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A woman took her sick puppy to a Maryland shelter to be euthanized. The dog is up for adoption again.

Exhausted and out of options after visiting two veterinary clinics, Kristie Pereira made the heartbreaking decision last year to take her desperately ill puppy to a Maryland shelter to be euthanized.

So she was stunned last week to find the dog up for adoption at the same pet rescue organization where she got him.

“I have a lot of questions, but first and foremost I want him back with me,” Pereira told The Associated Press on Friday.

Pereira, who now lives in San Antonio, said she was working from home in Maryland when she paid $450 in late 2022 to adopt a 2-month-old dog mix from a local group, Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation .

Kristie Pereira holds her dog Beau in Laurel, Maryland, in January 2023.Kristie Pereira via AP

She named the puppy Beau and the two quickly became inseparable. Beau snuggled up next to her while she worked, slept in her bed, and even followed her when Pereira left the house. But within a few weeks, it became clear that something was wrong with the puppy, Pereira said.

A veterinarian concluded that the problem was probably neurological. Blood tests showed the dog might have a liver problem, so Pereira was sent home with liver enzymes and told she would “see improvement pretty quickly” if the problem was Beau’s liver .

The dog’s condition only got worse. The dog’s veterinarian, the clinic’s lead veterinarian and a veterinary emergency veterinarian all agreed that the dog’s inability to control its bowels and lift its hind legs indicated a serious neurological problem, Pereira said.

The cost of a series of tests to find out, she said, would be $12,000. Despite the sticker shock, Pereira, 32, who works in digital marketing, said she would have found a way to pay if it could have saved Beau.

Instead, she was told, “There’s very little chance of finding out what’s wrong,” she recalls. “And even if we do, it’s even less likely that it’s something we can fix.”

That’s when they started suggesting it might be more humane to euthanize the puppy. She wasn’t ready to consider that option, she said, and waited another month.

During all of this, Pereira said, she was consulting with staff at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue.

“Honestly, I mean, after I talked to them, that’s really when I felt, you know, I was going to do the right thing by putting him down,” Pereira said. “They really gave me that support and encouragement that, even though it’s hard, sometimes it’s the best thing to do.”

After several sleepless nights with Beau clearly in pain, Pereira said she took Beau to Montgomery County Animal Services in Derwood, Maryland, in late March 2023 and paid $15 to have him euthanized. She was told the shelter’s policy does not allow people to stay with their pets when they are put down.

It was while visiting her mother in Maryland last week that her curiosity sent her to the rescue’s website to check out dogs for adoption – and spotted Beau’s photo. The puppy was larger but had the same markings and had the name the rescue had given him before adopting him: Amos Hart, based on a character in the musical “Chicago.”

Calls to the shelter confirmed that her dog was not euthanized because veterinarians did not think he should be euthanized. The shelter instead called Lost Dog & Cat Rescue and returned the puppy to them.

The rescue confirmed this in a written statement Friday, giving a detailed timeline showing its veterinarians found no neurological problems with the dog. After tests diagnosing a liver problem and a $7,000 surgery – paid for through a GoFundMe campaign – the dog was declared healthy.

None of this was shared with Pereira, who said Friday she would pay the $7,000 to get Beau back. It took several days for emergency responders to respond to her calls, she said, and when they did, it was no one Pereira had spoken with before.

“The person who called me was very rude, disrespectful and really mean to me,” she said, breaking down in tears. “I’m just saying, you know, I gave up on him and let him die. That I never cared about him.

Pereira was told the dog “will never come back to you.” Then the person hung up.

Rescue spokeswoman Chloe Floyd did not respond to questions about whether anyone during the rescue said those things to Pereira. But she defended the decision not to return the dog.

“LDCRF does not return a dog surrendered by its owner to its former adopter/owner,” Floyd said in his written statement. “Our mission is to save dogs that are adoptable and safe for the community from euthanasia. »

Rescuers acknowledged speaking to Pereira during his deliberations about euthanizing the puppy, but said they made it clear to him the importance of taking the dog to a veterinarian who would allow him to be with the animal during its euthanasia. . If she couldn’t do it, he stressed, rescue workers would take the dog back.

Both the rescue and the shelter blamed Pereira for not consenting to extensive testing to see if he suffered from neurological problems.

Caroline Hairfield, executive director of Montgomery County Animal Services, said she is contractually obligated to return abandoned animals to the rescue and her hands are tied.

Hairfield said of Pereira that “everyone feels for her” but that it’s up to him whether he returns the dog to her.

“It’s a civil matter between the two of them,” she said. “It’s been a year since we last had the animal in our care. »

The dog remained available for adoption Friday on the rescue website.

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