A two-year-old Beagle named Gregory was brought into the Franklin County Dog Shelter in Columbus as a stray. He was declared healthy at first, but they soon realized he had heartworm. That’s when the dog was scheduled for euthanasia.

But animal lover Joe Kirk heard about the dog just in time and decided to give him a second chance at life.

Joe and his wife, Schenley, own an animal rescue organization, and they regularly check the local shelters for any animals who may need their help.

Joe made the two-hour trip to the shelter where the Beagle was being held. He wanted to see the dog in person and take him home to treat his condition, and he said when meeting Gregory it was as if they “had known each other for years.”

At a red light, Joe decided to snap some photos, and his wife wondered why the dog was sitting in the back seat.

“When we transport dogs, we usually transport them within a crate,” Schenley said. “But Joe chose to tether Gregory in the back seat instead because he felt like the animal had been caged up for too long.”

Gregory was so grateful for being saved, he just had to snuggle with his rescuer as a way of saying thanks. The post quickly went viral.

“Gregory is one thankful and appreciative Beagle! 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!! What a great photo of Gregory and my husband Joe on their way home from the shelter! This is what makes it all worthwhile!” she said.

Gregory has been settling in with his foster and is very well-behaved and lovable. He loves cuddling and giving lots of kisses. 🙂

Because of the viral post of their adorable picture together, it didn’t take long before a family became interested in adopting Gregory. It’ll take some time for the Beagle to be medically cleared, but then he’ll meet his potential new owners. 🙂

“That is why we do what we do. That is what makes it all worthwhile, knowing that we are able to save the lives of these dogs in need,” Schenley said. “And their appreciation and the love they give back is amazing. There’s nothing better.”

Photo credits: Schenley Hutson Kirk
h/t Animal Channel