By DAN KROSSE
It was just a few days before Thanksgiving when Charleston County Sheriff’s Deputy Caroline Sewell was called to a burglary in Hollywood.
Responding deputies had found a dog tied to a tree with no food or water – and sadly – a second dog who had died, was tied to a tree right next to him. As an Animal Control Officer (ACO) Deputy Sewell was called to investigate.
“It was horrible because I mean, every dog deserves love, but especially a dog that literally gives you their entire heart and trusts you so much,” Deputy Sewell said. “It’s amazing to me that he has so much trust in people after what all he went through.”
SMOAK IS SAVED
Deputy Sewell is talking about Smoak. He survived, but barely. The boxer mix was malnourished, dehydrated, suffering from parasites and heartworm – yet somehow still had the will to live. “I immediately took him to Charleston Animal Society. I had to carry him in because he was too weak to walk,” Sewell said. The lifesaving care Smoak received included IV fluids, medicine and heartworm treatment.
Smoak’s former owners now face felony cruelty charges for the treatment of Smoak and for the death of his sister.
A HAPPY LIFE AHEAD
Three months after his rescue, a stranger approaches Deputy Sewell and Smoak at a North Charleston dog park and it quickly becomes clear, Smoak has never met a stranger. He immediately rushes up with his tail wagging and tongue out, and then sits at attention for the love and petting that he just knows is coming.
“He does that with everyone,” Deputy Sewell explains. “If there is a circle of people, he will go to each one and sit and wait for attention and petting.”
As Smoak bounds around the dog park, the pain of his early days seems like it never happened. That’s a tribute to Deputy Sewell who never gave up on him. 24 hours after she dropped him off at Charleston Animal Society, she returned to foster him. And that turned into adoption once his medical conditions were cleared.
Her focus became giving Smoak the life he always deserved, “For the longest time, Smoak didn’t know what a toy was. He didn’t understand that he could play with the Kong I gave him and chew on it and everything. It took him a while to get acclimated to normal dog things.” Deputy Sewell’s other dog, Ash, a tall, lanky Pointer-Retriever mix, also helped give Smoak a sense of family.
Deputy Sewell says she would encourage others to step in and help find homes for cruelty case victims. Seeing a dog’s desire to recover is inspiring. “Every day, he got a little better, a little better,” she said. “I remember early on when he was so lethargic and weak, all he could do was lay on my chest and sleep. But he would wake up and stare into my eyes with so much love.”
THE TV REMOTES
If all this sounds a little too good to be true – Smoak does have one little quirk worth mentioning. It involves TV remotes. Actually, destroying TV remotes.
“Every day I come home from work and those two little faces are waiting for me up in the window and I can’t wait to hug my boys,” Deputy Sewell says. “But I get inside and there’s fragments of plastic TV remote all over the floor and I’m like ‘Oh my God, Smoak ate my remote.’” Somehow, Ash was cleared of any vandalism charges, “he’s an angel.”
Smoak has now chewed up two TV remotes, but Deputy Sewell laughs it off saying, “You know what? If that’s the worst thing he does then we’re doing pretty well.”