It’s always great to see celebrities rescuing pets. Not only do they give an animal a good home, but they set a good example for their fans and bring attention to shelter pets in need.
And recently, one major movie star went above-and-beyond, not only adopting a neglected dog but offering a major reward for information about her abuser.
Last week, a good samaritan found three-month-old puppy in heartbreaking shape: the pup had a metal chain around her neck so tight it embedded into her skin.
The puppy was also reportedly eating garbage before the witness took her in and brought her to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
The Humane Society was heartbroken by the sight of the poor dog, and had to perform surgery to remove the chain from her neck. She was also suffering from skin issues and overgrown nails.
They named the dog “Sage,” and said that despite being in “immense pain,” she was also “sweet and friendly.”
“Sage was wagging her tail on the exam table while our veterinarian and vet techs were examining her,” Humane Society of Tampa wrote on Facebook.
Sage’s story went viral and broke hearts everywhere — including that of one of Hollywood’s biggest tough guys, Dave Bautista.
Bautista was a WWE professional wrestler before becoming a major movie actor. He’s best known for playing Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers movies; he also recently starred in Army of the Dead and the upcoming Dune.
But in addition to being an in-demand actor, Bautista is also known for being a huge lover of dogs. So after hearing Sage’s story, Bautista used his fame to bring justice to this poor dog.
In a post that went out to his 3.6 million Instagram followers, Bautista offered a $5,000 cash reward to “the person who gives information leading to the arrest and conviction of the sick piece of s**t responsible” for Sage’s abuse.
“To me, there’s nothing more innocent and pure than a puppy,” Bautista said, according to WTSP. “For someone who can abuse a puppy has got to be the lowest form of human being, pure evil, for someone who can abuse an animal like that. It makes me sick to my stomach.”
The reward for information grew. In addition to Bautista’s offer of $5,000, the Humane Society offered $1,500. In a follow-up video, Bautista announced that Alvarez Injury Law offered to match his offer, and according to WTSP, actor Mickey Rourke has also offered $1,000.
Despite the hefty reward and increased publicity to the case, sadly there have been no leads on the culprit, Bautista said.
However, he did have some good news: Sage had found a forever home… after he decided to adopt the puppy himself!
“The puppy you know as Sage today became Penny Bautista,” the actor announced. “I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of my family… she is now a Bautista, and she will never be abused again in her life.”
The Humane Society of Tampa was thrilled that the poor pup found a new home (and a new name), bringing a very happy ending to this sad story.
“We are so excited for Sage!” they wrote. “She went from eating trash in a cemetery with a chain embedded around her neck to starting an AMAZING new life with Dave and 2 new Pitty siblings! Thank you Dave for choosing to adopt.”
Bautista previously made headlines in 2019, after he rescued two pit bulls that were abandoned by their owner.
“I needed them, they needed me,” Bautista wrote at the time. “These beautiful babies spent the first six years of their lives neglected and abused. And now they are going to spend the rest of their lives being spoiled and loved.”
Bautista now has three dogs that he saved from lives of abuse and neglect. It’s no surprise to the actor’s colleagues and co-stars, who say Bautista is always looking out for dogs in need.
“He really loves his dogs man,” actor Kumail Nanjiani, who co-starred with Bautista in the comedy film Stuber, recalled to the Tampa Bay Times.
“There are some parts where we were shooting with a dog in a car, and the dog would get overheated and he was just so attuned to it. Dave would be like, ‘We can’t shoot! We have to cool him down!’”
Thank you to Dave Bautista for rescuing another abused dog. We’re so glad Penny now has a loving forever home and will never be abused again.