Roxy: Another heartworm positive dog is adopted and saved

by Bob Gordon, FOTAS Director of Communications

It is mid-May and Roxy is crying out from her kennel at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. The disappointment of being passed over by visitors while dogs around her get adopted is upsetting her. The 3-year-old, black Retriever mix needs to find a forever home before her frustration turns into complete despair.

While Roxy struggles with her situation at the shelter, Patty McDonagh is about 30 miles away in Martinez, GA, checking out her Facebook news feed. She scrolls to a photo of Roxy posted by Martha Anne Tudor, a FOTAS volunteer and animal advocate. The post reads, “Roxy loves all people and other dogs, too. She just wants to be loved back and to have a real home where she’s safe and wanted.”

The photo and description of Roxy calls out to Patty and she hops in the car to go see the remarkable dog. It has been eight years since her last dog crossed the rainbow bridge and she and her husband, Paul, are ready to welcome a new canine companion into their home.

“When I met Roxy in person, I knew I hit the lottery,” Patty said. “She was so lovable and walked right up to me and put her paws on my lap like she was asking for a hug.”

Like 16-20% of the dogs who arrive at the Aiken County Animal Shelter, Roxy is heartworm positive but otherwise very healthy. Heartworm disease is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause health problems and even kill a dog if left untreated (which is why it is so vital for all dog owners to give their pets a monthly heartworm preventative). But thanks to the advances of veterinary medicine and FOTAS funding treatment for heartworm positive dogs on the adoption floor, the disease is no longer a death sentence at the shelter. This year alone, 55 heartworm positive dogs have been successfully adopted from the County Shelter and all have been treated and are expected to live normal, healthy lives.

The fact that Roxy is heartworm positive doesn’t worry Patty since years earlier her daughter, Sarah, adopted a dog with heartworms from a shelter in Atlanta and her pet tested heartworm free following treatment.
Roxy’s FOTAS-funded heartworm treatment was completed at the County Shelter and she and Patty go on walks nearly every day. The Retriever’s favorite activity is to stretch out in her lovely, new fenced-in yard and watch the squirrels play in the trees.

“If you find a dog you like that happens to be heartworm positive, don’t let that be the determining factor,” Patty said. “Don’t let that stop you from adopting her. FOTAS pays for the treatment, which can be expensive, and you will be saving a dog that deserves a second chance. A dog like my sweet Roxy.”
For more information about heartworm treatment and donating to the FOTAS “Have a Heart, Save a Heart” fund – helping a heartworm positive dog in need – please go to

Their lives are in our hands.


Patty McDonagh and her new canine companion, Roxy, relax in their backyard.
Patty McDonagh and her new canine companion, Roxy, relax in their backyard.