relatives kept the older two dogs and relinquished Al to the Humane Society from which we rescued him; he's currently in temporary foster care in Tucson and will need a Phoenix foster ASAP. He's said to be a friendly, well balanced guy who does well with all.

Photos, full evaluation and bio coming after the holiday weekend..please check back.

UPDATE: Al came down with the UI (upper respiratory infection) last week that most shelter dogs develop. He's been treated and will not be transported to Phoenix until 100%. Our Tucson rep left her camera up North and has since been out of state with a sick Dad, so unable to get decent photos until all is back on track. Needless to say, Al is a popular fella..we will post an update after he arrives in Phoenix, likely by July 25th.

UPDATE 7/23: YET ANOTHER PLEA; Al was doing fine on his antibiotics...eating, pooping and playing well. Then he stopped eating and got lethargic. The ole gut ruled this time and instead of just a vet check, we chose to rush him to the emergency clinic. Sure enough, either distemper or pneumonia...his chest films look awful. He's being hospitalized in ICU today, will have a tracheal wash/culture, oxygen, fluids, meds and a complete blood panel. Since it will be very costly and no guarantee he will survive despite the effort and expense, we were offered the option of euthanasia. We elected to move forward with treatment and further diagnostics; he's such a lovely boy.

Once again we find ourselves asking for whatever help you can offer. We're all rooting for this pretty, sweet youngster who lost his Dad, his canine Mom with whom he'd lived up until he wound up in "jail" and now fighting for his own life...please join his rooting section with us:

"Let's Go, Al. We're Rooting for You!"
Al's Angels - THANK YOU!!

Amanda Capurso
Al Johnson
Sarah Simon
Phil & Becky Gang
Laura Hodson
Mary Harris
Susan Fischer
Art Jones
Christine Cassetta
Deborah Statt
Anna Solis
Joni Symonds
Wendy Judson
Richard Brezner
Buchanan Dietz
Deb McVannel
Joan Martin
Betsy Hackman
John Booth

Click to help Al on his journey to health (Paypal)
If you would prefer, checks made payable to
may be mailed to:

Southwest GSD Rescue
PHOENIX, AZ 85029-2941


We found a different Distemper test to send in, it has Distemper and 6 other upper respiratory diseases. We sent in Cocci/Ehrlichia, the URI panel (transtracheal wash material, eye swab, tonsil swab, blood, urine and feces). Al is in isolation, in a small crate due to the nasal oxygen. He is on fluids, IV antibiotics, IV vitamins. His chest films are horrible - bilateral pneumonia, he has a near constant stream of green mucous from his nose, is nothing but bones, he lost 10 pounds in 5 days. Al is at least 25 pounds underweight. BUT, he will head butt you and put his great big head under your arm and in your lap, his long plumed tail slowly wagging. His eyes are so sad and yet so alert.

If this boy can beat this horrific illness, whatever it is, Al will be a sound, stunning example of what we look for in a GSD. During all of his tests today, all the procedures, he was a complete gentleman. The entire staff is in love with this boy. The Doctor made numerous comments on his amazingly good behavior, his sweet temperament.

Al has a very long road ahead, one I pray he can make. This boy never showed just how sick he was until he just could not go on.

Just talked to the Vet. Al is holding his own, no real change yet. He will need to stay on oxygen at least through tomorrow and most likely, stay hospitalized on fluids the next 48 hours, possibly longer. We should have a clearer picture on him tomorrow. May even have some preliminary test results available. I will keep you informed.

UPDATE FRIDAY: Our boy showed improvement today and was taken off oxygen. He ate! The only preliminary results showed a very low titer for Erlichiosis (tick fever), possibly even from a previous exposure and not believed to be his primary problem. We contacted the shelter as we normally do in such situations and they advised us that they are seeing a new and particularly virulent strain of canine influenza that is taking 10 to 21 days to incubate, which might be why it was not readily apparent; we're anxiously awaiting more test results.

