A Family Reunion

man kneeling by his pit bull's side

Up until recently, I had never met Blu, but I had heard enough stories about her to know just how special she was (and still is) to my team. 

Earlier this week, Ramona, who has worked in our outreach department for six years, came frolicing back to the administrative side of the building squealing, “Blu is here! Blu is here!” And I knew exactly who she was talking about from the number of people who rushed to follow suit after her. 

I tagged along for a couple of reasons. One, because I was excited to finally meet the legendary PRCKC heartworm survivor myself. And two, because I knew they hadn’t seen her since before the pandemic, and I wanted to capture the emotional reunion of friends who hadn’t seen each other in such a long time on camera.

“I will never forget the first time I met her and [her owner] Dameon,” said Ramona. “She was so sick with heartworms. We saved her life at Pet Resource Center of Kansas City.”

“She’s one of my best dog friends.”

Ramona Hayes, PRCKC Community Field Coordinator

When we walked out of the front doors, there they were, waiting outside of the car. Blu’s tail started wagging a mile a minute when she saw her old friends, and Dameon, although he may deny this, had a smile on his face, too. These two have been through things none of us would ever wish on our worst enemies, but it brings me peace to know that they both came out on top. 

And that they’ve still got each other.

Five years ago, Blu not only tested positive for heartworm, but the disease was so advanced that everyone who had grown to love this dog in such a short amount of time was scared they were going to lose her.

“The test couldn’t have been more positive if it had gotten up on the counter and danced,” Dave said. He’s the digital communications specialist who played a crucial role in telling Blu’s story and raising the necessary funds to get her the life-saving treatment she desperately needed.

If we didn’t, there’s no telling if Blu would still be in Dameon’s life today. And that was one person we weren’t going to let be without his dog.

At the same time Blu was undergoing treatment, Dameon was waiting for a kidney transplant to save his own life. Our team helped transport Blu to and from the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City when he had no transportation, but the real dedication of this team shows when he finally received a kidney and needed help taking care of Blu.

This wasn’t something we normally did at the time, but Blu stayed at our clinic for a couple of weeks so that Dameon could focus on recovering as quickly as possible so that he, too, could be there for Blu during one of the most difficult series of treatments that exists for dogs. She was basically a part of our outreach team at that point, spending her days in a cubicle with Ramona and spreading joy everywhere she went. No one would have ever guessed that this dog had heartworms if it weren’t for the swollen belly and outlined ribs that gave it away. 

man hugging pit bull in pink collar
Dave and Blu five years ago. She still gives the best hugs.

“I don’t know what kind of damage she has inside, but her spirit has never been diminished, not even for a moment,” Dave said.

They took turns coming to visit her on the weekends, and before they knew it, their two weeks with Blu were up. But, thanks to this team, she hasn’t left Dameon’s side since.

“[PRCKC] got me through a lot of pain,” Dameon said. “And so did [Blu].”

Now you know why she is such a special dog, and why we’ve never stopped making sure she’s always on preventative. That’s just what this team does to keep pets with the people who love them.

man and woman with dog on sidewalk
Blu and Dameon are our family. That will never change.

All of this is to say that, for all of us who work at PRCKC, this is more than just a job to us. We take every chance we can get to educate and build relationships with people within our community so that, together, we can make lives better for the pets we love. 

Blu is Dameon’s family. And they are ours.

blue pit bull getting head scratches
“Her spirit has never been diminished, not even for a moment.” -Dave Shapiro
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Digital Content Specialist

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