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Charlie makes up for his looks with licks

Here is the thing about dogs: Some of them are better than some of us.

Charlie, for instance.

Charlie was a Pasco County mutt that made news when something bad happened to him. Two men in the house where he lived got in a fight, and one of them stabbed Charlie three times with a knife. It is hard to know what to say about a man who would stab a dog, so we will stick with Charlie here.

Pasco County Animal Services took in the wounded dog, which they said had "a sad, tired look in his eyes." But the weeks passed, and Charlie healed. Charlie got his mojo back.

For the record, Charlie is no puppy, no purebred, no designer chihuahua to tuck in an evening clutch. His was not the prettiest mug on the cell block. No one adopted Charlie.

Two months passed, eternity in an animal shelter and a step closer to the Green Mile. Charlie's days were numbered.

This week, Lisa Knight, who works at the Humane Society in Tampa, stopped by the Pasco shelter to pick up some of their unadopted dogs. The Humane Society doesn't euthanize animals, so its does this when it can.

Please, the Pasco folks said, take Charlie.

When she said okay, one of them there cried a little. Charlie had already won hearts.

Knight was expected to bring back small dogs from Pasco that day. "And what does she bring us?" says Humane Society executive director Sherry Silk. "Charlie," she says, though she, too, is smitten.

So as a dog with a reprieve awaits his fate, a question: Is Charlie too homely for love?

Not cute enough for a second chance?

Because, truth be told, he has a face for radio, or at least for a diehard dog lover. His provenance is, shall we say, worthy of speculation. Knight describes him in blind-date parlance: "He's got a great personality," she says. Which turns out to be true.

When you meet Charlie for the first time in the shelter yard, he wags his inexpertly stubbed tail like he has been waiting for you, and where have you been? He snuffles your hand for a pat, sticks his butt in the air when you pick up his squeaky toy to throw, bounds off in joyous abandon to get it. His "adoption notes" described him as "a big, sweet old softie" looking for love.

He is a big boy, a solid, muscular 61 pounds. He is no apartment dog and no couch potato. He has spots, patches of brown and white and floppy ears. He is more Dollar Store than Macy's, more Burger King than Bern's. His liquid brown eyes, at least, are pretty.

And, somehow, Charlie found it in himself to like people. In spite of us.

Want to adopt?

For more information about Charlie or many other dogs and cats that need homes, contact the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Ave. in Tampa, at www.humanesocietytampa.org or (813) 876-7138, or your local animal shelter.

Charlie makes up for his looks with licks 12/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 5, 2008 10:04pm]
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