TEXT BY HEATHER DOWDY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEPHANIE MCKEE
On March 8, Timothy Sams of LaVergne was arrested on charges of aggravated animal cruelty and evading arrest, after an eyewitness filmed him dragging a dog down the street from his car. The dog belonged to a man staying with him, and according to police records, he claimed he did it because the dog would not listen and kept trying to run away.
(If you missed the news story, you'll find our original post here.)
After being in the loving care of staff at Rutherford County PAWS for two weeks, the friendly pooch finally went home - to a new adoptive family who is looking forward to spoiling him rotten for the rest of his life.
I spent some time with CJ yesterday at the shelter, where he covered me in excited kisses, snuggled in my lap and playfully pounced around the fenced yard shortly before he was taken in to be neutered.
"His new family has acres of fenced-in yard for him to run in, and they're active and plan on including him in everything they do," says Shea Davis, the shelter's supervisor. "They really are the perfect forever home for him.
Since his rescue, CJ has received top-notch veterinary care, including laser therapy to help speed the healing of his wounds and to help regenerate skin. Today, he's a healthy, happy dog who is simply soaking in all the love he can get.
"This sort of case breaks my heart, and disgusts us," says Davis. "We're all animal lovers here, and the work we do is hard. But this is what I love about my job - being able to do something about a case like this, and being able to give a dog like CJ a new chance at life."
Yesterday, photographer and friend Stephanie McKee captured these photos of CJ and I, and this photo speaks volumes to me. The love, forgiveness and joy on his face - just two weeks after he was so terribly abused - is why I love dogs so much. We have so much to learn from their open hearts, and it is simple moments like these that keep me pushing to do what I do every day - to keep pushing Nashville Paw forward through every challenge and to speak for the animals who need us to be their voice. Dogs like CJ - and the humans who fight for them - are what inspire me daily.
Today, CJ is settling into his new home and enjoying getting to know a loving family for perhaps the first time.
Angel: The Second Half of the Story
What some readers may not know is that when officers arrested Sams after an hour-long stand-off, CJ wasn't the only dog they rescued. They also saved Angel, a beautiful pit bull who was chained to a cinder block in the back yard without food, water or proper shelter. The incidence report states that she was dragging the cinder block, trying to get away.
Yesterday, Angel was spayed at Rutherford County PAWS, and today, she is wishing for a forever family of her own. Now that she is officially up for adoption, the shelter will be looking for a loving forever family who will commit to giving her the happy life she truly deserves.
As you can tell from her photo session, Angel had no trouble striking an adorbull pose and hamming it up for the camera. This incredibly sweet and loving girl is going to make someone a wonderful companion... perhaps you?
For more information on adopting Angel, please contact Rutherford County PAWS at 615-898-7740.
NOTE: We will post an update on the court case for CJ's abuser as soon as we have further details. Also, don't miss our special print feature about CJ and Angel in the upcoming June/July issue of Nashville Paw magazine!