Pound and Found. Pet Rescue Stories. Charlie- The First Bitza You Will Ever Meet.

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Story shared by Toni Le Busquec

To clear things up, Charlie the dog is not mine but that whole ‘belonging’ to someone doesn’t sound right, anyway. It’s all about who looks after you, right? Technically he ‘belongs’ to my girlfriend’s kids. However, he spends probably half his life with me. I work erratic hours, so the days I don’t work, he’s at my place, or we’re out doing things together.

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Charlie is one-year-old now. The family found him when he was only a few months old. He was rescued from the streets of South Los Angeles, where he was living with his whole family, mum and dad included.They were all rescued together, and Deb chose to keep Charlie because he was the biggest of the family.The first time I saw him he was wearing a dark blue dog coat that said ‘Big Brother’, and crying one single tear.

When my girlfriend told me she was getting a dog for her kids, I was very skeptical. Dogs in apartments don’t sit well with me. I’m from Australia, where there isn’t a lot of apartment living, so I’m not used to dogs living without yards, and I think it’s a bit cruel. But Charlie is tiny, around the size of a tall-ish cat, and he doesn’t like the outside space that he has that much.

Charlie prefers the top of the sofa cushion.He prefers Deb’s bed. Or the kid’s beds, or my bed. Any bed. He likes to sleep a lot. When I wake up in the morning and go for a wee, I’ll come back to bed and he will be in my spot, with his head on the pillow. I have to say that I LOVE going to sleep with him and waking up with him.

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So now, when Charlie is with me, he comes everywhere I go. I take him to Trader Joe’s. To the cafe, where I work, where he is adored. I used to take him to recovery meetings, where he would lay quietly on my lap, but the church forbids animals. People stop me without fail, every single time, and tell me how adorable he is. I tell them his name and they pat him and he loves it.

They ask me what kind of dog he is, and I tell them he is a Bitza.No one knows, here in the US, what a Bitza is. In Australia, it is a very common breed. Charlie is terribly smart, as most of the rescued dogs I know are!

When he was only a few months old I taught him to sit, stay, shake and lay down. He learned them so quickly that I loved him even more, and was proud of him and myself for our success. I took him to a few puppy training classes at the Zoom Room, where he EXCELLED, of course. He’s never been one to rush to play with other dogs, and in fact, he’s always been shit-scared of them. However, he now has a friend called Louis, a large Labrador who is exactly the same color as Charlie, and Louis brother, Tommy, a black German Shepherd cross, who is a rescue, too.

I never in my life would have wanted a rescue dog, especially a Bitza. I used to love those perfect looking bred dogs, the ones I could identify. I thought rescue dogs were for weird people who smelled like dog beds and loved animals more than humans.

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But now, looking at Charlie, and thinking how adored and wonderful and well-looked after and loved he is, when he goes to sleep with his head on my leg, or gets ridiculously excited when I come in the door, or lays in the kitchen on the mat waiting while I cook dinner I am thrilled the family rescued him.

And Charlie and I have a game that we play, where I take him out for a walk and after he has peed and pooed, I let him off the leash at the end of the driveway and he runs as fast as he can to the gate, where he waits for me to let him in.

I used to be a cat person, I didn’t want a dirty hair dog with pee on its paws laying all over me but because of Charlie, the rescued dog, I’m a dog person now. And to think, that a year ago he was born on the streets and might have died!! Perish the thought.

Now go out get a rescue dog. It’ll make you feel like those miserable people in the movies who hate life and then get a rescue dog and the dogs are the best thing that ever happened to them and they live happily ever after, a changed person, loved by all.

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Well, that’s what happened to me, anyway.

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