Now that we've had the opportunity to spend time with him, we believe Al to be closer to two years old..not sure if the folks that surrendered him said otherwise. We also think he's a "coat" and once healthy will be a gorgeous long haired GSD. We desperately need a place for Al to go when released from the hospital..a foster able to care for him during what we hope and pray will be his recovery. He can go back to where he was but there are multiple dogs and he is likely contagious. He will be in isolation there but foster Mom has other dogs to care for as well....Anyone, anyone?? Many thanks to AL's Angels...hoping tomorrow brings good news.....

UPDATE SATURDAY: We did receive some results today, BUT, are forced to question them due to the horrible shelter practice of vaccinating dogs on intake for nearly everything all at once which sends their immune system into overdrive. Al showed a positive PCR for Distemper and Bordatella; we're buying into the Bordatella but the Distemper could very well be a false positive as a result of a recent (shelter) vaccination for same...even the lab shows a disclaimer to that effect. In essence, it's inconclusive. What we are anxious to know; the results of his cytology/cultures which should reveal what type of bacteria or virus we are dealing with. The pneumonia is a given, and a result of whatever caused it. It takes time to grow bugs so we'll just have to watch and wait.

His repeat chest films this morning showed no change in his lungs yet he continues to show improvement in terms of his demeanor and food intake. His fluids have been stopped but he continues to receive IV antibiotics so as not to destroy "good" bacteria in his GI tract. Al will remain hospitalized through, at least, Monday, at which time we will be faced with the need for an appropriate foster home...preferably one without other dogs and someone with the time to keep an eye on him.

Come on, AL...we're rooting for ya!!

UPDATE MONDAY: AL is holding his own and on his way back to his Tucson foster Mom's home (a vet tech) where he will have a room of his own for now.

His temperature is normal, stools normal, eating well, and while still very congested, feeling playful during his walk at the hospital earlier today!

His repeat chest films this morning showed marked improvement in his left lobe, still quite bad pneumonia in his right lung. He's now on oral antibiotics.

The staff and his internist don't feel that they are dealing with anything exotic nor distemper, rather, a near fatal case of a severe respiratory infection possibly caused by a virus. We will know more in that regard when the cultures are ready which, thus far, have produced no bacterial growth.

The hospital staff raved about this boy's temperament and all agreed he has been well worth the effort and expense which is ongoing. OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO ALL ABLE TO HELP WITH AL'S CARE.

We will be keeping a close eye on Al's progress and continue to root him on.

UPDATE TUESDAY: Al was very happy to see his foster Mom and to be reunited with his friend Logan, although they are not yet permitted to interact. He's eating like a piglet and has been described today as "perky." There has been no further nasal discharge and his temperature is normal.

Aside from his relief trips outside, Al is taking it easy in his crate. While we know there is always the possibility of relapse, we think Al just might have turned the corner. He will have chest X-rays done regularly until his lungs are clear. OH...and Al said "here's a big wet one" for all of my Angels"

UPDATE WEDNESDAY: Al is doing great and appears to be on the mend. He will remain on antibiotics for 3 weeks and will have another chest X-ray on Friday to make sure he's on the right meds. All of his many test results are in and all cultures were negative.

His specialists have conferred and concluded that this was a horrific Bordatella based respiratory infection which, if left untreated would have been fatal, likely caused by a virus. His bill thus far totaled $3,000 including the substantial discount Pima was kind enough to provide. While donations have not covered all of the cost, they have made a significant dent; we simply could not have treated Al as quickly and aggressively without such DOES take a village...(or a very loyal rooting section ;-) ..Bless you, Angels!

His next update will follow Al's new films and photos. Meanwhile the quest is on for a Phoenix foster home.

AL's STORY: Well, it was gnawing at me so we had our great Tucson detective staff do some poking around which resulted in speaking with the owners who dumped Al and another at the Humane Society.

