Animals Pets Stories

Death Row Dog Hugs His Rescuer On His Way To Freedom

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Schenley and Joe Kirk run the 501(c)(3) organization, HOUND Rescue & Sanctuary from their home in Findlay, Ohio. The dogs they welcome have been abandoned, surrendered by their owners, or pulled from high-risk shelters where they faced euthanasia.

A beautiful 2-year-old Beagle named Gregory fell into the final category.

Image c/o Schenley Kirk

Although first assessed as a healthy stray, he was added to the euthanasia list when shelter staff discovered he was heartworm positive. If no one came forward to rescue him by May 3, Gregory would be put down.

Luckily, the Kirks heard about his plight, and on May 1, Joe arrived to take Gregory on a freedom ride to safety.

Image c/o Schenley Kirk

In most cases, the dogs rescued by HRS are placed in crates to keep them safe during transport, but Gregory was so ecstatic to be liberated from the shelter, Joe couldn’t bear to cage him.

Instead, he tethered the gentle, affectionate pooch in the backseat so they could interact on the ride home.

Image c/o Schenley Kirk

Gregory could reach just far enough into the front seat to nuzzle Joe’s shoulder. Touched by the dog’s outgoing, loving nature, Joe pulled out his phone and snapped a few photos to send to Schenley.

The Kirks had no idea one of those images would instantly capture the hearts of thousands when Schenley shared it to Facebook.

Before she knew it, her post had accrued thousands of likes, shares, and comments of love and support for Gregory. In fact, before the day was out, the cuddly Beagle already had a serious adoption inquiry from a family who saw the post!

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The couple has two rescue Beagles and would love to welcome another. Although Gregory will not be officially available until he gets a clean bill of health, the potential adopters filled out an application and even sent a generous donation towards his heartworm treatment!

Image c/o Schenley Kirk

For now, the newly-famous pooch is enjoying life as a spoiled house pet and basking in his social media stardom.

“He has the most loving personality,” Schenley told iHeartDogs. “He is always smiling and giving kisses! He is a wonderful little Beagle!”

Image c/o Schenley Kirk

The Kirks say they are completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible outpouring of support they have received from all over the world.

“The amount of attention Gregory’s photo has received has been absolutely incredible!!” Schenley said. “There are truly no words to express our sincere appreciation to everyone for their “likes” and “shares” of the post! We are genuinely grateful for the generosity and support we have received for Gregory from so many wonderful people!”

Image c/o Schenley Kirk

If you would like to donate to Gregory’s veterinary care, please visit

To follow his story and find out when he becomes officially available for adoption, follow HOUND Rescue & Sanctuary on Facebook.

🐕 We are a small group of dog-loving people who decided to undertake this small project to help dogs that are abandoned in the streets. Using a % of the money raised from sales, we take care of feeding them and grant them a home to live in.
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