A firefighter has adopted the German Shepherd he posed with for Charleston Animal Society’s 2017 Calendar.
Yearly, the Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina produces calendars to raise funds for the animals under their care. During the photo shoot for the 2017 calendar, two of their models – a dog and a human – have formed a special bond. Rob Tackett met Kimber, a 16-month-old German Shepherd the day he posed topless for the Charleston Firefighter 2017 calendar. The partners posed for the March page, where in the German Shepherd nestles comfortably in Tackett’s arms.
“She was a little skittish at first, but once I petted and picked her up, she just fell into my arms,” Tackett told The Dodo. “Right there, I was like, ‘I love this dog.’ It was instantaneous.”
Kimber’s owner Steve Hall and his wife were present during the shoot. The couple watched endearingly as their beloved pooch makes her debut in front of the camera. They could hardly believe their eyes, seeing the connection between Kimber and Rob.
In February 2016, their furry bundle of joy was picked up off the streets and brought to the Charleston Animal Society. She was so malnourished, mangy, and shay. Poor Kimber was so small and thin that they could not figure out what dog breed she was. They said Kimber is also unsually wary of men. They assumed something could have happened in her past that made her feel afraid of males. That’s why the couple was surprised to see that Kimber was not scared of Rob.
“Before I even met her, [Hall’s] wife came up and met me outside of where we were doing the calendar,” Rob told The Dodo. “And she said, ‘Just to warn you, she was very badly abused by her previous owners, and she’s very skittish of men. She usually doesn’t even let men come near her.’ I said, ‘That’s fine. I understand completely.’ But that didn’t seem to be the case with me. Kimber just fell into my arms, and let me carry her around like a baby the entire day.”
Since the photoshoot, Steve and Rob — both war veterans — stayed in touch.
“We were both deployed at the same time, so we bonded over that,” Rob said. “We hung out with the family, went to the beach together and went out to lunch a lot.”
Steve suffers from PTSD and he was actually having Kimber trained to become his service dog. Sadly. Steve had a serious back injury, which needed surgery. Knowing how at ease Kimber feels with Rob, Steve asked the firefighter to watch Kimber. Rob didn’t let the chance to get closer to Kimber pass and went on to take care of his new buddy.
Just when everyone thought Steve would get better, he sadly got worse after the surgery. He had to make a heartbreaking decision to give up Kimber – but he did not have to look further. Steve asked Rob if he could permanently adopt Kimber and of course, how could he say no?
“He didn’t want to give her up, but he knew it was best for Kimber,” Rob said. “To me that’s the bravest thing he could have done, because it’s his service dog for his comfort, and he knew he couldn’t take care of her the way she deserved.”
The German Shepherd has been enjoying his life with Rob since October last year and their bond has grown a lot stronger since they first met. The once shy and timid dog has become more confident and sociable.
“It’s amazing to see her transformation over the last couple of months — how she is with other guys, and other people in general,” Rob told The Dodo. “She is an incredibly calm dog, but when it’s time for her to play, she’s so much fun. When you see her play with other dogs, you see her real personality come out. She’s such a loving dog.”
Not only is Kimber a fun-loving dog, she also likes being a diva.
“If you do something she does not agree with, she will purposely turn away from you and look away,” Rob shared. “A lot of times she’ll ride up on the front seat with me on my truck, but when my girlfriend comes in town, she goes into the back seat. Kimber doesn’t agree with that at all. She will turn and face the back window so she doesn’t have to look at me. It’s hilarious.”
While Steve is still recovering from his injuries, he makes sure to visit his beloved German Shepherd whenever he can. While it’s unfortunate that Steve had to go through a hard time, Rob and Kimber are happy to be in each other’s lives.
“I love coming home to that little dog,” Rob said. “She’s awesome. She’s a very special dog.”
The Charleston Firefighter Calendar is still available and if you wish to support the Charleston Animal Society and buy one, you may do so here.