A regular household dog cannot hunt for its own food, let alone make it on the streets. Their owners are usually around to give them everything they need and more, so when pooch and person get separated, things get desperate quickly.
Thankfully, there are organizations and volunteers who take care of at-risk animals, but it’s not without a lot of hard work. When a dog turned up in the strangest place one chilly October night, it was time for one of those heroes to step in…
When an unknown dog appeared at a liquor store in San Diego, nobody knew where it came from; in fact, nobody even knew how to save this animal until one woman walked in the door.
Sabrina Wilkerson is a member of the local animal rescue, as well as a volunteer at the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego County. She’s always happy to lend a helping hand to any four-legged friend.
According to the Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego’s Facebook page, the breed is disproportionately seen in the city’s shelters. Therefore, Sabrina and the other members often foster dogs in order to find them a suitable forever home.
Because of her association with this organization, Wilkerson received a phone call one evening early October of 2018. On the line was the owner of a nearby liquor shop, who had had an unexpected visitor walk into the store.
Sabrina asked the store owner if the dog was friendly, but he wouldn’t approach it. He did, however, get close enough to take a few pictures that he could text to Sabrina. Once she saw its helpless face, she jumped into her car and was on her way.
Once Sabrina arrived at the scene, she rushed to the scared dog’s side. There, she found it hiding underneath the orange juice, wet from being outside in the rain, and covered in a rag provided by the owner in an attempt to keep it warm.
At first, the animal did not want to go with the dog rescuer. Imagine being a lost pup, hiding in a strange bright place, surrounded by people you’ve never seen before. “He showed us his teeth,” Wilkerson said. “He was just stressed out,”
Still, Sabrina had plenty of experience with fearful chihuahuas and waited patiently for the dog to trust her. It paid off because not much later she was able to remove the dog safely from its hiding place and into a crate, with which she drove off to the nearest vet.
The reason why Sabrina took the dog to the vet right away was not only to make sure that it was okay, but to scan the dog for a microchip. Sadly, it wouldn’t be so easy…
The lost dog didn’t have a microchip, nor a collar with any kind of information. It was already quite late, so before Sabrina could take the next step, she took the dog home. There, she was able to discover a bit more of its personality. “He was sweet,” she said, “and he warmed up, and you could tell he was friendly.”
The next morning, it was time to bring the chihuahua to the local shelter — this was the protocol for rescuers, in case the original owners would show up in an attempt to find their dog. But this was one dog who wouldn’t be seeing the inside of a shelter…
Wilkerson admitted that “I didn’t take him in a crate. I figured I’d just carry him in my arms. I don’t know what I was thinking – I’d never done this before with a stray.” When she pulled the door of the car open to take the doggie out, it suddenly made a run for it.
Several onlookers tried to get a hold of the chihuahua, but unfortunately, it got away. Still, the dedicated dog rescuer didn’t give up. Instead, Wilkerson created flyers and hung them near where she had lost the pooch, in the hope that another hero might save the day.
And somebody did! That same night, a woman named Austin Walker called to say that she had found the runaway dog and that she’d return him to the same shelter to which Sabrina had tried to bring him earlier.
Wilkerson made her way back to the shelter in the morning to make sure the dog was, indeed, the same one she had lost. When she saw that it was definitely the same pooch, she decided to foster him and find him a new home. For the time being, she named him Austin, after his new hero.
When nobody came to find the dog or adopt him at the shelter, it was time for Austin to come home with Sabrina once again. This time, the two had the opportunity to bond, and she became quite attached to the little pooch. “He takes a little while to warm up, but he’s a sweetheart when he trusts you,” she said.
Despite her own fondness of little guy Austin, Sabrina did set out to find him a forever home. She owned and fostered plenty of dogs already and did not quite have the time to give him the tender loving care he needed. Luckily, it didn’t take long at all before she had found a winner…
On October 28, only a few weeks after Austin was rescued from the liquor store, a couple named Kate and Irina showed up on Sabrina’s doorstep, ready to take Austin home with them. They had adopted a shy chihuahua before, so Sabrina knew Austin would be in perfect hands.
Irina worked from home, so she had plenty of time to devote to their new pet, which was exactly what he needed. On top of that, he got to play with the chihuahua that the moms already owned, so Austin’s future was certainly looking up.
