Stray dog saved from freezing cold in New York park

Michael Walsh
Charlie is a shepherd mix who lived in Highbridge Park, New York for about 10 years.

New Yorkers have a dog-eat-dog reputation, but a few Good Samaritans recently showed that their hearts aren't as cold as the weather.

Tina Imlet and several others Manhattanites saved a stray dog from the freezing temperatures of Highbridge Park in the city’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

“He knows me. When ever he sees me coming into the park he wags his tail. He barks. We howl,” Imlet said in an interview with Fox 5 News.

But she and others, who named the canine Charlie, started to wonder how the feral shepherd mix was holding up as temperatures in New York continued to drop.

“Those who know him love him deeply, we are devoted to saving his life. He once had a family to roam Highbridge Park with, but they were all trapped years ago. Charlie was always too smart to fall for our human tricks,” Denise Lauffer wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help care for Charlie.

“A lot of people were going out, like 10, 11, 12, 1 o’clock in the morning. There was a whole series of people going to visit him, just to make sure, to see. And everybody was like, ‘Have you seen him? Has anybody seen him?’” Imlet told the news station.

On Feb. 15, Good Samaritans managed to get Charlie into a van to take him to the borough’s BluePearl veterinary center.

The animal hospital has a team of veterinarians dedicated to taking care of him around the clock. He has been vaccinated and will be neutered when he is stable enough, according to Lauffer.

Imlet decided to adopt Charlie so he would not be stuck outside in the cold again. Late Thursday night, she brought him back to her home.

Lauffer started the GoFundMe page to raise money to cover the veterinarian costs to get Charlie back on his feet. He was malnourished, dehydrated, and unable to walk when he first arrived at the hospital.

Cassandra Williams, a veterinary neurologist at BluePearl, told NBC New York that they tested his blood for infectious diseases and were awaiting the results of a spinal tap.

“He no longer has his pack, he’s a slow old man now, and was not going to make it in this extreme cold,” Lauffer wrote. “He is a handsome mutt that was never dangerous. This stoic old boy needs some help with vet bills.”

As of midday Friday, the Highbridge Charlie GoFundMe page had raised more than $10,000 for the pooch.