There aren't many people out there who would adopt a dog knowing that it was possibly only weeks away from dying. Luckily, there are at least some.
Dog lover Courtney Thomsen's heart broke when she spotted a desperate plea from the Humane Society of Texas for a kind soul to adopt a dog suffering from heart worm disease. The Facebook post explained that Marino had been abandoned at the dog shelter, dirty and in poor health.
Marino's previous "owners" hadn't protected him against heart worm, a parasitic roundworm that spreads between hosts, typically dogs, and causes issues with the heart and other major organs. The post advised anyone who was kind enough to adopt Marino that he may not have very long left to live - possibly as little as a few weeks. The dog shelter said that they didn't want Marino's final days to be spent at the shelter, and felt he deserved to experience a loving family before he passed away.
Moved by the post, Courtney quickly got in touch with the Humane Society, knowing that time was of the essence. Talking to The Dodo, Courtney said: "When I saw his photo on Facebook, I already felt an intense urge to scoop him up, but after reading through several comments saying things like, ‘I wish I could take him!’ I knew I had to get him. I couldn’t stand the thought of him dying alone at the shelter and not knowing what it was like to be loved and be part of a real family."
Courtney knew how serious Marino's condition was, but when she and her son met him in person she knew they had to take him in. She said: "when we showed up, they said he didn’t really seem to respond to [his name]. My 5-year-old son immediately said, ‘We can name him Taco!’ An employee called him Taco, and he went straight to her! So he was immediately renamed Taco."
A newly named Taco was brought home soon after. Though surely grateful for his new home, Courtney said that Taco seemed to be "worried and unsure" about his new surroundings. To try and make him as comfortable as possible, Courtney said: "I spent so much time loving on him, cuddling him, talking to him and just anything I could think of to make him feel better. Within a few days, Taco began to smile, and get excited about things. He started following me everywhere — so I started taking him everywhere."
Finally receiving the love and care he so desperately needed, Taco's health began to improve - he has gained weight and become more confident. Courtney said that Taco, who was not previously toilet trained, has even learned how to go to the bathroom outside. She has told her Facebook friends that aside from some coughing fits, Taco is able to live a normal life.
In a recent post, Courtney shared an update on Taco:
"Obviously, I’ve fallen in love, and the thought of losing him has been horrible. I’ve been mad at myself at times for adopting him, knowing it would hurt, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
"Which finally leads me to his update. He was coughing to the point of throwing up, and super lethargic. He didn’t seem interested in playing, and all he would do was lay on me. I called the vet, and spent the day holding him and crying and taking pictures fearing it would be his last.
"So then I brought him, and as soon as we got in my car he started perking up. Then we got out and he started smiling. He humped the vet tech, ran all over the office, and confused the heck out of the vet when I tried explaining how lethargic he had been. Taco had gained 4 pounds, surprised the vet with how much healthier he looked, and he told me at home Taco is playing me like a fiddle. He’s not lethargic, he’s lazy.
"The healthier I can keep getting him, the more likely he will be strong enough for treatment. The vet said there’s a possibility Taco could have a few years left! So I went home with my lazy dog, and I’ve continued to love him like crazy. He’s currently sleeping next to me while I type this and we listen to Sam Cooke.
"Isn’t it amazing what a little love can do?"
I defy you to read anything more heartwarming than this today. I bet you can't.