Charlie’s Story — 4: “Who Wants to Go Car?” #dogs #rescue #heroes


So I told you all that the women who rescued Charlie and his mom, Mini and his sibs Freckles, Tip, Drama and Sleepy were named Annie and Mandi. I also told you those names were fake, because I didn’t want to disclose their names without their permission. I received permission. Annie is really Amy and Mandi is really Michele.

If you’re new here, please go to the first installment of this story. You’ll be glad you did.

When we last left Amy and Michele, Amy was desperately and exhaustedly trying to get Freckles from the teardown. It was terribly late, cold and she was soaked. She was calling in a favor, so to speak… Just not with the use of a phone. Those of you who have a sense of intuition and familiarity with channeling your friends as models in various moments will completely understand when Amy said, “My friend Margo is an animal catcher extraordinaire. She can get cats out from when they’re stuck between walls and other situations and so I just summoned her. You just need to go for it and see what happens. I feel like that’s what you need to do when you catch animals.”

“I’m not a natural animal-catching type person, but I thought of Margo and I just shoved my hand through the hole … and he started licking me. But the hole wasn’t big enough for the puppy and the puppy was too scared to come out. So for the longest time I would sit there and put my hand in and pull it out slowly, but he wouldn’t come out. He was the most stubborn … So again, I summoned Margo. I put my hand in and grabbed as much fur as I could just yanked as hard as I could against the hole and … he came out.”

“And then, he was just a little puppy! He still backed away and you couldn’t touch him without him flinching, but he was out, and fine, healthy and wonderful.”

Here’s me: Amy, you are officially an animal-catching type person now. Well done!

The seven-hour saga was over. Finally. There wasn’t a sixth puppy that they could discern, and it seemed as though everyone was where they needed to be.

It was after 3:00am.

After this, Amy and Michele, took Mini and her puppies to the nearby Days Inn hotel where they ate bologna and bread, probably their first solid food ever, and stayed until morning. No one slept though. The puppies spent a good deal of what was left of the predawn darkness screaming at the walls.

“I had made the error of telling someone at another hotel that we had rescued these puppies and they told me we were going to have to pay for any mess, so we left and went to the Days Inn… and we didn’t tell them about the puppies,” Amy said.

Although sleep was a nice idea, the fact is that no one was really able. The adrenaline rush from finally getting all the dogs out safely and then watch them eat bologna and bread was all Amy and Michele could ask for. “We just sat together on the floor for like a really long time, and watched them just be alive, and then we tried to sleep.”

“When we eventually woke up in the morning, the pup we named Sleepy, was the only one who was still asleep after everyone work up. Before that she was nameless, but then that seemed to work for her, since she was still asleep.”

So before heading home, for Maryland, Amy and Michele went back to the site in the daytime to make sure, absolutely sure that there wasn’t a sixth puppy and to try to get the male dog who was with Mini earlier. I know you guys were likely wondering… But they went back. They could see in the daylight that this wasn’t a trailer park at all. It was just three trailers, one that was absolutely decrepit, the one where the dogs were and the one where the kind woman lived and another abandoned one.

“We had a long conversation with the woman’s found out that there are all sorts of dogs that go through there. There’s one with a curly tail and another one — a bunch of other strays that come in and out of there who eat the leftover good she puts out. And so we tried to get the dad, by leaving food and Mini out, but she was food-aggressive against him, so that wasn’t going to work out because she ran him off from the perimeter of the car. So then, there was just no way. If Mini wasn’t on board, there was no way we’d be able to get him in the car with us. But we stayed there a few hours and then we went and spoke with some cops and see if they could help us. We were there a while trying to work that out.” It was hard to leave them all behind.

Amy told me that when they were ready to leave to head back home and call it a day and a half, they laid out the blankets in the back of the car and the dogs all laid together as a group. “But for at least a half hour to an hour, the dogs were screaming and yelping and howling in the back of the car. Michele and I, we just laughed.”

What else can you do? I like to think they were singing. That’s easy enough for me to say… I wasn’t in the car.

After dropping off Michele and a few of the pups with her at her home, Charlie among them, Amy finally headed home to her own house, “completely unprepared” to have a bunch of puppies stay with her.

Still, a little reminder: this was three days after they first found Mini and then two days before the first Polar Vortex. We just had the second Polar Vortex hit yesterday here; with snow this time. I am loathe to think of how the dogs would have fared during this second hit were they not spared from the first one.

So our conversation went on and we talked about the dogs and how they are all doing, and how they were adjusting to their new lives without one another and without the trailer and their new open spaces and families.

