Wounded War Veteran Adopts Rescue Dog Who is Also an Amputee

charlie laying down_MAIN PHOTO

Michele’s Rescue out of Grand Rapids took a call a couple of months ago about a dog who had been found injured in Grand Rapids, probably as a result of being hit by a car. Michele’s Rescue learned that the dog’s leg was fractured and that someone had drawn on the dog’s face a pair of black sunglasses in permanent marker. However, as with most Pit Bulls, he was still in good spirits. Michele’s Rescue stepped up to help the dog and took it to an animal hospital where it would be examined and also neutered, vaccinated, checked for rabies and worms.

The veterinarian said that the dog’s leg would need to be amputated. What to do was left up as the decision of Michele’s Rescue since no owner had stepped forward to claim the stray dog. A lot of rescue groups cannot afford to pay for these types of rescues because one animal would drain their bank account, leaving little to nothing for the rest of the animals who depend on them. The Pit Bull, who who would be named Charlie, had already captured their hearts and they told the veterinarian to go ahead and do the surgery on the dog. Fundraising could come later. The dog needed their help.

Foster mom Sarah took care of Charlie after surgery, administering his medications for over a week. During that time, word got around about Charlie and that he needed a home. The rescue group “Wishbone” out of Allegan contacted Michele’s Rescue to let them know they had an interested adopter already!

A war veteran in Detroit named Derick Carver, who had an amputated leg himself, had heard the story about Charlie and knew that he had to have the dog. He had put out a call before that time to other rescue groups that he was interested in a 3-legged dog. Derick said, “I wanted to adopt a dog and thought the irony would be worthwhile. Plus I was worried a 4-legged dog would be able to out run me. This works all around.” When asked why he thought Charlie was the perfect dog for him, he said, “part of it was companionship the other part was irony. The looks we get are priceless.”

Charlie is Derick’s first Pit Bull. Derick said, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant given the breed. If he was from a breeder that’s one thing. I was worried that he was a stray or aggression had been breed/trained into him but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Charlie is a sweetheart, overly affectionate and easily the most loveable dog I’ve ever owned. That’s saying alot considering my last dog was a boxer. I think people as a whole need to step back and reassess how they look at Pits in general.  I’m constantly surprised how people react to Charlie.  I tell them he is an American Bulldog and he is the best dog in the world…..tell them his is a pit and suddenly they are afraid for their life…..it’s stupid.  Imagine if we applied the same logic to people.”

Charlie hanging out with Derick's sister-in-law Lauren

Charlie hanging out with Derick’s sister-in-law Lauren

Derick’s home is ADA friendly (set up so its easier to get around with a disability) so he and Charlie get around pretty well. Derick is dealing with Charlie’s separation anxiety right now with medication and getting him accustom to being on his own and trusting that he won’t be abandoned. Derick brings Charlie to his Crossfit Gym in Shelby Township called Bayonet Crossfit. http://www.bayonetcrossfit.com/ The goal of Bayonet Crossfit is to push you to your limits while also having fun. Sounds like the perfect atmosphere for Charlie.

Bayonet Crossfit and was founded by Derick, who is a retired U.S. Army Ranger and veteran of combat in Afghanistan. He was on a mission to open a school for 2,000 Afghan children and cleaing IEDs from the school area when his platoon was ambushed by the Taliban. He lost his left leg and also had damage to his right thigh. Because of the injuries, he was forced to retire from the Army. You can read more about Derick’s story here.

Besides being socialized at Derick’s gym, Charlie and Derick also go to the dog park where he loves to play. He is friendly with other dogs and Derick says he is “surprisingly submissive. It’s a little embarrassing when he rolls over for a pom-pom. Charlie is in a chew phase…..shoes and kongs – and he has destroyed all his stuffed animals. He also loves the large bones, which usually last about a week.” Derick says that Charlie’s personality is spastically loveable. “He’s easily excited and loves attention.  He will charm most people in a few minutes and constantly acts like he never gets any love. He’s a cuddler,” Derick says. “Everyone comments on how well he gets around…..he even runs.  He can’t jump up on people but has no problem getting on and off the couch or bed.”

charlie in crate feature

Michele’s Rescue couldn’t be happier with this perfect match of dog and adopter. After they initially made contact with Derick, they got transportation set up to take the dog to Derick. In the car with Charlie was Vet Tech Nicole from Lowell Animal Hospital, Nicole’s mom, plus Michele Barnes and Carri Shipalla from Michele’s Rescue.

Charlie getting snuggles from Nicole on his car ride to meet his new dad

Charlie getting snuggles from Nicole on his car ride to meet his new dad

Charlie waits patiently to share some breakfast with the girls on his trip to meet Derick

Charlie waits patiently to share some breakfast with the girls on his trip to meet Derick

When Derick and Charlie met in person, it was a match made in heaven. Michele’s Rescue didn’t charge Derick an adoption fee because they felt he served our country and that was enough payment.

Charlie finally arrives at Derick's place and they hit it off famously!

Charlie finally arrives at Derick’s place and they hit it off famously!

The cost of saving Charlie took a “bite” out of the rescue funds for Michele’s Rescue and they are hoping that people will help them to pay off their veterinarian costs so that more dogs and cats like Charlie can be rescued. If you’d like to help them out please click here. Michele’s Rescue is a no-kill non-profit animal rescue who takes in an adopts out animals from all over the country, most of who are in line to be euthanized and need rescues to save them if they aren’t adopted from other shelters.

It took many people to help with this rescue. A big thank you goes out to the Michigan Veterinary Specialists team, Lowell Animal Hospital, Carri Shipalla and Michele Barnes from Michele’s Rescue, Lowell Animal Hospital Vet Tech Nicole and her mom, Aaron Schaut for the use of his car for transport to Derick, Karen at Wishbone and her friend in Grand Haven who told her about Charlie.

Thanks Aaron for letting the girls borrow your vehicle for Charlie's trip!

Thanks Aaron for letting the girls borrow your vehicle for Charlie’s trip!

aaron schaut photo

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2 thoughts on “Wounded War Veteran Adopts Rescue Dog Who is Also an Amputee

  1. Katie September 4, 2013 at 12:12 am Reply

    What an awesome story! Thank you for your service and sacrifice, Derick! So happy that you have a loving pal, Charlie; he’s a lucky pup!

  2. annquirk September 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm Reply

    LOVE this story! 🙂

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