Sarah Saber lives in Fairfax, VA with her 2.5-year-old rescued dog Bane and 12-year-old black Domestic Shorthair rescued cat, Bama. Bane is a Saint Bernard and Great Pyrenees mix who Sarah fostered from Dogs XL Rescue after they found him emaciated and living on a farm. Bane was only 68lbs when Sarah drove two hours to aid in his rescue. She knew immediately upon picking him up that Bane was her dog. Now Bane weighs 135lbs and is best friends with Bama, but it took them awhile to work through Bane’s struggles as the result of where he came from.
Sarah first felt she was a dog mom when Bane was diagnosed with IBS and as they worked through his sensitive GI system. Within the first few months of living with Bane he would constantly need to go outside until Sarah could balance his diet. Bane would wake her up in the middle of the night and they’d trek down three flights of stairs in their condo building so he could use the bathroom. Through snow, rain, hail and humidity, Sarah stuck by Bane through his stomach issues and late night bathroom breaks. They grew closer and she felt more and more of a mother to him throughout this process.
Bane’s training is also a major contributor to how close Sarah and Bane are. “Bane came to me close to a year old, completely untrained and unsocialized. When living in his past home, he had little to no exposure to humans and was believed to be the bottom of the pack. This caused an extreme case of dog reactivity when he came to live with me,” said Sarah. As Bane put on weight, he was harder for Sarah to control. She hired the help of many trainers who couldn’t get through to Bane.
Sarah soon realized that it wasn’t just an issue with trainers not being able to get through to Bane. She needed to dedicate herself to Bane’s training in order to make an impact. “I realized that unless I put in 110% effort, it [training] was never going to get better. I was working full time and attending school and realized I needed to set aside specific time to train with him, so I dedicated 2 hours a day, split up, to train Bane,” said Sarah. Bane began to improve and then hit a major stride with Sarah’s dedication.
Bane now has 3 AKC Obedience titles and is an actively working therapy dog. “By completing training with Bane our bond has become so much stronger, and his personality and character blossomed. I am so proud of him,” said Sarah. The duo volunteers with the nonprofit, Go Team Therapy Dogs, which is dedicated to volunteering within many areas in the community including wounded warriors, reading programs, occupational therapy, schools and more.
Sarah and Bane actually created a program within Go Team Therapy Dogs by partnering with a mental health treatment facility where the two volunteer every Saturday morning. They visit with patients of all ages (children to adults) who are struggling with anything from an eating disorder or psychiatric illness to chemical dependency. “Volunteering has truly impacted both our lives in such a wonderful way, he [Bane] looks forward to seeing “his” patients and nurses every weekend and getting and giving love, they’ve even nicknamed him “Bane the Love God” on the eating disorder unit,” said Sarah.
When they aren’t volunteering their favorite activity is getting outside and exploring. They go hiking, camping, fishing, and love finding new places to explore together. One of Sarah’s favorite memories with Bane is the first time they went camping in Shenandoah National Park. Sarah documents all their adventures on her social media and has a printed coffee table books of their adventures to date.
Bane’s favorite treats are lamb femurs and cuddles! “Bane is the most affectionate dog I’ve ever encountered and sleeps with me every night in bed. When he wakes up he expects a solid 20 minutes of nothing but love and affection before his day can start, to which I am happy to oblige,” said Sarah.
Be sure to follow Sarah and Bane on Instagram; her handle is @lifesaber. And follow Go Team Therapy Dogs who they volunteer for!
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