(Photo above: The first moment meeting Charlie: approaching with caution.)
Just like thousands (yes, thousands!) of homeless and helpless animals just in southern Texas, Charlie found himself underweight, uncared for, scared, and scheduled to be euthanized at a border of Mexico kill shelter. The reason for his pending euthanasia: overcrowding. It didn't matter that Charlie was only 2 years old, kind, gentle, and yearning for help. What mattered was the overwhelming number of stray, dumped, and "owner" surrendered pets compared to the available resources. Sadly, chained and dumped dogs are a common sight in Texas and quite frankly, often not treated as living beings. While there are many individuals working to end this epidemic, that end goal is far from being reached and requires continuous support.
HOW DID CHARLIE MAKE IT OUT?
Charlie was rescued by Tracy's Dogs, a San Antonio based non profit who saves innocent lives with pending euthanasia dates and re-homes them into loving families across the United States. Tracy described Charlie as "a laid back sweet dog that doesn't like chaos and would prefer to be in a quiet environment. If he sees chaos breaking out, he'll step back and say 'I don't want to be a part of that.' He's one of those nice dogs that ended up in a very bad shelter down near the border of Mexico. He is so deserving of a new home."
Krista and Jordan saw Charlie's adoption video on YouTube and immediately fell in love. Krista says, "It was clear in the video that Charlie was very skittish and unsure of what might happen. We sent in our adoption application and waited, very impatiently. A few days later, Kerrie, the adoption counselor called us to talk about Charlie and make sure he was a good match with our family. We took the leap and adopted Charlie without meeting him but knowing all about his kind and gentle spirit from Kerrie. Charlie traveled by truck, along with 57 other pre-adopted dogs, from San Antonio, TX to Pittsburgh, PA. We anxiously waited and adoption day arrived! We had a new memory foam bed set up, many toys, treats, a blankie, all of the things that you think a dog will enjoy. The moment finally came. Charlie's name was called and we stepped forward to meet our new family member. A volunteer warned us that Charlie was very scared and we should approach him slowly as not to scare him. We bent down and Charlie cautiously got closer and took a look at both of us. We made our way home and the following weeks were a learning curve for us all! I keep using the word cautious but it's the most fitting word to describe Charlie's first few weeks with us. He stayed close to us, moved very slowly, and kept his head down much of the time. After a few days, we could tell he was settling in more and we were earning his trust. One night, we both left the house for a dinner out. We returned to Charlie panting, drooling, having chewed his bed to pieces and through a lamp cord (it wasn't plugged in thankfully). We were confused at the sudden behavior and concerned for Charlie. I personally dislike crating but we decided to try it ONLY to protect him since he chewed through a lamp cord. This outcome seemed to be even worse for Charlie. He was swimming in drool from panting so much, he pushed the bottom of the crate out, bent some of the siding, managed to pull a comforter through and completely chew it. We thought 'Oh my goodness. We're not going to be able to leave out house ever again!' We tried to gate Charlie in the kitchen with his bed but, of course, he hopped over it and chewed anything he could find. As Charlie fell in love with us, he also developed separation anxiety. So, we decided to buy him a bone and just start leaving the house for VERY small time amounts, 5 minutes at a time. Over the following months, we made sure that one of us was always with Charlie except for the planned times we left to build his tolerance for being alone. After about 8 months, Charlie was able to stay home for 2-3 hours at a time without signs of worry! Fast forward to today, two years later, we take Charlie with us everywhere we can but when he does stay home, he lays back, plays with his toys, and listens to his favorite jazz music knowing that we will return! Charlie has changed our lives. His eyes are soulful. He is a wonderful communicator and brings so much joy to so many lives! Some of Charlie's favorite things are: sweet potatoes, frisbees, playing hide and go seek, and getting his ears scratched!"
SO HOW DID CHARLIE & FRIENDS BEGIN?
Soon after adopting Charlie, Krista felt she needed to get involved with Tracy's Dogs. She contacted them to inquire about volunteering and quickly started volunteering her time by checking references for pending adoption applications. Krista still felt that she needed to take more action, as Charlie's love changed her life. She began talking to Jordan about ways to further support rescues like Tracy's Dogs. From this. Charlie & Friends was born! It started with an experience which sparked an idea and quickly grew into an action. Charlie & Friends is a group of people who share a common passion: working to support the work of animal rescues by bringing the community together for events and spreading awareness of the immense need for compassion toward animals. The other great thing about Charlie & Friends is that it's a community, meaning you can be a part of it! Our mission will only be successful with community support and we hope to build our team as we grow!