It was hard to imagine a day when a clean bill of health and a forever home would become reality.
With all that Fredo faced in October—Hurricane Matthew, evacuation from his flooded shelter in South Carolina, a lengthy ride up north, a heartworm diagnosis, and months of medical treatment—it was obvious any sense of normalcy would be out of reach for a while. Sometimes, it felt like he’d never find it.
The 4-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog mix had arrived at the CHS Pet Wellness and Adoption Center in Newington with other southern pups escaping the horrors of Hurricane Matthew. Perhaps a fresh start in New England, compliments of CHS and big-hearted supporters, would give him a chance at a normal life.
The CHS medical team diagnosed Fredo and four other freshly minted Yankees with heartworm. Luckily, the medical treatment and resources they’d need over the next several months to overcome the potentially deadly infestation, were readily available to them in CHS' pet wellness center.
For Fredo, those ready and waiting resources included a foster home as soon as he was medically stable. Already an outgoing and boisterous boy who couldn’t get enough of his new human friends, Fredo simply needed temporary digs where he would be monitored for health concerns between check-ups with CHS vets and learn some manners.
It seemed he had a way to go before being a polite pooch--one of his early hobbies in his new residence included raiding trash cans for toilet paper tubes! But, gosh, it was cute. He quickly endeared himself to his new caregivers and was affectionate with them from the moment he set “paw” in their home.
Everyone thought he loved people before. But, boy, did he love his new father figure. “He is very attached to his foster dad and will follow him everywhere from room to room and likes to sit or lay at his side or even share the couch with him,” Fredo’s foster notes read. Fredo felt at home. This place had become his safe haven, one where he felt like he belonged. It was going to be hard to leave when it came time to head to CHS’ adoption floor.
As the months went on, Fredo became an etiquette ace, learning “sit,” “down,” “come” and “paw” in his foster home, and visited CHS vets for heartworm check-ups. By late spring, it was Fredo 1, Heartworm 0. He was officially healed and ready for adoption.
You can probably guess Fredo’s fosters had fallen head over heels in love with him, and that he thought of his them as family. And you can probably guess how his story ends, or, rather, how the next chapter starts.
Indeed, Fredo’s foster family couldn’t bear to part with him. As soon as he was given the all-clear from the medical team, his adoption became official, and his foster parents were now simply Mom and Dad.
One of Fredo’s heartworm-positive buddies has also landed in the home of her dreams; Lucky Sue, a once shy black lab mix, blossomed when she began making doggie friends and found herself a family with loving parents and a canine sibling. She’s also officially clear of heartworm and her adoption is in the books.
That happily-ever-after is on the horizon for their three other heartworm-positive buddies, Boe, Margo and Sasha. Margo and Sasha are spending their days in foster-to-adopt homes, coming back to CHS for continued heartworm treatment, while Boe is still at CHS and in his quest for that perfect match. But all are waiting for the day when they, too, can start that next chapter as officially cured and adopted.
Healthy. Home. Seemingly simple wishes, but huge milestones in the lives of these Dixie Dogs.