They left him utterly speechless. It was clear to him that they didn’t want to take his cash. Suddenly, confusion turned to despair as he realized he was about to lose his two precious dogs forever. He covered his eyes with his hands, opened his mouth in shock, and then began to cry.
James Pack was a 58-year-old veteran living in Newark, Delaware. He had recently suffered a heart attack and could no longer care for his beloved pets. His family and friends couldn’t lend a hand either, so there was only one thing he could do, and it was heartbreaking. He had to give them up to the First State Animal Center and SPCA. Pack realized that his life as it had been was officially over.
Blaze and Bailey were two Labrador-Pit Bull mixes which Pack had adopted from separate litters. They were merely 8-week-old pups when he first got them. Three years later, the pooches got taken by animal control while Pack recovered in the hospital from a massive heart attack. But Pack had no idea that he was in for the fight of his life, especially if he wanted to see his two precious dogs again.
Most dogs at the center got to stay for 5 days until someone adopted them, but Blaze and Bailey had been there for 20 days. Then, the staff got word that Pack’s health outcome wasn’t looking so good. So, they decided that the best thing to do was to find a new forever home for the pooches. Meanwhile, Pack was facing a grim prognosis.
Heart surgery was bad enough. But Pack suffered an infection too, which temporarily paralyzed the left side of his body. But Pack wasn’t ready to give up, and the hope of reuniting with his two dogs was what kept him alive and kicking during his 90-day hospital stay. Lindsay Carrothers from the Camden SPCA explained, “He didn’t have anybody to care for his two dogs, so he had to surrender them.” Carrothers also mentioned that Pack called the center every day to see how Blaze and Bailey were doing, and he did this, even though his speech was impaired.
Carrothers claimed that Pack trained Blaze and Bailey “to a T,” which explained why the dogs were so well-behaved. Unfortunately, no one seemed interested in adopting them, and folks at the center were getting worried that they might not find a forever home for the pooches. The dogs were then relocated to the SPCA’s adoption center at a PetSmart store in Dover. But would their odds of being adopted increase?
The center got word that Pack was slowly recovering from his condition, which was music to their ears. They figured he would probably want his dogs back too. And they were right! Blaze and Bailey covered Pack with kisses the moment he arrived to visit them. The staff was awestruck by the level of affection the dogs were showing their owner. Then Pack told them he was taking the pooches home. But there was a problem.
Since Pack surrendered the dogs so they could get adopted, Pack had to pay a $210 fee to get them back. This nearly caused him to suffer another heart attack. He didn’t have that kind of money. But Pack promised them he’d be back with the money. He didn’t care if he had to sell his car to a scrapyard. Then, he gave up his last $40 to the center as a deposit, and left.
Pack couldn’t get the money he needed. So, the next day, he returned to the center feeling heartbroken. He approached the front counter and requested to see his dogs one final time. But he was nervous. How was he going to live without his dogs? They were a part of his family, and he loved them more than life itself. But then, Carrothers gave him his deposit, and that’s when he felt a wave of emotions that came in like a wrecking ball. And what came next left him shaken.
Melissa Eagle also worked at the center and was aware of Pack’s situation. So, she did something truly amazing for him. She asked the center’s staff to raise the funds he needed to reclaim his four-legged friends. But that wasn’t the only surprised in store for him.
Chris Malec also got wind of Pack’s plight, and she was the one who paid Blaze and Bailey’s adoption fee. Meanwhile, the other staff members decided to collect gift cards, treats, food and toys. Everyone, including Malec, Eagle, Carrothers, Linda Palmer, Laura Allen, Shannon Garrett, Melinda Santiago and her husband, rallied to give Pack a surprise he never saw coming. But they did so much more than that.
The center’s staff also created a GoFundMe account for Pack. In less than no time, his story went viral. In 24 hours, they raised half the funds that were needed! Then, donations started pouring in from all over the globe and the number of donations grew to a whopping $7,035, which was actually $2,000 over their target number.
When Carrothers handed the deposit back to him, Pack misunderstood her intentions, which left him devastated. He broke down as he assumed that she was telling him that he couldn’t reclaim Blaze and Bailey. Then, Carrothers told him that he would be reunited with his pets, and Pack’s reaction was captured on camera.
Pack was bawling his eyes out. He couldn’t believe that that staff and the community had done something so amazing for him and his dogs. The emotions were too overwhelming, and the tears kept coming. It had been a difficult journey, but Black and Bailey were finally going home to their beloved human owner, Pack.
Blaze and Bailey were brought out to be reunited with Pack, which left everyone all misty eyed. Soon, everyone needed tissues. It was obvious that Pack loved his pets very much, and now his life was complete thanks to those who had rallied for him. This wouldn’t have happened without them.
“This is unbelievable. Thank you!” Pack said as he kissed his hand and raised it to the sky. Carrothers had something to add about the reunion: “I don’t think there was a dry eye.” Once Blaze and Bailey calmed down, Pack grabbed their leashes with one hand and reached for the laden full of dog items that folks had donated and took off.
Carrothers uploaded the video of the Vietnam vet receiving the amazing surprise on YouTube. Eventually, comments and shares flooded the post. People were touched by Pack’s gratitude as well as the kindness people had shown him. One person wrote: “A man who gave so much for his country… I’m glad a Good Samaritan was there to pay a bit of that sacrifice back to him.” Then another person wrote: “This melts my heart. This is what humanity is all about. Helping others. It’s stories like this that restore my faith in humanity.”
“This is a miracle,” Pack explained. “After 90 days I figured they would be gone.” Now that he had them back, he decided to treat his beloved pooches after they finally came home. “I let them stay in bed with me last night until they pushed me onto the floor,” he shared. But there were more obstacles that Pack was forced to face.
Pack’s health condition forced him to quit his job as a tractor driver. Staying would have put a lot of strain on his heart. But then, he heard about the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and looked into the various resources they offered him. Pack had a construction management degree, but this program would allow him to train in something else, so he could start a new job.
Pack, Blaze and Bailey went through a lot but were successfully reunited by a loving community. But the trio became even more famous when they appeared on Fox & Friends in New York. It was clear that such an amazing story of determination had to be shared with millions of viewers. This might hopefully inspire others to be kinder. But what’s Pack up to now?