Charlie came home

Charlie and Betty Trogdon Photo by Jana E. Pye

Charlie and Betty Trogdon
Photo by Jana E. Pye

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Charlie has beaten the odds twice in his nearly nine years, and all due to the love of a beautiful woman.

After being lost for an amazing seven months, Charlie, a nearly 9 year old Lab/Shepherd mix dog, made his way home cross-country from North Hartsville to Trogdon’s home near Williamson Park in Darlington.

After an accident at the corner of N. Center Road and Patrick Highway SC Rt. 102 in North Hartsville on Christmas Eve, Charlie ran into a wooded area past a cotton field.

“I was on my way to take my three big dogs to Gray Oak Kennels before I left for Chapel Hill, North Carolina,” said Betty. “The weather was terrible that day. When I opened the van door after I was hit, all three dogs jumped out. Lyla and Queenie came back straight away, but Charlie was so scared. It was like he had just disappeared.”

Betty and one of her sons went back to look for him, but to no avail.

“Instead of the me going to Chapel Hill, my entire family came here to Darlington,” said Betty. “They brought the entire Christmas Dinner!”

The family quickly made reward posters with photographs and posted them in the area, and friends assisted with posts on Facebook.

Betty went back day after day, calling and searching. She even spent New Year’s Eve walking in the fields in the moonlight with one of the dogs, calling for him.

“So many people helped,” said Betty. “The people that lived in the farming community nearby, my neighbor Vicki Lewis, Dr. Eula Lee Brand, so many people that read the signs, Randy and Greg from the Animal Shelter, and Darlington Police Chief Danny Watson.”

Betty received a call that seemed promising- a young man working with cows in a pasture saw him and went out after him. “I drove over right away, and saw Charlie from a distance, but he was so frightened he ran back to the wooded area,” said Betty. “I knew he was there, so I kept going back every day.”

“One woman, her name is Betty, I don’t know her last name, she was really sweet and put out food every night,” she said. “My friends never gave up hope. They kept telling me, he’s going to come back. It just wasn’t the same without him.”
Charlie was a rescue, and had a rough start in life.

“I found Charlie going on nine nears ago in the ditch at the Darlington Post Office,” she recalled. “A little puppy- and he was absolutely petrified. It was this type of weather, and he was hot and frightened. I went down on the ditch every day and brought food an water for him. And people would stop and offer to bring food, too. There are a lot of good people here in Darlington.”

After finally coaxing the puppy out of the ditch- with the help of a lassoed leash around his neck- she brought the little flea-ridden puppy home.

Through the years, Charlie grew to be a constant companion to Betty, and a comfort to her when her beloved husband suffered a terminal illness.

“My Bob loved Charlie so,” said Betty. “When the minister came to the house to play his guitar, Charlie used to sit by his side and listen to the music.”

Charlie also helped Betty’s great granddaughter learn to walk, waiting patiently as the baby held his fur to pull her up, and walked carefully with her as she made her first steps.

In the long seven months without Charlie, Betty’s other dogs expressed sadness as well. The Trogdon’s rescued many animals through the years, “My husband grew to love dogs!” and at this time Betty has Queenie – a Chow she rescued from the Speedy Taxi stand; Queenie’s daughter, a Chow-Lab. mix, Lyla; a terrier named Sophie; a Cocker-poo named Henrietta adopted when her owner (a friend of Betty’s) passed away; Chrissy the Shih Tzu; and an adopted bully mix named Charlotte (formerly Rosebud from Darlington County Animal Shelter/Darlington County Humane Society) when Betty thought Charlie might not return. She also has three black and white cats to round out her lively home, which is surrounded by lovely flowering plants and trees.

Just when all hope of finding Charlie had started to wane, Betty received the best early morning surprise.

“On Sunday the 2nd of August, I gave the dogs a short walk early in the morning and when I came back I looked up…” said Betty. “And standing in my back yard was this thin brown dog. And for a second it didn’t register but it was Charlie! Over seven months! And the dogs and all looked at him like his was a stranger at first. I opened the back gate and let him in the house and he threw himself down on the doggie couch.”

Despite being thin, with sore pads on his paws and a Few ticks, Charlie received a clean bill of health and is regaining his rightful place in the world… next to the lovely lady that rescued him. He now stays close to Betty; in fact, he rarely keeps his eyes off her.

“Oh, I missed my Charlie.” said Betty. “Thank you to everyone that helped!”

Author: Jana Pye

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