Help heal sweet Charlotte and Rollo

I would like to preface this by saying that this story is not about me, but is about a very special coworker and friend of mine named Cheryl. On Tuesday, February 27th, Cheryl left her two adorable fur babies, Charlotte and Rollo, with a trusted pet sitter rather than bringing them with her to work as she often does. We work at a 24/7 therapeutic group home for adolescent males on the Autism Spectrum who have also experienced a great deal of trauma. Charlotte and Rollo are a huge part of the house and our guys absolutely adore them, bringing nothing but smiles to their faces, even during hard times. While at work that Tuesday evening, Cheryl received a tragic phone call from her pet sitter that Rollo had supposedly gotten loose out of his harness and was missing. Soon after, she was told that her 1 year old girl, Charlotte, had been struck by a car and was severely injured after she also supposedly got loose from her harness. 3 year old Rollo then took off in fear due to seeing his baby sister endure this trauma. When Cheryl arrived at the scene, something didn’t quite make sense, as Charlotte was still wearing the harness she supposedly escaped from. When Cheryl questioned her pet sitter about this, she stated she put the harness on her after being struck by the car to “stabilize her”. This is where the things took a turn, as it was clear the pet sitter was not telling the whole story.

With no time to think about what actually happened, Charlotte was taken to an ER Veterinary Hospital in West Hartford immediately for treatment. After examining her, they discovered that not only had she sustained a severe fracture of her spine and injury to her hip; but that she also had an enlarged heart. This was not something Cheryl was aware of prior to this incident. Due to the severity of her spinal injury, Charlotte required emergency surgery to repair the injury. However, with her newly discovered enlarged heart, it made this procedure very complicated and something that could result in death. She was then told by the doctors that the injury could be splinted for 12 weeks instead, but Cheryl’s intuition told her that this was not right because of how bad her fracture was and the location of it. She chose to take Charlotte and her chart to another vet for another opinion. When asked for Charlotte’s medications, she was handed a bag of medication bottles that did not even have the right names on them and they thrusted her into Cheryl’s arms with no support, stating “good luck”. That alone could have been enough to sever her spinal cord. She brought Charlotte to another ER Veterinary Hospital in West Hartford for a second opinion. Well, upon immediate evaluation, the doctors informed Cheryl that Charlotte’s injuries were far more severe than she was originally told. She required emergency surgery, but because of the high risk of death in surgery due to her enlarged heart, they were unable to operate. They referred her to Tufts Cummings Veterinary Hospital, and after helping to secure Charlotte to a supportive board for transport, Cheryl was quickly on her way without a second thought. Meanwhile, she was attempting to get in touch with as many people and professional services to help with tracking Rollo, as he was still missing.

Friends and family, including myself, posted various alerts on social media to spread word in the West Hartford area that little Rollo was missing. The story was quickly shared with over a thousand people in the West Hartford area, all sending so much love and positive energy to Cheryl and her pups. The community became so invested in the story, all wanting to help in some way. While the information of his disappearance being spread throughout the community was helpful in one aspect, it was also causing some harm, as Rollo spooks very easily and people were attempting to catch, call his name or chase him. This resulted in Rollo running farther and farther away, all the way to the Bloomfield town line and all over West Hartford; miles from where he got loose and where he was desperately trying to find his way home. The alerts on social media and the posters being posted around town stressed the importance of not calling out to him or trying to find him. The community was simply asked to call Cheryl if Rollo was sighted.

Meanwhile, Charlotte had been transported to Tufts and evaluated by their experts. They did not sugarcoat the fact that surgery on her spine could result in death due to her enlarged heart. They expressed needing extensive cardiology testing to determine whether her heart would be strong enough to handle the length of anesthesia needed for such a long surgery. If you have a dog, or pet of any kind, just imagine what this would do to you. Luckily, she was cleared for surgery, but her heart would still need to be addressed later on. She survived the surgery and is one tough pup. Her heart is being re-evaluated later this month to determine whether her abnormality is the result of the impact from her accident, or a congenital defect.

As Charlotte was in the clear with surgery, the search was still on for poor Rollo. Cheryl had gone to ALL extremes to connect and find him. Then the rain and sleet came, washing away many scents for him and also making it dangerous for him to survive. We were all hoping this would lead him to seek shelter and stay put. With no sightings for a while after the storm, it was looking bad, but Cheryl never gave up hope…ever. A day later he was spotted closer to home, which was when Cheryl and her team set up a trap filled with familiar smelling things, food, water, etc. Cheryl continued to spread her own clothes around town and on her lawn to leave a trail for him. Cheryl filled the food tray in the trap with smelly fresh food often, left her personal scent around the area, and cooked bacon in the open to lure him in with the smell. Cheryl was literally willing to do whatever it took to get Rollo home. She spread her own clothing around town and in her front lawn, hoping Rollo would pick up the scent.

Well, guess what…he DID! Rollo managed to use his nose, mind, body and heart to find his way home to his mom and sister. He was bitten by a fisher cat and was bleeding uncontrollably before Cheryl could get him to the ER. He underwent surgery tonight to stitch some deep muscle and tissue issues from being bit.

Both pups have a long recovery ahead of them, both physically and emotionally. This never should have happened, and it is still a mystery of how they got loose in the first place. The medical bills have been  increasing by the hour, and Cheryl’s pet sitter has not been heard from since the whole ordeal. These dogs are not just dogs, they are family. I know a lot of you out there can relate and would do whatever it takes to save your pets.

I am helping Cheryl set up this page as her friend, but also because she is unable to fully do so on her own due to taking care of the pups. The physical, emotional, and psychological pain that they have gone through over the past week is truly devastating. I hope that everyone reading will empathize with Cheryl’s situation and try to help out in any way possible.

*The "lost" poster is not active anymore now that Rollo is back obviously. Just wanted to add it since it was out in the community and people saw it and connected with Rollo.*



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Organizer and beneficiary

Lauren Evans 
Avon, CT
Cheryl Davidson 
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