Charlotte Meade is not an Old Mother Hubbard. She’s far from elderly, a spunky bulldog when confronted with irresponsible pet owners and her cupboards would never be without healthy canine cuisine. Her volunteers at Meade Canine Rescue Foundation say she’s the Pied Piper of her 62-dog senior homestead. No doubt, she’s the Alpha dog on the ranch, but she’s “no dog” when it comes to looks, knowledge and determination. Admirers probably liken her to St. Mother Theresa. In fact, Pope Francis, take note! Meade is working miracles in California for senior dogs that become homeless for a variety of reasons.
“Dogs that have no other option but death are provided food, shelter, veterinary care, exercise, and love,” states Meade’s website http://www.meadecaninerescue.org, a senior dog rescue nonprofit based in Connecticut and California created by Charlotte Meade. Funds for medical costs and supplies are the most needed while Meade and volunteers provide a loving and safe environment for abandoned senior dogs to live out their final years.
Her dependents’ stories could break your heart. “Terry is 16 and senile,” said Meade. “His parent was on Hospice. We have a surrender fee to care for him and then bury him with her.” Kit, an emaciated and furless German Shepherd was to be put down for depression. At Meade’s Kit is running and social. QuieQuie, a loving and beautiful blue-eyed Dachshund-mix was said to be aggressive. Gummi Bear was misdiagnosed with cancer, yet perky three years later. Oliver’s long hair was so matted and infested he couldn’t scratch at the fleas that were eating his skin. A man encouraged 19 feral Beagles. When he died his son allowed Meade to place most of them. A few are still humanizing at the shelter.
The Humane Society states, “About 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs…are put down in U.S. shelters each year…Spay/neuter is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation…” Meade works with local shelters likes Woods Humane Society. Cal Poly’s spay/neuter program, and most reputable national adoption services, but hopes to create an affordable and convenient spay/neuter clinic.
Meade spent most of her life living in interesting places like Paris, New York, Washington, DC and London. Due to allergies, she didn’t discover her passion for dogs until she was 40. “I adopted an amazing one-eyed Beagle from a (New) Jersey pound. I’d give him stuffed toys. He’d always chew off one eye and then play with it for years.”
It was a move to Waterbury, Connecticut that determined her mission in life. “I went to the pound near Memorial Day and found four dogs I was interested in adopting, but the next day they were put down because they didn’t want to clean their pins after the holiday. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I became an advocate and started the nonprofit. Free and easy access to spay/neutering made the difference in Connecticut.”
Three years ago Meade left her thriving Connecticut program to be managed by three foster volunteers. With family in California where the need for her advocacy is paramount, she found a 12-acre ranch in Creston. She built a home for herself adapting it to share with her senior wards in varying stages of need.
Saturday, June 27 from 4-7 p.m. the nonprofit will present a second annual benefit for Meade Canine Rescue at Four Lanterns Winery on Hwy. 46 West. Guests may walk their own dog or a Meade senior rescue dog through the vineyard during “Yappy Hour in the Vines.” There will be wine tasting, live music, and a silent auction with celebrity guests: actor David Alpay, author Teresa Rhyne, and movie equestrian, Donna Cheek. The advance donation cost is $40. Call (805) 239-4004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets or information.
Editors Notes: A great success, but they can always use your support and volunteerism.
Elaine Giannini and John Gajdos of Morro Bay have become regular volunteers at the shelter on Webster Road. Besides making blankets for the dogs, Meade credits Giannini for securing a major kibble donation from Farm Supply Company of San Luis Obispo. Giannini said, “While I was volunteering one day Charlotte received a phone call from an owner saying she had rescued her dog 12 years ago and just didn’t want her any more. Imagine! Meade has blind, crippled, toothless dogs, who, if not adoptable, can spend their last years knowing they were loved.”
Mark Twain said, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”