Ashley Blake and Joshua Scott are no strangers to the Barkley Marathons course, a strenuous 50 kilometer race that snakes through Frozen Head State Park in Wartburg, Tennessee. The pair was trekking through the woods in preparation for the race when they heard some loud rustling near the trail. This did not come as a huge shock to them, as it is common to hear and see wild animals in the woods. However, they were in for a huge shock when they got closer and realized the noise they heard was not a wild animal: it was a pile of small puppies.
There was a litter of five black Labrador puppies that seemed to be abandoned near a road. Rangers who work in Frozen Head State Park say this is a common spot for people to dump puppies because it is near a two lane highway and is typically empty, except for the occasional runner passing through. It was extremely cold that day and the puppies were trying their hardest to stay warm by huddling together, but they were shaking when Ashley and Joshua found them. So, they called the nearest ranger station to alert them to the situation and then gathered up the puppies in their arms to transport them to the rangers.
One of the rangers actually took the pups home because it was getting late and the local shelter had closed for the day. The next day, all five puppies were taken to the shelter in the hopes that they could be adopted into new homes. However, Ashley and Joshua could not stop thinking about the pups. So, the next day they went to check on them and then Joshua made a wonderful decision: he adopted one of the puppies. The dog, appropriately, is named Barkley after the infamous 50K race that goes through the woods where the puppies were discovered. The rest of the litter is now available for adoption through the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter: http://animalshelter.oakridgetn.gov/