Thursday, October 20, 2011

Charlotte's Story

Pet's name:
Adopted by: Heather Dalton
From: A shelter in Columbia, Md.

I first saw Charlotte on a Thursday night in April 2008. I was regularly volunteering at a local shelter, and I was there to photograph the new dogs for It was cold, it was raining, and although I didn't know it at the time, Charlotte had just been surrendered by her owner several hours earlier. It wasn't the best first impression—she was soaking wet and seemingly unimpressed with everyone, as she didn't beg for attention or have as much personality as most dogs did. She wasn't even my favorite new dog of the night, so I had no idea yet that she was meant to be mine!

Two days later I was back at the shelter to help out at Saturday's open house adoption day, and I wanted to get a better photo of Charlotte for her Petfinder profile. I went into her kennel and sat near her. She didn't jump on me or run away from me; instead, she just came close to me and stood near me as if she were seeking protection. I realized she wasn't an uninteresting dog—she was an incredibly sensitive, intelligent, and frightened dog! I knew right then I wasn't going to let just ANYBODY take her home. At the end of the day no one had filled out an application to adopt Charlotte, so I offered to take her home until the next adoption day so that she wouldn't have to sleep in the noisy, smelly shelter.

The first thing Charlotte did when she got past my front door was to turn on her back and do a happy dance right there in the foyer. I guess she was already sold on me! Meanwhile, I found out that although she had less than NO leash manners, she was an incredible houseguest (and continues to be). She never touched a single thing in the house that wasn't meant for her, stayed off the furniture, and was already crate-trained. Score! Not everything that first week was easy, but before I knew it, I wasn't willing to give Charlotte back. She never set foot inside of the shelter again: she stayed home the following week while I went in to fill out her adoption paperwork.

Since then, she has been by my side at every step—she’s my shadow, and I couldn’t lose her if I tried. She’s a heck of a swimmer, a lightning-fast sprinter, and can turn on a dime. She loves riding in the car but makes for an absolutely terrible passenger. She sits six inches from the fireplace all winter, sleeps all the way under the covers at night, and loves to eat apples, kale, and broccoli. She protects me against absolutely everyone whether I want her to or not (including my very own parents, much to their dismay). She can learn a new trick in a weekend or less, will chase anything else that has fur, and peeks in all the shop windows when I take her on walks. She reminds me when it's time to feed her if I haven't already, and she knows she always gets one last treat every night before bed. She's smarter than I ever would've guessed, and much snugglier, too. She's everything to me, and I love her to pieces. I couldn't have picked—or, depending on how you look at it, simply happened upon—a better dog.

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I had to laugh about the "one last treat". My parents' dog knew she was supposed to get three treats. If my father tried to give her just two treats, he would find her waiting for the third treat.

  2. Reminds me of a quote I've heard before: "If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them."

  3. I love it! Thank you so much for posting Charlotte's story, Kate! If only Charlotte could read, she'd be so proud of herself for being featured on your site. : )

  4. You're welcome! Her photos are just so cute!


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