You’re out for the day. Enjoying being outside, seeing the sights, enjoying time with a friend or family member as you answer the call of the open road.
Fields pass by, maybe you spot the occasional wild or domestic critter as the scenery whips past you.
That was the case for Bret and Zach Winingar, a father and son duo, as they tore across Little Rock, Arkansas, on their motorcycles one chilly Sunday afternoon. They had no idea their joy ride was about to turn into something else entirely.
Seeing trash on the side of the road was probably nothing new. We see it, too — junk littered about by some rude passerby or careless owner.
But one castaway item off the side of the road caught their attention as they rode past. They decided to stop and investigate. It was probably nothing… but if it was something, then stopping to check could be a lifesaver.
Bret later wrote that though they stopped, it was a miracle that they did: “Something – or Someone – made us stop and check the crate. What we found was beyond horrible…”
The tattered crate looked unassuming out in the dry weeds. Most people probably would have assumed it was merely empty and cast off, some former pet owner’s trash.
But as they got closer, the bikers realized that something was still inside of the crate.
Bret later recounted the horrifying scene: “A full sized dog reduced to a ragged, scabby skeleton, smelling so strongly of death that we couldn’t stand to be downwind, her white feet stained brown from standing hunched in her own feces.”
The poor black dog with white paws had been trapped in a plastic cell, unable to eat, drink, or get help. The crate was filled with excrement, and her body was covered in sores from being cramped in the dark, dirty crate.
It was impossible to tell just how long the abused pup had been in those conditions, but there were a few tell-tale signs that it had been a while. The top of the crate had been chewed from the inside, probably a result of the desperate dog’s attempts to escape.
The poor thing’s nails had been let go for so long that they had curled around and started to impale her paw pads.
The two quickly let her out of her prison, but they had no way to transport her. So, hoping that she’d still be there when they got back, they took off to get a car and return to rescue her.
When they finally got back, Bret was worried she’d already passed. She was still there, a dejected sack of skin and bones slumped against the crate that would have been her coffin.
As they approached, she let out a soft growl, and Bret was reassured. He thought, “if you’ve got enough strength to growl, you’ve got enough strength to live,” and so they picked her up and took her home.
With time, effort, and love, the starving dog grew sleek and sassy. The Winingars already had a small pack of dogs, and were only going to take her home to get her on the road to recovery — but, as all animal foster families know, foster fail is definitely a thing.
Fortunately for the young dog, who was named Charlie Bravo because of the motorcycle rescue, she was snapped up from death’s doorstep and now spends her time with a loving family of four-legged and two-legged members.
Her owner, Bret, started a blog about her, hoping to encourage and inspire others with her story.
“Charlie was abandoned in her crate, skin over bones when we found her,” he wrote on her blog. “To us, that crate is an analogy for every person that lives in a self-imposed prison. That could be a dead-end job, an abusive relationship, chemical or alcohol addiction, or the most confining crate of all, the fear of the unknown.
“Charlie is beautiful and happy and blossoming today. She reminds us that with a little help, we can do that too.”
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