Almost two million of the seven million canine companion animals placed in shelters each year are pure bred, according to the Humane Society.
One area dog has “gone social” as the unofficial pure bred rescue animal ambassador, encouraging the adoption of puppy mill canine companion animals that are saved and placed in local shelters as well as with breed-specific rescue organizations.
Charlie White, a silver miniature toy poodle, spent the first two years of his life living like a machine, serving as a stud dog in a Midwest puppy mill. In 2010, after being rescued by a group dedicated to saving dogs from puppy mills and unregulated breeders, he was adopted from the Monmouth County SPCA by the White family of Ocean Grove.
Today, with the help of his adopted mom, Lois White, he has taken to Facebook to tell the story of the millions of his four-legged friends.
In a first for me, I spoke with Charlie, the miniature poodle, and his mom Lois about their mission.
TBP: As a friend regularly asks, “Why buy a dog when you can save one?”
Lois: I always wanted a poodle and also felt strongly about rescuing a dog from a shelter. My daughter and I went to the Monmouth County SPCA to just look around.
We turned the corner and saw a bunch of small dogs. The volunteer told us that the Best Friends Animal Society just delivered a group of small dogs rescued from puppy mills. They had Mini Pinchers, Dachshunds, Shih-Tzus and one beautiful toy poodle.
The minute Charlie and my eyes met, we had a connection. He had a blank stare and the cutest face. He was going to be my forever puppy.
Charlie: I was so scared, dirty and beaten down, I didn’t know what was going on but when I saw my mom and her daughter I knew everything was going to be okay.
The SPCA explained that I lived the first two years of my life in a small crate and didn’t know how to walk on a leash or up stairs. I did not even know how to play with toys. Everything was going to be new to me. But the SPCA volunteers stressed they would be there to make sure my new family got the support they needed to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Lois: I knew poodles were smart and Charlie connected with our family in two days. In a couple of weeks, he was like any other dog running and playing and comfortable in his new home. It was so beautiful and gratifying to see his spirit come alive.
Now it is a joy to see him every morning. When I come home in the evening he dances with me – you can see the video online. Everyone who sees him enjoys him. We go to Café Volan, Sea Grass, Toast and other local places like the art supply store Rebearth. Charlie always spreads the word about horrible puppy mills and rescuing pets from shelters. He is so grateful and thankful and wants other people to help his friends get adopted.
Charlie: I want to encourage people to go to their local shelters where there is such an urgent need for good homes for dogs as well as cats. There are also so many breed specific rescues online that there is just never a need to buy a dog.
Lois: My goal eventually is to write a book about the travels of Charlie or “Charwee” as his friends in Ocean Grove and Asbury Park call him. I will take the proceeds from anything I do with Charlie to help support puppy mill rescue pets. Charlie thinks we saved him but really, he is a gift to our family.
Learn more about Charlie’s mission at Facebook.com/CharWeeTheWittleGuy.