Linda McRae has been caring for her "gentle giant" Cassidy ever since her husband Robert died last fall.
Robert had adopted Cassidy from the German Shepherd Rescue of B.C. in 2009.
On Wednesday night, someone from the group knocked on Linda's door.
"She came and took him, without any warning, without any discussion," McRae said.
"She said that I was in violation of the contract, which I had never seen until she handed it to me, and that she was taking him. I was flabbergasted, I was in shock."
The contract does say the ownership of the dog is non-transferable.
Linda admits she hasn't taken Cassidy to a vet in at least a year, but says it was difficult to get the big, arthritis-ridden dog into her small car.
"I've spoken to my vet. My vet suggested I give him Tylenol for now, every four hours," McRae said.
She says he enjoyed being outside, despite being deemed an "inside dog" in the contract.
The rescue charity says it acted on a complaint about Cassidy's condition and had little choice but to take the dog.
"[It] is clearly stated to every adopter is that if the animal is not cared for, the animal will have to be brought back into care with German Shepherd Rescue so that it can be looked after," said spokesperson Linnea Sellin.
"That's just the bottom line. And it's unfortunate that Ms. McRae did not fulfill her ethical and moral obligation to the dog," Sellin added.
McRae says she supports the charity's efforts to help dogs, but not its approach.
"What I don't support is...their attitude that they can come into your home and take your dog when they feel you are abusing their rules, not abusing the animal, because I am certainly not abusing Cassidy."
Surrey RCMP officers told McRae there was little they could do, but suggested she try to get the dog back through the courts — an expensive and time-consuming proposition for the widow.
"I have been... overwhelmed because of things with Robert's estate and what not. So it would have been nice to have her help and not jump all over me."
The charity says it is a sad situation, but says Linda ought to have asked for more help.Suggest a correction