Here’s a dog’s tale with a rock ‘n’ roll twist straight out of the heartland.
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When the Nebraska Humane Society took in a bright-eyed 6-year-old Husky earlier this month, little did they know a hero was in their midst. They named him “Bret Michaels,” as the Omaha-based shelter was currently giving unnamed rescue dogs rock star monikers. This specific name was a given because, ironically, the person who found the dog roaming around and brought him to the shelter was named … Bret Michaels.
When Bret the Husky got a checkup, “they had noticed he was losing some weight,” said Alec Rose, a digital marketing manager at the shelter, told USA TODAY. So the staff there tested some blood and everything looked normal, he said.
A few days later, three 1-month-old kittens were brought in and one needed a transfusion. “They were dirty, cold, and covered in fleas,” the Nebraska Humane Society said in a Facebook post. “After a much-needed bath, two of the kits were doing well, but the third seemed a little bit ‘off.’ He was wobbly, weak, and lethargic. These symptoms, combined with the state he was in, all pointed to one thing: flea anemia.”
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Cats don’t have a universal blood donor but, coincidentally, “canine blood can be transfused into felines,” the shelter said. “The way it was explained to me, sometimes canine blood is safer to transfuse into cats than cat blood” and Bret Michaels was a good donor, Rose said.
So Bret Michaels became a blood donor for a kitten. The transfusions allowed the kitten, to “get through the next few days and get a little healthier, so he could start producing blood on its own again,” Rose said. As a result, the kitten gained the name “Thorn,” from the band Poison’s No. 1 song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.”
Wait, a dog named Bret Michaels got adopted by rocker Bret Michaels?
Then came another twist in the story.
As news about the transfusion spread, the shelter got a call from, you guessed it, Bret Michaels. The rock star and frontman for the band Poison left a message with the humane society saying he “would actually be interested in adopting the dog,” Rose said.
So Rose got connected with Michaels and “went through the dog’s history and his attitude and temperament and behavior … and determined (Bret the dog) would be a good fit for their home, their pack that they’ve already got.”
When Michaels heard about “Bret Michaels the husky and how he saved the life of Thorn the kitten, I immediately reached out to the Nebraska Humane Society and personally called them to adopt the dog,” he said in a statement sent to USA TODAY.
“Being diagnosed with Type One diabetes at the age of six, it is family & friends, along with pets, music, sports and incredible fans that have kept my spirits rocking,” said Michaels, who is currently on tour. “As a longtime Husky & German Shepherd rescue parent, I immediately had my good friends at Irondog K9 International bring Bret Jr. to their Georgia ranch (near Atlanta) to ensure he’s healthy and can acclimate as quickly as possible. I could not have been more touched to adopt him and am honored to extend the quality of little Bret Jr.’s life.”
It’s also ironic that a kitten was involved in the tale because, ironically, Poison’s first album was entitled “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” When Bret Michaels and Bret Michaels are eventually united – with an assist from another of their namesake – here’s to hope they have nothin’ but a good time.
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Adopt a pet. You can be a rockstar too!
The Nebraska Humane Society decided to share the story about all of the Bret Michaels because the shelter and Michaels, the rock star, thought, “there’s a lot of negative things that are making people not want to read the news right now,” Rose said. “Something like this in the middle of all that is just maybe, maybe just a little bit of hope, you know, that the world still has got some good in it.”
The Washington Post and People have already chronicled the tale.
Plus, readers might decide to adopt a pet of their own. “We’ve got a couple hundred other animals that need rock stars of their own,” Rose said. “So, if somebody’s thinking, you know, is now the right time to add another animal to our home, this might be their sign.”
Follow Mike Snider on X and Threads: @mikesnider & mikegsnider.
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