“No longer able to care for my pet” is often a reason we hear for people surrendering their animals to us here at Stafford Animal Shelter. In the case of 9 month old Terrier Mix Charlie, her previous owner was not prepared emotionally or financially to handle her special medical circumstances and thought rehoming her would give her a better opportunity at life. So far, his wishes have come true thanks to our staff, a special business partner and non-profit who have pitched in to help.
Little Charlie was born with congenital malformation of the spine, pelvis and hind limbs leaving her back end paralyzed. Although she can not walk on all fours, she pulls herself and hops around to maneuver where she needs to be. She was evaluated by our medical staff and they determined that she is healthy and not suffering with her condition at this time. Despite her disability, right now Charlie is a happy girl who loves greeting our guests at the front desk, playing with the other dogs, cuddling with our junior volunteers and she even loves swimming.
To make her more comfortable we started taking her to see Darcy Cook at Black Dog Rehab to help with mobility and she has been donating her time to help Charlie through massage & dry needling. Since Charlie responded so well to using Black Dog’s hindquarter harness, we thought it was best to look into getting her a wheelchair too. Realizing caring for Charlie is a large expense for us, we researched online for discounted wheelchairs and found Jason Parker and his non-profit “Gunnar’s Wheels” which was featured on The Today Show. They provide free wheelchairs to dog’s in need around the country. His organization was inspired when his beloved dog Gunnar was hit by a car and he and his wife Stephanie needed to spend $7,000+ on surgeries and wheelchair for their best pal. Their friends and family started a GoFundMe page to help raise the money and buy Gunnar a wheelchair. From that moment, he said he would “pay it forward” and to-date the auto parts salesman from Wisconsin has raised over $70,000 and shipped out 130 chairs including a pink one to our girl Charlie!
She is learning how to walk in the chair and is doing well with it, matter of fact we need to put a leash on her so she doesn’t tear off too fast across the yard, nothing is going to stop this determined little lady. A generous gift has given her a new sense of freedom which she’s never experienced and now Charlie is ready to roll into a forever home.
She is currently up for adoption at the shelter but we are looking for a foster home for her right away. She is “potty trained” in that she knows when to tell us to let her outside, but sometimes she has accidents. We are doing the best we can at the shelter but we do not have the resources to provide her the care needed and worry that we cannot provide her the quality of life that she deserves here due to limited staff availability and the demands of the other animals we care for here at the shelter. Also, we have these fabulous new wheels and donated treatments by Black Dog, but we must supervise her when wearing them and train her to use them, right now she’s only getting about 30 minutes a day of practice and we need help running her to appointments. She did have a great foster home and was doing very well there but they just found out that they adding a baby to the family and realize they cannot give Charlie the attention she deserves. Charlie currently weighs 38lbs and would need to be fostered/adopted by someone is capable of lifting her in and out of her wheelchair. Wanting to help a dog in a wheelchair is an easy decision…taking on the day to day commitment is difficult, but it is completely rewarding. We know opting to help Charlie was the right choice until we can find her the perfect companion or rescue group who can give her the proper medical care and attention she deserves so she can enjoy her life. That beautiful big smile and joy on her face when she’s “running” around is definitely worth it! Please share Charlie’s story far and wide and let’s help her roll on out of the shelter! We are willing to relocate her and help transport from Montana. Please understand additional screening will be required on this special needs adoption to ensure she has a healthy and happy home. Thank you to all the dedicated staff and donors of Stafford Animal Shelter, Black Dog Rehab & Gunnar’s Wheels who have helped her get this far!