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Making a Difference: Supporters of a formerly abused dog give back in Cocke County

A year after a puppy was abandoned, abused and left for dead, his supporters have rallied behind him and other dogs to give back.
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 8:01 PM EDT
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NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) - A year after a puppy was abandoned, abused and left for dead, his supporters have rallied behind him and other dogs to give back.

A Cocke County pup has grown his social media following, spanning states to get a new puppy and small dog room at his first home, the Friends Animal Shelter of Cocke County.

One-year-old Calvin couldn’t walk or play with other dogs a year ago.

“He’s just so adorable, and I think they’re just so happy he didn’t quit," said Alison Chiaradio, Calvin’s mom.

Calvin turned famous on social media after being rescued outside the shelter last fall.

“It’s beautiful to see the change in the almost desperate, hopeless, sick just baby to this vibrant, incredible inspiration of a dog that he is now. Absolutely amazing," said Megan Stinson.

He’s blind, but Stinson taught him to hold up his head and body and learn how to walk.

“He just kept on going, every day was a little miracle and they just wanted to be a part of something so special," said Chiaradio.

For months, Chiaradio fostered him before adopting him over the summer. It was during that time she got the idea to give back to the shelter.

“It was not a healthy environment for them," said Chiaradio.

The small dog and puppy room once held 90 crates and had flooring that wasn’t sealed causing germs to spread and dogs to become sick or get diseases.

So Chiaradio decided to renovate.

“It’s a passion, and we want to protect it and just want to make this something Cocke County could be proud of," said Chiaradio.

She created books and t-shirts of Calvin, held fundraisers and even got donations to raise $30,000. An anonymous donor helped with half of that.

“It’s overwhelming because I can’t wait for the animals to be happy," said Chiaradio.

There were 6 bark-proof, anti-microbial kennels that allowed the dogs more comfort. All the kennels say “Calvin’s Vision" for being the project he couldn’t see, but knew the other dogs like him needed.

“They can be mentally fit as well," explained Chiaradio, "Because they’re not going to be depressed and being in the cage 24 hours a day. It’s going to be a great benefit for us and rescues that come and for people that want to adopt a healthy dog.”

The small puppy who barely survived gave other dogs like him a place to thrive.

The county allotted $100,000 a year for day-to-day at the shelter. None of that money went toward the renovation.

Everything in the puppy room was brand new. It will open the first week of November.

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