Animal Spotlight, Featured Pet

Good Sam

On Monday, January 13, 2020, the unthinkable happened. In the early morning hours, Knoxville Police Officer Kevin Aguilar heard a commotion then moments later a thud. A puppy had been thrown from an Alcoa Highway overpass, falling nearly 30 feet and landing just yards from the parked officer.

In a matter of hours, our Knoxville community came together to offer support for this sweet puppy. Given the name “Good Sam” in honor of the Good Samaritans like you who didn’t hesitate to offer financial support and a loving home to this pet, she is now safe in a foster home where she feels loved while both her physical and emotional wounds heal. Thank you for being there for Good Sam and animals just like her who need extra special care so they can be adopted. Your donation to the Animal Compassion Fund allows us to take x-rays when animals come in with broken bones, it provides medication that relieves the pain caused at the hands of abusers, it gives animals a chance to build trust with humans again, starting with their new foster families. Your donation to the Animal Compassion Fund is giving animals like Good Sam a second chance at life, and there are no words to express our gratitude for donors like you.


When Office Kevin Aguilar first heard the commotion, he had no idea what it could be.

“I listened for a few seconds and turned on my spotlight. I scanned out in front of me from right to left and saw these two eyes looking my way,” he says. “Then I heard the whining and yelps, and I knew it was a dog.” He slowly drove his cruiser towards the dog with his headlights on and approached her.

“She laid down and kinda went rigid. I thought she was dead for a moment. But when I got to her, I was talking to her to calm her and then she tried to sit up. I could tell then she was severely injured. She was bleeding from her mouth, and all four paws were bleeding,” he said. Then he thought what we all thought – who in the world could do this to an innocent little dog – and why? This poor defenseless dog. “Every time I think about it I get mad, and the longer it is, the madder I get.”

When Aguilar’s partner arrived, they carefully wrapped the dog in towels and laid her in the back seat of his cruiser, making sure she was comfortable and would not slide around on the way to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. Good Sam was moved from their care earlier last week to Young-Williams Animal Center.

For now, Good Sam is resting and recovering with one of our medical foster families. She came in last week for a check-up with our vet staff where some of her stitches were removed, and she got a new cast. While she does have some PTSD and is easily frightened, she loves cuddling up with her foster brother, Spencer, and sharing the bed with her foster mom.

We expect Good Sam will stay with her medical foster family for another six to eight weeks. “Given this is a cruelty investigation, Good Sam will remain in our custody until that investigation is concluded before she’s available for adoption,” said Janet Testerman, CEO at Young-Williams Animal Center. “It doesn’t matter how much it costs. We are absolutely going to give this puppy a second chance, get her whole and get her healthy.”

While we wish no pet had to suffer at the hands of humans, we see cases like Good Sam all too often. Cases where defenseless animals with no voice are hurt and abandoned by the humans they rely on. Just last week, we received a dog who had been found locked inside a dumpster. A dog that you probably didn’t hear about on the news, but who needed an advocate none the less. A dog who got the care it needed thanks to donors like you. Thank you for being committed to all animals who need a second chance at life.