Adopted: Charlie Bear

Quick Facts:

  • Breed: Yellow Lab mix
  • Gender: Male, neutered
  • Age: 7 years old?
  • Size: 90 pounds
  • Good with…
    • Dogs? Calm dogs, introduced slowly!
    • Cats? No, sorry!
    • Kids? Not a great match, sorry.

My name is Charlie Bear! Though my life pre-rescue was scary and sad, I am an incredibly loving and good dog who I attaches very deeply to people who are nice to me. My deepest wish is to find an adoptive home that is loving, safe and kind (and that my stuffed animal lamb best friend can come with me!).


I was originally adopted from a shelter in Tennessee by a young couple. When they split up, she took me with her far away, as she was my official owner. Sadly, she was very unstable, and living with her was rough. Sometimes I didn’t have any food for long stretches. Sometimes I didn’t even have access to water. She would be gone sometimes (to jail or other places), leaving me homeless. When she went to jail, the police put me in a shelter, but then I went back to her when she got out. The rescue doesn’t know if people injured me physically during this time, but I have a lot of pain in my joints and some fears of things like brooms and such, so–a definite maybe. My former dad eventually got legal ownership of me, and I got to live with him for 3 fantastic months. He gave me food and water every day (!) but best of all…lots of love and understanding. His life situation unfortunately didn’t allow him to keep me, so I came into the wonderful CDR foster program in Fall 2022. I have been so very, very happy to be in a stable, loving situation with a wonderful foster mom and with everyone’s promise for a wonderful forever home eventually!


I am a profoundly hopeful and loveable pup. Even though I have suffered so much, have been subject to such chaos and instability, have had to wonder each day if there would be food, water, or any moment of kindness, I meet every single day ever-hopeful that today might be a sweet, joyful, fun, and wonderful day in which I can love and be loved. Everyone says it’s a miracle and a testament to my deeply good nature that I am so hopeful and want to trust people so much.

Reassurance and good communication is really important to me. It means the world to me to be told that I am a good boy. I think that is the best sentence a human can say. I listen very carefully when you talk to me, and learn words and commands quickly. When you ask if I want to go outside, I say/do nothing if my answer is “no, thank you.” If my answer is yes, I give your hand or foot a small lick and wag my tail. I love it when you can understand what I am “saying” back to you.

I have a stuffed animal lamb that I love. So much. I gently carry Lambie around all day long, and like to sleep cuddled up with him at night. It’s ridiculously cute (I am told). My foster mom tells me that Lambie isn’t allowed outside into the yard, so I make a super fun game about pretending I am going to run outside with Lambie just to tease her! She laughs and laughs and then I finally drop Lambie and run outside, tail wagging and so happy that we have this special game that we play together. My foster mom says she has never met a dog with such a sense of humor.

I have very sweet manners in many ways. Laying on the couch with a blanket, my Lambie, and you nearby is my version of heaven. But when I came to my foster home, I didn’t just leap up on the couch, like I certainly wanted to do—I laid my head on the couch and gave puppy dog eyes to my foster mom, asking her permission. At first she said “no, Charlie Bear,” and gently pointed to my dog bed. I am happy in my dog bed but very pleased that my sweet imploring eyes eventually won the day because now when I ask to join her on the couch, she laughs and tells me to come on up! 😊

I love when my people are home with me. And though I prefer to be in the same room as you, I’m not clingy. I love to sit next to my person’s chair, or to sit next to her on the couch. I get a little worried when she leaves (as you might well understand given my history), but do not do anything destructive while she’s gone. What I do is sit by the door, ever watchful, feeling hopeful and a bit anxious until my person returns. I hope for a home where folks are at home a decent amount, so I don’t have to be worried too much of the time.

My former life was very, very tough; I lived without some of the most basic things. Love and kindness were rare, access to food and water were unpredictable, and people could be very scary. This understandably leaves me with some issues related to trust and safety—I can worry both for my safety and well-being, and also for yours. I need a special adopter who is understanding, patient, and knowledgeable about (or willing to learn) how to help me, and I also need an adoptive situation that is calm, low-key, loving, steady, and reasonably predictable.

