But the dog formerly known as Rawhide was actually adopted Tuesday to a woman who lives on a farm only a three minute-drive from the facility.
When Taylor Helton saw Rawhide on Facebook the day he was abandoned, she was touched by his story and she knew he belonged with her.
Every day for two weeks, Helton went to the shelter to spend time with the dog, whom she has named Toby.
HCHS manager Sandy Behnke said that the devotion Helton showed for Toby over the past two weeks proved that she was the right person to take him home for good.
How Toby ended up at the shelter
The incident occurred on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 29 when, according to HCHS surveillance video, a man in a white Toyota pickup pulled into the parking lot, walked with the unleashed dog to the shelter entrance and found it to be locked.
Although the shelter is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, at the time the shelter was closed and posted under quarantine due to a dog illness, Behnke said.
The man walked away from the door and got into his truck, with the loose dog following and jumping on him. The man had to push the dog away to get into the truck, Behnke said.
As the driver pulled out onto Highway 11-W and turned west toward Rogersville, the dog chased after him.
At that point, HCHS staff had seen what happened and were able to corral the dog and return him to the shelter.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation, but no charges were filed. Behnke said the man has expressed substantial remorse for leaving Toby, and she believes the public humiliation he received on social media was sufficient punishment.
Toby’s new home
Toby is a blue heeler, and Helton has two heeler puppies, Bo and Gidget. Now Toby has adopted them and become their big brother.
“Even though he was mistreated, he was still so sweet, and I love heelers,” Helton said. “I’m on a farm and I have horses and cattle, and they’re (heelers) really good with horses and cows and just really good, loyal dogs.”
She added, “When I go on a walk on the farm, he’ll walk so close to me that he brushes my leg. He will not leave my side. He doesn’t use a lead. He just follows me like my other ones do. He’s got a younger brother and a younger sister now that he plays with all the time.”
He’s also a pretty smart dog
Toby is house-trained, he sits on command, he likes to fetch and he already knows his new name.
Helton travels a lot with her horses, and she said Toby and the other two heelers will come with her everywhere she goes. She said they’re very smart and very protective dogs.
“He stays in the house with me, and then he goes outside and roams the farm when we’re outside,” Helton said. “If I call his name from the other side of the farm, he comes running. It took about two hours for him to be house-trained, and now when he needs out, he sits by the door and whines.
“He became a member of the family right away. This is the home he always deserved, and now he’s here.”