His Name Was Guinnes

Putting your dog on heartworm medication is so very important.
If you don't, the consequences can be tragic, as you'll see in the story below.

He was brought into the Humane Society one cold, wet, dreary day when Mother Nature couldn’t make up her mind whether to shed her winter robes for a pale green, or wait awhile longer. A Sheriff’s deputy had found him lying in a mud filled ditch out in the middle of no where, soaked through and frightened. After 45 minutes of coaxing, the officer was able to get him into the back of the patrol car. Getting him out, of course, was a completely different story, and eventually he had to be carried into the shelter office by my co-worker while I was depositing yet another owner surrendered pet into it’s new quarters. Once inside, it was determined that "he" was an intact male Lab/Staffordshire mix of approximately 3-4 years old, seal colored, with white down his chest and tipping his toes and the end of his tail. Automatically and by force of habit, I started ticking off the strikes this poor guy had against him. To start with was this weird thing about coloring... For some odd reason that none of us can explain, potential adopters will inherently shy away from black dogs almost as fast as they will black cats, and this guy was close enough, with the black swatch down his back that slowly faded to a beautiful golden seal at his sides. Secondly there was his age, in a world full of puppy crazy future pet owners, we find few who are willing to give a 3 year old anything a chance. Third, this fellow was obviously scared of his own shadow and had probably never in his life seen a leash, boy, was he going to need some work. And last, but certainly not least, was the obvious heritage that our new charge had so obviously been stuck with. He was wide of head, powerful of jaw, with too small an ear for a lab, and built like a Mack truck on steroids... I could even now hear the echoes of the Pit Bull comments to come.

While my co-worker finished filling out a receiving form for the dog, I spent time on the floor stroking the dog who I soon thought of as Guinness, and talking to him in a quiet voice. It didn’t take any of us long to figure out that though scared, there wasn’t a mean bone in the his body, and that anyone willing to spare him a kind word and a pat became his friend for life. Soon after that he showed us his puppy side by trying his best to climb into my co-worker’s lap while she occupied a nearby office chair. When it was time to go to the kennels, we attached him firmly to a leash and coaxed him a few steps at a time up the hill, praising him with each advance.

As the days went by, no one came or called to state that they had lost a dog like Guinness, as I had already figured, and I found myself gravitating more and more to his kennel. Soon, I was taking him out to further his new found leash training, and socialization skills. I also hoped that the extra time in the front room of the kennel might pay off, and Guinness would find someone who cared about him as much as I had grown to, so that he could start a new life in a new home. Finally, my heart took over from my mind, and I inquired about adopting the sweet boy. After I had introduced him to my family, and tested him with the shelter cats because of my own feline (both occasions were passed with flying colors.), I was given the go-ahead, so I filled out the paperwork, and made the arrangements for his pre-homing neuter. The day of his neuter came, and he, like many other animals before, was transported to the vet. I waited impatiently at work, with my mind only half on what I was doing. The thought of heartworm had snuck in several times during the wait for his appointment. I knew that from his demeanor and other little signs that he had obviously been a outside dog, and had probably never seen the inside of a vet’s office, but I refused to let my mind dwell on the possibilities too much. One hour passed, and then two... I had finally started breathing a little easier, thinking that maybe everything was going to be alright, when the call came. It was the vet herself, Guinness was in the advanced stages of heartworm, she wanted to know how to proceed. After finding out my options and Guinness’s chances at a normal life, I consulted both my assistant director, fellow employees, and finally, my husband, who though big of heart, knows very little about the inner ticking of dogs short of which end to feed and which to clean up after. In the end, after many tears and a lot of thought, I made one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to face. I asked that Guinness be brought back to the shelter for euthanasia, and then I went home for the day. For days afterward, I was alternately mad and in tears. Mad at whoever had been so careless with another life, that they couldn’t supply one small pill each month, and heartbroken over a valuable and loving soul that had to be extinguished too early. For what seemed like an eternity afterward, I searched for something in each canine face that passed through our kennel doors, but not a single one could measure up to my sweet Guinness.

His name was Guinness, and in his memory please make sure that each and every dog in your charge be given their heartworm medication on a timely basis, as well as the best possible veterinary care that you can provide.

-Author Unknown

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