Wilkerson told her followers who knew Austin’s story that his new family “understood that he’s going to need some time and patience.” But the dog rescuer knew he’d soon thrive with “consistency and stability. I have no doubt that he will turn into a confident, happy, loving little boy.”
Unfortunately, Austin’s story is far too common in the animal world. One father and son duo realized this when they spotted something strange on the road—and they couldn’t bear to ignore it…
Zach Winingar / Facebook
Bret Winingar and his son, Zach, often went on adventures together through the great outdoors. Still, Bret—a self-described lover of “mildly extreme sports”—could never have predicted for the adrenaline rush they’d experience during one fateful motorcycle ride.
On a seemingly ordinary day, the father and son were enjoying a pleasant ride in Little Rock, Arkansas, when they spotted a strange object on the side of the highway. It looked worn and dirty, but Bret could tell even from a distance what it was: a pet crate.
Most people would just drive by without a second glance, but the two men didn’t hesitate. They promptly pulled over and realized that the crate had a giant hole in it. It seemed it’d been intensely chewed through by something that was desperately trying to get in—or out.
Knowing that any trapped animal could be dangerous, Bret and Zach approached cautiously. When they opened the door, they were stunned. Inside was a dog—and she was badly emaciated and hunched over from being locked in the cramped box for so long.
The men knew exactly what they needed to do. After speeding home on Bret’s motorcycle, they returned in their car with a giant bag of dog food—which the starving pup promptly devoured. This was only the beginning of their journey, though…
As soon as the dog hastily gobbled up as much of the food as she could, the father and son brought her into their car, where she would have more room to stretch out and be comfortable. Then, they headed home…
On the way back to their house, Bret and Zach decided to name the sweet pooch Charlie Bravo, or “CB” for short. Though she was clearly in bad shape, she was extremely lovable, even giving them kisses!
Once home with the rest of their family, Charlie Bravo received a much-needed bath. Her nails were so overgrown that they’d actually begun to grow back into her paws. Clearly, the pooch was neglected—and she needed medical attention, fast.
This kind of medical issue was severe and complicated enough that it could only be taken care of by professionals. Bret and Zach brought Charlie Bravo to the veterinarian as soon as they could. Thankfully, the veterinary team was happy to be able to help the sweet dog.
The veterinarian first carefully dressed the sores that had developed on poor Charlie Bravo’s paws. She estimated that the dog was about eight months old—she was just a puppy! Who would do this to such a young, loving dog?
Bret shared Charlie Bravo’s story online and it went viral. Then, the family started to receive a variety of donations from all over. Thanks to the generosity of their community, they were able to help pay for the dog’s growing medical bills.
But the donations didn’t stop coming. In fact, the family received so much support that they were able to pay it forward. After paying off Charlie Bravo’s veterinary bills, they donated the rest to various animal shelters in the Little Rock area.
It was impossible to tell just how long Charlie Bravo was kept in that crate, abandoned, starving, and without hope. The most important thing, though, was that she was finally in a safer, more loving place thanks to two good Samaritans…
After becoming so attached to Charlie Bravo, Bret couldn’t bring himself to give her up. She’d become a member of his family—and he decided to officially adopt her and make her a permanent, beloved fixture of his home!
Today, Charlie Bravo is a happy, healthy pup who enjoys nothing more than playing in the snow – not to mention all of the other perks that come from finally living with a loving forever family.
Bret and Zach weren’t the only ones who had a soft spot for Charlie Bravo. Everyone living in the house quickly warmed up to the little dog. Even the family’s other pets didn’t seem to mind sharing the spotlight with their new pal!
In fact, there was so much activity and energy in the house—especially since Charlie Bravo’s miraculous recovery—that Bret started to lovingly refer to it as the “Casa Del Whackos!”
The family had a grand total of four rescue animals in their home. They were considering starting their very own charitable foundation for other rescue animals who needed the kind of help that Charlie Bravo once did…
If their ambitious plan was a success, the family said they would call their new foundation “Charlie’s Angels.” Bret even set up a website for Charlie Bravo to allow people to donate to their efforts, too.
Charlie Bravo – The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story / Facebook
This family knew the importance of setting aside inconvenience when it came to saving the lives of animals in need. They also recognized that not everyone can afford that. Hopefully, their fundraising site will help inspire people to be good Samaritans, just like them!