The Story of Champ (The Cover Dog)

If it weren’t for this book, I wouldn’t have Champ. My bowlegged little man had a rough start at life. He had a home, but not a good one.

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Whitney Bower, this book’s photographer, called with bad news: a friend of hers had seen a beagle chained to a fence in Clinton, and he’d been there for at least five days. To make matters worse, it looked like the people who lived there had abandoned him after a recent house fire.

After learning about Champ, Whitney stopped what she was doing, drove to Clinton, and rescued him. When she got to the burned-down house, she saw Champ lying down by a joke of a dog house, pieces missing from the roof and nails sticking out from the top and sides. He was so still she thought he was dead. Thankfully, when she approached him he got up. He looked at her as if saying, “Please, take me.”

His collar and chain had become embedded in his skin, and he smelled like he had never been bathed. Whitney knocked on the neighbor’s door and asked if anyone owned the dog. The neighbors said Champ had belonged to the people that once lived in the burned-down house, and they believed he had been outside on the chain for at least four years. They would give him water and throw him scraps but said they didn’t want to take him for fear of the cops coming to their house.

Whitney loaded Champ in her car, bathed him, took him to the vet, and called me. I took Champ in as a foster dog until we could find him a proper home. As many do, I became a foster failure. Champ loved our rescue lab, Norma, and got along perfectly with our son, Townsend, who was eight months old at the time. It took Champ about three weeks to figure out what love was because it was clear he had never been loved properly before. We had him fixed and made sure the cut where his collar had once been was healed. He was scared of the couch at first, but now it is one of his favorite spots. Through fostering, we were forming a bond that we decided we couldn’t break.

Champ is the perfect addition to our family. Whitney remains his forever fairy godmother.

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