A couple days ago, we had the exciting opportunity to see Jackson & Romey, two of our more long-time residents, leave Southern Pines to begin the next phase of their adoption journey as they travel northward to their new homes and families. Both Jackson and Romey are dogs that came to us from less than ideal situations, and both were a bit caught off guard with the sudden rush of care takers waiting to shower them with attention. Unfortunately both tested heartworm positive when they arrived at Southern Pines. Although, their stories were different, both of these somewhat plain looking, fearful dogs found themselves in the same place, in need of a helping hand.
But for Jackson and Romey, this is not where their stories ended. Because of our life-saving partnership with PetSmart Charities Rescue Waggin’, these dogs, that had the odds stacked against them, were both able to get healthy hearts and a new start.
Five-year-old Jackson was brought into the shelter through animal control. Jackson was a dog who looked like he had been on his own for most of his life. He was missing most of his hair, he seemed like he had never walked on a leash, and he would flinch when touched. Jackson also tested heartworm positive in his initial exam (a condition that can be fatal if left untreated). We were altogether certain that Jackson had been a dog on the streets for his whole life, but we couldn’t have been more wrong! Very shortly after arriving, Jackson let us in on his secret. It turns out he knew quite a bit about being a happy social dog. He enjoyed affection – particularly hugs, felt right at home on fluffy dog beds, and he was completely housebroken! Jackson spent a great deal of time with Katherine, Southern Pines Operations Manager, while we worked to make him shine on the outside just as much as he did on the inside. He quickly became a staff favorite, and it turned out that he was a real lady’s man, stealing the hearts of staff and volunteers with his charming personality. With proper nutrition and attention from our medical staff, Jackson’s hair began to grow back in and his coat dramatically improved. Soon Jackson not only acted like a real sweetheart, but he looked cuddly enough to snuggle, and boy did he love to snuggle.
Also five-years-old, sweet Romey was brought in to us by a neighbor. His owner having passed away, Romey was found abandoned outside the house that used to be his home. Over the course of a few days, everything Romey knew about his life had been changed dramatically. His one and only person was gone, he had no home to call his own, and he was all alone. When Romey arrived, he was confused and sad. He didn’t mind interactions with people or other animals, but he seemed to have lost his joy. Romey unfortunately also tested as heartworm positive during his entrance exam into the shelter. Over the next several weeks, Romey found that while everything may be different, life could still be good. His story touched the hearts of the staff, and they would stop to spend extra time petting him and talking with him. He also found several new dog friends, and he enjoyed the company of his roommates at the shelter.
Both Romey and Jackson, despite hard times early on, seemed to finally have hope for happy second chances. There was just one obstacle still in their way – heartworms. Though heartworms are a condition that's treatable, it's very expensive and typically out of the financial reach of shelters who are already operating on a limited budget. Through no fault of their own, large, plainer looking heartworm-positive dogs, who come into a shelter sometimes have a harder time finding new homes.
However, thanks to a special grant program made possible by PetSmart Charities and the loving attention of our staff, volunteers, and fosters, both Jackson and Romey qualified for life-saving heartworm treatment at Southern Pines.
Thirty days of calm, quiet cage rest later, and Jackson & Romey were both finally able to leave the shelter and begin the trip to their new families.
Jackson (L) & Romey (R) about to embark on their trip north to their new homes.
A few years ago, Jackson & Romey's stories might've ended much differently. But Southern Pines is committed to seeking out and pursuing lifesaving, life-changing partnerships that improve the quality of life of our animals, that help us find good outcomes for them, and that allow us to medically treat animals that might've been considered untreatable not too long ago. We would not be able to save as many lives without these invaluable partnerships and without the dedicated members of our local and greater animal-loving communities who strive so tirelessly to help the homeless, displaced, and hurting. Together we are helping these animals rewrite their stories, and together we can give dogs like Jackson and Romey a chance at happy new beginnings.
Please consider donating to Southern Pines so that we can help even more dogs like Jackson and Romey get their second chances.
Blog articles are written by staff and volunteers of Southern Pines Animal Shelter.
Where we're located:
1901 N. 31st Avenue Hattiesburg, MS 39401