I met Charlotte at the adoption event one Saturday. It was a sunny spring day—the kind of day to run free with no cares in the world.
I pulled into the parking lot of the library where the event was to take place, located the Last Chance Animal Rescue table and greeted the other volunteers. A voice called out from across the parking lot, “Hi.” A tall, imposing woman approached with a big dog in toe. Both of them had gentle expressions which belied their stature.
“This is Charlotte,” the woman said, introducing us to her foster dog. “She’s a very sweet girl, a tree-walking coonhound.”
Not familiar with the breed, I asked, “Can she really climb a tree?” The foster explained, “Yes, this breed can climb trees. That’s why people who get them must make sure they have tall, secure fenced in property. But Charlotte is nine years old. Maybe her tree climbing days are behind her. Honestly, I’m concerned. Being nine, I don’t hold out much hope for an adoption for her.”
The volunteers all lamented how a girl of nine years old could wind up in the rescue system. That scenario unfortunately is played out way too much. I can’t imagine how someone could bring a dog into their family, especially one as loving as Charlotte, and for no good reason at all drop her into a high-kill shelter. Why a high-kill shelter in the first place? Couldn’t they at least find a better sanctuary for a family member? Such uncaring people infuriate me and my only wish is that when they get old there will be no one to care for or comfort them. It is said that what you send out to the world will return to you tenfold. If that sort of justice does prevail, maybe the person who dumped Charlotte in a kill shelter will in turn one day be dumped in a nursing home known for deplorable conditions.
Charlotte took the freedom ride from South Carolina to Long Island where she met her foster family. She is safe now, but her background story got even sadder as it was relayed by her foster mom.
She was on death row in the kill shelter, but with euthanasia imminent, Charlotte was pulled not to safety but by a veterinary medical school for scientific purposes. She was going to be euthanized by the school as they taught students this process.
I believe if a dog is in serious pain and there is no hope for a quality life, it is humane to help this dog out of its agony. I believe the same for human beings and really wish that all states would adopt the law designed for terminally ill people that presently only exists in Oregon and New Hampshire. If two doctors sign off that a person is terminally ill, the person may die with dignity. But that law is meant only for terminally ill people and should only be enforced for terminally ill animals as well. There are way too many great animals being euthanized every day just because the shelters are so overcrowded.
Charlotte is a big, beautiful, energetic girl with so much life in her and so much love to give. My Lexington is going to be 10 and my Park will be nine this year, and I pray for continued health and another joyful 10 years at least with each.
At the eleventh hour, Charlotte was pulled from the hands of this veterinary school and brought into the Last Chance Animal Rescue system. She was vetted and soon found her way to her foster family.
During the course of the adoption event, I took Charlotte for many strolls including a long walk in a grassy area next to our table. I soon learned that she was a real mush with a heart of gold. All she wanted was attention and love.
At the end of the day, Charlotte left with her foster mom. The next day, Sunday, an adoption event was taking place at Petsmart Port Jefferson. I went with camera in hand to take pictures of the dogs for the LCARescue Facebook. I circulated, talking to volunteers and taking photos of the dogs, and then I turned to see beautiful Charlotte from a distance. Our eyes met and I could immediately tell she recognized me.
I went to her, kneeled down and hugged the girl. I received friendly licks in return. People continued sharing concerns about Charlotte’s age standing getting in the way of this great girl being adopted. Maybe they were right. From what I have seen at rescue events, the puppies get adopted quickly, but older dogs remains in the system for a while until a well-informed adopter realizes the quality that an older dog offers.
I completed taking the photos and returned to give Charlotte one last kiss goodbye, fully expecting to see her at the adoption event next week.
That night as I perused the Last Chance Facebook, I was met with a delightful surprise. There was a picture of Charlotte on a backyard deck with her new parents. It was a great picture; she looked completely happy with them as she leaned into her new mommy with her proud daddy standing by.
I found out late that shortly after I left, a couple arrived, took one look at Charlotte and decided she was the girl for them. Since the couple had been pre-approved by the rescue, the adoption happened rather quickly.
I’m so happy for Charlotte. I am happy that she was pulled from the jaws of death just in time to be rescued, sent up to Long Island where she received wonderful care from her foster family until she met her forever family.
I can imagine that on the first night with her new family, Charlotte curled up with her mommy and daddy, took a great sigh of relief as she closed her eyes, and had the best rest she has had in a very long time. She knows she is safe now, she is loved now and she is so relieved for that. She will thank them with kisses and fill their lives with joy.
To find out more about Last Chance Animal Rescue and potential rescue dog adoptions, visit lcarf.org.
Barbara Anne Kirshner is the author of Madison Weatherbee-The Different Dachshund. She is a regular contributor to DansPapers.com.