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'Grateful' shelter dog holds hands with woman during car ride to foster home

Kim Mozena Rezac decided to take Regan home from the shelter after the dog's previous owner died. The animal "held" her hand for the whole 2 1/2-hour drive.
/ Source: TODAY

This scared dog landed in an animal shelter after her owner died.

And here's how grateful she seemed on the 2 1/2-hour car ride to her new foster home.

"She wanted to hold my hand the whole way. If I took it away she would paw at it," Kim Mozena Rezac told TODAY. "She just wanted to be touching."

Regan, a 4-year-old dog, found herself in a shelter in Lebanon, Tennessee, after her owner recently died. She seemed scared and confused in this new place.

Rezac, the 51-year-old founder of Goofy Foot Dog Rescue and director of animal welfare for Animal Rescue Corps, had been at the shelter working with survivors of dogfighting busts. She spent three days earning Regan's trust.

Dog holds rescuers hand on drive home
Regan was brought to the shelter when her owner died.Kim Mozena Rezac

It got to the point that Regan would wag her tail and seem excited when Rezac was there, in a way she didn't with anyone else. Rezac decided to take Regan home as a foster until she could find her a family of her own.

"You could tell she was scared and afraid. I would go in and give her treats and sit with her and talk," Rezac said. "Our shelter is wonderful, and our volunteers do such a great job with the animals. But I hated for her to be there if she could be curled up on a couch at my house."

Grateful dog holds rescuer's hand on car ride home
"I think she felt secure in touching someone familiar," said Rezac.Kim Mozena Rezac

Regan held Rezac's hand in the car during the entire drive home to Huntingdon, Tennessee — all 2 1/2 hours of it.

"I think she felt secure in touching someone familiar," Rezac said. "She was so nervous and scared in the shelter but as soon as she jumped into my car she seemed so grateful."

Grateful dog holds rescuer's hand on car ride home.
Regan touched Rezac's hand the whole 2 1/2-hour ride home. "She sat there and just seemed like all of her stress just went away," said Rezac.Kim Mozena Rezac

Rezac shot the video of Regan in the car because she was so moved by Regan's reaction, and to try to draw attention to this sweet girl who needed a home.

It worked. More than 1 million views later, Rezac has been inundated with adoption inquiries.

It took just two days before Rezac was able to place Regan in a home with a couple who told Rezac they knew they "were meant to have her." They are fostering her for now, but intend to adopt assuming things keep going well.

"It's a wonderful situation," Rezac said.

Grateful dog holds rescuer's hand on car ride home
Regan is now in a foster home. Her foster parents intend to adopt her if things keep going well. Her new foster dad told Rezac he thinks of Regan as "his 'Valentine’s Day present,'" she told TODAY.Kim Mozena Rezac

Rezac said she hopes the many people moved by Regan's story and her video will do two important things.

The first is to put a plan in place for pets to be taken care of in the event something happens.

Regan's owner was only in her early 50s. "I’m sure she thought she had much more time left. But none of us really know," she said.

The other is to consider going to the shelter to adopt a pet. They may not have a viral video, but they'll have just as much love to give.

"I see dogs who have come from the worst situations but they seek love and comfort in people. I see animals who have been horribly abused by people but just want love that people can offer," Rezac said. "Their resilience is amazing. If we could all love like they do the world would be a better place."