A touching and celebratory photo of a beagle named Gregory, who was once scheduled to be euthanized, has gone viral since his savior, a man named Joe Kirk, picked him up from Ohio’s Franklin County Dog Shelter on May 1 and drove away with him.
According to reports from NBC4 News, Kirk, who works at Hound Rescue and Sanctuary in Ohio, treated Gregory to his “freedom ride.” The phrase has become popular on the pet rescue circuit as both a literal and symbolic experience for animals who have been rescued from certain death.
READ ALSO: The Most Obedient Dog Breeds
Clearly, Gregory knew he’d found a friend in Kirk. The appreciative dog kept hugging the man during his mobile journey to HOUND, a special sanctuary where dogs can live and receive TLC, free from the threat of euthanasia, until they are adopted into a home.
According to HOUND’s Facebook post about the ride, Gregory appeared to understand that he was being saved from doggie death row, just two days before he was scheduled to be killed.
“The BEST Freedom Ride Picture EVER! Pulled from the Euthanasia List at FCDS today … ‘Gregory’ is one thankful and appreciative Beagle! He KNOWS he is SAFE!” the sanctuary posted, along with a heart-tugging photograph of Gregory cuddled up beside Kirk in the car. Kirk told today that it felt like he and Gregory had “known each other for years.”
Gregory currently has heartworm disease. Once the pup is given a clean bill of health by the vet, he will be available for adoption and hopefully headed to live the rest of his dog days with an adoring family.