Locked in a cage and abandoned in an open field, little Charlie had no chance of survival.
The sweet dog was trapped in a nest of her own feces and urine, and wanting to live, she tried to gnaw her way out of the top of the cage, but, starving, she didn’t have the strength.
Just as she had given up hope, a father and son spotted the crate and were heartbroken to find a black dog, a “scabby skeleton, smelling so strongly of death.”
On a cold rainy day in January, Bret Winingar and his son Zach were riding their motorcycles through the back roads near Little Rock, Arkansas. Along the path, they saw a crate that was partially hidden by weeds in the open field and stopped.
“Something – or Someone – made us stop and check the crate. What we found was beyond horrible…” writes father Bret on his site, Charlie Bravo, Motorcycle Rescue Dog.
Bret describes her condition as “oozing abrasions on her hips, spine, head and legs,” caused by “contact sores from constant contact with the inside of the filthy crate.”
The length of her incarceration is unknown, but Bret shares that it was long enough for her claws to grow into her pads, making it impossible for her to walk. “…and long enough for her to grow desperate enough for escape to attempt to chew out the top of her plastic prison in a frenzy of hunger and claustrophobia,” he adds.
As the two were on their motorcycles, there was no way to safely pack the dog and take her home.
“Putting her back in the crate was NOT an option, so we had no choice but to leave her and ride hell bent for leather towards home, hoping against hope that she would still be there when we returned with Zach’s truck,” he said.
With a solid plan in place, the two fired back home but one of the bikes ran out of gas, which caused a delay.
Once home, they loaded into the truck and returned to the field, not expecting the dog would still be there.
“I was surprised to find her huddled against the very thing that had recently been her former prison, and felt my heart sink when she didn’t move as we approached.” Bret continues, “I was sure that we were too late. But then I heard an almost inaudible growl, and I thought, ‘if you’ve got enough strength to growl, you’ve got enough strength to live.’”
Placing her gently into the truck, Bret and Zach took her home, where she would join the family and a pack of dogs that already lived at the place Bret jokingly calls “Casa del Whackos.”
They named her Charlie Bravo after the Honda CB motorcycles the two were riding the day they found her.
“Soon, the ragged girl began to not only blossom into the black beauty she is today, but to find her own voice.”
Charlie was saved in 2015 and years later, she’s living her best life! She spends her days going on adventures with her humans, playing with her canine pals or cozying up in bed. She’ll never be locked up again in a crate.
Charlie’s story, Bret writes, hopes will inspire people. “Charlie was abandoned in her crate, skin over bones when we found her. To us, that crate is an analogy for every person that lives in a self-imposed prison…Charlie is beautiful and happy and blossoming today. She reminds us that with a little help, we can do that too.”
Stories about abused pets are always the hardest to read, and write. We are so thankful this story has a happy ending and that Charlie Bravo is living her years as a member of a loving family.
We hope you found some inspiration from Charlie and find a way out of whatever is holding you back from your “self-imposed prison.” Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of help.