Char­lie the life-sav­ing res­cue dog

Pooch was abused by dog-fight­ing ring

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ANA DA SILVA

A minia­ture poo­dle saved from a life of mis­ery as bait for a dog-fight­ing ring has now been trained to help peo­ple prone to seizures.

Char­lie, who is 12, was res­cued af­ter be­ing abused and beaten in il­le­gal dog fight­ing rings in Ari­zona.

The lit­tle dog suf­fered life-threat­en­ing in­juries while be­ing used as bait to teach other dogs to fight.

Now he lives with Su­san Martinez and Keith Web­ster in Portlethen – and has be­come some­thing of a lo­cal celebrity.

Char­lie has even taken part in lo­cal church plays, and of­fers as­sis­tance as a seizure alert dog.

Mrs Martinez, 56, ex­plained how she and Char­lie found each other in Amer­ica eight years ago.

She said: “When I lived in Ari­zona, I was di­ag­nosed with a pretty bad lung dis­ease and I had to stop work­ing. I was pretty de­pressed.”

It was then that a friend, who is a vet, told her about a very poorly dog who would “wag his tail” ev­ery time she thought about putting it down.

Mrs Martinez added: “He was ex­pected to die and she told me to take him, to give him a good home for when it would even­tu­ally hap­pen.”

How­ever, Char­lie got “bet­ter and bet­ter by the day” and grew strong enough to re­cover.

Mrs Martinez said: “I de­cided he would have to have some sort of an­i­mal ser­vice train­ing, to keep him by me at all times.

“So, Char­lie was trained to be a seizure alert dog since I have a seizure dis­or­der. He will go up to some­body when they’re about to have a seizure or a stroke, and cir­cle around them to let them know they should sit down.

“Char­lie also lays be­tween the per­son’s head and the pave­ment or hard sur­face so they don’t hurt them­selves.”

Mrs Martinez met north­east man Mr Web­ster in Amer­ica and took Char­lie with her when she moved to Portlethen.

Mr Web­ster said the friendly pet “brings the com­mu­nity hap­pi­ness” and en­joys meet­ing smaller dogs and chil­dren.

“He’s a com­mu­nity dog. He’s even taken part in some plays in the church.

“They led him by his leash to the small stage when they were retelling the story of Noah’s Ark. He’s had some life.”

Pho­to­graph by Chris Sum­ner

SUPERDOG: Su­san Martinez and Keith Web­ster with minia­ture poo­dle Char­lie, who was res­cued from dog fight­ing rings in Ari­zona and has be­come a lo­cal celebrity af­ter mov­ing to Scot­land.

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