Most of us can’t even imagine living in a meth house but what if you didn’t have a choice? What if you were forced to live in a house with numerous people as well as other dogs, some of whom could not even walk? You felt horrible all of the time and received little to no attention. Pretty tough to imagine, huh? Well, for Charley that was reality for a very long time. Most likely the first 5-6 years of his life. The horrors that he had always know would come to an end in March of 2015.
That is when the meth house was shut down, arrests were made and all of the dogs inside were rescued. I was told that there were about 16 dogs living in this house and several of them were in such bad shape they had to be euthanized. Charley was one of the lucky ones. Not only was he pulled from this horrible situation but he was rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue who brought him back to Colorado where he could get the care he needed and the love he deserved.
Charley was covered in fleas and ticks when he was rescued and had a laundry list of ailments most of which were caused by or complicated by the flea and tick infestation. He had blood in his stool, Demodex, generalized alopecia, Ehrlichia, significant flaking of the skin with papules and pustules, bacterial skin infection and both ear canals had proliferative growths blocking the ear canals (most likely from chronic ear disease).
Shortly after arriving in Colorado Springs he was seen by a veterinarian who performed surgery to remove the blockages in his ears. Charley also went through 6 laser therapy treatments to completely heal his ears. During this time he was neutered, had his teeth cleaned and was treated for his various skin ailments. He was a pretty miserable little guy but luckily he was surrounded by a lot of love.
Charley lived at Lily’s Haven (the NMDR kennels in Peyton, Colorado) until June when he was placed with an amazing foster family. They cared for him like he was one of their own and showed him what it was like to live in a home where people were kind and took really good care of you. He had a cat and other dogs to play with as well during this time.
It was shortly after he was placed in a foster home that my husband saw his photo on Facebook. The first time he showed me Charley’s picture I said, “He looks just like Chewbacca.” We immediately fell in love but at that time we were pretty set on being a one dog household. Our Cairn Terrier mix, Bailey didn’t always accept other dogs and would become pretty jealous so we didn’t think it was a good idea to bring another dog into our family. But we did what we could to share Charley’s picture and find him a home. Little did we know….
Throughout the summer, Charley’s foster parents would share pictures of him on Facebook. We were shocked that he hadn’t been adopted. He was so adorable, who wouldn’t want to take him home? We talked about it a few times but always came to the same conclusion. There was no way that Bailey would accept another dog in our home or would she????
Fast forward to August 9, 2015. The Downtown Sunday Market (a local farm & craft market in Colorado Springs) was hosting their “Dog Days of Summer” event and we found out that NMDR would be there with several of their adoptable dogs – including Charley. Seriously how is it that this dog was still looking for his forever family? Anyway, we decided to take Bailey to the park and just meet Charley. My husband’s exact words were, “We are not coming home with another dog.”
We got to the park and found the area where NMDR was set up. It was the most amazing thing and something neither of us could believe. As soon as Charley’s foster mom set him down in the grass he and Bailey sniffed each other and sat down in the park together. We had never seen Bailey behave like this with any other dog! She normally went nuts, jumping and crying. Not this time though – it was so odd that it had to be a sign. So, we visited with Charley and his fosters for a few more minutes inquired about the adoption application and then went on our way.
We walked around the park for a bit and discussed the matter some more. When it was time to leave we were headed for the car when Bailey again acted completely out of character. She led us back to the NMDR area and to Charley. This was definitely a sign we could not ignore. Even if we were still undecided Bailey had decided for us; she wanted a brother! We went home, completed the application and then waited and waited. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long. Five days later we picked up our little Wookie boy and brought him home. There was a reason that he hadn’t been adopted yet – he was waiting for us.
We knew when we brought Charley home that he was still not in perfect health. His skin was still a mess and we were told that his fur would probably never grow and that he would probably always have dry, scaly skin. So, the first thing I did was take him to our veterinarian. Dr. Pearson examined him and decided to do a skin scrape to make sure that the dermatex mites were gone. The skin scrape came back negative for mites so we decided to try to improve his skin holistically. He was given coconut oil with his dinner and we started doing twice weekly medicated baths. Over time we saw slight improvement. We accepted that on some level he would always have issues with his skin.
The following April I took him back to the vet for his vaccinations and again we discussed his skin issues. This time the doctor sent us home with a bottle of Vetericin. We sprayed the affected areas but again only saw slight improvement. It would be another year before we would have a diagnosis.
Despite Charley’s health issues he is a very happy and bouncy dog and has never met a toy he didn’t like. Charley was very quiet and shy when he was at Lily’s Haven but in foster care his personality started to emerge and now he is not the least bit shy.
Charley joined our family 2 years ago today and even though it’s been a bit of a rough road we wouldn’t have it any other way. He makes the world and our home a brighter place. No matter how challenging the day may have been Charley can always bring a smile to our faces!