The Charleston Animal Society’s annual firefighter calendar is highly sought after – you know, because of the adorable rescue pets – it has nothing to do with the shirtless firemen!
In May, Rob Tackett posed as 2017’s “Mr. March” with a shy German Shepard pup named Kimber. Little did he know he would soon forge a meaningful bond with her adopter and eventually become Kimber’s new dad.
Kimber was found hairless, undernourished and pitiful on the side of the road as a puppy. Thanks to the Charleston Animal Society, she flourished and became a beautiful young girl and the perfect companion for a combat veteran in need.
Steve Hall served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an elite Marine sniper. Like many of our military’s brave men and women, he returned home with flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety – the hallmarks of PTSD.
He found that his dog Scout helped to ease his symptoms, but when Scout died last December, the PTSD returned in full force. Hall and his wife adopted Kimber from CAS and had her certified as an official PTSD dog. She became Hall’s constant companion and just what he needed.
Tackett – a veteran of the Army – met Hall during the CAS 2017 calendar shoot when he was chosen to pose with Kimber. The two quickly bonded over their shared experiences. Hall and his wife were astonished to see how quickly their timid puppy took to Tackett. In an interview, Tackett told People Pets:
“Her owner and his wife told me she wouldn’t go around any guys, and when I first met her she curled up in my arms, it was an instant connection. She felt safe with me.”
This summer, Hall endured surgery on his neck and back. Incapacitated, he asked his new confidant Tackett to care for Kimber during his recovery. Sadly, after several weeks Hall found that he was not recovering as quickly as he had hoped. Knowing the bond the two shared, he asked Tackett if he would permanently adopt Kimber.
Tackett recalled the painful conversation in his interview with People:
“He was heartbroken. He said, ‘My health is not where I want it to be. We can’t take care of Kimber. I don’t want her going anywhere else.’ ”
Kimber has officially belonged to Tackett since October and the pair could not be happier. Tackett has even expressed interest in pursuing further training for Kimber so that she can visit with other veterans and share the comfort and love she already brings to all who know her.