Pound Puppy Reunited With Owner Just Before Euthanasia - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Pound Puppy Reunited With Owner Just Before Euthanasia

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Friday was a reunion that Roanoke County resident Mary Morris never thought could happen, and is certainly one she will never forget.

The story starts 12 years ago when she and her husband of 50 years, James, adopted a blind puppy from the Franklin County animal shelter.

"My husband loved that dog," Mary said.

The dog, which the couple named Charmin, soon became more than just a pet; she became family.

James, a retired Roanoke City firefighter, became ill years later after his kidneys failed. Mary says that through his exhausting treatments and struggles with surgery and dialysis, Charmin was his constant companion.

Charmin stayed by James's side until his death in 2009.

"We even put Charmin as one of the survivors on my husband's obituary," Mary said. "It read, 'special dog, Charmin.'"

Charmin now stays by Mary's side constantly.

"I told Charmin, 'Girl, it's just you and I.'"

Three weeks ago that all changed. During a thunderstorm, Charmin managed to get lost in a wooded area around Mary's Roanoke County home.

Mary thought the worst.

"I looked and looked for her," she said. "I was scared that she may have been attacked by a wild animal. I thought that it wasn't meant to be."

There is one place that Mary didn't think to look.

It turns out that Charmin was picked up and taken to the pound.

Without a known name, Charmin became known as #975316.

After waiting there, #975316 was put on a euthanasia list. The reason: quality of life issues.

The Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection now notifies rescue groups and volunteers 24 hours in advance about animals put on a euthanasia list.

Angels of Assisi is one of the groups that receive that list. There was something about the story of #975316 that piqued the volunteers' interest.

Lisa O'Neil is the director of Angels of Assisi. She instantly fell in love with #975316.

"We took pity on an 11-year-old dog that was blind and that's why we took her in," O'Neil said. "She didn't deserve to die in the pound."

Volunteers immediately began looking for a home for the blind dog. They even found a person who was ready to adopt her.

The volunteers had worked so tirelessly to circulate the smiling picture of the old dog that someone who knew her saw it.

Charmin's pet sitter, who had helped Mary look for her dog, saw a picture of Charmin on Facebook.

The two contacted Angels of Assisi, and Mary was reunited with her beloved old friend.

"I was so happy," Mary said. "When I called my friend she thought that I had won the lottery. I said, 'No, she is coming home. My girl is coming home.'"

Charmin now is micro chipped just in case she ever wanders off again.

It is one of the happiest reunions that Mary could have imagined.

"I wish I could tell my husband this story," she said. "It would make him so happy."