Guest Blogger, Renee Jackson (Volunteer Shelter Photographer)

This is the story of an unlikely pair, an odd couple for sure.  Two frightened and confused residents of the foster house of Friends of Orangeburg County Animal Control find comfort, companionship, and understanding in each other.

This is a story that has a few twist and turns.  Let’s start with Cinder.  Cool name right?  It begins like this.  Animal Control was called to a local business that reported a stray with a cinder block on his head.  Yes, I said a cinder block stuck on his head.  We still do not know for certain how long he had to drag around the block on his head or how he came to get stuck this way, but he had to be freed from that frightening situation with the help of Animal Control personnel. He was then taken into the shelter looking desperate, beaten and defeated.  Physically you could see the scars of his life and struggles and emotionally he seemed to be broken and resigned to whatever fate befell him next.

Luckily for Cinder, the collective goodwill of several people all around the country helped write his next chapter. Funds were raised through the efforts of Friends of Orangeburg County Animal Control to help this guy, and he was sent to a foster in Tennessee.  One month later, the foster sent a message saying she could no longer keep him, and he would have to go into a shelter in Tennessee if he could not come back.  Transport was then arranged between three different individuals to get him back to Orangeburg County.  After another long journey, he arrived at the foster house with his lowered his head and trembling with uncertainty.  What was going to happen to him next?

Slowly over the next weeks, as Cinder spent more time with the volunteers and other dogs in the foster house he began to trust that the love of those around him was genuine.  He learned to walk happily on leash and soon became friendly with other dogs in the foster house.  Thanks to the sponsorship of a rescue in New York, he finished his heartworm treatment and gained more energy as well.   Then one day this small little scared dog came to live at the foster house.

Now let’s talk about Chico.  He was turned in by his human family because he was “biting her kids.”  A few different rescues came into the shelter with intentions of pulling this cute little guy.  But he would have no part of it.  What would become of this little guy?  Was he really mean or just scared to trust again?  Brandy Hudson decided she would not let fear stop her from making sure he made it out of the shelter for a second chance.  She agreed to take him into the foster house and work with him.  It took a number of weeks and a lot patience, and love.  He was eventually allowed to stay out of the kennel.  And Cinder, as you remember, is in the foster house too.  And the unlikely friendship began.

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These two dogs were down to their last hope when someone cared.  They were both misunderstood and abandoned, but now they have found each other.  And they have an amazing friendship.  When it’s time for their walk, they bark and whine and insist on walking together.  You simply do not take away one without the other.  They walk side by side with tails wagging in the happiest little swagger you ever have seen.  They play together joyously and when they are finally worn out, they sleep, cuddled together.  You can see the trust and you can see the bond they share through their experiences.  Their story and friendship is a heartwarming sight that reminds those fortunate enough to see it, that all hurt and lost faith can be healed with love and patience and time.

– Renee Jackson

I am the volunteer photographer for Orangeburg County Animal Control & Shelter.  The rescue group who took in these dogs is “Friends of Orangeburg County Animal Control & Shelter.”  Orangeburg County is a mostly rural county and up until a few years ago, very few dogs or cats made it out alive.  As of today, not one adoptable dog has been put to sleep since October.  This is huge and it is only possible with the work of the volunteers and the staff at the shelter.  There is still a long way to go, but we are getting there.

Animal Advocacy Guest Blogger Thank You Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

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