UPDATE: The teen has been reunited with his dog. See our updated story coming to WREG.com Friday afternoon, or see it on News Channel 3 at 5 p.m. Friday.
Kris Robinson, Interim Shelter Director at the Senatobia-Tate County Animal Shelter, would soon learn the young man was 17 years old, and he came to the shelter with one simple request.
“I was just sitting up here in the office and had just finished some cleaning, and saw a young man walking across the field with what looked like a dog in tow,” Robinson said. “He came in and he asked if he could leave his dog here and I said, ‘Buddy, we are so full.’ And he said, ‘Well, I can’t take care of her anymore.’ He said, ‘I live under a bridge,’ and it broke my heart.”
Robinson said she doesn’t know exactly where the bridge is the teen claims to be living under and she wouldn’t reveal his name.
But she said his reason for coming to the shelter caused her to quickly make space for the puppy, an adorable Rottweiler/German Shepherd puppy named Jada.
Robinson said the young man told her he left Jada in a tent when he went out to try to find work, and she’d broken out of the tent.
He told her he didn’t even have a tent anymore and wasn’t able to feed his dog.
“So he asked if we could take her and I said, ‘Of course,'” Robinson said.
She said the teen surrendered Jada and left her with a bag of dog food.
The images sparked local and national interest in Jada and her owner’s situation, which Robinson learned may be issues he’s having at home.
A post on the shelter’s Facebook page generated nearly 2,000 reactions and 2,000 shares in just two days.
“I’m in New York, but will happily pitch in to help get the dog back to her boy and get both of them a safe place to be able to live together,” one commenter wrote.
Robinson couldn’t hold back the tears, still trying to process the teenager’s devotion to his dog.
“For this young man to just be 17 and down on is luck, and no matter what problems he’s facing, he still took the time to walk her over her and make sure somebody was going to take care of her, I think that says a lot about his character,” Robinson said.
Robinson said requests to adopt Jada have been pouring in, but the dog will stay at the shelter for a while, at least until her owner decides he can resolve his personal issues and be able to care for the puppy. She will keep the public updated on the shelter’s social media page.
She said members of the community reached out and offered any assistance they can to the teenager.
The Senatobia Police Department announced Thursday night that they safely located the 17-year-old with the assistance of several members in the community.