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Keena: A brave warrior who fought a good fight

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Like so many dogs who come through the doors of Greenville County Animal Care Services, the county-run shelter in Greenville, South Carolina, not much is known about Keena before he arrived. But in the few short weeks he was at the shelter, he conquered the hearts of everyone who met him.

He also conquered the Cheese Doodles. Cheese doodles were his favorite treat, and Andrea Sams, rescue coordinator at GCACS enjoyed hand feeding him these treats during the weeks he spent in her office.

Not every dog is fortunate enough to be able to spend time in the office with members of the rescue staff, instead of living in the kennels. There's really no rhyme or reason as to what dog gets to stay there; somehow, the fates determined that Keena would have that honor.

In fact we wouldn't even know Keena ever existed if it hadn't been for Andrea Sams. Fortunately she posted Keena's story on Facebook so he could be remembered and honored, and in hopes that some other dog might be spared his sad fate.

Sams included the following works when she posted his story on her Facebook wall this evening:

He probably spent most of his life as someone's backyard or frontyard dog. No heartworm prevention. No healthcare. Possibly no love. I don't know his past, I only know what was given to him when he showed up at my job.

When Keena came down with what appeared to be kennel cough, they started treatment, and for a month or so things seemed to finally be going right for this brave warrior. He spent these short weeks being showered with love, attention, and yes, Cheese Doodles.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately they did sooner rather than later for Keena. One day, the staff noticed Keena having trouble breathing, and sent him for tests and X-rays. The X-rays showed a mass on his heart; this brave warrior had a double whammy of cancer and heart worms, not simply kennel cough.

The staff spent time showering Keena with extra love and attention, and took him for a long walk. He enjoyed a double cheeseburger for what was probably the first time in his four years of life, and he had all the Cheese Doodles he wanted for his snack.

Keena is at the Rainbow Bridge now, with so many other dogs who were neglected and abused, and who have come through the Greenville Shelter.

Keena's life didn't have to end this way; it didn't have to be the way it was. He shouldn't have spent four years, outdoors, with no heartworm preventative, and little or no attention.

He should have been a beloved pet for his entire life, not just for the few weeks he was at the shelter.

Every dog and cat deserves that. But being brave warriors, these neglected and abused souls march on. Sometimes they are lucky enough to find a kind stranger who will give them love, attention, and Cheese Doodles or some other treat. Those are the lucky ones.

None of us can save all of these dogs. Every single one of us can change the life of some of those dogs who cross our paths. We can teach the owners what wonderful indoor pets these creatures can be. We can help them understand that a couple of dollars a month can save them from having their life shortened and made painful by heartworms.

We all have the power to bestow kindness on these pets. We must do this, because unless we do, they will never know love. Even the bravest warrior needs love.

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