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Lucky Dog: Elsa finds happiness and a home

April 22, 2018

Life has changed dramatically for the better for a blue-eyed pit bull named Elsa.

In January, Aiken Department of Public Safety officers found her chained to a pole and shivering in the backyard of a house on Newberry Street while conducting a safety check.

Nearby, there was a cage with a dead puppy inside that was “frozen solid,” according to an incident report.

The temperature, at the time, was 15 degrees.

Today, Elsa is living the life with the Poore family – John, Karen and their son, Adam – in the Houndslake Country Club area.

She enjoys napping on several different couches and taking long walks in her neighborhood and Hitchcock Woods.

In addition, she is learning tricks.

An enthusiastic student who snaps up the pieces of hotdog she receives as incentives from John and Adam, Elsa can roll over and jump over a stick.

“She’s smart,” Adam said. “She will walk up to you and sit automatically, and I think she’s figured out on her own how to open a door downstairs.”

Sometimes Elsa lies on a small rug outside and watches the players on the nearby golf course.

“She is extremely friendly; she is just such a sweetheart,” Karen said. “She wants to be with you all the time. She puts her paws up on you, and she likes to be rubbed. She also seems to be very appreciative. She loves being here, and we love having her with us.”

After the Public Safety officers rescued Elsa, she was taken to the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.

Robyn Denise Bacon later was charged with ill treatment of animals, which is a violation of state law, in connection with Elsa and the puppy’s case.

According to a General Sessions Court consent order, Bacon surrendered Elsa without admitting she was the legal owner of the dog in February.

The Albrecht Center’s staff took care of Elsa and got her ready to be offered for adoption.

“We can’t say enough good things about the Albrecht Center and what they do,” Karen said. “They did a fabulous job with Elsa, bringing her back from the brink of death, really.”

Karen and her husband, who are retired, used to work for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Savannah River Plant. Adam is a professional kickboxer, who was a highly successful amateur at the national and international levels.

Over the years, the Poore family also has been involved in numerous SPCA volunteer efforts. Karen regularly works at the Albrecht Center’s Thrift Shop on Richland Avenue.

Before Elsa, the Poores had another pit bull, Hashbone.

“Adam was the reason we got him,” John said. “He wanted a pit bull, but I was against it at first because of their bad reputation. Then we started looking around and got to know a couple of pit bulls.”

They were affectionate and well-behaved.

Hashbone, who was big and muscular, also made a good impression when the Poores met him at the SPCA’s former shelter location on Wire Road.

“He was the first ‘pitty’ ever adopted out by the SPCA,” which used to have a policy against making such dogs available to the prospective owners, Karen said.

Hashbone quickly became a beloved member of the Poore family.

“He was a therapy dog,” Karen said. “He went to the schools, and kids would read to him. He also took part in SPCA events, and he was in a television commercial for the SPCA. He was a superstar.”

When Hashbone died in late 2016, the Poores were devastated and needed some time to mourn before seeking another canine companion.

They learned about Elsa through newspaper and television reports and the Albrecht Center’s Facebook page. There were trips to the SPCA to see and interact with her, and then Elsa visited the Poores’ home multiple times.

The family also fostered the pit bull briefly before officially with her adoption.

But it was clear to Karen, from the beginning, that Elsa had the potential to be an ideal pet.

“I liked her right away,” Karen said.

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