In May of 2016, 34 year old Rob Tackett was posing for the 2017 Charleston Animal Society’s firefighter calendar at a South Caroline fire training facility. He had a very special co-star with him. Meet Kimber, an adorable German Shepherd puppy.
“Her owner and his wife told me she wouldn’t go around any guys,” Rob said. “And when I first met her she curled up in my arms, it was an instant connection. She felt safe with me.”
Rob knew they were meant to be by each other’s side straightaway. However, they weren’t brought together instantly.
“Mr. March” in the Charleston (South Carolina) Firefighter Calendar, Rob is an army veteran and firefighter with the Charleston Fire Department. He developed a strong bond with Kimber’s original owner, Steve Hall, an elite Marine sniper who served three tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, when Steve came back from the line of duty, he ended up suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He had nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. His symptoms eased with the help of his dog, Scout. Sadly, Scout passed away in December of 2015.
Meanwhile, a hairless and undernourished puppy was found on the side of the road and brought to the Charleston Animal Society. When her hair grew back, they realized that she belonged to the German Shepherd breed. She was named Kimber.
Steve adopted Kimber and they became very close friends. Kimber helped Steve battle against PTSD, just as Scout had done.
In the months following the calendar shoot, Steve and Rob became very good friends. However, in the summer, Steve fell ill. He needed neck and back surgeries. Steve asked Rob to watch over Kimber while he was in the hospital. Rob was a lifelong animal lover and Steve knew that he would agree.
Sadly, Steve’s health did not get better with time.
“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.'”
So, Steve asked Rob to adopt her. He thought this decision would be the best for Kimber. Rob didn’t hesitate.
“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 27, 2016, Kimber turned 13 months and 45 pounds. She is happy and healthy, and is also a certified PTSD dog.
After undergoing some more training, Rob hopes that the adorable pup will be able to visit other veterans and help them the way she helped him and his friend, Steve.
“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.”
All proceeds from the 2017 Charleston Animal Society’s firefighter calendar go to the Charleston Animal Society’s medical fund, which is devoted to saving abused, neglected and abandoned animals like Kimber, each year.
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