Max thought he was nothing special. At just seven weeks old, this German Shepherd mix had been taken from his mother and placed with his brothers and sisters in a cardboard box on the steps of a local church in New Mexico.

Northeast Animal Shelter heard about Max and his siblings…and through our Saving Pets Across America program, we were able to rescue these needy puppies from certain death.

Shortly after arriving at the Shelter, Scott adopted Max . . .and the two became inseparable from the moment Max was brought home. Scott loved taking Max on long walks. But when Scott got very busy with work, he hired Ed, a local dog-walker.

One winter afternoon, Max jumped into the back of Ed’s van — he and several other dogs were headed to the local park. Once inside the safe boundaries of the park, Ed let the dogs wander free, confident they would stay close.

But as the group approached a frozen pond, one of the smaller dogs wandered out onto the glassy surface. The ice beneath his tiny paws began to crack . . . a hole was opened, and the dog fell into the freezing cold water!

Thinking it was a game, the rest of the dogs ran out and began falling through the ice as well . . . all except Max who stayed safely on shore. Ed knew he had no choice but to jump in after the dogs trapped in the freezing water. But just as Ed plunged in and hoisted the last dog safely onto land, his muscles gave out . . . with the only strength he had left, he cried out: “Max! Help!” That’s when Max went from being “nothing special” to being nothing short of a holiday miracle . . .

Remarkably, Max knew just what to do! He carefully inched onto the ice, lowered his body, and let Ed grab his collar. Once he knew Ed was holding on, Max slowly backed his way off the ice, pulling Ed to safety. The “nothing special” dog, who was once rescued by Northeast Animal Shelter, had somehow returned the favor.

This year, remember to celebrate all the miracles that are possible when we save the lives of homeless animals. Help give more animals like Max a second chance at life.