Clemson University police officer Corri Sudduth didn’t think the workday was anything out of the ordinary as she progressed through her scheduled shift on Thursday, Dec. 28. But that all changed in an instant after she made her way just beyond CUPD headquarters to wash her patrol car.
“A parking services officer alerted me some stray dogs may have been on the loose behind the building,” Sudduth said. “As I approached the back of the building, I came upon a dog who was barking and appeared to be very scared.”
Sudduth discovered a small dog shaking uncontrollably and covered in mud. She called to the dog multiple times, but it would not come while continuing to bark. So she sat down in the gravel, continuing to call the dog in hopes of calming it down.
After a few minutes, the dog approached Sudduth. She was able to pick it up and put it in the back seat of her patrol car. She turned on the heat and proceeded to drive around for a few minutes to continue calming the dog before returning to headquarters.
“I saw Officer Sudduth come into the police department carrying a wet dog,” observed Sgt. Michelle Young, who was on duty. “The dog was dirty, wet and shivering.”
Sudduth asked dispatchers to contact the City of Clemson police department to see if any notifications had been made for a missing dog. There hadn’t been. She asked them to contact animal hospitals in the area in hopes of finding a chip reader to be able and identify the dog’s owner. All the while, she tried to clean the dog in the department’s sink, where she discovered it was carrying a large collection of fleas.
Dispatch put her in contact with FoxNext Veterinary Hospital in Seneca, but it was 5:30 p.m. and the office would be closing in 30 minutes. Sudduth hopped back in her patrol car and took the dog — a mix between a Shih Tzu and Yorkie — to the vet’s office.
“The dog had no trace of a chip,” she said. “I was trying to think of anything and everything I could do. The vet washed her and treated her for fleas. I attempted to pay for her treatment, but they wouldn’t allow it. They were just happy I cared for her. I am so grateful for their generosity.”
Sudduth took the dog home overnight, assuming it might have taken a good amount of time to locate the proper owner.
Late in the day Thursday, Young posted a picture to CUPD’s social media accounts advertising the lost puppy.
Some 3 ½ miles away from CUPD, Tammy Herring had lost her 14-month-old dog, Chrissy, on Christmas Eve. She rode around that evening looking for her, but it was to no avail. Her son, Joshua, posted a note about Chrissy on his personal Facebook page, hoping to locate the lost puppy.
“It went and spread like wildfire, with over 500 shares on Facebook,” Herring said. “People were putting it on lost and found animal sites I didn’t even know existed … it was just awesome.”
Herring was looking at her son’s Facebook posting on Friday, Dec. 28 when she came across the picture the police department had posted. It fit Chrissy’s description perfectly and looked like a match, so she called immediately and drove over to the station.
Through the power of social media and sharing of the post, Chrissy was reunited with her owner.
“Oh my gosh, I squealed like a baby,” Herring said of her reunion with the puppy. “It was emotional. I live out past Oconee County Airport, so she had to swim or cross a bridge to end up where she was found. Thankfully, Officer Sudduth was where she was at the time. I hope she gets the proper recognition for taking care of Chrissy. There are no words to describe what that meant to me.”
Young said Sudduth went “over and beyond” the call of duty to care for Chrissy after discovering her in the wooded area the night of Dec. 27. But to Sudduth, who has been with CUPD since September 2016, she was simply doing her job.
“I was very happy to see Tammy loved her dog, and that we were able to have a happy ending for once,” she said. “I never thought I was doing anything different than anyone who would have been in my position that day.”
Maybe. But it doesn’t change the fact Sudduth’s care and one of today’s most powerful tools, social media, collided in what can only be described as a “Christmas miracle” for Seneca resident Tammy Herring.
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