It was a combination of luck and kindness that led to a joyous reunion between two dogs and the owner who'd been forced to give them up during a hospital stay.
The dogs' owner, whose name hasn't been identified, is a veteran who landed in the hospital in September after suffering a heart attack
Bailey and Blaze had no one to take care of them. So the First State Animal Center and SPCA in Camden, Delaware, stepped in.
The situation was meant to be temporary. The shelter would care for the dogs, while the owner was incapacitated.
But after weeks had passed, the dogs were put up for adoption.
These are good-looking, young, friendly, well-trained dogs, who should easily have found a home. Their owner, upon getting out of the hospital, was so pleased to learn that they had been overlooked.
He first came by the shelter -- located inside a PetSmart -- on Wednesday.
"The dogs couldn't contain their excitement. They greeted him with massive kisses and wagging tails," says adoption counsellor Lindsay Carrothers.
The man wanted his dogs back. He needed a little time to gather the $250 he'd need for adoption fees but he seemed determined to do so.
"This man was willing to sell his car to get the money," Carrothers says.
That night, a staff member hatched the idea to pay the fees. A volunteer put up the cash. More staffers and volunteers bought food, toys and other supplies.
The man came back to the shelter on Thursday and said he needed a few days more to find enough money.
But he was told that wouldn't be necessary and that Bailey and Blaze were his.
"He was so thankful he shot a kiss to God for the blessing," says Carrothers.
The donations haven't stopped. Supplies have been coming in for the dogs, and for the man -- gift cards for food and gas, among other things.
Carrothers says that she is proud to be part of this effort, to bring this loving family back together. And to make sure they can stay that way.
"It had everyone in tears," she says. "You could just feel the love those dogs had for him. And there shouldn't have been anything, especially money. that should've stood in his way to getting his family back."
Get in touch with HuffPost's animal welfare editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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