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'He's got it made now': Worker who shared lunch with starving dog adopts him a week later

Jeff Bobo • Dec 31, 2019 at 8:45 AM

SURGOINSVILLE — December started out pretty rough for a 2-year-old pit bull mix named Rebel, who was chained up and starving on muddy ground with no shelter at a residence in Surgoinsville.

Rebel's luck changed on Dec. 10, however, when Daren Livesay, who was working nearby, noticed the starving dog and shared his lunch.

That night after work, Livesay reported Rebel and two other dogs that were being neglected on the property to the Hawkins County Humane Society. The dogs were rescued by Surgoinsville code enforcement officer Eddie McNally the next day and taken to the HCHS shelter.

At the shelter, Rebel was wormed, got his shots and was treated for malnourishment.

Livesay visited Rebel at the shelter every day and made it know from the start he planned on adopting the dog.

On Dec. 18, Rebel went home with Livesay, and on Monday Livesay told the Times News, “He's got it made now.”

“I could tell he had been abused”

Livesay and a co-worker were working on a power line pole in Surgoinsville when he noticed a dog on chain. In his job, he often comes across dogs, and he tries to make friends with them to make sure they’re not dangerous.

“When I got closer, I could see that he had been starved and that he hadn't been very well taken care of,” Livesay said. “He was chained up and didn't have much room to move around. He had no food or water out there, no shelter and it was below 30 degrees that morning.”

Livesay added, “I could tell he had been abused by the way he was acting. I set an apple on the ground. He wouldn't let me hand it to him so I set it on the ground and walked away. He ended up eating the apple and wanted more food, so he came up to me and let me pet him and was being my buddy at that point.”

There were two other dogs at that residence along with Rebel. Livesay and his partner split their lunches up between the three dogs and poured their water bottle into their bowls so the dogs would have something to drink.

Rebel was almost out of time

Rebel was starved when he arrived at the shelter, and they had to feed him in small portions to prevent medical issues that can arise when a starving dog eats too much.

HCHS Manager Sandy Behnke told the Times News she believes Rebel was almost out of time when he was discovered by Livesay.  

“With the cold temperatures and his body mass, he would of certainly died within another day or two,” Behnke said.

“He knew he was going to a better home”

“He is such a good dog,” Behnke said. “Daren would visit him at the shelter and asked if he could adopt him when he was ready to be adopted out. He told me he cannot get this boy off his mind. On Dec. 18, I got the OK for Rebel to be adopted.

Behnke added, “I called Daren and he was so excited. He wanted to go to the store and get everything Rebel would need. Then they reunited, but this time it was forever.”

Apparently Rebel knew something good was about to happen the day Livesay arrived to take him home.

“I could only pet him through the gate when I'd go see him,” Livesay said. “As soon as they opened the gate for me to take him home you could tell he knew he was going to a better home. He was ecstatic, all excited and happy, wagging his tail.”

“He's got it made now”

Behnke said, “We advised Daren on how much to feed Rebel and how often. It was so heartwarming to see the love between the two of them. Rebel knew Daren saved him, and he is forever grateful.”

Livesay said Rebel is very friendly, loves people and loves other animals. He doesn't bark, he doesn't growl or whine. He's the most quiet, friendly dog you'll ever meet, Livesay said.

Livesay said, “He's probably one of the most playful and loving dogs you would ever want to meet. He's putting on some weight, and he sleeps in the bed with me. He doesn't have to sleep outside in the cold any more. He's got it made now.”