Kris Robinson was sitting in the front office of Senatobia-Tate County Animal Shelter when she noticed someone walking across the yard. A young man was crossing the lawn with a dog following closely behind.
“He told the dog to stay outside, and she just sat down,” Robinson, acting director of the shelter, told The Dodo. “He came in and said, ‘I’m wondering if you could take my dog.’”
Robinson explained that the shelter was full, but she could see the teen needed help — and a little bit of luck. “His head kinda dropped, and he said, ‘I don’t have a place to live. I live under a bridge right now, and I just can’t afford to take care of her … When I leave to go and try to find work, I hope that she stays and so far she’s been there when I come back, but I’m just worried about her.’”
Robinson could see how attached the dog, named Jada, was to her dad, so she took down his information and had him fill out a relinquishment form. “She really clung to him, he was kind of stepping around, and she was clinging to his leg,” Robinson said. “She’d get real close to him and sit down — she was scared.”
The teen left a bag of dog food with the shelter, and as he walked away, Robinson could see him wiping his face. Robinson brought Jada into the office to decompress, but it was clear she was confused why her dad wasn’t there.
“She climbed up on one of the chairs and looked out the window,” Robinson said. “I went in the back to do some cleaning and when I checked on her, I saw her just laying there with her food.”
By the next day, Jada was feeling a bit more comfortable around Robinson, but Robinson knew that nobody would ever take the place of Jada’s dad. She decided to post the dog’s story on Facebook to drum up a bit of community support. But she never anticipated the attention her post would get.
“I wanted to point out what this kid did and his character,” Robinson said. “He didn’t ask for anything for himself — he just wanted to make sure that [Jada] was OK.”
Soon, offers were pouring in from all over the country to foster the dog, but Robinson knew they could do better.
Robinson reached out to a local family who volunteered to take in both the teen and his dog, but the young man was hesitant about accepting the offer. “I had made contact with him and said, ‘Look, these people want to help you,’” Robinson said. “He said, ‘What do you mean? Do they want to adopt her? Can I come see her first?’ And I said, ‘No, buddy, they want to help you.’”
When the teen returned to the shelter with the family to pick up Jada, their reunion couldn’t be more joy-filled.
“She ran up to him and jumped up on him,” Robinson said. “He was just loving on her, and had a big ol’ smile on his face.”
Now, Jada and her dad have finally found a safe space to call home — together. Jada is getting the medical care she needs, and the teen is able to focus on his education.
“He’s getting his high school stuff in order and then he’s going to take some classes at a local city college, and go to the dentist — things he’s never done,” Robinson said.
Robinson couldn’t be more proud that now there’s one less dog in the shelter and one less kid on the street.