Bikers come across an abandoned cage in the middle of a field. What they discover on the inside changes their lives forever.

Bret Winingar and his son Zach went on a journey on their motorcycle across the Arkansas countryside in January 2015. They came across an animal crate off to the side of the road, hidden behind some bushes. They came to a halt and glanced around more closely because they felt like it. Bret and Zach noticed that the top of the carrier had been completely bitten through. Whatever was within appeared to be desperately trying to escape.

They were unprepared for what was about to happen. On a sunny January day, Bret Winingar and his son rode their bikes down the highway. The father and kid were driving through rural Arkansas, east of Little Rock. Along the way, they noticed a package in the bushes. They were instructed to dismount their motorcycles and investigate the box. What they discovered there was both horrifying and life-changing.

Bret and Zach noticed that the top of the carrier had been completely bitten through. Whatever was within appeared to be desperately trying to escape. When they opened the crate, a large black dog stumbled out, mostly skin and bones. They smeared the dog’s excrement all over the kennel, and she smelled “so strongly of death that we couldn’t bear to be downwind, her white feet stained brown from standing hunched in her own feces.

“This unfortunate dog has been abandoned for a long time. She had scratches and scrapes all over her body as a result of being trapped within the plastic box. They had to leave the dog behind because they were riding bikes and needed to get to Zach’s vehicle and some food as soon as possible. They hoped she’d still be there when they returned. She was still standing there, waiting.

“I was sure we were too late,” Bret wrote on his blog. “But then I heard an almost inaudible growl, and I thought, ‘If you’ve got enough strength to growl, you’ve got enough strength to live,’ and we got her loaded up into the back seat of Zach’s truck and headed home.”Their grateful puppy was named “Charlie Bravo,” after the Honda CB motorcycles they were riding that fateful day.

Bret and his family hurried Charlie to the vet after giving him a much-needed wash. Her nails were so long that they re-entered her paws. She couldn’t walk because it hurt so bad When Charlie was discovered, doctors estimated she was about 8 months old. Bret refused Charlie because he already owned several pets. But as Charlie improved and her amazing personality emerged, Bret and his family fell in love with her and couldn’t face the thought of losing her.

“It could be a dead-end job, an abusive relationship, a chemical or alcohol addiction, or the most confining crate of all: fear of the unknown.” Charlie appears to be lovely, joyful, and beautiful today. We can do it with a little help, she says.” After Charlie’s tale was posted on Facebook, the Winingar family received a flood of money to help pay for her hospital fees. Because there were so many gifts, the family donated the extra money to local animal shelters.

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