Remember Ricky/Charlie, the wild dog who was captured after enduring 10 brutally cold winters and scorching hot summers living in a Manhattan park? We’re happy to tell you that he now has a forever home and will never have to suffer again!
Years ago, the dog known as Ricky to some and Charlie to others was part of a whole pack who roamed Highbridge Park in Washington Heights. But years ago, the rest of the gang was captured, leaving Ricky/Charlie on his own.
Though his family was gone, he quickly made friends with many caring neighbors who looked out for the lonesome boy. They would leave out food, water, and blankets to help him survive. He wouldn’t let anyone get close to him, having grown up feral.
With temperatures dropping below zero this year, neighbors grew especially worried. He was having trouble with his hips, and wasn’t eating the food they left for him. They made it their goal to catch him, and one woman, Denise Lauffer, spent two full nights sleeping in a cardboard box and providing hot meals to gain his trust.
Soon after, neighbor Yuliya Avezbakiyeva and some others were able to corral Ricky/Charlie into a van and get him the veterinary care he needed. They hated to take him from the only home he knew, but it was a good thing they did.
The dog had worms and a tumor was found on one of his testicles. Two online fundraisers have raised more than enough to make sure his treatment is covered, but as an older dog, it will likely keep adding up.
One of the many residents who cared for him, Tiina Ilmet, cared for Ricky/Charlie after his release from the veterinary clinic. Now she has decided to make him a permanent family member. She lives in a building with an elevator, which is tremendously helpful to a dog with arthritis.
Ricky/Charlie’s adjustment to life indoors will take a considerable amount of time. He is old, and spent his whole life doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted to survive. Trust, security, and rules will take a long time to adapt to. But with the love and patience of Tiina and all the others who continue to visit, he will soon learn how much sweeter his new life can be.