Gus, the Pet Therapist

Poor Gus had been listed “as free to a good home” on a flea market site in Jacksonville, NC. His owners no longer wanted him and were going to take him to a high kill shelter where he would have been euthanized in a day or so. They agreed to keep him for a few more weeks while Homeward Trails looked for a home for him. Luckily, we found a great home for him! Here’s the story from his family…

We adopted Gus from Homeward Trails on November 3, 2007. The day he came home with us he was underweight, his fur was coarse and flea-bitten, he had worms and chronic diarrhea, his nose was scraped up, and he had no hair on his back legs (which the vet said was likely due to mange).

Three weeks after he came home with us, my husband went to the hospital with some minor stomach pain and emerged seven days later with a cancer diagnosis.

It was a major shock, given that he was only 33 years old at the time and had no other symptoms. Our new dog, now being treated by a wonderful vet (the McClures at Northside in Arlington) and eating good dog food, improved rapidly. He also adapted to our home quickly, despite the fact that barely a month after we got him he had a different random family member staying with him nearly every night as we dealt with my husband’s surprise extended hospital stay.

My husband had major surgery in January 2008, and Gus stayed at my parents’ house (about 10 minutes from the hospital). I stayed at the hospital with my husband, but came home for a few hours each day to be with Gus. Aside from being an ideal houseguest, he was a bright shining star each day that literally got me through the most difficult two weeks of my life.

One might expect the addition of Gus to our household shortly before my husband’s health crisis hit would have been a disruptive distraction, but it had the opposite effect. Getting Gus healthy and used to our home helped us focus on him and pass the time during the wait for the January surgery. During my husband’s surgery and recovery, Gus provided us all with some much-needed pet therapy, and was great company during those long and boring months at home.

GusToday Gus is a healthy, happy, and very shiny boy adored by us, our family and friends (and his dog walker, who says that Gus “brightens his day every day”). He is an ideal pet who follows the house rules without fail, provides us with a ton of entertainment, and constantly showers us with affection–which is returned in spades.

My husband has been cancer-free since that surgery, and is also back to his healthy and happy self.

Thank you for bringing Gus into our lives. I truly believe that given the timing and events over the past year, he was meant to be ours!


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