Charming Charlie lives life to the Max by Kate Sears


Suzie has lost count of how many dogs she has fostered but guesses it would be more than 50 by now.  She’s been involved in rescuing dogs, assisted several rescue groups with grooming severely neglected dogs, fostered and adopted dogs, and has taken on the role of palliative fostering, which is both heartbreaking and rewarding.

So, without further ado, let’s meet Charlie!

He was six months old when Suzie fostered him. He’d been bred to be a ‘teacup’ dog, which can command huge prices for their breeders. Suzie stresses you should only go to a registered dog breeder, and even then it’s vital to confirm they are ethical.  ‘Adopt, don’t shop’ is always the better and more rewarding option.

To achieve a ‘teacup’ dog, generally dogs with different genetic issues are inbred, creating tiny dogs that may look super cute but come with a plethora of health problems. Poor Charlie suffered from hydrocephalus and encephalitis, and the vet even suspected chiari malformation. As a result he’s unable to handle heat, and the pressure in his brain quickly builds up and causes issues with his spine and back legs, which in turn causes him to overheat quickly. He’s been a strong little man and undergone a lot of physio to improve the strength in his back legs, but he still endures a heart murmur and severe dry eye. It’s sad that the original owners didn’t want him because he wasn’t perfect.

Even though Charlie is fully grown he’s only the size of Suzie’s chihuahua, but he’s perfect for her son, Max.  The pair have the absolute sweetest natures and are inseparable. Charlie’s relaxed nature means he hasn’t been stressed out by the typical toddler behaviour and he just thrives on the attention Max loves giving him. Max looks after his best friend and makes sure Charlie is kept cool at all times, and Charlie can sense when Max is sad or unwell and curls up next to him on the bed and stays there all night.

“I have taught Max from a very young age how to be gentle with the dogs and how to interact with them,” says Suzie.

Although the two look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths, they do get up to mischief.

“Charlie is always following Max around because Max has learnt how to get to the dog treats. He sneaks into the cupboard and gets them out. But if I bust him he just tells me that ‘Charlie’s tummy was rumbling’.

“Max's favourite thing to do is to ride his trike while holding on to a tub with wheels that Charlie sits in, and he says he is taking him for a drive. And if there’s water or mud in the backyard, you can rest assured they will find it.”

Charlie will always have his health challenges, but with Max looking out for him, he’s in good hands!

Follow these two best friends as they grow up and discover the world side by side at @justaboyandhisrescuedog on Instagram.