Sheridan and Bryan Thorse Pierard, a married couple from Illinois, have devoted their lives to rescuing and helping animals in any way they can. They run the Thorse Dog Rescue in Oswego, an organization committed to finding homes for shelter dogs and encouraging their adoption.
The couple pride themselves on the individual care and attention given to each and every animal, no matter how hopeless or far gone they seem.
But even the most rewarding jobs warrant a vacation once in a while!
The Pierards recently scheduled a nice relaxing vacation for themselves in Florida, where they were planning to visit Disney World.
But shortly after arriving at their getaway, they realized their compassion for animals was more important.
Right around the time the couple arrived in Florida, a dog was found wandering the streets and brought to a high-kill shelter. The dog was about 15 years old and blind. His fur was filthy, and his skin was black and infected. His condition prevented him from even being put up for adoption. He would likely be euthanized, and soon.
The Pierards heard about the dog on a local rescue board. When they realized he was nearby, they couldn’t help but pay him a visit—and see what they could do.
“He was clearly emaciated and in great need,” Sheridan Thorse Pierard told The Dodo.
“He was a few hours from where we were vacationing, and I said, ‘We could just go meet him.’”
So the couple took a break from their vacation to visit the decrepit animal—and found he was in even worse condition than they thought.
“Most of his fur was missing, he was about half the weight he should have been,” Sheridan recalled to The Dodo.
They knew they had to help—but even for two professional dog rescuers, it wasn’t an easy decision. This dog would take every bit of effort they could muster, and it might not even be enough.
“My husband said, ‘Look at him.’ And I did. I saw endless work. Sleepless nights. A dog who would likely need a funeral even if I tried my best to save him,” Sheridan recalled. “I had been through this before and felt too tired to do it again.”
But she said she her sympathy for the poor dog eventually outweighed her own worries.
“Instead of thinking about myself, I decided to think of him,” Sheridan told The Dodo. “How emotionally drained must he be, utterly alone, in pain and not knowing or even being able to see where he was.”
As they watched the blind dog play and snuggle with them, they realized that the dog still had hope for a better life.
Instead of going back to Disney World, they returned home to the shelter with their new dog.
The Pierards named their new pet Guppy—and began the long recovery process.
It turned out one of Guppy’s eyes needed to be removed due to untreated glaucoma. He was also suffering from a bad skin infection.
The Pierards bathed him with oil and cream and kept him from chewing on his fur with a collar and booties.
The constant care took a toll on the Pierards.
“Even when we slept, he would often wake us up crying, and we’d have to go to him and figure out what he needed,” Sheridan told The Dodo.
However, their hard work paid off. It took months, but Guppy started to show signs of dramatic improvement. He was gaining weight and being more active.
According to a Reddit post, the turning point came after six months. The Pierards were pulling up in their driveway—and saw that Guppy had excitedly run up to greet them.
The couple reportedly looked at each other and said “Oh my gosh, this dog is going to live.”
The vet had originally predicted Guppy would last a few days—but a year later, he’s still going strong.
“He went from completely dependent to very self-sufficient,” Sheridan reported to The Dodo.
“He is still old, so he likes to sleep a lot, but whenever he is awake he likes to say ‘Hi’ to his parents.”
The couple gave Guppy a second chance at life that no one else did—and in return, the dog has been an inspiration to them to continue their life’s work of rescuing animals.
“He reminds me to not give up,” Sheridan said.