His name is Marcel. He was a stray dog who was found wandering around close to the industrial park in West Helena. He was picked up and carried to the Humane Society of the Delta’s shelter. Marcel was taken in by the caring staff and treated for several weeks for an infection. Part basset hound and very mild-mannered, Marcel soon became a favorite of the staff at the HSD.

HSD participates in adoption events in Memphis from time to time with the help of a volunteer group that has, more or less, adopted the HSD. Marcel was one of several dogs who walked in one of these events a few weeks ago. Fortunately, Marcel caught the eye of a local couple.

A few days later the couple decided to bring Marcel to their home for a “sleepover” to see how he would interact with the family, including the family dog. Well, things did not go well. Marcel was fine, but the family dog did not react well. Marcel was going to have to go back to the shelter.

Then fate intervened. While Marcel was in Memphis for the sleepover he met the neighbor, Aaron Rhay. Rhay and his wife had a thirteen year old dog named Jenny who was very sick. Jenny would have to be put down soon. They had not planned to get another dog. It was just too hard.

Rhay fell in love with Marcel and decided to introduce him to his wife. Marcel met Rhay’s wife, Susan, and also met Jenny. According to Susan, Marcel was the most “polite” dog she had ever seen. Marcel deferred to Jenny and seemed to provide her comfort. Aaron and Susan decided to adopt Marcel.

Three days later Jenny was put to sleep. The Rhays were heartbroken, but having Marcel made the grief a little easier to bear. The vet insisted that Marcel be present during Jenny’s euthanasia so he would understand “naturally” what happened to her and why she wouldn’t be in the home anymore.

Aaron Rhay says that Marcel “hasn’t completely unpacked his bags,” but he is getting there. Marcel is fitting in very well.

Susan shared a story about Marcel being her “alarm clock.” Susan’s mother recently had a light stoke and Susan has to get up at 6 a.m. to prepare her mother’s medications. Marcel has figured out that this is “wake up” time and gently wakes Susan up every morning. He then harasses Aaron until he gets the attention he deserves.

They consider Marcel to be a God-send. If you ever doubt the power of a loving dog, think about Marcel. It will warm your heart.