Chara, dog rescued from snow in January, passes away

By Jaime Rebhan | Jul 19, 2013
Courtesy of: Rachel Rawlings Chara, who was rescued by Onset firefighter Rachel Rawlings and her family after being left to die in the snow in January, passed away this month.

The poodle rescued from the snow outside of the Onset Water Department on one of the coldest days of January, lovingly named "Chara" by her adoptive family, has passed away due to health complications.

Rachel Rawlings, an Onset firefighter whose family took the approximately 13-year-old dog in — and to many veterinarian visits — says that Chara began having seizures about a month ago.

Vets told Rawlings that seizures are not uncommon in older dogs and said the family could try medication, but if it didn't work, the family would have to make "a very difficult decision."

The medicine worked well for about a week, but Chara began losing her appetite and sleeping a lot more, Rawlings said.

"We played with her dose of medication with no results," Rawlings explained. "I knew at this time that her time with us would be short. I figured we at least had the summer."

But Chara's health declined further on Saturday, July 13.

"Sunday the 14th was spent solely with Chara in my arms," Rawlings said. "We did everything possible to make her comfortable and especially for her to know we were there for her."

Chara stopped eating and drinking. Rawlings gave her water through a syringe.

There were lots of tears, Rawlings said, "knowing that Monday boring would bring the decision we so dreaded."

"We held her and held her. Monday morning, we let her go," Rawlings said. "Doctor stated that she had nothing left."

Though her life ended abruptly, it is important to note that instead of Chara's final hours being spent freezing in the cold, she was surrounded by a family who loved her.

Rawlings stressed: "I want to thank the veterinary staff at the Animal Health Clinic in Bourne for their never-ending compassion in helping us through all the medical needs for Chara."

In January, Chara was found shivering and whining outside the Onset Water Department. Water Superintendent Paul Bokoski brought her inside and warmed her, and employees took her to the vet.

She was covered in fleas, blinded by cataracts, and nearly deaf from an infection that started in her mouth and packed her ears. Her nails were so long that they curled under the pads of her feet, preventing her from walking. She had to undergo surgery to remove her teeth.

East Wareham resident Dennis Murray, 72, was charged with one count of animal cruelty in Chara's case, after he admitted to a law enforcement officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell that he abandoned his poodle "after telling his family that he was taking the dog to the veterinarian," according to the MSPCA.

Murray's case was continued without a finding until April 16, 2015. If he does not get into any legal trouble before that date, the case will be dismissed.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Peaches0409 | Jul 19, 2013 15:42

Thank you to the Rawlings family for allowing this dog to know he was loved in his final days! I hope knowing the love your family brought Chara brings your comfort in your time of great sorrow.



Posted by: Zephyr | Jul 19, 2013 20:42

I agree with Peaches.  You can take comfort knowing that Chara knew he was loved.  You did good.



Posted by: Stillaliveandwell | Jul 22, 2013 12:39

What a sweet pup & a wonderful family you were both very fortunate to have found one another no matter the circumstances.



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