It seems that everyone is doing well.  I’ve written about Charlie here on the blog already, comparing his feisty, scrappy ways to the regal and more poised affectation of my gorgeous thoroughbred Murphy, for whom I wanted Charlie to be a friend. It was hard for me, bringing in this new dog, and unknown breed and unknown story. To trust him with my golden boy, was going to be asking a lot, and trusting Murphy to be kind to him and to not be mean. I felt in no small way that I was betraying Murph. That I was bringing home another baby to my first-grade son, because in effect, that was what I was doing. I told Amy about how Murphy has returned to us, how he’s come out from his hiding. I didn’t know it would’ve worked and I’m so happy it did.

I told Amy that I see myself as the person who gets to have Charlie, rather than as the dog that belongs to me. I’ve considered these animals, even before I met Charlie, as everyone’s dogs, because they were born without anyone, and it’s humanity’s job, as a whole to look out for its fellow man as much as it is to look after its fellow mammals and earth. Granted, Charlie is “ours” and my sons are in love with him, but the relationship between him and Murphy is what this is really about. They get along beautifully pretty well.  Murphy can appeal for respite any time he likes by going up the 14 stairs that lead to the upper level; this is something Charlie has never considered.

Charlie cries in his crate still, when we put him in it each night at bedtime, and Murphy walks on by, with a satisfied air, knowing he has paid his dues. Charlie sounds like Robert DeNiro in the closing scenes of “Cape Fear” when DeNiro goes down with the sinking riverboat, attached by handcuffs as it was slowly swallowed by the churning water amidst a torrential downpour in some backwater North Carolina backwater. It’s a scene I’ll never ever forget, because DeNiro knew he was going to die and he was crying out scripture in English and in tongues, mixed with some odd southern twangy Cajun, “blahdebla God will not forsake me… bluudobloodo blodo judgement is mine… Thus sayeth The Lord… glaalabalaggagh bloodooblotablaaah… Counselor!”

He quiets down now, much sooner than his first nights here, in a few minutes. He is safe, in his little crate with his wooba toy, his wrestling towel, a little nylabone and a bacon sock (a Molly original — it’s an old sock tied in a knot with some bacon oil on it for good measure). He loves it. He loves it all. Sometimes he will take a toy of Murphy’s and then Murphy will return the favor.

In other areas of the house, he has a little day care area:

charlie zone.

charlie zone.

I’ve tied a plush squeaky toy bone to a long string which is attached to a door knob leading from the kitchen to the dining room. When he pulls on that toy, he keeps himself detained in the kitchen, which is pretty ingenious if I do say so myself.

Murphy is showing interest in his own toys again. When I write, they are behind me in the doorway between the playroom and this office. Murphy used to lie at my feet, but now he’s got Charlie to play with. Sometimes all I hear are snorts and teeth clashing followed by the occasional toy squeak and tiny pounce of 15# paws on a carpet.

Charlie has lived with us a week now, longer than any other human family on earth. He has put on almost one and one-half pounds since his arrival. He goes on a daily six-fireplug tour, which lasts about 15-20 minutes, depending on how often he decides he’s done with the walk. Then after that, he and Murphy play the leash-a-lympics. He greets his humans at the door with a happy wagging tail and a measure of enthusiasm that should be harnessed to power small homes. He smiles up at you, giving you the sense that he is really super glad to be alive.

We feel blessed to be a part of this little brood’s legacy. Charlie is one of a kind. You can’t go to a breeder and ask for a Charlie from Mini. That’s what’s great about mutts; they break the mold with each incarnation.

Thank you Amy and Michele.

Today, I am feeling sympathy for the wife of Noah (Ark). I’ve got four animals and 11 fish in my house. The animals can’t go outside for long because it’s 7˚ out with wind chills of -10˚.

there's a dog in my son's hands. he's so dark, you can't see him.

there’s a dog in my son’s hands. he’s so dark, you can’t see him, but you can make out his paws and the tip of his nose.

I’ll be writing more about Charlie and Murphy and the cats who pretend the dogs aren’t here. Please do come back tomorrow to see some amazing photos from the rescue site. I don’t want to plug them in here because words fail and because I saw them after I finished this post. Suffice it to say, I believe they warrant some form of award to Amy and Michele for their over-the-top efforts to rescue these dogs. (It’s also a pain in the butt to insert photos into posts.)

Thank you.

About Grass Oil by Molly Field

follow me on twitter @mollyfieldtweet. i'm working on a memoir and i've written two books thus unpublished because i'm a scaredy cat. i hail from a Eugene O'Neill play and an Augusten Burroughs novel but i'm a married, sober straight mom. i write about parenting, mindfulness, irony, personal growth and other mysteries vividly with a bit of humor. "Grass Oil" comes from my son's description of dinner i made one night. the content of the blog is random, simple, funny and clever. stop by, it would be nice to get to know you. :)

2 responses »

  1. Mol,
    Thank you so much for taking is on this heroic adventure with Amy, Michelle , Mindy and all her pups!
    Please update us on the pups and Mindi! Can’t wait to read more about Charlie.

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