Born the runt of the litter, Charlie is now completely unrecognisable

January 06, 2021

Born the runt of the litter to a malnourished mother, Charlie’s life has completely changed since his foster family fell in love with him! 

You may remember hearing about Nala, the American Staffordshire Terrier who came into our care with her four little pups in late 2019. Nala was malnourished and severely underweight, and struggling to care for her babies. 

Thankfully, with the support of many animal lovers in our community, Nala and her pups were all able to fully recover and have now all been adopted into loving homes!

One of her pups, Charlie (previously called Wilbur) was the runt of the litter and had a hard time fitting in with his family. 

Today, we are giving you an update on little Charlie and – spoiler alert – he is not so little anymore! 

Charlie had a rough start in life

When Charlie came into our Lonsdale shelter in December 2019, he weighed only 500 grams. Being the runt of the litter, he was significantly smaller and weaker than his siblings.

Charlie’s health was touch and go for a while. To make matters even worse, Charlie’s mother attacked him, something that unfortunately can happen to runts when their mothers reject them. The attack left him with significant neck injuries and he had to be separated from his Mum.

Charlie’s wounds took a while to heal and he struggled to gain weight. He also appeared to be losing hair as a result of his previous malnourishment. 

Another concern for the vets at our Lonsdale shelter was the emotional trauma Charlie had experienced from his mother’s attack. He required constant care from our vets and volunteers to help get him back on his feet, physically and psychologically. 

Luckily for Charlie, things started to turn around for him when he went to his foster home around Christmas time.

A foster fail! 

As Charlie was so small and still recovering from his injuries, he couldn’t immediately be adopted. Instead, he was fostered by Teresa and her family. However, it wasn’t long before they decided to formally adopt him! 

“Little Charlie, with his huge roly poly personality, quickly molded himself into our hearts – there was never any chance we could give him back,” Teresa shares.

Charlie took to the family right away. His personality bloomed, as he grew more confident in his new surroundings and his new family. 

Now living on a farm, Charlie enjoyed wandering about, and even developed quite the adventurous appetite. He ate horse and bird droppings, pond slime and even some wolf spiders, which puppies are definitely not meant to do! Teresa and her family did the right thing and immediately took Charlie to the vet to be checked. Luckily, he soon recovered – and Teresa made sure he didn’t have access to those things again!

Under the guidance of our Lonsdale shelter vet team, Teresa kept Charlie on a strict feeding regime and he began to steadily gain weight. Teresa and her family watched in amazement as the tiny little puppy they had adopted began to grow…and grow….and grow.

He is now more than 50 times the size he was when he first came to the RSPCA! 

A dog with many quirks 

We suspect that Charlie is one of the most spoilt dogs in the state! 

His family showers him with affection and love, which includes taking him to their local pet store to browse for new toys and treats. Teresa says that he responds to snacks better than he responds to his own name. 

Apparently, he loves nothing more than exploring the farm and interrupting his parents when they’re on Zoom calls. 

Charlie shares a special bond with his sister Whitney, a Staffordshire Terrier cross. They used to share a bed before Charlie grew too big for it! 

He also adores his human sister, 9 year old Hayley, who he took to immediately when they first met at the shelter. 

You can continue to follow Charlie’s journey on Instagram at @oi_charlie_stop_that. It is hard to believe this beautiful big boy was once the runt of the litter!

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