“This is why we rescue,” said Joe Kirk. And it’s a fitting sentiment for a photo that’s gone viral across the country. The Kirk family’s post on Facebook about a beagle saved from euthanasia has been shared more than 9,000 times since they originally put it up!

When an Ohio shelter founder stepped in to help save Gregory the beagle from death row, she never expected all the media attention and well-wishes her family has received…

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Here’s the story from NBC Chicago:

Gregory was slated to be euthanized at the Franklin County Dog Shelter in Columbus after testing positive for heartworm, according to rescuers.

Schenley Hutson Kirk, who co-founded HOUND Rescue and Sanctuary, helped rescue Gregory before the dog was euthanized. She shared a photo of the pooch leaving what could have been its final home.

“’Gregory’ is one thankful and appreciative Beagle!” her Facebook post read. “He KNOWS he is SAFE! He is Heartworm Positive and will be going through treatment, but he knows he is in good hands! We will get him healthy and provide him all the love he so deserves and a wonderful future!!”

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The caption was accompanied by a photo of Kirk’s husband, Joe, driving Gregory on a “freedom ride.” In the image, Gregory is seen nuzzling Joe’s shoulder with a paw on Joe’s arm.

Joe told “Today” he drove two hours to pick up the dog, saying the moment he met Gregory it felt like they “known each other for years.” 

Normally, the shelter transports dogs in crates, but Joe told “Today” he felt Gregory had been caged up for too long and chose to instead tether him in the back seat. 

“This is what makes it all worthwhile!” Kirk wrote. “This is why we rescue.”

The couple confirmed that the shelter already has an adoption offer for Gregory since the post went viral. Once the dog is thoroughly checked out by a vet, the adopters will have their first meet and greet with could be the newest addition to their family.

We wish everyone all the best!

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Does this story warm your heart and make you want to smile?