Abandoned but Not Forgotten: The Story of Chuck

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 2:00pm
chuck the pit bull

From factory farming to kitten season, we focus a lot on the big issues facing animal welfare in this country. But behind each “big issue” is the individual face of every single animal touched by our work. One such animal is a 40-lb., 2-year-old pit bull named Chuck.

When Chuck first came to the ASPCA in 2013, he couldn’t walk. Abandoned and left for dead, he had lost the use of his hind legs from joint disease and hip fractures—both of which had gone untreated. He was taken to our premier Animal Hospital in New York City, where he received surgery to relieve his pain. Once healed, Chuck was enrolled in an intensive physical therapy regimen in conjunction with Animal Medical Center in Manhattan.

“Chuck is a happy dog whose personality was very friendly, energetic—let’s go, let’s go—all the time, despite his disability,” says Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. He was a perfect candidate for rehabilitation.

Over the next six months, Chuck underwent an astonishing transformation. Through physical therapy, which included hydrotherapy, treadmill work and other vigorous exercises, he slowly regained strength in his legs and learned how to walk again. The once-crippled dog was mobile once more.

“The intensive physical therapy work that everyone put in made all the difference for Chuck,” says Dr. Gayle. “He made a believer out of me.”

See Chuck’s recovery for yourself: 

But Chuck’s story is just one of thousands. Every single day, we meet animals just like him—animals who have been abandoned, forgotten, or otherwise forsaken. With your help, we can continue to provide hope and healing for these animals, and continue to do the kind of work that truly changes lives. Please make a donation to the ASPCA today.

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Together, we will help more animals like Chuck begin their road to recovery—one step at a time. 

If you're interested in adopting Chuck, please call our Adoption Center in New York City at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120.




To be a born a pitbull is not a lucky fate. Their popularity in the last 10 years have encouraged breeders to exploit them for money, and often they are pulled into fighting rings, mistreated and abused, just like how Chuck was treated earlier in his life.

Because they are so overpopulated and bred, and because so many people buy them thinking they will be the right dog for them, or buy them for the wrong reasons, they realize later that they cannot care for them, or simply dont want them anymore and discard them in one way or another.

Black dogs and pits are certainly unlucky when it comes to euthanasia. From my experience working in shelters, black pets and pit bulls have it rough when trying to get adopted and often are put down.

No breed is necessarily luckier than another, but small dogs, young dogs, pretty dogs and family dogs are certainly adopted and helped more frequently.

If you want to make a dog lucky, adopt a dog from a shelter who has black fur, is large, is older, or perhaps isnt the best looking -- or some combination of those. They will thank you for it =)

don hughes

Hi Zoe, I concur with you on all points, well put. Euthaniztions come in all forms to include gas, a bullet, drowning, decompression chamber (lovely), and a ball bat to name a few. Thirty states still employ one of these methods while refusing to use the injection (humane death). I encourage you all to contact your state reps. lobby for 'death by injection' only, all else should be considered illegal and just another form of abuse. Additional note, sodium pentobarbital has been available since the late 1980s for shelter use, one injection regardless of weight is $2 cheaper than gas (American Humane Society Study, 2007). Thank you!

Carmen Perdue

It breaks my heart to know how ppl can treat an animal who wants to be loved and only return that love..

Connie C

WAY TO GO ASPCA! My husband and I support your organization and we can't express enough the great work you do and what we read about. We love all animals!
Keep up the wonderful work for the ones who need you the most.

Sharon Aitken

I was shocked by your list of methods of euthanization of animals that are implemented on these animals. I am hoping that I am misunderstanding you and am reading it wrong that shelters, vets and other businesses euthanize pets in this way!!!! I can see deranged pet owners doing this is stuff.... but other organizations involved with animals? Say it isnt so!!!


I doubt the people in the town have any idea of the way they put down AN ANImal but after reading this maybe they will check. I did and it is seldom done, but when necessary it is by injection. It only takes a few minutes to check on this and if you don't get an answer better dig deeper.

Gwen Ferry

I had no idea that these barbaric methods of euthanasia existed as approved! Who on Earth uses them? I will definitely give them a tongue lashing. This is outrageous! I have held many animals whilst they have been humanely euthanased, whilst it is always very very sad, it is peaceful for the animal in as much as death can be. I am sick to my stomach knowing that these methods are in practice!!!

Patricia Dehler

It sadly true. I adopted a senor (10+) rat terrier from a rescue group. In a shelter she would have had little chance as she was 'old'. She's perky, sweet and bright and winner in every way. It's so sad when people pass on older pets for the young ones or for some other 'assume' defect.


Isn't it possible that people are more solicitous towards individual putbulls, precisely because they have a hard time as a breed? One sees this often with humans, e.g. "protected classes." And a great many ASPCA stories involve pitbulls. I surely wish all dogs could be treated equally well!

It's surprising that black dogs and cats have a harder time being adopted. They are among the most beautiful! Is this true even of black Labs, with their friendly enthusiasm, and Border Collies, with their gorgeous coats and high intelligence? I am more familiar with cats, but three of the four most beautiful cats I remember from my entire life were black. (The fourth was a huge Traditional Siamese.) Ragnar, a black and white longhaired 'Wegie, was the most beautiful of all, and recognized as such by virtually everyone who saw him. I used to say he was one in a billion, but the "super-vet" who treated him during his last illness said he was "one of a kind."

Another black cat (not known to me personally), named Magic, was so beloved that a foundation was established in his honor. "IMOM" - "In Memory of Magic" - does very good work, paying for emergency medical care for pets whose people absolutely can't afford it. One I did know - and lived with for 11 years - Cindy, looked so much like Magic that they could have been twins.

Oliver (1970-1985) was all black - no white at all, but shaded to dark brown on the underside. Most of his hair was deep black, very long, and so shiny he seemed to be shimmering. I agree - adopt a black cat or dog - not only because they need you but because they are beautiful!


so happy I donate to aspca