The owner's have Al's Dam & Sire which they breed (and breed and breed) They gave Al to their son who is in extremely poor health and was unable to care for him. So they brought Al to their house where he lived indoors but Al's sire picked on him relentlessly. Al's buddy was their pug. So they took both Al and his little Pug friend to the shelter while they continue to produce more puppies.

We asked what he had been fed, the reply was, "Anything that was on sale" wonder he hasn't developed his long, beautiful coat. He was very depressed at the shelter when the Pug was adopted early on which is why he befriended and attached himself to Logan. AL was whelped on April 7, 2008....he's 15 months old and looking forward to a much brighter future.

UPDATE SUNDAY AUG 2ND: AL saw the vet again yesterday and new chest films were done. The good news is that attitude-wise, AL has done a 180 has been very "bouncy," even playful. The bad news is that, clinically, he's about the same except for his white count which has risen again. His lungs look the same and he's still very congested. His foster Mom performs coupaging (pounds his chest) several times a day to break it all up. He received a quick bombardment of IV antibiotics while at the hospital, and one of his two oral medications were changed, both dosages have been increased and we've added a bronchodilator...still a very sick boy...he just doesn't seem to think so!

We've learned that there have been new cases of this at the shelter and it's everyone's opinion that Al's will to live differs from the others in that they all just laid down and let go. We think that having a band of Angels in his corner makes all the difference; he's gained 6 pounds since his hospitalization. We're praying for the day when we can all 'breathe easier.'

New photos from yesterday will be posted tonight...if you could only see Al's now rapidly thumping tail (no more slow motion) you would know how grateful he is for our help.





UPDATE 8/9: AL is doing fine, behaving like a normal happy dawg and getting into trouble like a little boy GSD should (stealing things off the counters, etc.). No nasal discharge, no trouble breathing. He'll be visiting the vet again on Tuesday for a recheck and weigh-in after which we are hopeful he will be ready for transport to Phoneix..please stay tuned...

UPDATE 8/11: WE DID IT!! AL had an exam, blood work and X-ray again today and he's perfectly NORMAL in all respects! He has a tiny amount of consolidation in his left lung but was otherwise totally CLEAR....Vet said that his X-rays looked like they were from a different dog. His white count, which had risen to 35,500 was down to 16,500 since we changed his meds.

The bronchodialator will be withdrawn as of today and he will remain on his current antibiotics for another week. An additional chest film in 10 days or so is recommended.

We have not received the final Tucson bill yet which will include his subsequent follow-up exams, O2, RXs, X-rays, IV's and lab work but we're bracing for a hefty sum. The important thing, however, is that AL is now ready for transport to the Phoenix area and his new foster-to-adopt home. THANK YOU ANGELS!! Please watch for his arrival next week. OH, AND he weighed in at just under 71pounds...he was 57lbs on day one at the hospital :-0)

UPDATE 8/24: AL's foster family will be out of town for 4 days through next weekend so we've decided to wait until their return to move him. Please stay tuned for updates







UPDATE 9/2: Our boy wonder arrived all smiles and was a perfect passenger on both legs of his journey. After checking out his new digs, he headed out to scope out the yard and took less than 4 minutes before testing out the pool! So much for the bath he had this morning. It didn't appear that he had actually ever been swimming before...a little surprised when the bottom went out from under him, so he just swam around right back out the steps. No fear and eager to try it again. He met the kitty...Al loves cats....and was a total gentleman; nevertheless, the cat gave him an undeserved bop on the nose..just to establish who's boss. Al said "fine..I'll be here if and when you need a pal."

Even Aspen's tail went into motion within minutes of meeting AL...he's a real charmer. He has a very balanced temperament, loving, confident and full of puppy mischief. AL has made it very clear to us that the right choices were made on his behalf and that it sure helps to have Angels on your's always so great when that happens.

We'll know in two weeks if he's staying HOME.