From his Final Refuge Mom:

We had just been approved as a final refuge foster home with Old Dog Haven when we got the email from Judith at ODH about an old boy who was in very bad shape. It included the warning that his condition was so poor that if we brought him home we would need to be prepared for the possibility that this could be a short time hospice situation.

Charlie had come from a situation of neglect and along with several other dogs was removed by Animal Control. We don’t know how long he had lived that way, but by the condition of all the dogs it had been quite a while. Charlie, who was estimated to be between 15-16 years old, was underweight, covered in fleas and suffering from chronic dermatitis, going blind from cataracts and dry eye and had a mouth so rotten that he was drooling pus. And that was only what we actually knew for sure. Until lab work could be done any possible heart trouble or chronic disease couldn’t be ruled out. With all that known, the only question was “when will he arrive home to us?”

When Charlie first arrived, he seemed shell-shocked. No surprise there, especially given his lack of vision.  Not being able see us, or where he was…I can only imagine how disorienting his whole ordeal had been. And he was obviously suffering discomfort from his mouth. Within a few days he seemed to be adapting well and we arranged for his much needed dental procedure. Every tooth had to be removed and his recovery was rough at first. But once his healing was complete he was a new boy! Not only was he out of pain, but he started to come out of his shell and began melting our hearts.

And the transformation was amazing. Not only did his lovely sweet side come out, but we also learned what a smart boy he is. On his own he learned how to walk outside using our doggie ramp and steps to get in and out of the house. And lucky for us that he did, because once he could eat decently he filled out so well that carrying him up and down the steps would have been a challenge. It is such a wonder to watch him maneuver his way in and out and brings us such delight.

Now that he has settled into his forever home most of his time is spent like many dogs his age – sleeping. But his very favorite time of the day is meal time. He waits enthusiastically at our feet while he knows his meal is being prepared, bouncing and dancing as he awaits his bowl. The only time we hear him bark is one sharp yap if we take too long to serve the meal. Too adorable! And he is the most enthusiastic greeter of all the canines in the family. Just the sweetest, sweetest boy.

We would never have expected such a lovely outcome based on that initial email. We were prepared for the worst. But it is happily ever after for all of us. The joy we receive from having him in our lives is endless and we can’t thank ODH enough for bringing him into our family.

Update:  Charlie had a wonderful year with his loving Final Refuge family, but dementia finally took over.  He was a very old boy and was very much loved.