  • It takes me a while to get to know people and feel trusting of them, so I need your understanding and help with this. If a stranger comes over, I will probably bark (I have a big bark!) because I worry that they might hurt you or me. CDR has a wonderful dog trainer who is getting to know me, and if you are the right adopter for me, CDR will pay for 5 sessions of in-home training with this (or another) trainer so that you can learn how to be calm and positive and helpful to me in these situations.
  • I would be super stressed in a home with a lot of activity, or where different people came and went a fair amount. A quiet home with just a few regular visitors that I could get to know well would be wonderful! At my foster home, I have made a few friends and I love it when they come and visit!
  • I have some physical pain issues that need tending. 1) I have very achey joints. Having a fenced yard for self-paced exercise on a nice soft grassy surface is ideal for me for exercise. Cornell Sports Medicine Clinic has been helping me! They put me on some pain and anti-inflammatory meds (helpful!), and one of their donors gave me a grant to have 10 underwater treadmill sessions! I was nervous at first, but now I love the staff and find the sessions fun (though exhausting).
  • I have a very tender cleft front foot, It looks very much like a lobster claw, but I promise, I am all dog, no lobster! It’s a genetic thing, I have had it since birth, and while I walk just fine, it’s ouchy and tender, so I need an adopter who will be careful to avoid touching, petting, or bumping it whenever possible.
  • If someone accidentally does something that physically hurts or really scares me, I might bark. Twice during my several months in my foster home I have snapped at the air near my foster mom when I got accidentally startled or my tender foot got touched/rubbed. My “air snaps” are just that—I don’t make contact with skin– but they really take you by surprise! I need an adopter who will learn what feels good and bad to me and will try their best not to do the things that physically distress me. Also who will be understanding about what scares me, and will learn (and teach their friends and family members) how best to help me in positive, reassuring ways in those situations. The rescue can teach you all about these things as they have sussed them out in my time with them!
  • I’m very food and treat motivated! Awesome for training! But I am so interested in food that if you leave something out on the counter or on a table, I might find a way to gobble it up. My foster mom recently lost a holiday coffee cake that way! 😊 It’s the one situation in which my manners aren’t great, but easy enough to avoid—don’t leave food (or trash) out!
  • I’m a big boy…currently over 90 pounds! When I get excited, I can occasionally act like a puppy and jump up on you, and though it is very friendly, I weigh over 90 pounds! So since I could accidentally knock you down, I can’t live with someone who is physically fragile.


Adults: I LOVE nice people, once I have a chance to get to know them. The rescue folks, and the dog trainer, can teach you how to do helpful introductions with me. And when you come to meet me, YOU will be someone that I don’t know, so I will probably bark a bit at first, but just remember that I am scared, I don’t know if you are nice or mean. Just avoid eye contact, be cheerful, use a happy voice, and gently toss treats on the ground away from us both. Let me take meeting you at my own pace. We might need a few times to meet, but then I will be your best, most loving and most loyal friend!

Kids: I need things to be calm, and I need my people to be thoughtful about my issues, and neither is possible for kids, so I am not a fit for a home with kids.

Dogs: I’m nervous and a bit reactive (barky, pulling) around dogs I don’t know, but am not aggressive. My former dad had a young hyper dog and I tolerated him fine for the months I lived there, but it’s so much nicer for me to be an only dog. No dogs accidentally bumping into me or wanting to play (my achey joints aren’t good for playing), things are quieter and calmer, and…all of the attention for me!

Cats: No thank you! I want to chase them, sorry!

Favorite Activities

  • Being next to or near you!
  • Cuddling with my stuffed lamb!
  • Being told that I am a “good boy!”
  • Laying my head on your lap while you work on your computer!
  • Sitting next to you on the couch or outside in nice weather!
  • Having a blanket to cuddle!
  • Walks outside on grassy surfaces!
  • Mealtime and treats! Chewy toys and puzzle toys!
  • Taking a ride in the car!


  • I am in very good overall health, other than the joint pain and tender front cleft foot. I am up to date on vaccines, am fully housebroken, and am on heartworm and flea/tick prevention!
  • You probably want to have my nails clipped by a professional (every month or two) because the nails on my cleft foot grow into the pads if they are not very consistently clipped, and need to be done very gently and carefully. That foot is also quite sensitive to heat and cold, so I don’t last long outside in the snow, or if I have to walk on hot pavement. I don’t like rough surfaces like gravel.
  • I need an adopter who will for sure keep me on my helpful pain and anti-inflammatory medications. I am in great overall health, and am up to date on vaccines!
  • I have a special foot that was cleft when I was born. It’s more sensitive than my other feet, and I need you to try to walk me on softer surfaces and let professionals do my nail clipping, which I need regularly (every month or two) because the nails grow into the pads if not very consistently clipped carefully. Dad thinks that getting me a special bootie or shoe for the winter might be really great for me, because if it’s really cold, I lift that paw to indicate that it hurts and I want to go inside please.


I am a miracle. I survived a life of chaos, neglect, and ill-treatment, and came through it with a heart that is all about love, hope, optimism, and good humor. Also with some fears. They are better than they were before, for sure, but I need continued healing, understanding, care and protection. My deepest wish is for a loving, caring, thoughtful, patient, and joyful person who lives a calm, low-key, simple life in a calm, sweet, environment. I also would love a fenced yard, and someone who works from home, at least some of the time.

So if you think Charlie Bear might be the perfect addition to your family please fill out an online adoption application and live close to Ithaca, Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester, or Elmira. We do home visits on every applicant, and can’t do home visits where we don’t have local volunteers.

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