Special Stories

Charlie – A life Transformed

By September 1, 2015 June 5th, 2017 3 Comments



“Come on, Charlie, let’s go.”

<Yawn> We’re going somewhere? It’s early for a walk. But he’s got the leash. We’re going somewhere!

“Come on, Charlie, NOW.”

You know my joints and legs don’t move as they used to. But I’m so excited we’re going somewhere! Now I’ve got my leash on and we’re heading out the door. <sniff> What a nice day! Ooh, what’s this? We’re going in the CAR! This is indeed a special day!

“Get in, Charlie.”

But I need help?

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Charlie, get in the car.”

You know I can no longer get in the car by myself. That seat is too high for me to jump onto. Why are you no longer patient with me? Oh, good! The window’s open. I love looking outside and sniffing. Where are we going? We’re in the car – this should be fun. Why doesn’t it feel fun today? And why are we stopping here?

“Come on, Charlie, get out.”

<Sniff> What is this place? This feels strange and the smells make me nervous. <Sniff> Where are we? Why are we here?

“Come on, Charlie, this way.”

I don’t know these smells. Where are we?

“Hello, sir. What can I do for you?”

“I’m dropping off my dog, Charlie.”

“And why are you surrendering Charlie?”

“He’s old.”

Why are we here? Who is this human? I don’t know her smell. She is talking to my human but he doesn’t seem happy. Now she’s looking at me. She has kind eyes – but who is she? She pats me gently <wag> but I’m not sure I like it. This doesn’t feel right to me. If I could just see my human’s eyes, I know I will be okay, but he won’t look at me. Are we staying here?

“Sir, to surrender your dog, you will need to fill out this surrender form. The fee is $25.00.”

“Okay. What happens to Charlie?”

Why is my human moving away from me? Why is he giving my leash to that other human? Is she going to take me back to my car?

“Charlie will be assessed for any health concerns as well as behavior. He will be our guest in Intake for 21 days.

“Then what?”

“Charlie will then be placed with other adoptable dogs in the Adoption Center.”

She looks at me so kindly and pats me with a gentle touch. But she has my leash and is leading me away from my human. No, this isn’t right. I want to go home!

I know that car sound … where is my human going without me? Please don’t leave me here!

“Come with me, Charlie.”

Why am I going with you?

“I know it’s not a place you know, but you’ll have a kennel of your own, a nice bed, water, and the food you need. We’ll take good care of you. Come on, I’ll walk with you at your pace. Do you want to sniff around the yard a bit?”

A lot of dogs are barking. <Sniff> The grass has a lot of smells. I want to go home! don’t know this place, the smells, all the barking. Please, let me go home!

“Charlie, it’ll be okay. You’re going to stay with us for a while so we can make sure you’re a happy and healthy dog. Be patient, old boy. We’ll take good care of you and find your forever home.”

The days pass. It’s not home, but Charlie learns to like his humans and feel safe.

“Good morning, Charlie! <Thump, thump> How are you today? It’s time for breakfast.”

My human is back! I like her voice more than I like all this barking! <wag wag wag> And I’m starving!

You’re going on an adventure today, to the Adoption Centerrfg234 where you’ll gets lots of walks and attention, play with your favorite toys, perhaps meet a playmate or two … and soon you’ll meet a family that will take you home and give you the love you deserve. <wag wag wag> We’ll make sure your next family is worthy of you!”

I don’t know what she’s saying but she’s smiling and patting me all over. <thump thump thump> I like her!

I’m going for a walk! I love my walks. But where are we going? Wait … I don’t know this place, the smells, the noise … where am I?

“This is Charlie, given up as ‘too old.’ Take good care of him – he’s a gem.”

My human is smiling at me but who are these other humans? I don’t know their smells. Oh no, she’s leaving without me. Wait! I don’t want to stay here … please don’t leave me. Take me with you!

“Well, hello, Charlie. Come along with me. You’ll have a nice kennel with a clean bed, water, toys, and good food. How does that sound to you?”

I don’t know this place. Who are you? Where’s my human? Where am I?

“You’re a good boy, aren’t you, Charlie?”

This human has kind eyes, too, and likes to pat me. But I don’t know this room, the smells, the barking … please, I don’t want to stay here!

Charlie has to settle into yet another routine – but dogs are resilient and, despite his older age, so is Charlie. The shelter’s staff and volunteers keep him and his home clean, and Charlie receives what he was promised: lots of attention, good food, and daily walks. He learns to trust his humans and discovers romping with new canine friends. And so, time passes.

Who are these humans? I don’t know their smells. Wait …

“Folks, this is Charlie. He’s new here and a gentle, loving soul.” <wag wag>

“Sorry, we’re looking for a younger dog.”

Hi folks, this is Charlie. He’s a senior dog but gives lots of love and affection, and he likes all humans and other dogs.” <wag wag>

“He seems like a nice dog but we’re looking for a different breed.”

“Good morning, Charlie!” I know his smell. I like him. “Let’s go for a walk – it’s a nice morning! Hey, Charlie, maybe today will be your lucky day, right? What a good dog you are.”

What’s this? A little human? Who is he?

“Mommy, I like this dog. I like his eyes. <wag wag wag> He is soft! What is his name?”

“Folks, this is Charlie, a gem and a gentleman. True, he’s a senior but Charlie loves kids and other dogs, and loves to go for walks and play with his toys – and he has plenty of years left. He just needs a family to love and take good care of him. Would you like to take him for a walk?”

“Mommy, I want to take Charlie for a walk, please? Come on, Charlie!”

I like this little human. I like his eyes and he smells good to me! <wag wag wag>

“Mommy, please can we take Charlie home? He can sleep in my bed with me! Charlie, do you want to come home with us?” <wag wag wag wag>

“Folks, Charlie is healthy, neutered, and up to date on all his vaccinations. His adoption also includes a microchip, in case he gets lost and you need to find him fast. If you want to adopt Charlie, you’ll need to complete some paperwork and pay an adoption fee.”
Charlie“Yay, Mommy! Yay, Charlie, you’re coming home with me! You can live in our house, and you’ll have a big yard and you can sleep with me and I’ll play fetch with you, too. Wow, look at your tail – it’s really wagging!”

I love my little human. I love them all.

I’m home.


Since 1963, the Animal Welfare League has been taking in hundreds of senior dogs annually, like Charlie, who has done nothing wrong but grow older and then, for some reason, is no longer wanted by his family. But the Charlies of the world deserve the same loving home as do the younger dogs among us. By participating in the 2015 Giving Challenge (made possible by The Community Foundation of Sarasota and The Patterson Foundation), you can help Charlie and other senior dogs at the Animal Welfare League by making a donation any time from noon and noon, September 1 – 2, at the web site www.givingpartnerchallenge.org.

This is the direct link to  AWL’s donation page on the Giving Challenge web site, you can email the  link to family, friends, and AWL supporters. Each gift is 100 percent tax-deductible and a receipt will be emailed to the email address provided.

For all new donations, the Patterson Foundation will match each of those donations, dollar-for-dollar, up to $250.00 (minimum donation is $25.00). Your donation will go such a long way to making the difference in an adoptable senior pet like Charlie. For more information about the 2015 Giving Challenge, please visit the Animal Welfare League’s web site, www.awlshelter.org, or call 941-625-6720.