For nearly his entire life, Jag was pent up in a filthy chicken coop in Maryland, badly neglected and with no access to fresh water. Even worse, Jag shared his decrepit “home” with 300 other dogs, all just as neglected as him. These dogs did not know the taste of fresh air. Some of their fur was so matted that they could not even walk.

At 13 years old, Jag was the oldest of the group. And he never knew what freedom felt like until rescuers from Last Chance Animal Rescue finally saved him from his dire situation.

Last Chance achieved the daunting task of finding foster homes for the dogs, but the troubles didn’t end there. Some of them were so fragile after a life of inactivity that they broke their bones just by jumping and playing  in their new surroundings.

Micah Larsen Brannon was volunteering at Last Chance when Jag came in, and there was no turning back. “I couldn’t stand the thought of him alone in the office at night so I brought him home to foster him,” Brannon told The Dodo.

Sadly, Jag had become brain damaged in his former “home,” and began to have seizures. But instead of writing the abused dog off as a lost cause, Brannon decided to keep him permanently to give him the treatment he needs and make sure that his last years on Earth are happy ones.

She seems to have achieved her mission — Jag now feels a contentment he never knew before.

“He is a sweetheart who just wants to live the rest of his life surrounded by his brothers, lying in the sun,” Brannon said.

Far too many dogs like Jag end up in shelters across the United States — and often, they end up euthanized because nobody will adopt them. This sad fact underscores the point that it’s always best to adopt your pets. One of those “unwanted” animals — seniors, or those with medical conditions — just may be the perfect companion animal for you.