Lakewood Ranch Publix employees adopt dog for loyal customer whose pet was hit by car

Manatee County

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Publix employees recently went the extra mile for a loyal customer who suffered a loss after his dog was hit by a car.

Leslie Hinton and Kathy Clifton say Bob Eck is one of their favorite customers. They said they would always ask Bob about his dog Bobo when he stopped in their Lakewood Ranch store.

“And one day, unfortunately, when Bob came in, I asked him how Bobo was and he told me the sad story about how he had got hit by a car,” Hinton said. “So we all cried. And Kathy actually is a big dog person also, and she said ‘we need to get him another dog.’”

Hinton was hesitant at first, not knowing if Eck was ready for another dog.

“I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to go, but they insisted I go,” Eck admitted.

The trio met up on a Saturday morning and went to the Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA in Bradenton.

“Maybe I was stubborn to talk Bob into it but he didn’t need much coaxing when we started looking at the dogs. And when we say Peppy, that was it,” Clifton said.

Peppy is a 4-year-old, active little pooch.

Hinton and Clifton paid out of their own pockets to save the dog and give him a new home with Eck.

“He was scheduled to get euthanized. And I adopted him and took him down and had the heartworm treatment. And now he [doesn’t] have heartworm anymore and he’s happy,” Eck smiled.

Clifton has also lost dogs. She said she knew this was something they had to do.

“I understand what it’s like to lose a pet. They’re the family. They’re part of the family. And when Bob came in and told us and we just saw the way he was, we just had to do it,” she said.

Eck may have not been ready for Peppy initially, but he said that now, life is good.

“It’s great. He stays right with me and he loves me,” he smiled. “He flies around, chasing rabbits, chasing all my cats. And then we he gets there he don’t do nothing, just snuggles up. He just loves the chase.”

“Peppy was the first one that started licking Bob. And we just fell in love with him and he comes in to visit us all the time and we love him,” said Hinton.

Clifton and Hinton even won the “Mr. George Gold Coin” award through Publix for their good deed.

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