Two dogs that escaped death when a northwestern Indiana veterinarian refused their owner's request to have the healthy canines euthanized have found a new home together with an Illinois couple.
A rescue group said that the man who had owned Sam, a pointer, and Cosmo, a Lab mix, got divorced and was moving in with his girlfriend, who said she was allergic to dogs.
He visited the veterinarian in Portage and requested a "convenience euthanasia," which is when owners have healthy pets euthanized for personal or convenience reasons, said Penny Emerson, president of Begin Again Rescue Co. in Valparaiso. The man had owned the dogs for 10 years.
"Apparently there was a change in his life plans, and they weren't a part of that. It was really sad," Emerson told The (Northwest Indiana) Times.
But the Portage vet refused the euthanasia request because the dogs were healthy, friendly and playful, Emerson said. The duo was transferred into the care of Begin Again Rescue Co. in Valparaiso in June and eventually taken to Peoples Animal Welfare Society in Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
Eric and Tiffany Dybas of Lockport, Illinois, later adopted Sam and Cosmo after hearing about their story.
Emerson said Eric Dybas told her recently that the canine companions are getting on well in their new home.
"He said Cosmo and Sam sleep in the bed with them and have free rein of the house and a nice yard, so they got a happy ending," she said.
The practice of "convenience euthanasia" has decreased in recent years because pets are now seen more as family members than property, said Dr. Matt Cantrell, a veterinarian who's a member of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association.
But such requests remain a "difficult situation" many veterinarians deal with, he said. The reasons pet owners have given for "convenience euthanasia" include moving, getting new furniture, shedding, divorce, job loss, property damage or the owners not wanting the responsibilities that come with pet ownership.
Cantrell said many vets intervene on behalf of the animal, like the one who saved Sam and Cosmo.
"None of us want to end a pet's life unless it is to prevent suffering," he said.