Updated: Jul 17
Nikki Childers photo
Eric King, left, and wife Brandy are the founders of Born Again Rescue and Kennel, a verified 501(c)(3)rescue dedicated to giving dogs a second chance at a happy life.
Story by Nikki Childers
Second chances are the name of the game for Eric and Brandy King. The idea pets deserve a second chance at a happy and fulfilled life is the foundation of their rescue, Born Again Rescue and Kennel, or B.A.R.K. Operating since 2019, the couple and their son Ty have worked to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome dogs who were unwanted or abandoned through no fault of their own. They’ve managed to find new homes for over 65 dogs and have served not only Warren County, but many of the surrounding counties as well.
Both Eric and Brandy have a history rich in animal experience and have been animal lovers their entire lives. Rescuing less fortunate animals has always been a passion even before starting their own organization. Brandy rescued her first pet as a child, an abused dog named Pokey, and the drive to help animals never waned. Over the years, the Kings have served as a foster home for numerous animals on their way to forever homes. However, B.A.R.K. finds its roots in the rescue of a husky named Oreo who was a bait dog in a dog fighting operation. The journey with him, Brandy said, showed them that they wanted to do more for the dogs who needed them.
They describe B.A.R.K. as their passion, while they still work full-time jobs outside the rescue. "Our goal is to help any dog we can. We also want people to think about how dogs can be more complex than a newborn baby. They can come with issues, problems and backgrounds that we don't know or understand,” said Brandy. Each dog is sent to their new home with a checklist meant to educate their family about the dog and what to expect during his or her lifetime. For the time being, they dedicate their time and resources to dogs but hope to acquire more property and consider the idea of taking on a larger variety of animals in the future. They currently keep between 15 and 25 dogs at a given time.
B.A.R.K. sets itself apart from other rescues by keeping the dogs in a home setting. Brandy emphasizes that living in the home with other dogs and people allows them to receive socialization that is crucial to the development of social skills with both people and animals, "Some dogs can break down socially when you have them separated and locked up. It (living in the home) allows them to open up and learn to love again. I understand sometimes you have to have the kennel but, at least here, it helps them out." Each puppy goes home with a blanket that he or she used while with the King family, the familiar scents helping ease anxieties in their new environment.
Prospective owners can expect a thorough vetting process before being allowed to take home a new dog. The application requests information ranging from living arrangements, dog experience and personal references to speak to the character of the applicant. “It's important for the adopter to be perfect for the dog as opposed to the other way around,” said Brandy. “These dogs have been through so much from being abandoned, left in cages for years, abused and neglected. We want to get the right person for the dog. We have no problem with turning people away, we don't want dogs tied up or kenneled outside anymore. We can't just let anyone have a puppy.”
Those looking for their next best friend can request specific dogs in their application or ask for a dog fitting any number of specifications in order to be notified should a dog matching that description find its way into the rescue.
When considering new owners, the Kings take into account the personality and needs of the dog and how it will fare in the home. Once an application is accepted, the next step in the process is to meet the dog and have the family approved. Home visits and Google Map searches of properties are also conducted to confirm the validity of applicants’ claims. Before being taken to their new home, all dogs are spayed or neutered, microchipped, fully inoculated and have all other veterinary needs rendered.
In some cases, rescues from the North coordinate with B.A.R.K. to get dogs to approved homes. They have networks spanning as far as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New York who assist them in their endeavors to find the perfect home for each dog.
For those who wish to contribute for B.A.R.K.’s mission, donations can be made in the form of currency or items. Dog-related items are always welcome and an Amazon wish list is available with frequently needed supplies. Cash can be donated directly or paid to their vet account at Sparta Road Veterinary Clinic.
Their current list of available dogs can be found on their website at https://bornagaintn.wixsite.com/bark. Interested parties may contact B.A.R.K. at (931) 304-8818 or via their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bornagain.tn, to inquire about dogs and begin the adoption process. Kenneling services are available on a special needs basis.