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Spartacus – A Special German Shepherd Finds His Forever Home With Sedona

Sedona Shepherd Sanctuary

Spartacus – Groomed and ready for surgery

Sedona Shepherd was contacted about a handsome 5 year-old German Shepherd in desperate need of medical care and a new home.  Spartacus had been living in a basement with no heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer time.  He was neglected by his owner, who would leave him alone for days or weeks at a time.  If not for a caring neighbor, Spartacus would not have survived.  She made sure to feed him and give him water and love.   When Spartacus new guardian took him to a vet on her own initiative, she found out he had a rectal hernia that had not been treated for months, causing him severe pain when going to the bathroom.  He also had cyrptorchidism which had never been treated.  If both of these were left untreated, especially the hernia, it would be life-threatening.

Although we knew that the procedures would be expensive and complicated, we also knew that Spartacus had nowhere else to turn.  Local authorities refused to intervene, and his ‘owner’ was not going to pay for medical treatment.  On January 2, Sedona took Spartacus into our program and immediately scheduled him to have surgery two days later.  Repairing the hernia was an even more difficult procedure because it had been left untreated for so long.  His stay at the veterinary hospital had been extended as he ran into a number of complications.  Spartacus has a trusting and sweet disposition.  The unexpected complications have stretched our finances.  Please help us continue to give Spartacus the necessary care he needs to finally have a chance to live a happy life with a family that will love him and always care for him.  We have set up a YouCaring page to help raise funds to pay specifically for Spartacus veterinary bills.

Read About Spartacus Full Story Below As It Happens:

Early Winter

Sedona Shepherd was contacted about Spartacus by a neighbor.  She told us that Spartacus owner had been neglecting him for a very long time, leaving him unattended in a basement with no heat or outside in the summertime with little shelter.  The owner would go away for weeks at a time and it was basically left up to the neighbor to make sure Spartacus received food and water.  Spartacus’ neighbor even took care of his veterinary care.  She knew Spartacus was having issues in his rear area and it was determined by the vet that he had been living with a rectal hernia for a long time, and he was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, which the owner was well aware of.  For months the neighbor had been  trying to convince the owner to surrender Spartacus to a shelter.   She contacted local authorities but nothing was done.  Finally, after months of back and forth, the neighbor was allowed to reach out to a rescue to find him a home.

When we met Spartacus, he was clearly excited just to be outside on a walk, meeting new faces and stretching his legs.  It was obvious how much pain he was in when he tried to go the bathroom.  His tail was also a little crooked.  We knew as an organization that we had to find a way to make sure that we could bring him into our program and address his urgent medical needs.  With the holidays coming up, our foster homes were full.  He was going to need to be with someone who could give him proper care after his intensive surgeries.  In the meantime, Spartacus’ neighbor was taking care of him on a daily basis.

January 2, 3

One of our most experienced foster homes became available and Spartacus became an official Sedona Shepherd dog on January 2..  We had reached out to Crown Veterinary Hospital, who was set to evaluate Spartacus the next day and if all went well take him right into surgery.   On January 3rd, his consultation at Crown Vet confirmed his medical diagnosis and he was prepped to begin surgery, when unexpectedly the power began to cut out intermittently.  His surgery was pushed off until the following day and during his overnight stay, Spartacus showed off his engaging personality to the staff.

January 4

Despite a snowstorm, the staff at Crown Vet was all lined up and ready to perform his surgeries.  The surgeries were intense.  The surgeon was shocked that his rectal hernia on his right side had been left untreated for so long, causing additional weakness on his left side.  Performing cryptorchid surgery on an adult dog can be very tricky, but the experienced surgeons at Crown were prepared for any additional complications.   With the nature of his intensive surgery, Spartacus would have to stay at the hospital for the next two nights.

