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Man and his dog raise money for domestic violence survivors

A Tennessee man says his purpose in life has come about for two reasons after battling drug addiction and homelessness.
Man and his dog raising huge amounts for domestic violence survivors
Posted at 7:06 AM, Feb 22, 2024

A Middle Tennessee man says his purpose in life has come about for two reasons. One, he feels he's been given a second chance. Two, he feels he's been given a major platform for a reason.

The way this man is helping others is like nothing you've seen before.

"What everyone knows me as now is Mr. Puckett. It's kinda my nickname," laughed a man who asked to go simply by that name.

"This is Nanna!" he continued, out on a walk. "This is my 18-year-old dog. I love those bouncy ears. I've had her for two and a half years now, and she's the love of my life. She's everything." 

The two are often on a walk along Cumberland Park, but truly, it has been a journey for both of them to get here now.

Struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, Mr. Puckett found himself homeless for four years in another city.

"I kinda moved town to town, drug to drug," he said. "Throughout my life, I kinda lost every friend I ever had through that."

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In a hard time, he had a little dog, Mr. Puckett. It was the name he would eventually adopt for his own nickname.

"He was the only reason I fought to get better," said Mr. Puckett. "He was the only reason I continued to go to rehab, continued to go to halfway houses. I wanted to give a better life to him."

It wasn't quick. It wasn't easy. But eventually, after a move to Nashville, life came back into focus. After his dog died, Mr. Puckett determined he needed to help animals. On an Instagram post by the Nashville Humane Association, he saw Nanna.

"She was 15 years old, blind and deaf," Mr. Puckett remembered. "She had terminal heart disease. Most of her hair had fallen out. It was just one of the worst-off dogs I'd ever seen in my life. I took her home. The vets thought she'd make it three or four months. I just wanted to show her some love before she died."

Nanna had other plans. Two and a half years later, Nanna can't wait to go walking.

"She's doing 6-mile adventures!" Mr. Puckett said. "She's nonstop. She's the most active and athletic dog."

The two have developed a pretty big following on the Imgur page MrPuckett. He figured, if this many people are watching, there's something he can do: help other people.

"We provide housing and support services to survivors of interpersonal violence and their children," said Mary Katherine Rand, executive director of the Mary Parrish Center.

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For the past three years, Mr. Puckett and Nanna have raised more than $50,000 in donations and supplies for the center through what they call Puckett Week.

"We get monetary donations and donations off our Amazon wish list, which helps furnish our apartments," said Rand. "It helps survivors in need. I just had no idea the impact it would make on those that we serve."

"When I was homeless, I never thought I would be able to help anybody else," Mr. Puckett said. "It feels like I have this family all over the world I've never met. I've never seen such perseverance in a dog. Her thirst for life is so unimaginable. She had such a terrible first 15 years of her life, and she's definitely making up for lost time now."

"They are one of a kind," Rand said.

You can donate to the Mary Parrish Center by visiting here.

This article was originally published by Forrest Sanders at Scripps News Nashville. 


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