When the Delaquis family had to put down their 15-year-old pug, Kricket, the whole family was devastated. But one family member took it especially hard. Diesel, their 12-year-old pug, became depressed and needed to be treated for anxiety.
"He just felt really sad and wanted to see her again," said nine-year-old Gage Delaquis.
In early January, Kricket was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, a terminal condition. The family made the hard decision to put her down days later. Diesel had known Kricket his entire life. The dogs had three litters of puppies together and were inseparable.
"Diesel has only ever known Kricket, so once Kricket was gone, Diesel sort of had panic attacks," said Ginette Van Roose, who has owned the dogs since they were puppies.
"They were very close, they were never separated...once she was gone he just couldn't cope."
The first night after her passing, Diesel began to howl all night long. He would stop and howl at moments throughout the day as well, whenever he realized his friend was no longer around.
"You could just see him all of a sudden start to panic and have these anxiety attacks and we couldn't fix it," said Van Roose.
Their vet prescribed the dog the anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, but after being on it for a few weeks and seeing little change, the vet then prescribed a different medicine, Trazodone, an anti-depressant.
The Delaquis family filled Diesel's prescription at their local pharmacy, the Shoppers Drug Mart on Sage Creek Boulevard. When they got home and opened the bag they realized there was a "special prescription" inside.
"We opened the bag and realized that there were two bottles...one was the medication and the other was four Milk-Bones in a prescription bottle," said Van Roose.
The bottle had a prescription label that read "chew one treat twice daily."
Pharmacist hid 'surprise' in bag
"When I noticed it was for a dog … I provided Diesel with another prescription," said pharmacist Sonal Purohit, who likes to treat all of her patients with a little extra something.
"I just hid it in the bag, I like it to be a surprise … when we go home with a prescription bag, it unfortunately has to be a prescription that we need to take for a medical reason. But having a little treat in there just puts a smile on someone's face," she said.
Purohit said she has a close relationship with all of her patients, but has a real soft spot when it comes to pets. She didn't know at the time why Diesel was put on this medication, she simply wanted to make his day a little easier.
Purohit also didn't know how much it would mean to a family who was grieving the loss of a pet, and struggling to help their other dog.
"I just thought, this is seriously the nicest thing that anybody could ever have done," said Van Roose. "It meant so much to us to know that somebody is thinking of us."
Van Roose took a photo of the Milk-Bone prescription label and sent it to the Sage Creek Residents' Association Facebook page where it was shared with the group on Wednesday.
The post has received over 1,500 likes and hundreds of shares, and is filled with comments about how great the pharmacy treats patients and how a small act of kindness can go a long way.
"There's a lot of people in the world that probably do nice things for others and people just don't either appreciate it or recognize it, and just I wanted her to know that I did," said Van Roose.
"I didn't realize that doing something small and simple like that made such a big difference to not only Diesel, but to his entire family," said Purohit, who was touched by the kudos she's received online.
As for Diesel, the family is hoping the new medicine helps, but they worry he may not get over the loss.
"I think it's like those old people love stories that you see, that they just can't live without each other. They spend their whole lives together, and then one goes and the other one goes shortly after," said Van Roose, adding the treats helped.