A handsome model showed up for a firefighter calendar shoot and got a fur baby out of the deal.
When 34-year old Rob Tackett arrived at the South Carolina fire training facility to pose with a puppy for a calendar, he never dreamed he’d get a dog out of the deal.
At the time, Kimber was owned by a husband and wife. They initially informed Tackett that she would not go near men (suspected to be due to traumatic memories from her abusive past).
But to everyone’s surprise, Kimber approached Tackett right away. He said it was an instant connection, and that he knew she felt safe with him. What he didn’t know is that he would adopt her one day.
Tackett was an Army veteran who bonded with Kimber’s first owner, Steve Hall. Hall had completed 3 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine sniper.
When Hall returned home from his tour of duty, he suffered from PTSD. Because of this, he had chronic nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety. He found that his symptoms were only helped by the presence of his dog Scout, who died in December of 2015.
After Scout passed away, Hall’s PTSD began to worsen. His flashbacks and anxiety returned.
As Hall was spiraling downward into a dark state, there was a starving and mange-ridden puppy being picked up on the side of the road and brought to the Charleston Animal Society. Once her hair grew back, it was discovered that she was a German Shepherd. The shelter staff named her Kimber.
Kimber was adopted by Hall last year, and became his constant companion. She helped his PTSD subside.
After the calendar photo shoot, Hall became good friends with Tackett. But that summer, Hall became very ill and was informed that he must undergo back and neck surgeries. While Hall was in surgery and recovery, he asked Tackett to watch over Kimber for him.
But a few weeks into the recovery process, Hall made a very difficult decision. Knowing that his health was not improving enough for him to care for Kimber, he asked Tackett to adopt her.
Tackett remarked that Hall was heartbroken. He told Tackett he could no longer care for Kimber, and couldn’t stand to have her go anywhere else than with Tackett.
Tackett of course said yes. In October, Kimber went home with him and has been there ever since.
Tackett says he loves her, and has never been around a dog like her. He says she is incredible, and keeps him happy.
Kimber is a certified therapy do, and Tackett hopes to be able to give her more training and eventually bring her to spend time with other veterans suffering from PTSD.
All proceeds from the Charleston Animal Society’s 2017 Firefighter Calendar go to the shelter’s medical fund, which rescues thousands of abused and abandoned dogs every year.