As Denise Lauffer lined the bottom of the makeshift bed with handwarmers, she knew she had won Charlie over. Though she had been leaving food for the feral dog for years, in her neighborhood park in Manhattan, Charlie the mutt had started to get too old to take care of himself through the winter. That’s when Denise decided to step in and help.
Denise ended up spending two nights in the park, sharing a small shelter she had built for Charlie, trying to make it as comfortable for him as possible, and, hopefully, earn his trust.
Other neighborhood locals have been supporting Charlie (though some know him as Ricky) for years, bringing food for him and other dogs who wander through the Highbridge park. After being left by his pack, the community understood it was their responsibility to lend a paw.
“He’s a famous dog,” said one local who supported Charlie through the years. “There are different people, different nationalities, different backgrounds, and this one dog united them all.”
But Denise went the extra mile to spend two nights in the park, proving to Charlie that she was only interested in helping him. After bearing the freezing temperatures on her potentially hopeless task, Denise and others were able to get Charlie into a shelter van and take him to BluePearl Manhattan veterinary hospital.
According to the website I Still Love Dogs, Charlie has been officially adopted by one of the locals who had left food for Charlie along with his other supporters through the years.
It’s nice to know that Charlie-Ricky will be taken care of in his old age, and that he won’t be far from the park he had called his home. Now when he visits the park, he won’t have to stay there through the night, instead sleeping in the warm bed provided by his new mom.
You can donate to Charlie’s, or Ricky’s, medical care here.