Friday, January 21, 2011

A tale of two city dogs

Tampa Bay

When you’re wounded and alone nothing lifts the heart more than finding a friend to lean on.

Charlie will be moving to Sacramento
Two dogs from opposite sides of the country and from very different backgrounds share their stories: one abandoned the other cared for and both in need of help. This is a story of two dogs and the special families they’ve adopted.

Charlie is a happy two year old American bulldog with a family and a good home and a special friend, his two and a half year old human baby brother. Charlie’s owner Morgan says the two are inseparable, which gives her comfort when her husband is away. Charlie’s dad is a sergeant in the army.

When Charlie’s dad recently returned from a tour of duty in the middle east the family made a painful discovery, Charlie is heartworm positive.

Treating heartworm is easier now than just a few years back but can be expensive. For a young family with a new baby, living off base and separated by war, the cost of treatment, $2000 or more, may as well be a million.



Pearl was running, or at least trying to run. She was lost, scared and her back leg ached from the effort. It had hurt for a long time.

Pearl on the porch at her new home
She tried to hide from strangers or when a car approached but time was running out for Pearl and her hunger drove her to take chances. Hunger and the pain in her leg numbed Pearl’s senses and when Eleanor and Sophie found her she no longer had the will to run.

Pearl’s rescuers took her to a clinic where the doctor examined her broken leg. The break had occurred some time back but had not been treated and now showed signs of painful healing, splintered and twisted, Pearl’s leg needed surgery and quickly but surgery would also be expensive.

Eleanor and Sophie posted a lost and found and to their surprise an owner came forward. When it was explained that Pearl desperately needed medical attention the owner refused, abandoning Pearl.


The city tale

As it sometimes happens when reporting a story, separate story lines merge into something larger than the original. The stories of Charlie and Pearl now take on a new significance as both dogs adapt to their new lives in Sacramento.

Charlie’s dad after returning to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa is preparing to move his family to their new posting at Beale AFB in California. They are trying to support Charlie and care for Charlie even as they ready themselves for the move, Charlie’s treatment which can be a protracted process over several weeks will have to wait and the cost still poses a problem.

Eleanor and her husband have decided to adopt Pearl. Eleanor is a part time park ranger and their family budget doesn’t include the necessary funds for Pearl’s surgery.

Both families began searching the internet for help and found For Paws Hospice, a non profit organization working to help families like Charlie’s and Pearl's remain together.

For Paws relies on communities like Tampa Bay and Sacramento, close knit communities that support the human animal bond, welcoming new families and offering help to those who open their homes and hearts to those in trouble.

If you would like to help either Pearl or Charlie, now would be a good time. Charlie and his family are moving to the Sacramento area in February and Pearl needs her surgery as soon as possible.

You can learn more about Charlie and Pearl at

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