It was love at first sight between a hunky firefighter with enviable washboard abs and a young, timid rescue dog. The two were paired together last year for a photo shoot for a calendar. The calendar, made up of real firefighters and rescue dogs, would be sold to raise money for the Charleston Animal Society.
When the dog– a German Shepherd named Kimber– was rescued from off the side of a road, she had a strong aversion to men. But, when Kimber met firefighter Rob Tackett, her fear went out the window.
“When I first met her, she curled up in my arms, it was an instant connection. She felt safe with me,” recalled Tackett.
But Kimber wasn’t Tackett’s dog – not at the time the photo was taken, anyway.
When she first arrived at the Charleston Animal Society, she was malnourished and suffering from severe skin issues, but was eventually nursed back to health and adopted in the winter of 2015 by Steve Hall.
Hall, a Marine who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned home with a host of problems, including flashbacks, nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD. Having experienced her own trauma, Kimber could relate and was eventually certified as a therapy dog, providing the love and support Hall needed.
Last March, Hall agreed to loan Kimber to the Charleston Animal Society for the annual calendar shoot – and it was there that she first laid eyes on Tackett.
Tackett, an Army veteran, and Hall became fast friends. Last summer, Hall asked Tackett to take care of Kimber while he recovered from neck and back surgeries.
“Unfortunately, his illness and condition prevented him from caring for Kimber the way he felt she deserved. So with a heavy heart, he decided that it would be best for Kimber to be with someone that would be able to care for her,” Tackett wrote on his Facebook page soon after the adoption was finalized. “Knowing how special Kimber was, he reached out to me asking if I would be able to permanently adopt her.”
“I often wonder, when little Kimber was brought to the Charleston Animal Society – abandoned and plagued by mange – if the volunteers knew what an impact she would have on the lives of soldiers throughout Charleston, SC,” his post continues. “I wonder if they could tell that she was one of those dogs, blessed by God, to see through tragedy, straight to the vulnerable parts of all of us – the parts we so aptly hide from one another.
“I wonder if the donors, the calendar sponsors, the men and women who buy the Charleston Firefighter Calendars and the CAS staff knew that she would minister to the lives of so many. I am not sure if anyone knew of her life’s purpose, but I do know they cared enough to save her life, and I know they were able to do so through the generosity of our community and the fundraising made possible by the CAS Charleston Firefighter Calendar.
“It is because of these acts and the overwhelming generosity, and support, of our community, that I have had the privilege of watching one special German Shepherd provide so much joy to our soldiers. Now, I wonder – how many more incredible souls, like Kimber, might we save? If you haven’t already, please donate, or purchase one of these Calendars. I have personally seen the effect it has not only on the animals but on the lives these animals touch.”
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