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Column: Everybody’s dog

Posted: July 23, 2018 3:24 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Alex Harris/K9 Training

Dumpling will soon be ready for a forever home.

In many cases, who rescued who is a pretty good question, but in the case of one recent rescue dog, the better question is how many people did it take to get a dog to safety. Calls, emails, and texts were all pouring into my phone. All about a dog that was roaming around at one of Kershaw County’s recycling and trash convenience centers or as some people refer to it, “The Dump.”  Lots of people were seeing her, a few were feeding her, some could pet her, and others she was following around as they unloaded their trash. There was no one that knew her story, just that she appeared one day. Did she roam up and realize she was in a friendly place where she could get some food, or did her family decide they couldn’t care for her anymore and just left her there when they brought their trash?  We’ll never know the answer but we do know that everyone who met her was worried and wanted to bring her to safety. The problem was no one could actually get her into a car to rescue her. Word was spreading about the “dog at the dump” and it became a mission for many people in the area, including me. Despite everyone’s good efforts, I decided that setting a humane trap and praying that she would go in was the only option we had left to get this girl to safety.

But before that happened early one morning, I got a fluke message on Facebook from a desperate friend named Brian Tolbert. He had come across “a pitiful little stray dog at the recycling center” and wondered if I had any ideas for a safe placement. Brian said that the dog followed him around the center, licking his hand and wanting him to pet her. He simply reached down, scooped her up and put her in his truck. She was balled up on his truck floorboard, timid and afraid to look at him, but she was safely in his truck. Surely this wasn’t the dog that people had spent weeks trying to rescue? Brian knew nothing about all of the efforts to save the dog, just that he was there that day and that this dog needed help.  And she just let him pick her up. Clearly, she knew it was time to be saved.

I asked Brian to take her to Dr. King at Spears Creek Veterinary Clinic in Elgin. Dr. King was just one of the many people who were worried about the little dog at the convenience center so it was only fitting that she be the one to make sure she received the veterinary care she needed. Dr. King and her staff got her all up to date on vaccines and decided to name her Dumpling. Dumpling was healthy overall, but tested positive for heartworms and was afraid of everything around her. She needed a foster home where she could stay a little longer than normal while she was being treated and where she could learn how to be a confident dog that wasn’t afraid of her shadow. Alex Harris with Reliable K9 Training in Camden stepped up and agreed to take Dumpling in as soon as she heard her story. Dumpling has been living with Alex while working on her confidence and learning the best doggy manners!  She’s learned to walk on a leash, sleep in a crate and feel comfortable in a home. She’s safe, happy and now ready to find her forever family so that her story can have a happy ending.

Saving animals like Dumpling is something that happens on a daily basis by animal rescue operations, open-hearted volunteers, and by people in our community who care. Folks who dedicate their time to rescuing stray or abandoned animals, and all those who care enough to alert them to an animal in need, are probably the best kind of people around. Aren’t we so fortunate to have so many of the best right here in Kershaw County?

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