The happily ever after story of Rickles the chocolate Lab

Rick Wagner • Jul 17, 2019 at 8:30 PM

Mission accomplished: Rickles the chocolate Lab, left without a home last year when his military owner was deployed overseas, has a forever home with room to roam, six dog buddies and a pond to boot.

New owners: the Bearden family of the Reservoir Road area near Kingsport.

Shelter that facilitated the adoption: Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue, Blountville.


Bridge Home was seeking a new home for Rickles in September, 2018. His owner was unexpectedly deployed to Afghanistan when Rickles was 9 months old. His owner had made arrangements to leave the puppy with a neighbor who lived in an apartment, but when that didn’t work out, the neighbor brought the dog to Bridge Home, a not-for-profit shelter founded and operated by Regina Isenberg at  2061 Highway 75 near Tri-Cities Airport.

Isenberg’s requirements for a home for Rickles included a loving family with a fenced-in back yard. Isenberg said this is exactly what DeRhonda and David Bearden provide. Isenberg said Rickles, a chocolate Labrador retriever, is rambunctious and has high energy.

The shelter neutered Rickles and got him all his shots. DeRhonda said her husband appreciated Rickles’ situation because he is retired from the National Guard.


“He’s where he needs to be with room to run, water and other dogs,” DeRhonda said of getting Rickles on April 5 of this year. “He’s definitely where he needs to be.” 

DeRhonda, who used to be a neighbor of Isenberg’s and has volunteered for the no-kill shelter, said the first day she brought Rickles to the family’s property, he took to a pond and stream there very well. He also has access to a small kiddie pool on the porch, although she said he’s a bit hyper and not particularly fond of the screens, some of which he has removed, on the (formerly) screened-in porch.

“He’s like a 2-year-old toddler,” DeRhonda said of Rickles, who is fully grown but still very active.

As a puppy, Rickles was prescribed a sedative, she said. “He doesn’t have a malicious bone. He is like a big kid.”

Isenberg is delighted with the outcome of Rickles’ story.

“Rickles is a very lucky dog. He now has a wonderful home,” she said.



DeRhonda said Rickles, now right at 18 months old, enjoys his new home, which includes a 1.5-acre, fenced-in lot with a half-acre pond and a stream. He shares it with six other dogs:

— Two terrier mixes named Spot and Mickey, given to DeRhonda by someone at Tractor Supply in Kingsport.

— A dachshund and Chihuahua mix named Leon, given to her by someone in Kingsport.

— A black Lab named Gomez, adopted through Isenberg.

— A dachshund and Chihuahua mix named Griffin, given to her by a volunteer who works with Isenberg.

— A Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix named Buster Brown, whom she adopted.


Those interested in adopting a pet may go by Bridge in Blountville, call (423) 239-5237, email www.bridgehomerescue@gmail.com or contact other animal shelters in the area.





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