Saturday, October 3, 2009

A road-worthy friendship

It didn't take any provocation for Adam Wayne to display his body art.

There are times when I wear my work in animal rescue like a hairshirt: it inspires reactions that are uncomfortably itchy.

Last week, I was relaxing in a local pub when my hairshirt caused someone else to show me his.

The man in the photo—who would only identify himself by his first and middle names, Adam Wayne—partially disrobed when he found out what I do.

Granted, it wasn’t me who inspired his undress.

He was driven by love for his pit bull mix, Charlie. To show me the tattoo he got as a tribute to his beloved dog. It’s an exact tracing of Charlie’s paw print, complete with nails.

Charlie had a hairshirt of his own to wear and bear just before he met Adam. He was the only survivor of a cruel act.

One of Adam's friends had been driving on the 5 freeway in Whatcom County, Washington when he saw the terrible sight.

Someone had treated a litter of a half-dozen puppies just like litter, offering them no more kindness than an ashtray loaded with cigarette butts tossed from a vehicle’s window. By the time Adam’s friend stopped to help, the puppies were nothing more than lifeless lumps in the road.

Then, as he drove on, a miracle.

Little Charlie, just a few weeks old, was sitting right underneath the sign for a rest stop.

Waiting for someone to stop and rescue him.

That night, Adam went by his friend’s place to visit the sole survivor. Love was instant and ardent.

“I knew when I looked at him that he was mine. I begged my friend to give him to me, and he did.”

Thirty-one-year old Charlie and nine-year-old Adam have been together ever since. The 80-pound dog is a mix of a pit bull breed, Labrador and Greyhound.

“He’s my kid for sure. He loves me unconditionally. Anything I do wrong, he doesn’t care. He does a prance when he sees me.”

Life for Charlie didn’t start out as a freeway of love. But he’s certainly found himself in a partnership that’s been road tested.

Notice Adam even included the dog's nails as part of the tattoo.

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