Man’s Best Friend: A Tale as Old as Time

My name is Jacoby Hinton, and it is with great sorrow and regret that I am writing to you today to inform you of the passing of my dog, Champ. You may (or likely not) remember him as a little bald puppy by the name of “Bandit.”

In 2014 I was a lost and lonely college student who wandered into your establishment looking for a friend. I had very little money to my name at the time but had saved up enough for the adoption fee. When I first met Bandit, I fell in love instantly. It was March in Charleston, and I remember telling the worker at the time, “I will take him! How much?” To my surprise, his adoption was free!

Bandit had a very bad case of mange. He was almost completely bald. His immune system had been compromised and I was informed from your veterinarian that he might never regrow his full fur– I did not care. (And he never did.)

I loved him just the way he was. I also loved the name Bandit, however he did not. I tried for days to get him to recognize his name, but it never took. So, I came up with a list of simple one syllable names for him. The first one I tried was “Champ.” He took to it immediately.

Champ and I became inseparable. He was my partner and came with me everywhere. After graduation, Champ and I moved to South Dakota for a job I was offered.

I thought he would be tired of the car after the first day of long driving, but when I motioned him “up” to the backseat he joyfully hopped up and gave me the biggest smile. The snow fall of the Dakotas was not his favorite. But after a few trials and errors we found a good rain jacket for him that kept him warm.

After the Dakotas, we moved to warmer weather in California. I was finally able to give him a yard to play in (though admittedly not a very big one). It was there I met my now wife. Champ was with me when we first met. She was able to love him almost as fiercely as I did.

In his later years he became injured in his back legs. He had a knee replacement surgery in 2020. I would joke that this “free” dog was the most expensive thing I owned. But truth be told I had no regrets. To see him happy and running again I would pay all of my money again and again.

Champ made so many friends in his life. He was always so gentle and caring to puppies and small things. It is only in his absence that I fully feel the missed presence he had amongst my friends’ and family’s dogs.

He was a quiet and reserved/respected member of our “pack.” He was usually the elder dog, but his size and calmness had a wonderful teaching effect on the other dogs. I would like to take credit for all the hours we spent in training. But truth be told, he just was like that. His nature was pure, calming, and sweet. He had the biggest, goofiest smile that was impossible not to love.

Earlier this past winter he started showing signs of slowing down. He had formed many fatty sacs on his abdomen over the years but none of them were growing rapidly, so I thought we were safe. However, one sac was growing in his groin that I did not catch. By the time I caught it, it was too late. He did not suffer long.

I remember the morning of his death, I looked at him and with the bond that can only be had over the nine years we spent together; I knew. I was with him the whole time, and promised him that I would be okay, and thanked him for the time we had. Saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I try to remember that it only hurts this much because of how amazing it was to have him.

Thank you for giving me my best friend. In the way only life can circle, I find myself in the same position I was in when I came to the Animal Society. I don’t have a lot of money, but I’ve managed to scrape together the adoption fee I never had to pay. Please accept this small donation on behalf of Champ “Bandit” Hinton. Please never stop giving lonely college students the chance at a new best friend.