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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Kevin Rader recently adopted an Upshur County dog, Kojak, at an adoption event in Pennsylvania. / Submitted photo

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Kevin Rader adopts Upshur County dog — and the two are getting along swimmingly

BUCKHANNON – Last weekend, an Upshur County dog found a new home with Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Kevin Rader.

Director of the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility Jan Cochran said Monday the dog left Upshur County two weeks ago to go to Bridge to Home Animal Rescue in McMurray, Pennsylvania.

Bridge to Home Animal Rescue is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. The organization’s mission is to find forever homes for homeless, abandoned or unwanted dogs. It doesn’t have a facility, so dogs live in foster homes until they’re paired with their forever pet parent.

“Bridge to Home Animal Rescue took him and they took him to an adoption event this past weekend and that is where the Pittsburgh Steeler adopted him,” Cochran said.

She said the dog’s name is Kojak and he is two years old, weighs 52 pounds and to the best of LUAC staff members’ knowledge, is a collie mix.

Replying to questions from My Buckhannon in several tweets Tuesday evening, Rader said Kojak was at first nervous but has since become more acclimated to his new ‘fur-ever’ home.

“When he first came home of course he was nervous,” Rader wrote, “but once he explored and understood that no one was going to hurt him and that he was in a loving home, he starting opening up and smiling.”

And their bond has only improved since then, Rader said.

“Every day since then, he has been nothing but great, and keeps on wiggling and playing with his toys more and more,” he said. ” [I’m] just very thankful and happy that I found him! Bridge to Home was fantastic with the entire process and made sure that he went to the right home.”

Cochran said LUAC tries to move animals to rescue homes as soon as is feasible to save as many animals as possible

“We try to move them as fast as we can to make room for incoming animals,” she said. “He was here for about two weeks before he went to the rescue because there was no interest to adopt him here.”

She said the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility does not choose which animals to send to rescues.

“The rescues tell us what they are interested in and then we send them. We don’t pick, it’s all about what they think they can place in their areas,” Cochran said.

Before Kojak left Upshur County, he was sponsored by Luv 4 Animals who paid for him to be neutered.

Kojak, who found his forever home with Pittsburgh Steeler Kevin Rader / Submitted photo

“He was a very nice dog, great with other dogs and we had one person inquire about him, but they never showed up to meet him,” Cochran said.

She said the facility works with rescue facilities more often than adopters.

“We do way more rescues than we do adoptions,” Cochran said. “We don’t get enough foot traffic in the doors and a lot of our foot traffic that does come in the doors ends up bringing [the pet] back like two or three days later because they decide it’s too much work, and they didn’t do the research on the breed and it just doesn’t work out,” Cochran said.

Rader is number 87 for the Pittsburgh Steelers and has been playing with them for a year now. The 6-foot-4-inch tight end attended Youngstown State college.

Tracey Lynn, director and founder of Bridge to Home Animal Rescue, posted that Rader waited for several hours in line to adopt Kojak.

Rader said he wanted to thank Kojak’s Bridge to Home foster mom for taking excellent care of his new pet.

“Kelsey from Bridge to Home, the foster mom for him, took great care of him for the days that she had him,” he tweeted. “The transition from her home to mine was flawless, and his behavior shows it. [I] couldn’t say enough good things about her and other staff members that picked me to adopt him.”

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