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Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable Pet Week: Charlie!

Our friends at chose this week to promote “less adoptable” pets. So, the girls of Champion of My Heart will take this opportunity, once again, to tell you about Charlie … a fearful border collie in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, who needs a new, child-free home.

We’ve tried twice before to help Charlie via social media blitzes, and we’ve had no luck. Alas, Charlie has several of the most common reasons pets are considered “less adoptable” based on research:

If you are interested in meeting Charlie or adopting her, please contact Heather Ruddy at or 303-300-2186.

(Otherwise, check out this gallery of less-adoptable pets who need forever homes.)

A Few Details

  • Charlie is shy and fearful, especially around kids and other dogs.
  • Charlie has had some training, including crate training, basic obedience, and even some agility.
  • She loves to play fetch.
  • Young children make Charlie VERY nervous and nippy, so a child-free home is probably best.
  • Charlie would probably LOVE to be an only dog, unless her new family has experience using positive reinforcement and classical conditioning with dog-dog reactivity and fear issues.

Q: Why does Charlie need a new home after all this time?

We are looking for a new home for Charlie for several reasons.  Charlie has had a hard time adjusting to the addition of our daughter to our family. Charlie can’t seem to relax around our four-year-old daughter.

Whenever there is interaction between either myself or my husband with our daughter, Charlie barks constantly. We basically have a barking dog in the house all day when there is any interaction with our daughter.

Charlie is absolutely fine when our daughter plays by herself or when our daughter is not here; Charlie is very calm during these times.

Charlie does not like to be touched by our daughter or petted by her and will pee when she tries to touch her.  Charlie has nipped twice at our daughter and made slight contact with her but did not break the skin.

Overall, Charlie is a great dog.  We will keep her in our home unless the right person comes along to give her a new one to live out the rest of her life. She is bright and loving with adults, and when she is groomed or boarded, everyone raves about her.  We believe that she would be a lot happier in a home without kids, where she can be the center of attention.

Q: What about other dogs? How is Charlie with them?

Charlie was attacked twice when she was younger, and I think a lot of her issues with other dogs are due to that.

She may be able to handle living with other dogs, given time and attention. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten past the initital showing of teeth and barking with other dogs to see if she is ok around them.

When we are on walks she goes nuts around other dogs and if one comes up to her, she gets aggressive.  We don’t want to risk a dog bite at dog parks, so we don’t go there.

That being said.  She did do obedience training and agility with other dogs. It took a few weeks of getting her adjusted to the other dogs at first.  The trainer started her off in the pen with other dogs with Charlie off leash and the other dogs on.  The trainer then had a few of the nicer dogs come up to her and Charlie growled, barked and showed teeth and got aggressive.  Over time she was fine with them.  This trainer also boarded Charlie and once boarded her with my mom’s dog in the same pen and they were fine.

I think with the right dog(s) she would be ok, it just might be a rocky few days.

Q: Have you tried any behavior type medications for her fears?

Charlie did take clomipramine and prozac for a short time, without much effect.

Q: What else do potential adopters need to know about Charlie?

In the spirit of full disclosure, here are some other issues with Charlie:

  • When meeting someone new, Charlie pees, but if the person she is meeting ignores her for a few minutes, we can usually avoid this.
  • She has two eye conditions, which require eye drops daily and an annual eye exam with an opthalmologist.
  • Charlie’s left knee had surgery approximately 6 years ago but has had no troubles since.
  • Charlie’s pee burns grass.  We have taught her to pee in our rocks to avoid this and does very well peeing there when supervised.  If unsupervised, she normally goes in the grass.
  • Charlie doesn’t like to have her nails clipped, so we have the groomer or vet do this for us.
  • Charlie has a hard time being around other dogs, especially when on leash.
  • She is not trusted around children.
  • Charlie does not dig and is not destructive.
  • She does like to eat the occasional book binding and loves paper products (tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.), so a covered trash can in the bathroom is a must!

Q: Where did Charlie come from?

We got her from a breeder in Pueblo as a puppy.


If you’d like to take part in this Be the Change Challenge, check out the Be the Change for Pets page on Facebook.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Jennifer Margulis - September 20, 2010

I wish we could adopt a dog. But both my husband and I are allergic to most breeds. I think that means we could only have a certain type of dog. I’ve told me kids that if we can keep the house clean for six months, we’ll get a dog. But then I feel torn–am I inadvertently attributing to over-breeding and puppy mills if we do get a bred dog?!

    Roxanne Hawn - September 21, 2010

    Jennifer, you CAN adopt a purebred dog. There are all kinds of breed-specific rescues, and many shelters often have purebred dogs up for adoption. It might take a bit more looking and time, but once you decide on a breed … my friends and I can help you find a dog.

    Really, as long as you do NOT buy from a pet store and you do NOT buy from some “bad” breeder (even if they are posing as a “good” one), then you are not supporting puppy mills.

    Keep in mind, though, that there really are NOT any allergy-free dogs. Some might shed less than others, but that’s about it. While doing an article for WebMD recently, I learned that ALL cats (from lions to the kitty down the street) have the same allergens, but dogs can have any combination from 20 different allergens. So, that means some people would be allergic to one dog and not another.

    Technically, I’m allergic to both dogs and cats, but I’ve always had dogs anyway. It’s been manageable for me. I honestly don’t even realize how stuffed up the dogs make me until I travel for a few days without them. But, for me, the difference isn’t enough to make me NOT have dogs.

Peggy @Peggy's Peg Place - September 20, 2010

Charlie would make the right family an absolutely amazing pet. I hope he finds a wonderful home soon.

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