A Boston woman and a pet rescue organization have agreed to a settlement that will allow her to adopt a dog named Kirklin and decide on his medical future.
As the NBC10 Investigators told you in January, Michelle Begovic was fostering the dog and took Last Hope K9 Rescue to court to prevent his leg from being amputated. The organization said the procedure was necessary for the animal’s long-term health.
But Kirklin now has a forever home, and might just get to stay on all fours if he continues to show progress in his recovery from an injury.
"Honestly, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Begovic said from her Jamaica Plain apartment. "It was the solution I was hoping for and it’s just a relief to have him as part of the family."
When we first paid Kirklin a visit in January, he certainly appeared like a healthy dog when he strolled around the neighborhood or wrestled with another dog in the backyard.
However, it was a different story last summer when the dog fractured his wrist during a walk.
A metal plate was put in during surgery to help the bone heal. Kirklin’s recovery did not go as planned.
The plate shifted, causing swelling and infection. Even months after the surgery, Kirklin continued to walk with a significant limp.
Last Hope K9 Rescue’s medical team determined amputation was the best option for the dog’s future.
However, Begovic took it upon herself to get a second opinion from other veterinarians. Prior to something as drastic as an amputation, she wanted to have the plate surgically removed to see if that allowed the leg to completely heal.
Begovic hired an attorney Samantha Kemp to take the rescue organization to court and win ownership of Kirklin.
Through mediation, the two sides recently agreed to allow Begovic to legally adopt Kirklin, about a year since she first welcomed him inside her home as a foster dog.
"I think everybody in the situation wanted what was best," Kemp said. "It was the best possible outcome."
Last Hope K9 Rescue told us it is an entirely volunteer-run rescue and looks forward to putting 100% of the focus back on its mission.
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The organization brings up an average of 25 dogs per week from the South and recently adopted its 10,000th dog since its inception in 2012.
Last Hope K9 said the dogs often need medical care before they are ready to be adopted. In 2021, the organization spent more than $500,000 on medical expenses.
"We are grateful to our donors, sponsors and volunteers who devote their time and resources 365 days a year to ensure we can continue to operate at the level we hold ourselves to," said board president Erin Bascom in a written statement. "We look forward to another year of many dogs saved and families completed."
With Kirklin chewing a rawhide nearby, Begovic said she is grateful to have a happy resolution to the canine conundrum.
"I just feel so much joy and relief. Being able to officially adopt him is amazing,” she said.