RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Zeus, a dog whose owners thought he had been dead for the past three years, will soon be headed home to Washington state on a trip complete with free veterinarian office visits, courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital.
The company is already paying for Zeus’ full heartworm treatment, and now, the generosity has extended to its staff — something that has Laura Williams excited.
Since rescuing the 65-pound Rottweiler/German Sheppard/Chow mix in her Durham neighborhood last week, Williams has been looking forward to finding the right person to get him back to his family — the Harworths — on the West Coast.
“Hey, come on in,” Williams said Friday afternoon as she approached her parents’ front door in north Raleigh.
“I’m Rachel,” said the young woman walking in from the outside, wearing scrubs and extending her hand.
“I’m Laura,” Williams said, shaking it. “Nice to meet you.”
In that moment, the human formalities were secondary. Zeus had already inserted himself between the two women and was sniffing at the new person — Rachel Overby — while furiously wagging his tail.
“Hi, baby! Let me check you out,” Overby said bending down to pet Zeus. He responded by licking his face. “He’s sweet!”
Overby works at one of Banfield’s Raleigh locations.
She’s been in the veterinarian field since 2008 and has many years of experience transporting Bengal cats — a breed known for its dog-like qualities. She also owns a pair Bengal cats.
When she heard of Zeus’ story, she knew she had to help.
“To be able to help somebody have their pet back, especially one they never thought they’d see again, that’s what’s really important,” Overby explained.
Ben and Melody Harworth, along with their two teenage sons, are a military family. In 2012, they lived in Georgia, but they got reassigned to South Korea. Zeus had to stay home.
A family friend in North Carolina took care of him, but the Harworths say that a few months later, that same friend told the family their beloved Zeus had died.
WNCN arranged a meeting with the Harworths and Overby via Skype, so they could meet.
“I’m going to potentially drive him from Raleigh all the way across to Washington [state],” Overby said.
Because of he has heartworm, Zeus is unable to fly for at least six months.
“Wow, that’s great!” Harworth replied. “[Banfield representatives] told me along the way, they want Zeus to stop and check in just to make sure he’s OK.”
“Yep, and everything is covered so it should be easy,” Overby said. Banfield has some 900 locations in more than 40 states.
“I don’t know where he’s been and what he’s been through the last three years,” Harworth said. “So, I’m glad he’ll have that extra love that he’s been getting right now.”
“Well, he’s an easy dog to love,” Overby said. “I mean, he greeted me right as I came in the door and was ready with kisses.”
“That’s great,” Harworth replied. “He’s always been a loving dog, so at least that hasn’t changed, which we’re happy about.”
There are a few more details to take care of, but ideally, Overby could set off early next month.
In the meantime, both Laura Williams and the Harworths are overwhelmed by the number of groups and people who have reached out to help #GetZeusHome.