Many of you either knew Charlie or knew about him. He was the most wonderful, amazing, special older Shepherd boy who had lived a very difficult life. I blogged his story back in 5-5-11. We found a mess by going down an alley one day about a yr. or more ago. These people had a make-shift pen in the back yard with a blk and a yellow lab in there. The middle of the pen was a sinkhole and every time it rained it just filled up with water and it would look like they had a lake in there. There was mud and feces and the dogs were thin. They also had Charlie (we named him his new name when he was liberated). He was an older Shepherd chained up in a very crappy corner of the back yard. His area was disgusting as well.
We had tried to talk with the owners, but they were not very receptive. They did not want to get their dogs spayed and neutered. We finally called animal control and they found no violations. Before too long, the labs had a litter of puppies in the pen. It was disgusting, but there wasn’t much we could do. We’d called animal control over there. The people were not receptive, so we just drove by once in a while to check on things, but it was always shitty.
One rainy, chilly day last spring, we went down the alley and there were the two labs. This time, they were out of the pen and chained to the fence. They had no shelter that they could get into since they were chained outside of the pen. It was raining pretty good and they were soaked to the bone and shaking from the cold. There sat Charlie, in his corner where he no doubt had lived for many years, ignored, forgotten, and neglected. We called animal control again and they went out again. They gave the owners a verbal warning. We were very disappointed. Things were a mess over there-they had been for a long time and we couldn’t get anything done about it.
Finally, about 1-2 weeks after verbally warning the people, animal control finally took the labs. However, they left Charlie there. Probably because he had a crappy, wooden dog house. We didn’t forget about Charlie and we were finally able to make him a Chain of Hope dog. After all of these years, Charlie was finally going to get the medical care he so desperately needed and the love and attention that he needed and had never had. He was a sweet, gentle old soul with brown soulful eyes. He had endured years of the steaming hot, humid weather with the flies eating away at his ears (his ears were pretty badly scarred from the flies eating at them summer after summer). He had endured many dark, freezing cold nights when we can barely stand to run from our house to our car and yet Charlie was out there, year after year, trying to stay warm in his piece of shit dog house. Thank God he was finally free.
To make a long story short, Charlie tested positive for heart worms and also was diagnosed with cancer. Wendy Hood, one of our awesome, compassionate, wonderful volunteers offered to bring Charlie to her house and provide hospice care for him. Charlie settled in and began feeling better and putting on some weight. It was a challenge for Wendy to get him to eat well everyday-she made many concoctions to entice him, but he did put some weight on. His favorite thing in the world was to go for his walks with Wendy and her two other dogs, who Wendy lovingly called “Charlie’s Angels”. Wendy said when she got the leash, he would dance around all happy and be very excited. He loved to go out for walks and smell the smells and see what he could se. Imagine living in the same damn corner of the yard for years and years, never coming off your chain. The vet aged Charlie at about 8-9 years old and because of his cancer, we decided not to put him through heart worm treatment. The vet said that you never know, but we may have Charlie with us for a couple of more months.
We set Charlie free this past Monday, 6 months to the day after Wendy brought him home. He began failing-not eating much at all, not even wanting to get up and go for his walks. Wendy was so intuitive about Charlie, she knew. Charlie had had the best 6 months of his life and he loved Wendy and she loved him deeply. So did Alan, Lorna, and others that were around Charlie during the 6 months at Wendy’s. Wendy gave Charlie all the love and attention and TLC that he had never had. It’s a painful loss to not have Charlie there to care for and nurture every day. Please send good thoughts and prayers Wendy’s way. Thank you, Wendy, for opening your home and your heart to that precious soul.
Providing hospice care for an animal, especially one that has been neglected or abused, is a high calling. The emotions involved are complex, yet a safe, comfortable place to live and be loved for the last few months of their lives, is a priceless, self-less gift that you could provide for an animal.
I sadly need to tell you all that our beloved Lexi, our little butterfly, who was shot in the leg and had to have her front leg amputated as well as a large mammary tumor removed, has cancer. We had x-rayed her chest a couple of months ago and they were inconclusive-the vets didn’t think they saw anything on them suspicious. We had followed up her amputation several weeks later with a chest x-ray before beginning her heart worm treatment. It is then that we discovered that the cancer that was most likely in her mammary tumors had spread to her lungs. She had several metastasized spots on her lungs. We’ve had Lexi with us at Chain of Hope since the end of August 2011. She’s become our mascot because she likes to lay out front and keep watch on everything, as well as greet visitors. She’s a delightful girl and we all love her very much. We would like to find a hospice home for her for as much time as she has left, which no one really knows. The vet is guessing that it may be a couple of months.
If you can find it in your heart to give Lexi the most wonderful, comfortable time of her life for her last couple/few months, please let us know. She LOVES to lay outside in the sun. If you have a yard or a patio or something where Lexi can stretch out and take her long naps in the sun, that would be perfect for her! Hospice isn’t for everyone. It is a very emotional thing to take on, but it is so rewarding to give the gift of a home environment and lots of love and attention for such a deserving dog. Lexi is wonderful and we are so thankful that she is not sitting in that pen with a dangling broken leg and tumors. Chain of Hope provides all of the medical care and support that you need to offer Lexi a place to be safe, secure, and loved until the very end.
So much of our work is depressing for us, but we persevere for the animals. Thanks for keeping us going!
Run free, Charlie! Wendy-you were truly Charlie’s Angel.