Firefighter, Rob Tackett, thought he was just going to be posing for a calendar photo shoot with Kimber, the dog.
Rob was “Mr. March” in the Charleston, South Carolina Firefighter Calendar is also an Army veteran who bonded with Kimber’s original owner, Steve Hall. Steve was an elite Marine sniper who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After Steve returned from duty, he, unfortunately, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was plagued with nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety. His symptoms were only alleviated with the help of his dog, Scout.
Sadly, Scout passed away in December of 2015, leaving Steve to spiral downwards once more.
In the meantime, a malnourished, hairless puppy was found on the side of the road and brought to the Charleston Animal Society. Once the puppy was treated, and her hair grew back, the breed was revealed to be a German Shepherd, and she was named Kimber.
Steve immediately adopted Kimber, and the two were close companions with Kimber helping relieve Steve’s PTSD symptoms, just as Scout had done.
Steve and Rob became good friends in the months following the calendar shoot. However, in the summer, Steve fell ill, requiring neck and back surgeries. During his hospital stay, Steve asked Rob to watch over Kimber. Rob, a lifelong animal lover, agreed. As the weeks went on, Steve’s health did not get better.
“He was heartbroken,” Rob recalls. “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.’”
Rob Tackett with Kimber, Photo credit for all four is Charleston Animal Society
“I love that dog,” he said. “She is an incredibly special dog, I’ve never been around a dog like her. Just being around her makes everything easier.”
In December, 2016, Kimber was 45 pounds at 13 months old. She is a happy and healthy with Rob and is a certified PTSD dog.
Rob hopes that with more training, Kimber can visit other veterans and help them the way she helped Steve and helps Rob.
“She’s skittish around other people at first,” Rob said, considering Kimber’s past abuse as a puppy. “But when she gets comfortable she is the most loving dog in the world.”
Thank you, Rob and Steve, for serving this country.
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