January 5 – 7

The surgeries took a toll on Spartacus.  He was having difficulty urinating and the staff for the first few days was placing a catheter into him and expressing his bladder.  Keeping the catheter in him for long period of time proved problematic, so they had to resort to expressing his bladder.  Additionally, his appetite was very low and he was not eating.  Spartacus certainly looked like wounded gladiator.  He had a drain in his leg as well.   Through it all, Spartacus was friendly and well mannered and the staff was always telling us what a sweet boy he was.

January 8 – 9

Spartacus finally began to turn the corner.  His appetite started to come back.  Because of the type of surgery, he needs to be on a soft, basic food diet, which isn’t always the tastiest.  However, we made him a mixture of soft ground turkey, eggs and mashed up vegetables, which he seemed to enjoy.  He started going the bathroom on his own and was ready to go to his foster home.

January 10 – January 15

Spartacus is recuperating in his foster home.  He is getting plenty of short walks, medical care, and nice warm dog beds to lay down on.  The hernia surgery left him with stitches that need to stay in for another week.  Although he isn’t a fan of wearing the cone all day, it is a necessity to make sure the incision heals properly.

January 16 – January 31

Spartacus was scheduled to have his stitches removed on January 17th but after visiting the vet it was decided that he needs to wait another 6 days.  In the meantime, Spartacus is eating and pooping much better now which is good news. He is enjoying car rides wit his foster mom and has been in great spirits. He is certainly looking forward to no more cone next week.  Stay tuned for updates!

February 1 to February 14

No cone! Ready to play.

Spartacus was quite excited to finally be free of his cone.  As you can see, he certainly sits pretty and is anxiously waiting to play fetch.  He has a nice set schedule in his foster home, lots of walks, play time and going on road trips.  Having had him with us for over a month, we feel that Spartacus would be best in a home with no other animals.  He is a smart dog, but also very strong, so any potential adopter will also need to agree to enroll him in a basic obedience course.

We are so thankful for all the support for Spartacus and are happy to announce that we have reached our fundraising goal.  Thanks to everyone who has helped share his story.  A story that continues.

February 15 to March 14

Spartacus has moved onto his new foster home.  His new foster mom is looking forward to making this a permanent home.  Spartacus continues to progress nicely, however we are still concerned he may need a second hernia surgery, which would be much less intrusive than the prior surgery.  Spartacus is set for his next vet visit on February 28th where we will know more.  In the meantime he has settled in nicely and is having a ball chasing the frisbee in the back yard, rain or shine.

March 15 to April 2

Our vet was pleased with Spartacus recovery, however his other hernia had not healed enough and was still “pocketing”, meaning he would need a second surgery.  Like the first procedure, his second surgery ran into some unexpected complications which led to a lot of internal bleeding.  Luckily, Spartacus surgeon is an exceptional surgeon and was able to guide Spartacus through the repair of his other hernia.  He is recovering at the vet office for a few days and his foster mom is anxiously waiting to bring Spartacus home.  Once he is medically cleared, his foster mom will be his forever mom.

April 3 to May 6

Spartacus’ recovery from his second surgery has been longer and more difficult than his first surgery.  It is possible that neurological issues are impacting the time of recovery.  Like the after the first surgery, he was having some difficulty peeing, but this time he was also having some digestive issues and an inability to consistently know if he was going to the bathroom.  Most recently it appears he has finally turned a corner with less potty accidents occurring.  Spartacus’ spirit has been amazing, as has been the care provided by his foster mom.


Spartacus journey has lead him to his forever home.  Enjoying a nice spring day with a new toy, Spartacus loves being outside in the sun and finally allowed to enjoy life like a German Shepherd should.  It has been a tough journey for our boy, and he occasionally still has some residual effects from the surgery and his prior conditions.  Today Spartacus is loved, happy and thanks to everyone who helped support Spartacus, from donors, to foster homes, volunteers and veterinarians, Spartacus was able to get the second chance in life he deserved.


Sedona Shepherd Sanctuary is a German Shepherd rescue dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for adult and senior German Shepherds in New Jersey and surrounding areas.